Because: The piece linked in the title is an epic, epic coming-together of high and low brow. (I use “epic” not as a literary term, but in its fratty, everyday form.)
Congratulations to you if you’ve somehow escaped seeing Rebecca Black’s “Friday” video yet, but I bet you’ve seen it at least once. (I tumbled about it here.) So, if you’ve seen the video and you’re at all a literary nerd, even if it’s only a slight affinity, read the essay linked in the title.
Because: Call her humor genius or progressive or feminist or thought-provoking, call it whatever you want, but the Tina Fey brand of humor is something we in the mainstream have never before seen or felt. It is a special mix, a concoction perhaps only she herself ever will be able to make and master. I am huge fan of Tina Fey and 30 Rock, but before reading this piece, I would not have been able to verbalize why I am so drawn to her humor or what her humor it even is. This Slate essay is effective in explaining what it is and why it’s so effective—and effective on many levels, at that. Take the following quote:
Part of what makes Fey’s good jokes into insightful commentaries is the way they draw on and expose an argument’s emotional or psychological underpinnings.
I am referring to Fey’s complex, spirited, intelligent kind of funniness, which has the effect of laying bare some of the more insidious, unspoken, ridiculous assumptions behind our standard pieties and official narratives.
Because: I can’t get enough of stuff like this. I would like to amend the “do what you always wanted to do” thread with something more like, “do what you think you really want to do right now, what you think it is best for you and will make you most happy.” (And please, let’s not assume this is all self-indulgent, because what makes you most happy, for example, could be making others happy.) Or, you can always say “do what you always wanted to do by doing whatever it is you want to do.” Am I losing you? Am I lost? Maybe, but: “Not all who are wander are lost.” -J.R.R. Tolkien
"…The demonstration resulted in Clarín’s failure to be distributed on Sunday, the day of largest newspaper circulation, for the first time in 65 years."
Because: It’s the freedom of assembly (which Argentines exercise so well) versus the freedom of the press. I realize those are US amendments, but it’s fair to say they are shared democratic values internationally.
That this happened is disturbing. It should not happen.
Note: I almost wrote “American amendments” above. The US might be the United States of America, but it is not “America.” “America” includes North, Central and South America. Latin America is “America,” too, and you run the chance of offending a number of Argentines if you refer to the US as “America.”
“I’VE always been one of those girls. A die-hard Francophile. An American helpless in the face of Parisian charms and pleasures. A New Yorker who could never seem to shake the City of Light. I went for a college semester, I went with boyfriends, I went to eat chocolate. And finally, for a two-year period beginning in 2009, I went to live my dream.”—
Because: Notice how that DEK right up there, which is journalism speak for that hyperlinked phrase above, seems to have nothing to do with the quoted portion? That quote happens to be the first paragraph of the story. I started reading and was thrilled. Here we have a woman after my own heart, I thought, another excellent addition to my favorite reads in the expat genre. The first page was headed where I expected it to go, where anyone would expect it to go based on that first paragraph. The following—and final—two pages turned into a detailed account of neighborhood wanderings, gentrification and a play-by-lay of succulent meals. The writing is strong, eloquent, of course. But what happened?! Why are you moving back after two years, Amy? Why and how did you choose to live where you did, go where you did? Who were you with? Where is explanation for anything? I suppose I’ll have to read your forthcoming book, though I do feel duped.
Also, can we swap my name and current city for the author’s? "AMY M. THOMAS, who writes about food, fashion and travel, lived in Paris for two years. She is writing a book about her Parisian experience."
Because: Ninety grill masters, more than 13,000 kilos of meat (or +28,600 pounds), 24,000 portions served up to attendees and the Guinness World Record for largest asado in the world; Argentina, you did it. I don’t know how I haven’t blogged about this yet, and I sadly missed out on the greatest carnivorous feast that ever was, but it’s things like this I can point to as reminders and reasons as to why I love this crazy country so.
La Nacion article (in Spanish) linked in title. The official “El Asado Mas Grande del Mundo” site because you know you want to see more pictures. Photo courtesy of Pick Up the Fork.
Because: There’s a lot of talk of Italy in this post, and though there’s no mention of Argentina, Fernet (with Coca Cola) is a hugely popular drink in Argentina. It’s potent and very amargo (bitter), but people of all types and ages love it. They previa (pregame) with it, order it at bars and clubs and drink it at asados (barbecues). Personally, I’m still actively trying to get myself to enjoy the taste. Interestingly enough, the first time I tried it was in a New York City bar.
Also: “Count Niccolo Branca Di Romanico” has to be the most badass name out there.
Because: Modern Love is one of my favorite regular reads. The essays, always from different contributors, have elicited some of the strongest emotional reactions I’ve had to writing. They are at some times humorous, at others repulsive or devastating, but always interesting.
This piece in particular is written by a fellow Hightstown High School alumna, and it’s excellent.
Because: I think everyone is seriously overreacting about this whole “f*cksaw” scenario at my alma mater. It was even reported in La Nacion down here in Argentina. Granted this is a country obsessed with psychology, I still find it ludicrous.
I agree with this author that Northwestern, in many ways, needs the Human Sexuality class, panels and saws and all. It is the largest, most popular class at Northwestern, one that students from all schools and majors make it a point to take. I also agree for the most part with the intellectual landscape the author paints of Northwestern. I do think, however, based on talking with friends at other schools, it is idealistic to think it is all that much different at schools of similar caliber to NU. For that reason, I hope students at other universities also have the chance to take sexuality courses as expository, surprising and open as this one. I also wish that during my time at Northwestern I had found more classes that generated intelligent, intense discussion half as interesting as what went down in Human Sexuality. I cannot, and will not, blame Northwestern for that, though.
If a university, its professors, lectures and discussion sections didn’t challenge students intellectually, what would be the point of attending? To grab a degree but be no different for it? No, thanks.
P.S. - I never did get to stay after for one of the panels. I always had another class immediately afterward, and all I can remember about that class is being upset it made me miss the panels.