Noteworthy reads from the last week:
"Following the news in 2014 is a bit like flying a kite in flat country during tornado season. Every so often, a whirlwind of outrage touches down, sowing destruction and chaos before disappearing into the sky."
"The threat posed by 'The Interview' to the real Kim Jong-un isn’t just that it holds him up to ridicule, but that it could subject him to ridicule at home—not least, by dramatizing that prospect."
"Sometimes our immune systems lie to us. Autoimmune disorders attack the nonthreatening self, destroying vital body tissue, as with rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and Graves’ disease. Like even the best intelligence agencies, our immune systems sometimes fail to recognize when the self becomes a threat, the body a double agent: the cancer is coming from inside the house, at least where the house is flesh, and the immune system doesn’t see its cells as foreign."
"She had lived there in a house she had built herself with the beloved for whom she had left her first husband in the 1960s, and she lived there long after he had died, serene, with the air of someone who has truly arrived, not restless for other places, for life to change, for company or bustle or entertainment."
"There was nothing, it seemed, in the idea of Italy—in the notion of the nation—capable of overriding the realities of language, class and color. Returning to Berlin, my latest home, I couldn’t shake the thought: When we speak of nationality, then, what do we actually mean?"
"The essay, as a form, can inspire introspection and make the familiar seem revitalized, or entirely strange."
"Modern automation also appears to be erasing jobs from our lives. Although technology-induced joblessness has stoked fear since angry Luddites smashed the first mechanized looms, Carr persuasively argues that this time things really are different…."
"What, then, makes Strauss so compelling? What explains the allure of Straussian teachers and teaching? Many of the same things, I suspect, that have made Strauss and the Straussians so inviting a target for their critics inside and outside the academy."