- Paul Graham, “Why Nerds are Unpopular” – from the article: Alberti, arguably the archetype of the Renaissance Man, writes that “no art, however minor, demands less than total dedication if you want to excel in it.” I wonder if anyone in the world works harder at anything than American school kids work at popularity. Navy SEALs and neurosurgery residents seem slackers by comparison. They occasionally take vacations; some even have hobbies. An American teenager may work at being popular every waking hour, 365 days a year.
- “Survivor” (a review of the book Mockingjay) – from the article: After Katniss’s daring acts of battle, and all varieties of exhaustion and physical disfigurement, her team of stylists is constantly trying to “remake her to Beauty Base Zero” — the way she would look if she got out of bed looking “flawless but natural.” In other words, the books offer a brutal meditation on how absurd and bloody and prurient our worst impulses are for a generation that is interested in the outcome of “America’s Next Top Model.”
- Megan McArdle, “The Return of No-Money Down” – from the article (quote from CNBC): It’s called Affordable Advantage, and it allows first-time home buyers in four states (Massachusetts, Minnesota, Idaho and Wisconsin) to get essentially no-money-down loans that are then sold to Fannie Mae. It requires $1000.00 down, but the couple profiled in the piece received a grant, and ended up paying just 67 cents for a $115,000 home.
- Emory Rowland, “Digg’s Fail” – from the article: I am not a top 100 poweruser but I have had a number of news stories make the front page thanks to my friends’ diggs. I’ve never experienced anything quite like this Digg change. I invested time in developing friendships, virtual backscratching, voting, commenting, etc and it-the thing I came there for-goes away. And, by the hand of the owner and creator of it all. This masochistic, self-destructive tendency has always bothered me about the site I invested so much time in.
I am a graduate student in political science at the University of Dallas who thinks the media is dumb for the most part, yet am immersed myself. I am looking to break my addiction, and this blog is part of the solution: Why not try to see what the past can tell us about the present, as opposed to seeing what the present has to say about the present only?
OK, I’m sold. What should I read here?
- Analysis of The Gettysburg Address: Is Democracy Feasible?
- Analysis of Lincoln's "Second Inaugural:" Where do American virtues lie?
- Commentary on the Book of Jonah
- On "Batman Begins"
- From Love to God: On Hopkins' "As Kingfishers Catch Fire"
- On Emily Dickinson's "These are the days when birds come back..."
- The Coming Age: Macbeth and the Birth of the Modern World
- On Polemarchus: Commentary on the Republic of Plato, 331d-336a
- A Reading of Plato's "Crito"
- Towards a Nietzschean Understanding of Politics: Notes on "The Case of Wagner"