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The strange thing about this is that at twenty I imagined I would spend my middle age reading books that I didn’t have the patience to read when I was young. But now, at forty-one, I don’t even have the patience to read the books I read when I was twenty. At that age I plowed through everything in the Arnoldian belief that each volume somehow nudged me imperceptibly closer to the sweetness and light. I read War and Peace, Anna Karenina, Ulysses, Moby-Dick. I got through The Idiot even though I hated practically every page of it. I didn’t read The Brothers Karamazov: I’ll leave it till I’m older, I thought—and now that I am older I wish I’d read it when I was younger, when I was still capable of doing so.
–“Reader’s Block,” Geoff Dyer, FSG Work In Progress
Then last August, the Vatican introduced a change in canon law that will apparently make it impossible for Catholics to defect. Flynn, O’Sullivan and Dunbar have thus suspended their service. But the Web site continues to be a clearinghouse for information on the church in Ireland and its abuses, and it has helped start a debate on Irish identity — on the possibility of separating the two parts of the term “Irish Catholic.”
Certainly many Irish people find the idea of abandoning Catholicism to be as counterintuitive as giving up their racial or sexual identity. A televised panel discussion on the abuse crisis last summer ended with a reporter asking a woman who was voicing her anger if she was ready to leave the Catholic Church. She paused, as if befuddled, then said, “Where would I go?” –“The Irish Affliction,” Russell Shorto, The New York Times
In Life! Camera Action, Reina, a student at New York Film Academy, has been disowned by her parents for defying their wishes that she do something befitting a respectable middle-class girl. “America is a free nation,” Reina counters, “and so am I!” Luckily, Reina has passion, which, according to her professor, is what matters most: “All successful people, in any industry, Bill Gates, Anil Kapoor—you know him, right? Played the host in Slumdog Millionaire. Or Danny Boyle, director, Slumdog Millionaire, very successful.” But since neither passion nor parents pay the bills, Reina has to work two jobs (Indian video store, Indian restaurant) and continues to do so even with the deadline for her unplanned thesis film a week off. Given such long odds, muses the professor, “Satyajit Ray is going to come out of his grave to help you, right?” (Unfortunately, Ray was cremated.) –“Far From Bollywood: The New Indian Cinema in Exile,” Rafil Kroll-Zaidi, The New York Observer
More from gabriel:
For the past three years my dosimeter had sat silently on a narrow shelf just inside the door of a house in Tokyo, upticking its final digit every twenty-four hours by one or two, the increase never failing — for radiation is the ruthless companion of time. Wherever we are, radiation finds and damages us, at best imperceptibly. During those three years, my American neighbors had lost sight of the accident at Fukushima. In March 2011, a tsunami had killed hundreds, or thousands; yes, they remembered that. Several also recollected the earthquake that caused it, but as for the hydrogen explosion and containment breach at Nuclear Plant No. 1, that must have been fixed by now — for its effluents no longer shone forth from our national news. Meanwhile, my dosimeter increased its figure, one or two digits per day, more or less as it would have in San Francisco — well, a trifle more, actually. And in Tokyo, as in San Francisco, people went about their business, except on Friday nights, when the stretch between the Kasumigaseki and Kokkai-Gijido-mae subway stations — half a dozen blocks of sidewalk, which commenced at an antinuclear tent that had already been on this spot for more than 900 days and ended at the prime minister’s lair — became a dim and feeble carnival of pamphleteers and Fukushima refugees peddling handicrafts.
One Friday evening, the refugees’ half of the sidewalk was demarcated by police barriers, and a line of officers slouched at ease in the street, some with yellow bullhorns hanging from their necks. At the very end of the street, where the National Diet glowed white and strange behind other buildings, a policeman set up a microphone, then deployed a small video camera in the direction of the muscular young people in drums against fascists jackets who now, at six-thirty sharp, began chanting: “We don’t need nuclear energy! Stop nuclear power plants! Stop them, stop them, stop them! No restart! No restart!” The police assumed a stiffer stance; the drumming and chanting were almost uncomfortably loud. Commuters hurried past along the open space between the police and the protesters, staring straight ahead, covering their ears. Finally, a fellow in a shabby sweater appeared, and murmured along with the chants as he rounded the corner. He was the only one who seemed to sympathize; few others reacted at all.
Number of U.S. congressional districts in which trade with China has produced more jobs than it has cost:
Young bilingual children who learned one language first are likelier than monolingual children and bilingual children who learned languages simultaneously to say that a dog adopted by owls will hoot.
An Oklahoma legislative committee voted to defund Advanced Placement U.S. History courses, accusing the curriculum of portraying the United States as “a nation of oppressors and exploiters.”
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“He could be one of a million beach-bound, black-socked Florida retirees, not the man who, by some odd happenstance of life, possesses the brain of Albert Einstein — literally cut it out of the dead scientist's head.”