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The United States, it would seem, is suffering its own kind of island gigantism. Bigness is the prejudice of American life, our cultural albatross, the axiom being that when something is big it is automatically better….Thus, we prefer our Big Macs and our Whoppers, our food portions supersized, our big cars and sprawling cities, our enormous football players (growing bigger every year, the average offensive lineman now topping three hundred pounds), our big breasts and big penises and big houses (up from an average of 1,200 square feet in 1950 to 2,216 square feet today), our big armies with big reach, and, though we complain about it incessantly, big government that spends big money running up big debt (more now than at any other period in our history). That we allow corporations to grow to outrageous size is just another symptom of the disease. Bigness worship permeates every layer of the culture; it is racked into our brains with every turn of the advertising screw; it is a totalizing force. -“The Curse of Bigness,” Christopher Ketcham, Orion
But the irony of what you’re saying—right now, most people think he’s the most untruthful person in America.
You know, it’s so fascinating to me how people perceive things. Everyone talks about how Johnny has fallen from grace. In reality, he’s fallen to grace. He is integrated. He is living a life of truth. He has grown in awareness and humility. He had all these things within him, but they weren’t the guiding, leading principles of his life. Now they are.
Do you think he thinks that? That he’s more integrated now?
Yeah. I think that he thinks that he is a much wiser and a much better and a more truthful and a more integrated human being.
Did you encourage him earlier to be truthful?
Um, once again, in a male-female relationship, you can offer… I mean, the way that I have learned to keep a relationship going is to offer your advice when asked for it, and love unconditionally when it’s not taken.
That must be hard to do.
It’s beyond difficult. To allow a man to be a man. The biggest mistake that I find is that women attempt to make men women. You know, we want them to be like we are. We want them to get it immediately and do things the way that we want them to do them. And men are men. And I love him for being a man. But oh, my God, yes, it’s been infuriating so many times.
Like when he said on national television that it was impossible that he was the father?
Correct. But I also knew when he did that interview he was not in the right mind. He was traumatized. Because he had been living a life that was now exposed. –“Hello America, My Name is Rielle Hunter,” Interview by Lisa Depaulo, GQ
Ranking America’s blackest white celebrities;
pretty pictures of this country’s loveliest birds;
America’s universities used to be fast food, but now they are slow food (at least compared to the British schools, which aren’t food at all)
Before we can understand a word, we first have to retrieve its meaning from memory. Most of the time, this happens quickly—so quickly we call it automatic—but sometimes it doesn’t, sometimes the word is good and dusty. Say my lab manager says, “Sally saw Rosemary Clooney on the bus today!” I’ll quickly retrieve some meaningful representation for Sally and saw and bus and today, but _Rosemary Clooney_might throw me. I retrieve her a bit at a time, one piece leading to another. She sounds familiar. She’s a singer, right? Isn’t she George Clooney’s aunt? Then I remember Rosemary Clooney, George’s aunt, died several years ago. “No way,” I reply, that bit of idiomatic speech rolling off my tongue effortlessly. “She’s been dead for years.” And here we’ve come to a pronoun. My lab manager delves into memory for representations of dead and years, and finds them, no problem. Delving for she, my lab manager comes back up with a representation of Rosemary Clooney. But she doesn’t always mean Rosemary Clooney. Sometimes she means Sally or Hillary Clinton or the girl I ate lunch with on the first day of seventh grade. She could be anything that can be referenced as a single female—even a ship or a country. But my lab manager knows, straight away, that she is Rosemary Clooney. Pronouns involve that extra step, that discourse mining, that sensitivity to intent and likelihood: that matchmaking. Right here, right now, who is she? Perhaps you are beginning to see why I am obsessed. –“They Get to Me: A young psycholinguist confesses her strong attraction to pronouns,” Jessica Love, The American Scholar
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed may be un-convictable but he’s still not going anywhere;
Republican vampire to run for president in 2012; (no, not Sarah Palin–why would you even think that?);
Starland discovered Gaga!
I sat in a taxi with Emma and her son, Stak, all three bodies muscled into the rear seat, and the boy checked the driver’s I.D. and immediately began to speak to the man in an unrecognizable language.
I conferred quietly with Emma, who said he was studying Pashto, privately, in his spare time. Afghani, she said, to enlighten me further.
Amount a Russian man was fined last October for delivering a pizza by drone:
In Argentina, chalk-browed mockingbirds had stopped trying to rid their nests of shiny cowbirds’ parasitic eggs.
In Damascus, Islamic State militants abducted more than 300 cement-factory workers.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”