Tag Archives: Michael Robbins

The Hedgehog’s Array: March 18, 2015

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Noteworthy reads from the past week:

“Homelessness and the Politics of Hope,” Sydney Morrow
“At what point ought we cease to hold people to a standard that they do not seem able or willing to maintain?”

“Viktor Shklovsky and the Horror Behind Ostranenie,” Alexandra Berlina
“When a scholar claims that ‘acute experience’ of the world is to be found in literature, one might suspect that his real life consists largely of book dust. Nothing could be further from the truth in the case of Shklovsky.”

“Home Economics,” Heather Boushey
“Today’s families need a new contract with their employers, one that provides stability in a world where we are interacting with the economy in new ways.”

“We Other Puritans,” Michael Robbins
“Successful genre work often recycles old tropes—the demons of adolescent sexuality have haunted folk literature for centuries. But The Witch is about as subtle as a jack in the box.”

“A Life in Letters,” Doris Grumbach
“Remember when, years ago, the waiter in an upscale restaurant would come to the table between courses and clear the cloth with a little plate and brush? Now I am doing this between memories, and the crumb I find there concerns a book I never wrote.”

Hedgehogs abroad:

“Polling the Soul,” Jeff Guhin
“Yet there’s another curious problem with Inventing American Religion, which is Wuthnow’s insistence that the problems of polling are somehow utterly separate from the broader problems of social science.”

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The Hedgehog’s Array: July 31, 2015

hedgehog array logo_FLAT_72dpi[3]Noteworthy reads from the last week:

“Terry Castle: The Anti-Paglia,” Helen Andrews
“Like Paglia, Castle’s entrée into the literary tradition of sexual inversion was a teenage fascination with Oscar Wilde—she dreamed of being ‘male, dandified, and in some sort of filial relationship to various 1890s Decadents.’ Unlike Paglia, her grown-up persona is less flamboyant, more Jamesian.”

“Bedeviled by Books in Translation,” Michael Robbins
“As most translators’ prefaces attest, every translation, unless it’s a crib, negotiates in its own way the problem of how to achieve two contradictory desiderata: to be faithful to the original, and to create a work of art in the new language.”

“Masks,” Jake Orbison
“But looking back years later on the word’s full legacy, confessional’s greatest shortcoming is in its implication not for the poets of the past but for those to come. If all of us have taken our clothes off, where do we go from here?”

“Saigon Summer,” Sarah Mansfield Taber
“One summer evening in Saigon in 1974, we were invited to dinner at the home of another U.S. embassy employee, probably a covert operative like my father.”

“Mutually Assured Content,” John Herrman
“But for everyone else—the papers and magazines that became sites, the sites that became blogs, the blogs that became generalist news organizations—accepting the platform bargain is accepting that most of what they did before is legacy and burden. Most magazines never truly figured out the web, and never will.”

Hedgehogs abroad:

“Uber and the Lawlessness of ‘Sharing Economy’ Corporates,” Frank Pasquale and Siva Vaidhyanathan
“One could make a strong argument that France would benefit from more taxi drivers and more competition. But that’s for the people of France to decide through their elected representatives. The spirit of Silicon Valley should not dictate policy for the rest of the world.”

“Checked Out,” Siva Vaidhyanathan
“The Library of Congress, like all the majestic libraries that connect our nation to its history and future, is a temple to the Enlightenment. But it’s more than that.”

Our intern recommends:

“Fitted,” Moira Weigel
“Like confession and therapy, activity trackers promise to improve us by confronting us with who we are when we are not paying attention. The difference is that they produce clarity constantly, in real time.”

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The Hedgehog’s Array: April 3, 2015

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Noteworthy reads from the last week:

“My Quantified Email Self Experiment: A Failure,” Paul Ford
“Before this experiment, I would have told you that I used to be very passive and conflict-resistant, and that it took a long time to get my back up — but now I’m much more willing to stand up for my ideas. But no, that’s entirely wrong, too. According to my archive I was constantly in some fight or another over email. I apparently have three inches of plate in my skull. And in fact, because I believed, and have believed for so long, that I once was passive but am no longer, I think I tend to be even more likely to be passive-aggressively aggrieved than the typical person.”

“The Overdose,” Bob Wachter
“The clinicians involved in Pablo’s case that day — physicians, nurses and pharmacists—all made small errors or had mistaken judgments that contributed to their patient’s extraordinary overdose. Yet it was the computer systems, and the awkward and sometimes unsafe ways that they interact with busy and fallible human beings, that ultimately were to blame. And the biggest culprit may well have been the hospital’s incessant electronic alerts.”

“Equipment for Living,” Michael Robbins
“But I take it that our having to ask ourselves what poems and pop songs are for, and our compulsion to suggest answers, is a good thing—that it’s the fields that are certain of their purpose and their standing that lend themselves most to reified thinking.”

“This Portentous Composition: Swan Lake’s Place in Soviet Politics,” Amelia Schonbek
“Why Swan Lake? It may seem like a random artistic choice, but to anyone who lived in the former USSR, it made perfect sense.”

“Were We Too Hard on Jonah Lehrer?,” Daniel Engber
“Here’s the truth about Jonah Lehrer: His career has not been destroyed, nor has he apologized for the full extent of his mistakes. This master storyteller did not wander in the wilderness and find some inner peace. He disappeared into the bushes, licked his wounds, and re-emerged with another, even more bewitching tale—the story of his own redemption.”

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