A Short Excerpt from Coconut Oil

Here is a very short excerpt from the “Wintertide” chapter of “Coconut Oil.” Oh, and the jouissance of the creamy oil’s single flavor savors of favor, in the bath, kitchen, by the four-poster or berth, for dry skin, diaper rash, or when the dark knells for thee. No need to refrigerate. Oil squeaky hinges, refurbish…

On hasty writing and reading

I was struck by Louis Menand’s comment in his review of Douglas Brinkley’s biography of Walter Cronkite (New Yorker, July 9 & 16, 2012), that “…’Cronkite’ (HarperCollins), is long and hastily written… (88).” I wasn’t surprised, though, for US culture is Menand’s turf, and his own output, if the measurement means anything, is dwarfed by…

On The New Yorker On Twitter; or, Drink, Memory

This week, The New Yorker, on Twitter, is sponsoring a tweet-fest, calling on followers to tweet their all-time favorite New Yorker piece. My first response was a tongue-in-cheek, “The Cartoons”! I’ve been reading the New Yorker, a weekly, for over 40 years, but these days when I intone the magic words, “Speak, Memory,” I often…

Hybrid Reading and “Sex and the vote”

Newspapers are dying, but as they slide into immateriality, they’re looking for ways to merge into Internet traffic. Regular columnists are forced to blog to establish stronger and closer connections with their audiences. No doubt many regular columnists are already longing for the days when they had the highway to themselves. Blogging, of course, invites…

“Off with their heads!” Rhetorical Images of Heads of States

“Off with their heads!” shouts Carroll’s Queen in Wonderland. Just so, Platon has beheaded them all in “Portraits of Power,” in the December 7 New Yorker. The head of state is not a whole person, but a symbol, but of what? “The king is an erection of the body politic,” Norman O. Brown says in…

Caleb Crain and Becker-Posner Print Their Blogs

As we watch the coming of the end of books and the disappearance of newspapers, we note an increase in electronic self-publishing, blogs the obvious pedestrian example, but then, in an interesting twist, we see blogs subsequently published in more traditional print copy format. Two recent and noteworthy examples illustrate: Caleb Crain’s The Wreck of the…

Double Shot, Hold the Book

The end of books is closer than we thought. A short article in today’s Christian Science Monitor discusses a private high school that has replaced the books in its library with a $12,000 espresso machine, three sports bar like TVs, Kindles with e-books, and laptops. Apparently, the old, hard copy books were not being checked out and…