Posts Tagged ‘september 11th’

The Drawing Board: Astrology

The idea that someone can tell you something about yourself or somehow predict your future just by looking at the movements of the stars is ridiculous. But the idea that I could do that is an interesting one, and it’s an idea I happened to have several weeks ago after I saw a full moon and then correctly predicted the attacks of September 11th. If that’s not enough to convince you, find your horoscope below (listed in the traditional order) and see for yourself if it comes true…

Aries (Mar 21-Apr 19):
You are a person who thinks of others. Not always, just sometimes. Nobody can think about other people all the time, so in a way we’re not so different, you and I. In your job, if you have one, there will be some type of transaction in the near future.

Taurus (Apr 20-May 20):
You often stand out among others as a person whose sign is Taurus. You eat food on a fairly regular basis, but often in different locations, as you tend to move about during the day. Beware of holidays—you never know what could happen. Yes, that’s true all the time, I’m just saying don’t forget about holidays. Continue reading

Against Patriotism

America: At least it's got a pretty good flag...

It’s the Fourth of July, which means it’s time for barbecues, fireworks, and celebrating America. I’m definitely in favor of the first; I’m iffy at best on the second (though not necessarily as opposed as Josh). But I’m adamantly against the last one.

There have been a lot of famous, pithy criticisms of patriotism: George Bernard Shaw said, “Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others because you were born in it.” Bertrand Russell said, “Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons.” And, of course, Samuel Johnson most famously called patriotism “the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

And yet none of that wit has changed the fact that people generally regard patriotism as a virtue. Every year—most vocally on the Fourth of July, but not just during this time of year—we hear about how important loving your country is. Pundits and politicians are constantly arguing over what constitutes “true patriotism,” and attacking each other for not being sufficiently patriotic. And if you start questioning someone’s patriotism…well, few things piss people off more.

But why is this? Why should someone love his country? I’ve never understood why patriotism is seen as an admirable quality. Continue reading

Keith Gessen And The Current Events Novel

I picked up Keith Gessen’s first novel, All the Sad Young Literary Men, about 18 months too late. It was published in April of 2008, but I didn’t read it until recently. You might think that there is nothing wrong with this. After all, we routinely read books several decades–or even centuries–after they are written; what harm could a couple of months do? But Gessen’s novel is particularly wrapped up in a specific time period, namely the decade from 1998-2008. Reading it now may make you nostalgic for the very recent past or, quite possibly, make details from three years ago seem especially dated.

The reason the novel is so connected to a particular time period is that the sadness of all the titular sad young literary men is caused by a sense of global ennui, a collective disappointment or sense of betrayal by the world at large. Sam, Mark, and Keith are all intelligent, liberal, worldly, politically conscious, vain, self-obsessed, overeducated, lazy, Jewish, sad, young recent college graduates of the last decade. Their stories don’t really intersect at all—Gessen gives them varying degrees of tangential connection, but never has them interact. The novel is cut into three parts, and each character gets his own chapter in each part. And while these stories move along independently of one another, they inhabit the same landscape. Continue reading

Aught Lang Syne: Quotes of the Decade

To accurately and sufficiently summarize the Aughts, we at NPI have compiled and organized what we believe to be the defining list of quotes from this decade. Some of these were soundbytes, some were entire news cycles, some were quoted ad nauseam, some are poignant, some are sad, and most are hilarious.

“Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”

–President George W. Bush, September 20th, 2001

 

“There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says: Fool me once, shame on… shame on you… You fool me we can’t get fooled again.”

–President Bush, 2002

“Our enemies never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”

–President Bush, August 2004

 

“I actually did vote for the $87 million before I voted against it.”

–Senator John Kerry, 2004

 

“Yes We Can!”

–Senator Barack Obama, Repeated Continue reading

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