"Apparently the avenues by which lusty millennials come to grope and perchance know one another are brusque, confused and rife with deception, and probably aren’t reliable precursors to unions of enduring bliss. Which is to say: they’re as imperfect as they’ve always been. While we Homo sapiens have paired off in diverse methods across disparate epochs, we’ve seldom done it with ample information or any particular finesse. There was no saner, better yesteryear: just a different set of customs, a different brand of clumsiness." —The Times' Frank Bruni talks sense in the wake of the Manti Te'o scandal and that other recent example of our semi-annual bout [...]
"Romney is going to have to define a vision of modern capitalism. He’s going to have to separate his vision from the scandals and excesses we’ve seen over the last few years. He needs to define the kind of capitalist he is and why the country needs his virtues. Let’s face it, he’s not a heroic entrepreneur. He’s an efficiency expert. It has been the business of his life to take companies that were mediocre and sclerotic and try to make them efficient and dynamic. It has been his job to be the corporate version of a personal trainer: take people who are puffy and self-indulgent and whip them [...]
Lots of people loved president Obama's speech calling for civility Wednesday night. It was a great speech. (Except the line about "jumping in rain puddles in heaven.") And in that spirit, and because I think it's good to note when people you often disagree with say something you do agree with, I very much like what David Brooks writes today: "The truth is fragmentary and it’s impossible to capture all of it. There are competing goods that can never be fully reconciled. The world is more complicated than any human intelligence can comprehend."
But not everyone is in that kind of mood.
"If the ascent of women has been much exaggerated, so has the descent of men. Men’s irresponsibility and bad behavior is now a stock theme in popular culture. But there has always been a subset of men who engage in crude, coercive and exploitative behavior. What’s different today is that it’s harder for men to get away with such behavior in long-term relationships. Women no longer feel compelled to put up with it and the legal system no longer condones it. The result is that many guys who would have been obnoxious husbands, behaving badly behind closed doors, are now obnoxious singles, trumpeting their bad behavior on YouTube." —If [...]
"During another Ceca song, I saw a man waving the three-finger salute—to me, the equivalent of 'Heil Hitler'—and a switch went off in my brain. I flashed to the time my family was stopped at a checkpoint and a paramilitary cocked his gun at my back. The soldiers laughed, proud to demoralize a 12-year-old boy. I wished I could wake up the next day at age 18, to take revenge as a soldier. But as an adult, I’ve never once used my fist, afraid of what I might do. To get the guy’s attention, I threw a crumpled napkin across the bar. It bounced off his head. His table [...]
"Since 1973, countless lives that might have been welcomed into families like Thernstrom’s—which looked into adoption, and gave it up as hopeless—have been cut short in utero instead. And lives are what they are. On the MTV special, the people around Durham swaddle abortion in euphemism. The being inside her is just 'pregnancy tissue.' After the abortion, she recalls being warned not to humanize it: 'If you think of it like [a person], you’re going to make yourself depressed.' Instead, 'think of it as what it is: nothing but a little ball of cells.' It’s left to Durham herself to cut through the evasion. Sitting with her boyfriend afterward, she [...]
"Because the female bedbug has no genital opening, the male inseminates her by using his hardened, sharpened genitalia to punch a hole through her abdomen. With no elaborate courtship ritual, males in a frenzied pursuit of sexual congress often blunder into and puncture the bodies of other males, occasionally inflicting fatal wounds." -Good news about bedbugs: They only want to anesthetize us while we're sleeping, bite holes in our skin, administer an anticoagulant and suck up to three times their own bodyweight of our blood in each ten-minute feeding session-not have sex with us! The bad news is, they're spreading basically unimpeded throughout our cities now because the [...]
"Where does this disdain for workers come from? Some of it, obviously, reflects the influence of money in politics: big-money donors, like the ones Mr. Romney was speaking to when he went off on half the nation, don’t live paycheck to paycheck. But it also reflects the extent to which the G.O.P. has been taken over by an Ayn Rand-type vision of society, in which a handful of heroic businessmen are responsible for all economic good, while the rest of us are just along for the ride." —Paul Krugman is right. And it's important to note that before Neil Peart replaced John Rutsey on drums and Rush was taken [...]
Everyone online is sort of sniffing at the already-infamous "Why I'm Leaving Goldman Sachs" op-ed in today's Times, and much of that sniffing is understandable. Lots of people definitely know, assume or simply believe that Goldman has been for much of the last decade (or longer) in the service of steering their clients wrong in favor of profits. This is a totally reasonable (and valid!) conclusion, after all, after the activity of the last five years. (Particularly for anyone who saw their incredibly terrible returns on investment after ill-timed BRIC-chasing and plenty of other recession-era disasters.) And so their point is: well, what were you doing, Greg [...]
Soon after moving to New York in 1995, I was walking down Avenue A one afternoon when a guy with a frown on his face beckoned me over to him. He was a black guy, standing next to a suitcase he'd placed on the curb. "Excuse me," he said. "But could you hail me a cab?"
I looked out on onto the street, where there were many cabs with their vacancy signs lit up driving past us. I looked back at him puzzled.
"Virginia has been making big leaps lately in the category of general craziness. We all remember the Legislature's heroic work in passing a bill to protect Virginia citizens from having microchips planted in their bodies against their will. And that the sponsor said he was concerned the chips could be a 'mark of the beast' that would be used by the Antichrist at the end of days." -Gail Collins today, on how Governor Bob McDonnell's institution of April as Confederate History Month is embarrassing his state. Considering this in light of the sad essay Denise Giardina wrote yesterday about the recent mining disaster in West Virginia, [...]