“Material Madchen”: I read “The Artificial Silk Girl”

at AmCon: I picked up Irmgard Keun’s 1932 novel The Artificial Silk Girl at the Neue Galerie in New York, basically on a whim. It promised to be a dizzying tour of Weimar Berlin, last call before Hell and all that, from the perspective of a young, single woman whom the introduction compares to Madonna’s “Material Girl.”Certainly our heroine, Doris, is materialistic in a certain sense. She pays her bills by dating men. Her closest relationship is with her stolen fur coat. (The letter she writ … [Read more...]

Seven Quick Takes… Almost Friday

Yo. Let's see if this is actually seven or not!"Bullying Prevention Programs May Have Negative Impact." To me the key thing here is the recommendation to focus on "systemic change within the schools," rather than turning bullying into a Thing which you've set aside and spotlit. If you're instilling students with respect for one another and for the teachers, and if teachers and other authority figures aren't tacitly approving of bullying, you are a lot less likely to get to the point where … [Read more...]

‘Cause You Just Can’t Do Things Your Blogwatch Wasn’t Meant To

or, stuff I've been reading.The trust gap between working- and middle-class young people (related to my review here).Helen Rittelmeyer on "A Not-Quite-Recovery Memoir from 1813": "In his circle he was always the normal one."Timothy P. Carney: "Childbirth Made Me Love My Wife's Body More." Lovely.Interview with Dan Barden, whose very fun and insightful recovery-noir The Next Right Thing I reviewed here. … [Read more...]

“Demons in Exile”: Marc Maron on Addiction

Lots of stuff I liked here. I don't buy sentences of the form, "Addicts/alcoholics are all [negative generalization]" (because I'm defensive of other people, not because I think those generalizations are especially untrue about me personally) but other than that, good for him. Not sure if I still need to notify you all when there's cussing, but yes, there is....Slate: A big problem for psychiatrists when it comes to understanding addiction is that there are many of us have no experience with … [Read more...]

Man, Last Night Was Apocalyptic!: “The World’s End”

A group of grown-up, respectable friends who have drifted apart are reunited by their very much not grown-up, not-respectable ringmaster to relive an epic pub crawl which marked the high point of their misspent youth. Also, the world ends.I loved "Shaun of the Dead" (haven't yet seen "Hot Fuzz," although I want to) so I was super-excited for this new movie from the same director/writer?/acting team of Edgar Wright & Simon Pegg. I can tell you for sure that you should go see it if the … [Read more...]

From “Children of Light”

"How nice Quaaludes are," she said. "The world is possible with art." … [Read more...]

“So Deep a Wound”: Garrett Keizer on “Home”

not entirely my own take on things, but it will be a while before I can write up my own response to this novel with honesty and peace of mind, I think; in the meantime, this is very spoilerous, so you should read Gilead and Home and then read this! Had I an atheist friend who asked, “Can you tell me please what this religion business is all about, not as some metaphysical hypothesis or historical phenomenon, but what it really means to be religious?” I might hand him or her a copy of Marilynne R … [Read more...]


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