Philip Roth and the Roots of American Rage


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RIP Philip Roth.

Roth, who died Tuesday at age 85, never had children. Yet he wrote perceptively and with great empathy for Seymour “the Swede” Levov, the novel’s protagonist, whose love for his daughter, Merry, knows no bounds and is utterly unrequited. Handsome, affable, responsible, and wealthy, the Swede does everything right by the standards of the midcentury American bourgeoisie. He manages a successful enterprise, procures a trophy wife, owns a tasteful estate in the Jersey suburbs, and fathers a girl who brings ruin to it all. There is a rage within Merry, which, as she grows older, explodes (quite literally) in political radicalism before she smothers her inner flames under Far-Eastern asceticism.

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Sohrab Ahmari — Commentary

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In the game of life, anything times zero must still be zero


Today’s needull addresses an interesting question: how much risk is okay early in life? Should you park anything with risk for a little later in life?

There is a case to be made that, in the game of life, avoiding elimination in the early rounds is a good approach.

It always interests me that we are now more sanctimonious about tobacco than we are about drink, cycling, motorcycling and mountaineering. Almost every single person I know who has died before the age of 50 was killed by one of these four.

Something economists don’t understand, with their narrow focus on utility, which is an artificial additive function accumulated in a series of independent transactions, is that life is multiplicative, not additive. And it is path dependent.

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The author

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Is Wealthy the Only Rich?


What does it mean to be rich? Is it just having a lot of wealth amassed or is there more to it? Does a rich life have to be wealthy as well? In today’s needull, many a new wealth heroes answer these questions. All these perspectives move me to take the plunge towards a 4-hour work week.

‘‘Time is money’ is a weird saying – and a stupid one too. Time is freedom. Time is the only thing that matters and the experiences that you pack into it are the only true measure of your wealth.

‘Before the children were born I was the creative director for Red Bull in the US and my wife Chrissie was a project manager there. We worked 24/7, always in the air from one place to another. It was insane and exciting, and we were earning a lot of money.

‘But when Chrissie discovered she was pregnant six years ago, we decided to pull the parachute on that lifestyle and slow our whole world right down.

‘We planned our exit carefully and I opened a small design studio in Hamburg located just a few minutes from a great kindergarten and from our home.

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The Future Laboratory

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What is a “bitch”?


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Today’s needull looks at the usage of the word “bitch” specially in the current election scenario. Interesting read.

Consider the current presidential race. Writing in the Atlantic about Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Peter Beinart explored the “anxieties that powerful women provoke” and the latent hostility many unenlightened people supposedly feel about the idea of a female president. In Beinart’s telling, Hillary’s candidacy has sparked a “sexist backlash” unlikely to abate if she is elected. His insight came after wandering around the Republican National Convention last summer and seeing merchandise with phrases such as “Life’s a bitch. Don’t vote for one” emblazoned on them, as well as other creative uses of the B-word to describe Hillary. This, in turn, reaffirmed his belief that Hillary’s Nixon-like level of political paranoia is justified. “Growing paranoid is easy, when, because of your gender, people really are out to get you,” he argued.

The complete article

Christine Rosen — Commentary

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