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Even though Hitler and Stalin belong to the dustbin of history, people still manage to find shades of totalitarianism and organized lying – Orwell’s favorite targets – in more places than ever. During the summer of 2009, for instance, opponents of health care reform wielded Orwell’s name indiscriminately. Steven Yates, a philosophy Ph.D. and member of the John Birch Society, told us that “‘Obama-care’ would make George Orwell spin in his grave.” Bill Fleckenstein, an MSN Moneywatch columnist and hedge fund manager, also decried such an obviously “socialist” project: “For those who aren’t clear on why socialism doesn’t work, I recommend reading George Orwell’s Animal Farm.”3 And Tea Party protesters have carried signs reading STOP. YOU’RE STARTING TO SCARE GEORGE ORWELL, ORWELL WARNED US, or ORWELL WAS A VISIONARY. Never mind that, in “How the Poor Die,” Orwell criticized how the indigent had inadequate access to health care; never mind that, in The Road to Wigan Pier, he blamed inadequate government intervention for poor nutrition and squalid living conditions in northern mining towns. Never mind that, for most of his life, Orwell advocated nothing short of a socialist revolution in England! As far as these people were concerned, Orwell’s works amount to nothing more than an anti-government, anti-change screed. –“Orwell and the Tea Party,” Darryl Campbell, The Millions
There is no narrative for an Asian American kid who led his team to a state title, went completely unrecuited, settled for Harvard, for chrissake, dominated the Ivies, went undrafted and then signed with an NBA team straight out of the summer league. Does anyone’s story in the NBA deserve more of a FTW? And while it might be technically true to say that he is his own man and should not have to bear the yoke of his people, that truth is utterly irrelevant. His story is so perfect that it will be gobbled up and turned into metaphor, he will be a experiment for how ESPN discusses “his kind,” he will be the litmus test of where Stu Scott can go and where he cannot, he will be most easily accessible, visible counterpoint to the emasculated Asian male. He will be the Great Yellow Hope for millions of Asian people, not just in the Bay Area, but in Flushing, K-Town, Little Saigon, Annandale, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Taipei and Beijing. –“Yellow Fever,” Jay Caspian Kang, FreeDarko
I had never thought of my self as a Casual Encounters kind of girl. I’d read them on occasion, sure, out of fascination, horror, horniness. I’d even, once in a long while, in lonely desperate moments, posted an ad, not with the intention of actually meeting anyone, but because sometimes knowing you have a bunch of bad options that you’re rejecting feels better than feeling like you have no options at all. And it was that exact state I found myself in one Friday night last fall, after having been blown apart yet again by some minor rejection that felt so huge it sent me to my bed. I hadn’t showered or shaved or left the house in days. And so, glass of wine in hand, wearing a robe and dirty sweatpants, I posted an ad just so I could watch the replies come in and feel like I had some kind of choice in the world. That somebody wanted me, even if they were gross and I’d never want them back. –“My Sluthood, Myself,” Jaclyn, Feministe
More from Rafe Bartholomew:
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.”