August 20, 2010

Clippings: August 14 to August 20

From the newest Lonny Magazine

+ I don't care much about Comic Con, but I know several of my readers do.  So they might be interested in this article by my second-favorite Washington Post book reviewer, Michael Dirda, covering the event in this week's Chronicle of Higher Education.

+ Budgets. Bills. Piled high.  But, lo, I could be a millionaire by the time I retire.

+ This came out a couple weeks ago, but I am only getting to it now: Leon Kass has a new article on courtship.
But most young women strike me as sad, lonely, and confused; hoping for something more, they are not enjoying their hard-won sexual liberation as much as liberation theory says they should. 2 Never mind wooing, today's collegians do not even make dates or other forward-looking commitments to see one another; in this, as in so many other ways, they reveal their blindness to the meaning of the passing of time. Those very few who couple off seriously and get married upon graduation as we, their parents, once did are looked upon as freaks.

After college, the scene is even more remarkable and bizarre: singles bars, personal "partner wanted" ads (almost never mentioning marriage as a goal), men practicing serial monogamy (or what someone has aptly renamed "rotating polygamy"), women chronically disappointed in the failure of men "to commit."
+ Your facebook profile changed this week, quietly.   Facebook unrolled a new service where you can check in your location (or "friends" can check you in) so that your profile shows where you are, and potentially what you're up to.  Or not, because you have 800 friends, half of whom you hardly know, and they can all make postings about where you are.  Which seems to me to be completely bone-headed and a gross violation of privacy.  So, follow these steps, and disable FB Places.

+ A nice call forward to Elizabeth Gilbert, and the Eat, Pray, Love lovers out there (via Philanthropy Daily):
Eat, Pray, Love is, let's be honest, mostly about love of self -- in the nicest possible way. Her latest, Commitment, is, I understand, about marital love, that great, amorous bargain between the sexes, till death (or divorce) do us part. But what's next? This series cries out to become a trilogy, and we can only hope the next entry won't be about how wonderful her children are. Everyone's children are wonderful.

Fortunately for Gilbert (and the rest of us), there is another love she may yet aspire to: the selfless love of humanity and the world. In religious terms, it has many names. Christians call it agape. Muslims call it rahmah. In Judaism it is rachamim. Buddhists have a goddess called Kannon who embodies compassion. The Dalai Lama says simply, "My religion is kindness." In short, unselfish love for one's fellow beings, or compassion, is a human universal.

+ New Lonny Mag (above) and Eliza are online. Woot!

+ Beloit College in Wisconsin is known, as far as I can tell, for one thing: their annual "mindset" list, which talks about all the things we need to remember about the incoming class of freshmen. This year, the class of 2014, doesn't know how to write in cursive, Clint Eastwood is known as a director, not Dirty Harry, or the man without a name, and they've never bought handguns at Walmart, among other things.  The list is interesting (things like #32 Czechoslovakia has never existed make me feel old), but also so generalized that it also doesn't seem very relevant.  Eric Felten's "De Gustibus" column for the Wall Street Journal today considers the "Mindset List" and the supposed generation gap:
The strange assumption of Beloit's Mindset List is that what we know is limited to what has happened in our lifetimes. That doesn't even hold true for popular culture. Consider item number 12: "Clint Eastwood is better known as a sensitive director than as Dirty Harry." The tough-guy phrase, "Make my day" may no longer be the universally recognized cultural shorthand it once was, but I seriously doubt that many new college students give much thought to Mr. Eastwood's current career as a director.  On the other hand, I would bet that most, if shown a picture of Mr. Eastwood in his spaghetti western regalia, would be able to whistle the whippoorwill riff from "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
While the exercise is interesting and I certainly passed along the list to some friends and had a few "wow, I am so old" moments reading it (and I'm not that old!), this list is less meaningful then I think its creators wish.  It seems more to reflect what we adults are missing than what the kids are thinking. 

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