Reading and writing

What I’m up to while neglecting the blog:

This is as good a piece on the Ayn Rand cult as I’ve ever seen. I’ll own up to having been a great fan of The Fountainhead when I was about 20, but I sobered up somewhere about halfway through Atlas Shrugged. At the time I was double-majoring in economics and creative writing — there are some obvious conclusions (or cheap jokes) that probably follow from that particular conjunction of facts.

I think it’s a symptom of the crazy times we live in that David Brooks has been occasionally making sense. This week’s column is a bad example though. What the world needs a lot less of is cheap moralizing about Kanye West, of all people. But what’s interesting (if ultimately pointless in a nagging-dad way) about it is the sort of fuzzy, aesthetic conservatism, the sappy nostalgia for a time when people knew how to behave themselves and everything was just better in some hard-to-define way. I catch myself thinking this way sometimes, and I feel occasional pangs of sympathy for conservatives on that basis. I’m talking Evelyn Waugh conservatives here, not Strom Thurmond ones, if you’re wondering.

Sometimes I think that if you could feel nostalgia for the present, you’d have things pretty much figured out. Just putting that out there as a possible meaning of life.

Other times I think you could stay busy blog-stalking David Brooks in an Aaronovitch Watch kind of way. And at still other, distinct times, I think you could lick your finger, hold it up to the wind, see which side gets cold first, and twitter about that.

And now that I’ve hopefully chased everyone off with my impersonation of Steven Wright having a stroke: I wrote this review of Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture for The Quotidian. Go over there and leave a comment, if only to balance out the one that basically says “tl;dr“.


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