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Here's one of my highlighted quotes from about halfway into the book:
- It's of some interest that the lively arts of the millennial U.S.A. treat anhedonia and internal emptiness as hip and cool. It's maybe the vestiges of the Romantic glorification of Weltschmerz, which means world-weariness or hip ennui. Maybe it's the fact that most of the arts here are produced by world-weary and sophisticated older people and then consumed by younger people who not only consume art but study it for clues on how to be cool, hip — and keep in mind that, for kids and younger people, to be hip and cool is the same as to be admired and accepted and included and so Unalone. Forget so-called peer-pressure. It's more like peer-hunger. No? We enter a spiritual puberty where we snap to the fact that the great transcendent horror is loneliness, excluded encagement in the self. Once we've hit this age, we will now give or take anything, wear any mask, to fit, be part-of, not be Alone, we young. The U.S. arts are our guide to inclusion. A how-to. We are shown how to fashion masks of ennui and jaded irony at a young age where the face is fictile enough to assume the shape of whatever it wears. And then it's stuck there, the weary cynicism that saves us from gooey sentiment and unsophisticated naïveté.
And another from near the end:
- It now lately sometimes seemed like a kind of black miracle to me that people could actually care deeply about a subject or pursuit, and could go on caring this way for years on end. Could dedicate their entire lives to it. It seemed admirable and at the same time pathetic. We are all dying to give our lives away to something, maybe.
Keep reading, iammyownrushmore. I know for me, it took a couple times to really get to know the book. But now I've reread it a couple times, and the innumerable characters, the disjointed storylines, his colloquially prosaic writing style, it all comes together.
Check out their Tiny Desk show on NPR if you like this.
I cross-country skied in high school and rowed in high school and college. I can confidently say those sports along with sailing have the whitest/oldest/richest fan-base in America.
Fair point. They do seem to "over do" their article titles occasionally, and this article is no exception, though the point he's trying to make does come across in it, i.e. the martyrs some hold as immortal or beyond reproach are neither and should be treated as such.
I'm from Boston, and grew up listening to talk radio (i.e. conservative hosts, very much opinion-based, little prima facie unbiased reporting, &c). As I grew older, I realized I should expand my horizons and maybe try the NPR in the area, thinking that, as I was in Massachusetts ("tax"achusetts, the people's republic of Massachuetts), I would get a very different side of the radio "coin" as it were, with liberal vitriol and left-leaning moralistic rants. I daresay I was wrong. WBUR hosts the local NPR station and though the hosts tend to be left leaning, they are great at presenting both sides of many issues with striking equanimity, not to mention how incredibly interesting their guests are and polite their on-air demeanors are compared to their talk radio counterparts. The programming is great, with some in-house anchors as well as some syndicated shows throughout the day. I consider myself a libertarian and I can't even listen to talk radio anymore it has become that grating and absurd. In all, I would say a slight to moderate liberal slant.
P.S. one thing, though. While talk radio had it's bias slant as almost a banner of the station, NPR may suffer from a slightly more insidious approach to news, which is to say their content may be skewed slightly toward the liberal side, covering many green initiatives, rights-abuse scandals and the like. This, however, does not effect their reporting or discussion in any way, making them much more enjoyable and frankly more level-headed than their competitors.