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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:
Discussed in this essay:
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert. Henry Holt. 352 pages. $28.
The extinction symbol is a spare graphic that began to appear on London walls and sidewalks a couple of years ago. It has since become popular enough as an emblem of protest that people display it at environmental rallies. Others tattoo it on their arms. The symbol consists of two triangles inscribed within a circle, like so:
“The triangles represent an hourglass; the circle represents Earth; the symbol as a whole represents, according to a popular Twitter feed devoted to its dissemination (@extinctsymbol, 19.2K followers), “the rapidly accelerating collapse of global biodiversity” — what scientists refer to alternately as the Holocene extinction, the Anthropocene extinction, and (with somewhat more circumspection) the sixth mass extinction.
Ratio of husbands who say they fell in love with their spouse at first sight to wives who say this:
Mathematicians announced the discovery of the perfect method of cutting a cake.
Indian prime-ministerial contender Narendra Modi, who advertises his bachelorhood as a mark of his incorruptibility, confessed to having a wife.
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Science’s crisis of faith