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Archive for June, 2008

The full text of the speech, as delivered in the town of Independence, Missouri, earlier today.

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“A sentimental person thinks things will last, a romantic person hopes against hope that they won’t.”

- F. Scott Fitzgerald

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How English is turning into a language native speakers will soon not understand.

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The BCCI’s position on the Zimbabwe issue is shameful.

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CNN has an interesting article about the UC Berkeley protesters angry about campus expansion plans, who have been living in the branches of a threatened oak grove for the last eighteen months.

The best bit comes at the end:

Protesters howled, flung excrement and shook tree branches as campus-hired arborists cut supply lines and removed gear.

But by late this week, campus police were conducting delicate negotiations with tree-sitters, offering to provide food and water if protesters would lower their waste on a daily basis in the interest of hygiene.

Campus officials ended up giving up the water without concessions; protesters declined to yield their urine.

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There’s a certain quality about Jhumpa Lahiri’s short stories. For want of a better word, I’ll call it tension.

It is not the fear-laced tension of a well-told ghost story or the sexual tension of a romantic novella. Nor is it the tension that comes from reading a truly great novel of ideas, the kind that turns your world upside down.

No, Jhumpa Lahiri’s tension is of a more earthly kind. It thrives upon the most basic unit of human society, the relationship. It entertains the reader, yet makes him feel uneasy. There are no grand flourishes in her writing style. Her sentences don’t evoke wonder the way Fitzgerald’s, Nabokov’s or even Kiran Desai’s do. Yet, her writing contains an astonishing understanding of the human condition and of the extraordinary potential for disquietude, contradiction and waste when two distinct beings interact for a long time. You read her for a while and slowly you fall under the power of the mundane. Everything is subtle, indeed subliminal, but the effect is a powerful one. Or is it just me?

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Women took oaths of virginity, lived as men.

(Link via The Volokh Conspiracy)

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