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Gaitskill’s compassionate analysis of sexual urges that could be lazily labeled “extreme” or “subversive” is most explicit in her recent collection, Don’t Cry (2009), which often invokes suffering and its alleviation through reflection rather than dialogue and action. In “Folksong,” the narrator reads a news item about a woman who has sex with 1,000 men in a row in hopes of breaking a world record. The narrator then imagines the complexity behind this woman’s attempt to turn herself into a “fucking machine.” Unlike Millet, whose sole concern would seem to be a graphic representation of her couplings, Gaitskill describes the marathon sex almost solely through the music playing, “a hammering dance music” that is “like a high-speed purgatory where the body is disintegrated and reanimated over and over again until the soul is a whipsawed blur. It is fun!” –“The Vertical Altar,” Hannah Tenant-Moore, N+1
Until now, we have had no trial for Communism, though real Communism killed or mutilated more victims than Nazism and Fascism combined. Communism’s trial has never taken place, outside the intellectual sphere, for two reasons. First, Communism enjoys a kind of ideological immunity because it claims to be on the side of progress. Second, Communists remain in power in Beijing, Pyongyang, Hanoi, and Havana. And in areas where they’ve lost power—as in the former Soviet Union—the Communists arranged their own immunity by converting themselves into social democrats, businessmen, or nationalist leaders. –“Communism’s Nuremberg,” Guy Sorman, City Journal
The radicalism of the executive prerogative asserted in this case is breathtaking, yet such is the state of American justice. According to our laws, the search of an American’s home requires a search warrant issued by a judge, but our present chief magistrate claims the power to execute summarily a citizen who has not been shown to be directly engaged in violent activity or combat. Apparently, this is what Obama means by pragmatism: that laws may be suspended at will in the name of convenience. We shall simply murder our ideological adversaries and then brag about it in the press, blithely assuming that such crimes will silence the chorus of enemies. What all-important tactical aim will the extrajudicial murder of this disloyal American citizen achieve? His sermons are already widely available; his incitements would live on after him, endowed with a made-in-America aura of martyrdom. If anything, Awlaki’s assassination would constitute a proof of his argument. –“Obama’s Tyranny,” Roger Hodge,” Daily Beast
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.”