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Oddly enough, the military leaders to whom Krauthammer, Boot, and Barnes all insist that Obama should defer also eschew the V-word. McChrystal and McChrystal’s boss, Gen. David Petraeus, have repeatedly said that military power alone won’t solve the problems facing a country such as Afghanistan. Indeed, the counterinsurgency doctrine that Petraeus revived and that McChrystal is keen to apply in Afghanistan in effect concedes that violence alone is incapable of producing decisive and politically useful outcomes. Expend as much ammunition as you want: what today’s military calls “kinetic” methods won’t get you where you want to go. Acknowledging that battle doesn’t work, counterinsurgency advocates call for winning (or bribing) hearts and minds instead. And they’ll happily settle for outcomes—take a look at Iraq, for example—that bear scant resemblance to victory as traditionally defined. That the post-Cold War United States military, reputedly the strongest and most capable armed force in modern history, has not only conceded its inability to achieve decision but has in effect abandoned victory as its raison d’être qualifies as a remarkable development.–“No Exit: America has an impressive record of starting wars but a dismal one of ending them well,” Andrew Bacevich, The American Conservative
For more from Andrew Bacevich, please read in Harper’s Magazine: “The War We Can’t Win” (subs), and “American coup d’etat: Military thinkers discuss the unthinkable” (free)
New York-style vowels are diphthongs— meaning they change into another sound during pronunciation. That’s just a boring way to describe the musical “aww-uhh” that New Yorkers bring to their vowels, pulling them apart like taffy, turning “sausage” into “sawww-sage.” Words like “talk” and “walk” turn into two-syllable words: “Taww-uhk” and “waww-uuhk.” Travis Bickle’s famous line from “Taxi Driver” actually sounds more like, “Yoo tawwhkin’ ta may?”…Nobody’s quite sure when these features melded into the accent we know today, though it shows up on some of the earliest sound recordings. After the British, the next generation of European immigrants to New York City — Irish and Germans in the mid-1800s, Jews, Eastern Europeans, Russians, and Italians starting in the 1880s — contributed their own features. There were references to a “Bowery accent” by the turn of the century. –“Why the classic Noo Yawk accent is fading away,” Sheila McClear, New York Post
A writer on Jezebel made a connection between your previous memoir, about your eating disorder, and your search for a partner. “Gottlieb treats dating like dieting— an unpleasant exercise in self-denial, meant to achieve a socially acceptable result,” she writes. Do you see any truth in that?
I see it as the opposite of denial– it’s about the opening up of possibilities and not denying ourselves the opportunity to fall madly in love with someone because we’ve intellectualized ourselves out of getting to know someone who isn’t our culture’s ideal of Mr. Right….
You do have a very a grim view of singlehood.
You’re right about that. For me, it’s harder to go through life alone than with a partner you love. But I don’t have a grim view of singlehood for those who embrace it. It’s that, for me and many women — we’d rather have the teammate in life. And no matter how many friends we have, there’s a qualitative difference between what those friendships can offer — it’s a completely different level of intimacy and involvement in the minutiae, the little moments in life that have so much meaning to a lot of us, especially as we get older and our priorities change. –“‘Marry Him’’s Lori Gottlieb: Settling and the single girl,” interview by Sarah Hepola, Salon
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”