“David Foster Wallace and Samuel Taylor Coleridge Had a Lot in Common”

Helen Rittelmeyer: The biggest difference between Samuel Taylor Coleridge and David Foster Wallace is that by the time cardiomyopathy took Coleridge’s life in 1834, at the age of sixty-one, the consensus was that he had died too late. It’s not that no one engaged in rueful speculation about the masterpieces that would go unwritten, it was just that they’d done it years before, when it became clear that addiction and lack of professional discipline had made further serious literary output from Co … [Read more...]

“Sex in the Meritocracy”: Helen Rittelmeyer

w/a really good piece: I rather think Yale is plagued by an excess of moral purpose—that purpose being the pursuit of perfection, however perversely defined. Its students are not relativists; they are not even radicals. They are ordinary modern liberals, with all the earnestness and all the moral blind spots the term implies. Concepts like social responsibility and public service animate them greatly (not many Gordon Gekkos in this generation), honor and loyalty less so. Their code of sexual e … [Read more...]

The End of Football Juju, Humility: The Glossy Fur Coat of a Yale Man, and the Uncanny Parallels Between “Arrested Development” and Dostoyevsky

First Things has acquired Helen Rittelmeyer's blog, so all of you need to change your bookmarks. … [Read more...]

Helen Rittelmeyer’s best-of-2012 reading list

is super extra worth your time! Adventuresome and mordant. … [Read more...]

From Helen Rittelmeyer’s post on “Letters from Russia”

Joe Sobran once wrote that the question one should ask any liberal, before asking him anything else, is “In what kind of society would he be a conservative?” That rule holds true with the positions reversed. --the actual review … [Read more...]

From Yumiko Kurahashi, “The Adventures of Sumiyakist Q”

“Everything’s permitted here, you see. I suppose one could say with the theology instructor that if God does not exist then everything is permitted; but here it doesn’t matter if God exists or if he doesn’t, since one is free to do everything. The result of making use of this freedom is that the one freedom one does not have is that of knowing what is going on.” --it's a Japanese surrealist satire of Communism; check out Helen Rittelmeyer's review here … [Read more...]

Helen Rittelmeyer gets her teeth stuck in

In the last culture war, relativism’s influence was evident in the stock arguments that kept appearing in magazines and op-ed pages: Breaking taboos is valuable for its own sake; people have a right to make their own choices and not be judged for it; what you call a social evil is really just a cultural difference; et cetera.But those articles are no longer seen so often. Now, the most annoyingly ubiquitous genre in journalism is the social-scientific analysis, as if a person can’t speak with aut … [Read more...]


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