In 25 words or less? You can write to me as anarcissie at gmail.com if nothing else will assuage your curious curiosity....

On How to Be an Ex-President

In the old days, New York City rents used to be explained as the result of so many foreign dictators coming here with their loot, but now the fashion has extended to ex-oligarchs and they're infesting Williamsburg and other fashionable parts of Brooklyn as well as Manhattan. When is the guy from Ukraine coming over?

Posted on September 19, 2014 at 3:01 pm 0

On The Birth of Adulthood in American Culture

What I guess A.O. Scott is deploring is the demolition of the Great White Man, not a real person, of course, but an icon overhanging America (the West?) for many generations. The male's larger body, heavier musculature, higher level of aggression, and team spirit were needed to fend off attacks and attack others during most of human evolution, but industrialism and capitalism produced machines, especially light lethal weapons, which had rendered that body's specialties practically superfluous by the beginning of the 20th century. There remained the moral image, and that was demolished by the just critiques of the feminists, the Civil Rights movement, and the hippies. Big Daddy has indeed disappeared, and the need to become adults has indeed descended upon us all. About time, too.

Posted on September 16, 2014 at 9:23 am 2

On Brooklyn's New Colonial Frontier

As long as the government and financial system keep generating funny money, and landowners and landlords keep taking it, you're going to see this kind of fatuity. When the money tide goes out, the gentry will go out with it, and maybe those who remain will be able to make some use of the detritus. Although high-rise buildings are going to be tough to live in with intermittent electricity (if any) for the elevators.

Posted on September 11, 2014 at 11:09 am 0

On Ask Polly: A Chilling Cautionary Tale About the Dangers of Getting Involved With Attached People

Boredom comes from within. So if someone tells you another whole human being is 'boring', you know where they're at and what they do. Best get away.

Talking about getting away, I am sorry you're going to NYMag which, let's face it, is kind of a dumb venue. I didn't say boring! But, as number at Twitter said, you're going to be over their heads a lot of the time. I suppose it could be an interesting problem.

Posted on September 3, 2014 at 1:36 pm 0

On When a Man Grabs You on the Subway and Tries to Drag You Down a Flight of Stairs

In general, it's not a good idea to mess aggressively with strangers physically or verbally, even if they seem to be smaller, weaker, or more submissive. They may turn out to be armed, experienced street fighters, bat-shit crazy, or all of the above. That applies to females, children, and elderly people as well as males. Grisly anecdotes on request. In this case, the perp only got yelled at. It could have turned out much, much worse.

Posted on September 2, 2014 at 12:22 pm 0

On This Week in Lines

@Gef the Talking Mongoose etc. -- Koons's work is about contempt -- contempt for his audience, contempt for himself, contempt for the idea of art itself. And above all, contempt for those who sell, buy, and exhibit the work. But contempt is cheap; lots of stupid people will supply you with all you want for nothing. 'As water to a fish, so is contempt to the contemptible.'

If there is an interesting thing about Koons's stuff, I think it's the spectacle of people worshiping its vacuity.

But imagine the hundreds or thousands of artists whose work could have been at the Whitney instead of Koons's. We won't see it because it was deemed more important to offer us crap.

Posted on August 4, 2014 at 10:35 am 0

On This Week in Lines

I used to say that beauty was in the eye of the beholder, that the value of art was entirely subjective. But then I saw Koons's work, and realized that some art can be absolutely bad, not worth the air it displaces. And if some art can be absolutely bad, maybe some other art can be absolutely good after all. So one can learn something, even from Koons's oeuvre.

Posted on August 2, 2014 at 11:09 am 2

On Ask Polly: Should I Cut My Abusive Mother Out of My Life Forever?

I had some similar problems with parents and some other near relatives. I cut them off for a time. Later, I decided to behave in a correct, civil way, rather than in either a particularly affectionate or hostile manner, as long as the other parties did not get too out of hand. That is, I would be polite and considerate as long as I was not confronted with open insults, violence, or other forms of intolerable behavior, and I would always be ready to let (most) bygones be bygones if the other parties seemed to want a fresh start. This is what I would advise for the marriage and other significant ceremonial occasions and important events. One does not have to treat a parent as a buddy or even a friend if they do not act the part, but one can still treat them with respect.

In my case things went along reasonably well for a while, and then sadly deteriorated, but I am glad that I gave a better possibility a chance while I could.

Posted on July 30, 2014 at 1:03 pm 2

On Ask Polly: I Want to Get Laid But I'm Afraid of Oppressing Women

@dietcock@twitter -- Indeed, I had the idea that the letter might have been carefully constructed to point out that, in terms of sexual attraction, what many women say they want, and what they actually respond to favorably, are two different things. It's filtered through contemporary gender-politics discourse, but doesn't depend on it. Something very similar could have been written in the depths of the 1950s using different symbols and markers. This seems odd, because generally women are less delusional about life situations than men. Maybe it's the hormones?

Posted on July 28, 2014 at 1:00 pm 0

On Ask Polly: I Had a Stillbirth and My Husband Totally Lacked Empathy

@Dave Gottwald@facebook -- I'm just going by what they told me back in the Dark Ages. In the most contemporary usage, I think you're correct; sympathy has become something they have a card for, a remote sense of pity or obligation. Hence, I suppose, the rise in the use of 'empathy' to fill the semantic gap.

Posted on July 8, 2014 at 4:25 pm 0