Oct 042010
 

Arts & Letters Daily

ideas, criticism, debate

<strong>Economics</strong> is not inherently unreliable; it just tends to be that way. The fault belongs to economists themselves, but also to those who ignore them

Economics is not inherently unreliable; it just tends to be that way. The fault belongs to economists themselves, but also to those who ignore them
 
 

&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve taken to eating the occasional date,&rdquo; writes <strong>Alan Bennett</strong> in his diary, an exhausting but entertaining catalog of the mundanities and absurdities of contemporary life

“I’ve taken to eating the occasional date,” writes Alan Bennett in his diary, an exhausting but entertaining catalog of the mundanities and absurdities of contemporary life
 
 

Narrative-puncturing was a way of life for <strong>Joan Didion</strong>. Even the reputation of her great-great-great-grandfather, supposedly a snake-slaying pioneer, wasn&rsquo;t safe

Narrative-puncturing was a way of life for Joan Didion. Even the reputation of her great-great-great-grandfather, supposedly a snake-slaying pioneer, wasn’t safe
 
 

Viewing other <strong>people as objects</strong> enables our very worst conduct &mdash; that notion has long been a reassuring one. The truth may be harder to accept

Viewing other people as objects enables our very worst conduct — that notion has long been a reassuring one. The truth may be harder to accept
 
 

Some 165,000 years ago, people on the South African coast started to eat molluscs and to use the shells as adornments. That&rsquo;s <strong>when humans became human</strong>

Some 165,000 years ago, people on the South African coast started to eat molluscs and to use the shells as adornments. That’s when humans became human
 
 

About 95 million images are uploaded to <strong>Instagram</strong> every day. This behavior seems new. But it was prefigured by an earlier aesthetic movement: the picturesque

About 95 million images are uploaded to Instagram every day. This behavior seems new. But it was prefigured by an earlier aesthetic movement: the picturesque
 
 

Stephen F. Cohen, who says he's skeptical about everything except horses and bourbon, is oddly <strong>credulous about Putin</strong>. His enemies and friends ask the same question: Why?

Stephen F. Cohen, who says he's skeptical about everything except horses and bourbon, is oddly credulous about Putin. His enemies and friends ask the same question: Why?
 
 

To join the <strong>Martin Amis Canon</strong> of Approved Writers, you must be a virtuoso at the sentence level. It also helps to be male, straight, and white

To join the Martin Amis Canon of Approved Writers, you must be a virtuoso at the sentence level. It also helps to be male, straight, and white
 
 

What does it mean <strong>to be a jerk</strong>? It is to be ignorant of the value of others and the merit of their ideas. Maybe you know one. Maybe you are one

What does it mean to be a jerk? It is to be ignorant of the value of others and the merit of their ideas. Maybe you know one. Maybe you are one
 
 

In the Vale of Malmesbury, 80 miles west of London, the clay soil is shaped into gentle hills, dotted with stone farmhouses. It's here that <strong>conservatism meets conservation</strong>

In the Vale of Malmesbury, 80 miles west of London, the clay soil is shaped into gentle hills, dotted with stone farmhouses. It's here that conservatism meets conservation
 
 
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