The web contains much of the record of that life, and in turn directs how that life is conducted.
What offended her here was the flicker of pride in his supposed giving-up.
Argentina is hardly the saddest country in the world, but it has often been felt to be the most tragic. The sentiment derives in part from an envious glance at other large settler colonialist countries — the US, Canada, Australia — that secured measures of peace and prosperity unknown here for generations. A vast country, eighth largest in the world, endowed with a long Atlantic coastline, the endless fertile plains of the pampas, a deep trove of mineral wealth, and torrents of fresh if muddy water, its bounty prompted the rather blasphemous fin-de-siècle boast Dios es argentino — God is Argentine — and for much of its earlier history the republic struck natives and new arrivals alike as teeming with potential wealth.
Jonathan Franzen’s novel is a feeling-machine.
Ultimately, the antipolitics of fear would deprive the person of his status as a political, even a social being.
I experienced the despair of the creature who evidently cannot will himself to die.
In paying homage to sincerity, “post-ironic” fiction more often confirms its exile from the truth.
Small talk has an aspect of bravery when things are winding down. We came out of the mountains, down through the foothills, with Denver spreading at their base, and talked about little and then about nothing. And then the peaks or teepees, or perhaps they are notionally sails, of the new international airport rose up from the plains, we’d reached the place where the airport road bifurcates, and I bore right, toward terminal A, and Viv, as I said, was wiping her eyes.
A curse is a formula that becomes a doom. The two-party system is the curse of American political life.
The old man went down on one knee like a clumsy courtier and after steadying himself and making sure he wouldn’t topple over, he brushed away loose, loamy soil with the hand the stroke had spared—he’d had a second apoplectic stroke two months before—and located the beginnings of a pale root. He yanked up the hound’s tongue, as the weed was called, and sighed. He stood and righted himself, less of a labor than a few weeks ago, and stuffed the weed into the left hip pocket of his overalls, fingering its velveteen leaves.
November 8, 2013
Society is distinct from the economy in that no direct monetary rewards flow from participation. Being popular may help you make money, and having money may in turn make you popular, but no one is paid a fee for his personal popularity, nor can I pay people to like me. The autonomy of society is limited but nevertheless real.