Archive | September, 2012

Megan McArdle: Self-help books, refuge of the benighted masses!

15 Sep

What’s Wrong With Self-Help Books?

Oh, self-help books, refuge of the benighted masses!  Could there be anything more risible than the bovine hordes of Middle America standing stolidly in the bookstore, brow furrowed as they earnestly try to decide whether  “How to Save a Marriage” or “The Relationship Rescue Book” is the One True Way to revive a relationship grown soggy with suburban ennui? How dull are their imaginations!  How amusing, their endless quest for better marriages, personal finances, management skills, and figures!  Oh, lucky we, the intellectual elite, who do not need such pedestrian advice!For of course, all of the intellectuals I know have strong and happy marriages, top-notch management skills, 401(k)s filled to bursting with wisely allocated investment, and a body fat percentage that would be the envy of many supermodels.  No, wait, that’s Paul Ryan I’m describing.  So suddenly I’m confused.  Why don’t intellectuals read self-help books?  Oh, right, because we’re too smart for that sort of thing. This is, after all, a group of people who takes the observation that “practice makes perfect” more seriously if it is attached to a study published in Psychology Review.

  Actually, I’ve read & liked & recommended many self-help books. My mother has also. I told her once that it was all a lot of stuff I already knew. She said, “Yes, but at my age you need to be reminded.” Now I’m the age she said that. Then I believed her, now I know.


According To Hoyt: Eleven Years (9/11 remembrance from a writer)

13 Sep

A 9/11 remembrance from a writer:

Then there are the people of flight 93.  I know a lot of you aren’t believers, and my deepest beliefs are none of your business,  but like many writers I end up thinking of G-d as an author.  Impossible not to, of course, since it’s the mind set I know best.  (Though standing in the middle of the yard, looking up at the sky and going “Does THAT sound like a good plot development?  Seriously?  Why don’t you join a workshop already?” tends to baffle the neighbors.)
And as an author to an Author I have to admire the plotting touch, where the three burly and brave guys who spearheaded the fight back in flight 93 were a born again man, a Jewish man, and a gay man.  Can you imagine any group designed to give more heart burn to the enemies that brought down the towers and who tried to use flight 93 as a weapon?
I can’t either.  But, more importantly, I can’t imagine any other culture, any other country, any other place where those three would have banded together, immediately – instinctively – putting aside any perceived differences, thinking only of trying to save the defenseless, laying down their lives for others.
Their lives were forfeit, but they died free men.  They died heroes.  More importantly, they died Americans.
Surely a nation that produces such men will not perish from this Earth.
We will not go quietly into that good night.
We’re the land of the free and the home of the brave.  And we will stand.