Archive for July, 2014

Quote of the day: WRITING

July 20, 2014


“Five Difficulties When Writing the Truth”

1) The COURAGE to write the truth; 2) the KEENNESS to recognize it; 3) the SKILL to wield it as a weapon; 4) the JUDGMENT to select those in whose hands truth will be effective; and 5) the CUNNING to spread the truth among the many.

— Bertolt Brecht


In this week’s New Yorker

July 20, 2014

wrong answer
I read with interest Seth Mnookin’s “One of a Kind,” about how blogging has helped patients with extremely rare diseases find each other and more treatment options, and Nicholas Lemann’s profile of Janet Yellen, which explained a lot about the mysterious institution known as the Fed which has already evaporated from my brain. The reporting piece that hit me hardest was Rachel Aviv’s “Wrong Answer,” which details how well-meaning teachers get snared in the insane negative consequences of testing-based No Child Left Behind education bullshit. And Greg Jackson’s remarkable short story, “Wagner in the Desert,” contained my single favorite sentence in the issue: “Eli walked over to ask if I wanted lunch, or anything, or what did I want, and I said ‘no,’ ‘maybe,’ and ‘later,’ in some order, and then I realized that there was something I wanted, though it wasn’t exactly a group activity, which was to lie on the bathroom floor and masturbate until I died.”


Quote of the day: CORRUPTION

July 3, 2014


“The big people think that because we are poor we don’t understand much,” she said to her children. Asha understood plenty. She was a chit in a national game of make-believe, in which many of India’s old problems – poverty, disease, illiteracy, child labor – were being aggressively addressed. Meanwhile the other old problems, corruption and exploitation of the weak by the less weak, continued with minimal interference. In the West, and among some in the Indian elite, this word, corruption, had purely negative connotations; it was seen as blocking India’s modern, global ambitions. But for the poor of a country where corruption thieved a great deal of opportunity, corruption was one of the genuine opportunities that remained.

— Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers


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