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Insofar as self-esteem has a meaning, it is the appreciation of one’s own worth and importance. That it is a concept of some cultural resonance is demonstrated by the fact that an Internet search I conducted brought up 14,500,000 sites, only slightly fewer than the U.S. Constitution and four times as many as “fortitude.”
When people speak of their low self-esteem, they imply two things: first, that it is a physiological fact, rather like low hemoglobin, and second, that they have a right to more of it. What they seek, if you like, is a transfusion of self-esteem, given (curiously enough) by others; and once they have it, the quality of their lives will improve as the night succeeds the day. For the record, I never had a patient who complained of having too much self-esteem, and who therefore asked for a reduction. Self-esteem, it appears, is like money or health: you can’t have too much of it. –“On Self-Esteem vs. Self-Respect,” Theodore Dalrymple, in character
3,086: Total words in story
19: Number of times the word “fuck” appears (counting the variations “fucking,” “fucker,” and “motherfucker”)
11: Number of times the word “shit” appears (counting the variation “shithead”)
3: Number of times the word “dick” appears
2: Number of times the word “faggot” appears
2: Number of words in shortest sentence (“Fuck you” and “Stop it!”)
266: Number of words in longest sentence (“And before I even know it, or can enjoy the new look on Joe’s face, like a blubbery peekaboo face, so surprised, because I’m driving us right toward the vague beige shadow-filled wall, and I can only see and hear Joe for a second, a high-pitched thing that cracks for just a second, and for that second I’m with Joe’s voice on a plateau in the black of space, wherever it is that noise cracks like that and decibels live, and then it’s gone because there’s the metal sound so loud and it’s how I had always planned it to be, crunching, and a jerk and the front of my head is filled with the cold hollow sinus pain, the surprise punch in the nose that takes you back to childhood and there’s an immediate link to every other time you ever had your nose hit, by a ball, by a head, by your own knee, and after the surprise it doesn’t go away; but I’m still there and the tires behind me are screeching because my foot is still on the gas, and the car has gone a ways into the wall but it ain’t going any farther, and I look over at fat shit, and there is blood rolling out of a slice in his forehead, and some blood coming out of his mouth, and I think that it’s from the head gash until I see one of those teeth is now a black gap and he looks like a fat something-awful: hockey-player-pumpkin-cartoon-shithead, and he says, ‘Why the fuck did you do that, Manuel?’”) –“Franco Fiction,” Jul Weiner, Vanity Fair
Boy, people sure do care about this Lady Gaga person — you’d think she wasn’t just a pop star dressed like a designer Muppet;
the military wants dumb wives, it needs dumb wives;
Obama and Netanyahu keep it on the down low
He had never been comfortable with personal injury cases, and one case a few years before his retirement affected him deeply. It was a mediation that led to a settlement with the family of an employee who was killed in a workplace accident. He recalls looking across the table at the deceased man’s two young daughters, who were crying, and realizing it didn’t matter that National Grid had a terrific legal defense. “I thought, ‘I’ve been around doing this stuff for 30 years, and what have I done to make the world a better place, to prevent accidents and stop suffering?” –“Not Done Yet,” Barbara Rose, ABA Journal
Keep the black people away from the civil rights demonstrations (what could it possibly have to do with them?);
conservative on conservative mockery? perish the thought;
no one races American cars any more because they suck
More from TedRoss:
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.”