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“The essential difference between Spider-Man and Batman can be detected in their styles: Spidey’s banter is full of quips and gags, while Batman is always grim and gritty. That Batman’s archnemesis is the Joker is fitting. One who believes that suffering can be abolished through determined human effort has little patience for jokes. To him, humor is an affront. Comedy mocks the vanity of visions of rational control. The person who can joke amidst a confrontation with evil, like the quick-witted Spider-Man, must be reconciled to the permanent imperfections of a corrupted world populated by fallen creatures.”
-Travis Smith, via
“To me these are great things and essential things. I’m very well-known as an obsessive of the minute, but it’s not minute to me.”
Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is the best thing on the internet right now and so culturally significant too. No joke, it’s brilliant and the first season is available in full online.
A book like this may never be written again or at least not for some centuries. We are far too meek to sprawl so authorially, to psychologize so boldly, but there are few pleasures greater than reading such an epic. Perhaps the characters are a shade too aware of their deepest feelings and motivations and the narrator impossibly aware, but despite these minor niggles I was mesmerized and charmed throughout its 600 pages.
It is Paradise Lost passed through the rough and rowdy ethos of the American West; there’s an infernal trinity, its Pandorian and Puritan soil, cross-stitched with brother struggle and the American virtues of Liberty and Individuality along with the American sins of Liberty and Individuality. And though it is easy to get lost in its scope, time passing in its true speed, but a breath, years flipped in a few pages, there are so many moments, beyond mere baubles, so many fully characters (Samuel Hamilton, Lee and that serpent Kate), rich in wisdom or a clarion wickedness, that I can’t but hope that when these timid first person narratives have run their course that our literary men and women will embrace the freedom at the heart of “timshel”.
The Book Against God, abbreviated B.A.G., is the burden of Thomas Bunting, the protagonist of James Wood’s novel, a pilgrim in a holding pattern, between an unfinished thesis and a finished marriage, and an unfinished struggle with his father. Thomas, no longer doubting, no longer swinging away, cannot handle the wiliness of faith, but neither can he escape its pull. Well written and full of charm, though perhaps a little too on the nose, a little too much authorial signaling, it is nonetheless a striking story; a modern (and I only mean that in a slightly derogatory sense) Dostoyevskian novel writ in the voice of Ivan Karamazov, but a story that, fittingly, doesn’t end leaving the reader up in the air, between heaven and earth, to ponder his final fate.
“If you’re already inclined to compare your own decisions to those of other women and to find yours wanting, believing that others are happier with their choices than they actually are is likely to increase your own sense of inadequacy. And women may be particularly susceptible to the Facebook illusion. For one thing, the site is inhabited by more women than men, and women users tend to be more active on the site, as Forbes has reported. According to a recent study out of the University of Texas at Austin, while men are more likely to use the site to share items related to the news or current events, women tend to use it to engage in personal communication (posting photos, sharing content “related to friends and family”). This may make it especially hard for women to avoid comparisons that make them miserable. “