12:33 Feb 13th, 2013 | 7 notes
But Britton analyzes those setbacks for subtext. In a scene in an early episode, in which Jaymes takes a long walk with an old flame, Britton deliberately resisted some lines in which her character expressed fears about being old. “Just drawing on my own experience, I never — I never — personally reference myself as old. I don’t think of myself as old, but I certainly would not say that to a man,” Britton said. It starts to become obvious, as Britton talks, how much of her own Southern upbringing (she was raised in a close-knit family in small-town Virginia) feeds into the characters she creates. “I might have a conversation with some girlfriends — what are we doing about the lines around our eyes — but to a man? There are certain things — it would just be demystifying and disempowering,” she said.
"Connie Britton is a Late Bloomer" - aka Connie Britton is amazing and can do no wrong.
3:18 Oct 5th, 2012 | 1 note
Wallace’s oeuvre is internally varied but also of a piece. It reminds me of what an amateur deep-sea diver once said to me about why he liked diving solo: If you stop concentrating for even a few seconds you might die, he said, and I have a hard time concentrating, and so, well, I like to dive.
Rivka Galchen, “Consider the Writer”
6:32 Sep 16th, 2012 | 2 notes
For all intents and purposes, the Occupy movement is dead, even as the Tea Party lives on. But why?
One reason, it seems to me, is that the Occupy protesters were purposely — even proudly — rudderless, eschewing leadership in favor of broad, and thus vague, consensus. It’s hard to get anything done without leaders. A second is that while they had plenty of grievances, aimed mainly at the “oppressive” power of corporations, the Occupy protesters never got beyond their own slogans.
But the main reason is that, ultimately, Occupy Wall Street simply would not engage with the larger world. Believing that both politicians and corporations were corrupt, it declined to dirty its hands by talking to anyone in power. The takeover of the park — especially as the police threatened to force the protesters out — became an end in itself rather than the means to something larger. Occupy was an insular movement, whose members spoke mainly to each other.
The Tea Party did just the opposite. It, too, believed that politicians were venal, but rather than turning away from politics, its adherents worked to elect politicians who believed in the same things they did. Yes, the Tea Party had wealthy benefactors, but their money would not have succeeded without enormous grass-roots support. Two years ago, 87 new Tea Party-elected candidates showed up in Washington. Much as you or I may not like it, they have largely succeeded throwing sand in the wheels of government. That was their goal.
Timothy Noah, the author of “The Great Divergence,” a fine book about income inequality, says that Occupy Wall Street did succeed in “massively raising the issue’s profile,” as he put it to me in an e-mail. There is more discussion now about income inequality, he added, than during the entire quarter-century the income gap was widening.
That is nothing to sneeze at, I suppose, but raising the issue is the easy part. The hard part is doing something about it. Without political engagement by those who want to reverse income inequality, it will continue to widen.
11:53 Sep 14th, 2012 | 6 notes
Diplomacy is a dangerous profession. You cannot exert influence by whispering in diplomatic code to your government counterparts behind closed doors. You do not spread American values — especially in places where passions are high, governments fragile and guns plentiful — by remote control from Washington. You have to get out from behind the walls and engage with people. We know this can put us in harm’s way; our people in the Benghazi consulate knew it. And they did their jobs anyway.
That is because, hokey as it sounds, the people who represent us overseas really do believe they can make a difference. They confront violent behavior and strong passions with American leadership, smart power and peaceful means.
We must make that work safer.
sometimes it seems like we forget we ask staff at embassies and consulates across the world to take huge risks, without the same level of security/tactical training as soldiers. an embassy isn’t a military base. we spend barely 1% of the total federal budget on the state department and other international programs. how much do we really value what they do?
8:21 May 4th, 2012 | 2 notes
What they found is that as the rich got richer in the decades before the Great Recession, everyone else tried to maintain his standard of living by going deeper into debt. As income inequality grew over that period so did debt levels, because the rich increasingly invested their growing wealth in bonds and bank deposits, in effect providing money for ever more lending to the poor and middle class.
New York Times: Inequality, Debt and the Financial Crisis
3:34 Apr 11th, 2012 | 3 notes
in praise of the comma
Ben Yagoda, New York Times:
You can glimpse a reason for this codification — which emphasized consistency rather than sound — by looking at the opening of the Second Amendment of the Constitution (1789):
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
There are three commas. The one after “state” would be used today; the one after “arms” would not; the one after “militia” is ambiguous; and all three have caused a world of hurt, confusion and argumentation over the last 223 years. As Adam Freedman wrote in this newspaper in 2007, a Federal District Court ruling invalidating the District of Columbia’s gun ban (subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court) held that “the second comma divides the amendment into two clauses: one ‘prefatory’ and the other ‘operative.’ On this reading, the bit about a well-regulated militia is just preliminary throat clearing; the framers don’t really get down to business until they start talking about ‘the right of the people … shall not be infringed.’” More generally, the funky comma protocol muddies the crucial link between the importance of militias and the right of people to bear arms.
this gladdens my grammar-nerd heart.
11:11 Mar 27th, 2012 | 647 notes
“The Curious Art of Diagramming Sentences,” via the New York Times.
"As he notes in his preface, making the abstract rules of language into pictures was like using maps in a geography book or graphs in geometry.
But there are differences. Maps and geometric diagrams are ancient; both go back at least to the Greeks. Geometry, of course, can’t be taught without recourse to geometric figures, and schoolchildren can draw a map of their classroom or their front yard without much instruction from the teacher. But making a picture of the sentences we read and speak every day was a concept with no real history behind it: it was invented not by an ancient on the other side of the world but in Mr. Clark’s study, in his classrooms, on long meditative walks around the town of Homer.”