Entries in new york times (5)


Think THIS will work on my wife?

"The books are there not just because I esteem them and need to look things up, but also because they represent an external hard drive for my mind. That is, running my eye down the rows will refresh my memory, reframe my thoughts, alert me to counterexamples and lacunae in my lines of argument." Click.


Lessons, now, from the age of sail

Did you read Maya Jasanoff's piece in Sunday Review in today's New York Times? I sure did — because of Bounty, if nothing else.

Liked this:

But Conrad wasn’t being emptily nostalgic. He recognized that technological progress, for all its much-heralded benefits, comes with social and ethical costs. To operate a sailing ship was to master a “craft.” You had to observe and interpret nature, adapt and react to fast-changing conditions, obey without question, decide without doubt, toil without pause. The craft connotes more than a clutch of skills; it is a code for how to live. It turns a sailing ship into a “fellowship,” a community forged by shared values.

“The taking of a modern steamship about the world,” by contrast, “has not the same quality of intimacy with nature,” Conrad insisted. “It has no great moments of self-confidence, or moments not less great of doubt and heart-searching.” It lacks “the artistic quality of a single-handed struggle with something much greater than yourself.”

This, too:

The ocean also shows the failures of progress. It is where thousands of refugees drown trying to reach prosperity. It is where slavery and piracy flourish in the face of modern law. It is where industrial chemicals and plastics pollute and destroy ecosystems.

And it is where, with rising sea levels, the planet pays us back even beyond Conrad’s imagination for our embracing fossil fuels over the enduring benefits of sail.

In due course we arrive, if it can be said that we ever fully arrive, Richard Bode wrote. The truth is that there are destinations beyond destinations, and so the confirmed sailor goes on tacking forever.


I should think harder about this

How do you hire? That was the question for Mark Josephson of Bitly in today's New York Times. Here's his answer:

I will start with: "Tell me your story. Where are you from? Tell me about your mom and dad. What did they do? Tell me about your brothers and sisters." I love to hear how they tell their stories. And have they given any thought to how they tell their stories? I don't like taking anything for granted in my personal life or my professional life, and I'm drawn to people with plans. People who make plans are much more likely to achieve them and set goals.

Always been better, I think, at telling the stories of others.


Philip Roth on America

In today's New York Times Book Review:

Very little truthfulness anywhere, antagonism everywhere, so much calculated to disgust, the gigantic hypocrisies, no holding fierce passions at bay, the ordinary viciousness you can see just by pressing the remote, explosive weapons in the hands of creeps, the gloomy tabulation of unspeakable violent events, the unceasing despoliation of the biosphere for profit, surveillance overkill that will come back to haunt us, great concentrations of wealth financing the most undemocratic malevolents around, science illiterates still fighting the Scopes trial 89 years on, economic inequities the size of the Ritz, indebtedness on everyone's tail, families not knowing how bad things can get, money being squeezed out of every last thing — that frenzy — and (by no means new) government hardly by the people through representative democracy but rather by the great financial interests, the old American plutocracy worse than ever.

You have 300 million people on a continent 3,000 miles wide doing the best they can with their inexhaustible troubles. We are witnessing a new and benign admixture of races on a scale unknown since the malignancy of slavery. I could go on and on. It's hard not to feel close to existence here. This is not some quiet little corner of the world.


Why I still get the paper paper

Last night at a party I told a guy I get two papers a day delivered to my house. "Are you 80?" he asked. He said he didn't get the paper anymore. He said he got his news on the Internet. He said he stopped buying the Sunday Tampa Bay Times when the price went from $1.00 to $1.50. We were standing in the gargantuan kitchen of a 7,505-square-foot house. There was a woman wearing slacks and a black vest picking up off the tables our dishes and trash. A dollar fifty.

Why do I still get the paper paper? Aside from it's my job? Aside from it's still a deal and a half? Here's what I told Erik Hahmann a little more than a year ago:

I do think the PAPER paper is important and not at all because of nostalgia. I have certain things I know I want to read in the morning, first in the St. Pete Times, then in the New York Times, but always -- every day -- there are things I end up reading because they catch my eye or they seem interesting or entertaining or important. I didn't want to read those things ... until I did. The news isn't just the news. It shouldn't be. It's not just some random collection of things that happened to happen yesterday. It, all of it, all bound together by people who are paid and qualified to do that, is as close as you're going to get to who we are, all of us, and what we're doing, and why, on this singular date in time. I get a lot from the Internet. I do not get that. And I'm not the only one who experiences in this way newspapers in their current form. The cumulative effect of that sort of serendipity is engaged citizens with flexible minds who are -- please let this still be true -- capable of goddamn civil discourse. People who read a newspaper every day, any newspaper, are in my mind offering up a message that is nothing less than I CARE ABOUT WHAT IS GOING ON AROUND ME. Look, I know there's always too much to do, and I know there's never enough time -- I KNOW -- but I can't start my day quite right without reading my papers. That act lets me open my front door to go outside with at least some knowledge of what I'm getting myself into.

Are you a citizen of us or are you a citizen of you?