Posts Tagged ‘NYT Magazine’

Monday Medley

What we read while Derek Jeter got even more insufferable…

Matt Bai Should Concede Logical Defeat

Matt Bai argues in New York Times Magazine that the art of conceding defeat is lost. He posits that Norm Coleman’s extended challenge of his Senate loss to Al Franken is just a microcosm of a broader cultural trend towards resisting defeat. Bai claims:

What happens in politics, however, can almost never be extricated from the culture at large, and the lost art of losing nobly is by no means an exclusively political phenomenon. At the upper reaches of society, we litigate ever more readily and accept misfortune with ever less stoicism. Being fired from a job becomes the beginning of a negotiation, while a routine school suspension instantly goes to appeal. In part, this is probably the inevitable reckoning for a culture that gives trophies to every Little Leaguer because, as the saying goes, we’re all winners. Shouldering defeat is, after all, a skill that has to be learned early, like speaking Mandarin or sleeping through the night. Then, too, we are guided by an unflagging faith in modern technology — a sense that no discrepancy is small enough to defy absolute quantification. A blown call on a home run hooking foul used to be part of the game, a generations-old lesson in the randomness of adversity. Now the crowd breaks for hot dogs while the instant replay delivers its verdict and the homer is revoked. There are no more bad breaks in life — only bad umps.”

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I’m sorry?

William Safire’s “On Language” column in the NY Times Magazine this week reports the returns of a reader survey on how best to express thanks when driving.  Not surprisingly, the plurality of readers (23 percent) indicated that “The Wave” was their preferred form of thanks. Frankly, I’m surprised that percentage wasn’t even higher given the fact that I don’t know anyone who does any thank you signal besides the simple wave (and I’m pretty much shocked that multiple people listed the Namaste as a viable option).

What would be a more interesting survey question is how drivers apologize in the car.  Is there any substantial agreement on how to signal that you’re sorry after you just cut someone off? I don’t think there is. Let’s look at some options for signaling “I’m sorry” while driving:

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