Blog purists think this is what I should be doing every day, rather than bother you with my navel-gazing:
Dwelling in Possibilities:
Our students' spectacular hunger for life makes them radically vulnerable
I would give anything to have written this article. I think it is absolutely brilliant.
A TLS review by John Mullan of Ronan McDonald's The Death of the Critic. Interesting in itself, but also for the alternate headline at the top of the browser tab: "Literature's Ratner moment TLS." Being a sloppy reader, a fan of the pope, and unfamiliar with British business history, when I first saw the article I read the line as "Literature's Ratzinger moment" and got unnecessarily excited.
At the top of the same page was this pull quote from Alice Miles:
"The idea of a national motto has already attracted derision on a glorious scale"
It reminded me, as so many things do, of Rebecca West. In Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, she recounts a train trip during which a group of Germans in her compartment exclaim rapturously at the beauty of the scenery, and she observes:
"If anyone in a railway carriage full of English people should express great enjoyment of the scenery through which the train was passing, his companions would feel an irresistible impulse not only to refrain from joining him in his pleasure, but to persuade themselves that there was something despicable and repellent in that scenery. No conceivable virtue can proceed from the development of this characteristic."
She is wrong, of course. As R. so often observes, the best things about us are the same as the worst things about us: and this English quality, which I recognize in myself and my family, to my sorrow and to my delight, develops at its good moments into a healthy resistance to Groupthink.