Flaubert’s “A Simple Heart”

What is the “relation between literature and life” in Flaubert’s “A Simple Heart”? Maybe just this, that they both might move us to tears. But moving readers to tears may not have been Flaubert’s intent. If readers want to be moved to tears, all they need do is hit the streets, where reality resides, orContinue reading “Flaubert’s “A Simple Heart””

The Way We Don’t Age Now: Unhappiness and Hunger in the Land of Plenty

Hunger is a condition of life: no hunger, no life. The spider spins her web, hungry for the busy bee dancing by hungry for blues. The cactus patiently awaits the coming of a distant, dithering cloud. The salmon swims against the current, hungry to finish its ritual. A homeless man wanders into a soup kitchen,Continue reading “The Way We Don’t Age Now: Unhappiness and Hunger in the Land of Plenty”

Ending Net Asset Value; or, Hook up, hat up, and let go: “Calling Dr. Bartleby!”

Atul Gawande is a Harvard trained surgeon who writes eloquent prose on health and illness. His New Yorker pieces “Letting Go” and “The Way We Age Now” are full of pathos, ethos, and logos on how and when to die decisions and the bedpan reality of growing old. If he continues his work combining writing,Continue reading “Ending Net Asset Value; or, Hook up, hat up, and let go: “Calling Dr. Bartleby!””

Where Dylan Thomas meets Atul Gawande; or, Let Go Gently, for Here Comes the Night

If Atul Gawande had been the editor for Dylan Thomas’s poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night,” we might have gotten something like, “Let Go Gently, for Here Comes the Night,” the long and “The long, the long and lonely night night, night, night, night, night, night…” as Van Morrison sang with Them,Continue reading “Where Dylan Thomas meets Atul Gawande; or, Let Go Gently, for Here Comes the Night”

Solving the Texas Textbook Massacre, Scandal, and Mystery

Textbooks are like disposable diapers, fodder for landfills, their obsolescence planned and forced new editions programmed with regularity. When I was a kid we couldn’t write in our textbooks. The nuns used them year after year – textbooks must not have been programmed to self-destruct quite so quickly in those days. We had to coverContinue reading “Solving the Texas Textbook Massacre, Scandal, and Mystery”

Becker-Posner: fodder for rhetoric foragers

The shallow depth of the unstated warrants at the Becker-Posner blog makes for good fodder for rhetoric foragers. Consider this, from Posner’s half of their 15 Nov 09 post: “Should the U.S. economy grow more rapidly than the public debt, we’ll be okay. But the government’s focus appears to be not on economic growth, butContinue reading “Becker-Posner: fodder for rhetoric foragers”