Re: Guest Post - Jonathan Franzen

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Have you ever considered writing a book about race?

I have thought about it, but--this is an embarrassing confession--I don't have very many black friends. I have never been in love with a black woman. I feel like if I had, I might dare.

I don't see why anyone would mock him about this. He's just telling the truth about himself, and I think he made the right decision not to try to write a book about race.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 11:06 AM
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I would agree with that.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 11:13 AM
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Also I forgave him for all his transgressions, because he name-checked my new favorite band, Wussy.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 11:15 AM
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This sentence was applied to someone I never heard of.

That's why you should never get tattooed in a language you can't read.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 11:21 AM
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Yeah, I thought Franzen came off not-too-bad in that interview. It's about time for the Franzen backlash backlash to start, right?


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 12:03 PM
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5: His PR effort started with appearing on Celebrity Jeopardy. He was lousy! And he was able to laugh about it. That humanized him.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 12:08 PM
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I've read almost all Franzen, and think he's actually very good. Not all-educated-people-must-read-this good, but good. And he seems to me no more obnoxious than a typical novelist. Also, his first and IMO best novel in fact deals a fair bit with race (and policing, and municipal government, and property valuations, in greater St. Louis, which will be interesting to revisit post-Ferguson).


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 12:09 PM
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I might have mentioned here before that I've read The 27th City but not The Corrections or . I'm pretty sure this makes me part of a rather small group.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 12:11 PM
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"...not The Corrections or Freedom".

Not sure what happened there.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 12:12 PM
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I've only read The Corrections and Freedom which makes me part of a much larger group, so I win.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 12:14 PM
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I have thought about it, but--this is an embarrassing confession--I don't have very many black friends. I have never been in love with a black woman. I feel like if I had, I might dare.

Oh ugh. Sure, JF, don't write about black people if you don't know any very well yourself. That's probably a good decision. But what made you think that you were in a position to write the character of Lalitha in Freedom? Let me guess, because you've been in love with a (sexy, young, and perfectly blank) South Asian woman (who was reasonlessly devoted to giving herself body and soul to an old white guy). OH ICK.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 12:15 PM
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It does. If you read Strong Motion as well, that will probably put you in an even smaller group.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 12:15 PM
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I'm already meaning to read both Michael Chabon and David Foster Wallace. I couldn't possibly not read Frazen in addition to not reading them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 12:16 PM
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11.2: I agree that was bad.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 12:17 PM
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who was reasonlessly devoted to giving herself body and soul to an old white guy

Everybody needs a hobby and stamp collecting is so dull.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 12:18 PM
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Read The 27th City for a complicated South Asian female character with a deep well-developed inner life!


Posted by: Opinionated Farar, Strauss and Giroux PR Department | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 12:20 PM
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What is the most charitable use for a hardback Franzen (Freedom) I was saddled with at a holiday gift swap? It's just taking up room in my apartment, and I'm pretty sure the giver will never ask if I read it / look for it on my shelves.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 12:24 PM
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11.2: But you left out that she had a fatal flaw that allowed her to conveniently disappear when she no longer fit into Franzen's plot.

(that would be a spoiler if there was anything to spoil)


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 12:24 PM
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Have you considered taking it to the next holiday gift swap?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 12:25 PM
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What is the most charitable use for a hardback Franzen (Freedom) I was saddled with at a holiday gift swap?

Charitable with respect to the book or in a larger sense? If the latter you could give it to a library or sell it and give the proceeds to a library. If the former you could use it to balance out a very poorly made table, or keep warm in winter by burning it.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 12:27 PM
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(I haven't read Freedom.)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 12:27 PM
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IIRC the flaw was West Virginia, which is remote but not I think hidden in the usual sense of the word.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 12:28 PM
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West Virginia isn't remote.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 12:29 PM
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Franzen is the author who inspired me to stop reading books recommended by other people.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 12:31 PM
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Pittsburghcentrist.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 12:31 PM
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Michael Chabon and David Foster Wallace.

I get Michael Chabon, Jonathan Franzen and Jonathan Lethem mixed up all the time. This is pretty inexcusable, as their books are not alike, and I like one of them (Lethem), one of them I have mixed feelings about (Chabon) and I loathe one (Franzen, natch).


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 12:43 PM
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26 is basically true for me too, though I haven't bothered reading much of any of them.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 1:02 PM
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Yeah, I thought Franzen came off not-too-bad in that interview. It's about time for the Franzen backlash backlash to start, right?

I would say so. For many years he has been on the list of things associated with the hated "dad" or "bro", that can only be mentioned on the internet with scorn and derision. Nickelback, cargo shorts, Guy Fieri, Jonathan Franzen.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 1:04 PM
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Obviously, nobody wears cargo shorts except ironically.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 1:10 PM
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I have a question. It is whether all shorts with a useful side pocket are cargo shorts, or whether additional objectionable properties are necessary.

Is there a sartorially acceptable way to put a smartphone in a pocket? Basically, side pockets on all pants would improve their function.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 1:17 PM
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All fashion mavens agree that the best way to carry your smartphone is clipped to your belt in a case. "Just like Batman" they say.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 1:19 PM
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Wallace >> Lethem > Chabon >>>> Franzen


Posted by: Mr. F | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 1:20 PM
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Sorry, I snuck in two questions afetr saying I had only one. I know how irritating that is at Q&A sessions with insightful people.

Please go back to the previous bashing of an obnoxious but competent novelist. Could someone also maybe pound on Beck? He's a pretty good musician but I hear that he's a scientologist.

What about Zizek? I can't stand reading that mealymouthed self-contradictory attention hound myself.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 1:23 PM
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I bet Zizek wears cargo shorts.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 1:24 PM
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Cargo shorts are fine. Don't worry about it. People who judge people by their clothes are worthless anyway.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 1:25 PM
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People who need people who need pockets on the sides of their trousers are the luckiest people of all.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 1:28 PM
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Pockets on the ankle seem to be coming in but I can't really think of anything I'd want to put there.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 1:29 PM
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The tether for your home-release monitor.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 1:31 PM
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You know who beat Rommel and the Afrika Corps? Men in cargo shorts. If you hate cargo shorts, you hate freedom and are very probably a Nazi. (Very dressy, the Nazis. The Luftwaffe had sixteen different uniforms. )


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 1:31 PM
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38: aren't those meant to be locked on to your ankle?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 1:31 PM
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Lethem over Wallace any day of the week. Agree that Franzen isn't up to either of them.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 1:32 PM
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40: I've not seen them up close.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 1:35 PM
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Picked up The Death of Virgil last week. Maybe someday.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 1:43 PM
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If you're not very flexible, it's hard getting a good look at something locked to your ankle.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 1:43 PM
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"Grasping the impact of his work is best achieved by imagining the counterfactual condition that would exist had he not creatively pursued his agenda."

That sounds like something Jeeves would say. How about: "To grasp the impact of his work, try to imagine what it would be like if he wasn't around."


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 1:48 PM
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44: that's the kind of wisdom denied to those of us who don't have kids.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 1:52 PM
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My wife sometimes randomly checks books out of the library for me to take on trips. One time it was Freedom. It was okay. There was a moment where I thought was going to be great (the son who ends up in the business where he's trying to rip off the US Army in Iraq), but then it degenerates into some midlife crisis bullshit.

Franzen should still be shot, though, pour encourager les autres. Oprah tried to use her status to encourage her audience to read literature. The only correct response to this is "Yes, please," unless the only reason you write literature is to prove that you are a precious soul too delicate for the vulgar masses.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 2:02 PM
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I don't know. Tolstoy had a book on her list and now he's dead. Same with Faulkner.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 2:18 PM
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Tolstoy had a book on her list and now he's dead.

Tolstoy raped his wife in a carriage, which I think makes Franzen look pretty good.

and think he's actually very good. Not all-educated-people-must-read-this good, but good. And he seems to me no more obnoxious than a typical novelist.

This. The Oprah thing was obnoxious and more than a little bit sexist, but that doesn't mean he's not a good novelist. And can we at least forgive him for his enthusiasm about birds?


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 3:17 PM
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I understand she went all dead authors all the time bc of Franzen's rudeness.

Never read Feanzen, Chabon, Foster-Wallace or Lethem, don't think I ever will feel impelled to do so but could happen. Hoping to pick up Sophie & the Sybil by Drucknervat the library later this week, has anyone read it?


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 3:18 PM
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Also, Franzen not writing about race because he doesn't feel equipped to do so is surely preferable to Joyce Carol Oates writing the cringe-inducingly awful The Sacrifice?


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 3:29 PM
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It doesn't matter what Franzen does now. He could cure cancer, but he still can't be forgiven.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 3:33 PM
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Foster Wallace's non-fiction is pretty good, unless you like taking cruises. I just can't read the novels.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 3:33 PM
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It's incorrect to refer to Wallace as "Foster-Wallace" or "Foster Wallace."


Posted by: Mr. F | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 3:41 PM
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I liked the bird movie.

reasonlessly devoted to giving herself body and soul to an old white guy has a certain appeal. In some quarters.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 3:42 PM
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I know, but I kept thinking of George Wallace otherwise.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 3:44 PM
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I've never read a Franzen book (I like Lethem a lot and Chabon sometimes) but I still think he seems like a tool in this interview. And I would like to go to happy hour and talk shit about people with the interviewer; he seems fun.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 3:45 PM
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I picked up Purity a couple of months ago and started to read it, but just wasn't in the mood. I expect I'll try it again in another month or two, and read it to the end. I thought The Corrections was excellent, and that Freedom was also quite good (not stop-the-presses, heart-stoppingly good, but solidly good).

One reason why Franzen gets so much critical acclaim, I think, is that he's one of very few contemporary writers to aspire to the kind of sprawling, Victorian-style novel that few novelists dare attempt nowadays. I don't mean "Victorian" in its sensibilities, of course, but Victorian in its ambition to place the quotidian detail of everyday life within the context of a broad, and richly realized, social world.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 4:25 PM
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I'm willing to go to happy hour even if I have to say nice things about people.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 4:25 PM
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54 cracks me up, it's pitch perfect.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 4:31 PM
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I know lethem and he is a good dude. additionally, cargo pants can be useful.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 5:54 PM
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I roomed with Lethem's nephew in college and he is also a good dude. We had a lot of shared interests: Real Analysis, weed, tennis of both the IRL and Wii varieties. OTOH prioritized his own dick above all other concerns.


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 6:18 PM
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62.last: surely, unique among men.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 7:07 PM
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Wait, Lethem gets a pass, while Franzen is everything that is wrong with white-bro America? Nothing against Lethem, but Jonathan Franzen really is the George Eliot of early-twentieth-first century America. Yeah, he may be an ars*hole, but he really is that good.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 7:16 PM
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If George Eliot were everything wrong with white-bro Victorian England, that'd be...really impressive all around, actually.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 7:43 PM
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I think that one thing I want out of books is the potential for something crazy to happen -- madwomen in the attic, a Quebecois wheelchair-based terrorist group, something like that. A book like Freedom, where we all return to a sensible middle-class existence in the end, leaves me a bit cold.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 7:55 PM
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|>

Hawaii and Pokey will both be U8 in soccer this fall. They fight a lot in general. Soccer comes naturally to Pokey - he loves it and is aggressive and solid. Hawaii keeps her distance from the ball and just sort of lopes along on her own. She's competitive against Pokey and might find it rough to be compared with him. It seems like a terrible idea to put them on the same team, but god it would make life easier for us, logistically.

Is it terrible idea? Or is the future unknowable and maybe it's a great idea and we should just go with what otherwise makes sense?

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 7:58 PM
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I know it seems unbelievably boring. But we're debating it nevertheless.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 8:07 PM
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Is Hawaii into sports generally? Is this something she wants to do herself or is she just going along for the ride? I don't know her at all but I suspect as she gets older she'll come to look back on her year in U8 and realize how much she hated it.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 8:12 PM
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We lightly force them to play soccer in the fall - as in, if one of them says they dislike it, we wouldn't make them continue, but so far they've both been pretty compliant. Just because Jammies and I personally like soccer. Then they pick their spring activity. It's not a permanent pattern, but it's worked well for the last year or so, so we were giving it another go. I think Hawaii is indifferent to soccer?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 8:17 PM
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51: She writes cringe-inducingly about white people too, though. Or in sonething like Monster about both and more!

I'm surprised Roxane Gay cites Louise Erdrich's good and interesting The Round House, though, because it's about white-Native tensions and both are Erdrich's heritage and a major focus of her work in general.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 8:26 PM
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where we all return to a sensible middle-class existence in the end, leaves me a bit cold.

Well, that's George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans). Like her or leave her, she basically invented the modern English novel.

Not quite feeling it on the Quebecois terrorist group front. Makes me think of the brutal, and truly idiotic, murder of James Cross, a British diplomat in Canada who really did not deserve such a savage, and fundamentally stupid, fate.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 8:27 PM
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It looks like he survived. Maybe you're thinking of Pierre Laporte?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 8:35 PM
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My wife once ran a whole soccer league for kids that age. It was deeply annoying for me to listen to her read e-mails about it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 8:40 PM
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73: Yeah, Pierre Laporte, thank you. And f*ck you, anyone, who ever thought the stakes of Canadian language politics were ever worth the cost of a man's life.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 8:47 PM
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Heebie,

Rilee quit after last season. It makes me very sad. She likes practice just fine, and playing against us at home, too. She hates games, though, and I don't know why, all told.

I tried to keep her at it, but it just didn't work. Got tired of trying to bribe her to play hard, tho, which she just wouldn't do.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 8:52 PM
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I was actually like Hawaii and Rilee myself. I just played out of compliance and expectations. I think I started to enjoy it in 7th or 8th grade.


Posted by: heebie | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 8:55 PM
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Jonathan Franzen, quite aside from whatever personality characteristics he might exhibit, is a shitty writer. At least we can all agree with that.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 8:57 PM
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We'd have to read him first.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 9:00 PM
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Oh, no, no.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 9:09 PM
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Great. Because I'd rather read detailed arguments about what age soccer should be switched to single gender.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 9:11 PM
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I only played youth soccer for one season, when I was slightly older than it sounds like Hawaii is. It was okay, but definitely not a good fit for me personally. I'd suggest talking to her about whether she really likes playing soccer or not. In a family that is so into soccer she might just be going along with it because it's expected.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 9:11 PM
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My reaction is admittedly colored by how I generally identify with Hawaii a lot in the stories you tell about her.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 9:13 PM
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Here's where I cease (definitively, at least)to be a sympathetic figure. I wanted to make Rilee keep playing until she found a competitive spirit. But bondsaisue was solidly against it, and I demurred.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 9:17 PM
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As long as you didn't swear at a second grader or guilt my wife into volunteer work, you're fine .


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 9:20 PM
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58. I basically agree, but-- William Gaddis or Jane Smiley for US authors hit that chors and others as well. Both consistently quite good. Alos, mysteries-- George V Higgins, Westlake, maybe Elmore Leonard or Pelecanos taking everything as a sweep rather than single books.

Bolano, also.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 9:24 PM
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64: No no no no no, that's the whole problem with the unending Franzen coverage, that the poles are supposed to be "asshole" and "Eliot." Of course he's not an especial asshole, he's just a well-intentioned blinkered guy, and of course he's not the George Eliot of early-twentieth-first century America, he's the Charles Reade of early-twentieth-first century America, and there is nothing original or interesting in his work either to praise or to blame. It is sometimes offensive but not distinctively so. It is purely and transparently indicative of its age and we have far too much of it already and it has to stop.


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 9:47 PM
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Far too much of what? What has to stop? Jonathan Franzen? He's 56 and has written five novels.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 9:49 PM
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One reason why Franzen gets so much critical acclaim, I think, is that he's one of very few contemporary writers to aspire to the kind of sprawling, Victorian-style novel that few novelists dare attempt nowadays. I don't mean "Victorian" in its sensibilities, of course, but Victorian in its ambition to place the quotidian detail of everyday life within the context of a broad, and richly realized, social world.

David Foster Wallace, Gaddis and Bolaño as noted, Denis Johnson, Zadie Smith, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Richard Powers, Elena Ferrante, Lethem as noted, and countless others (admittedly in some cases you have to exclude, among the excluded Victorian sensibilities, a Victorian aesthetic sensibility, at least as reflected in the stereotype of the three-volume novel) might dispute that. (One might also wonder whether that's in itself laudable, though it might be true that Franzen attracts praise because of it.)

If that's something you like, though, I highly recommend Gaddis's The Recognitions.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 9:50 PM
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The talk about Jonathan Franzen has to stop, and in particular the talk about Jonathan Franzen to the exclusion of, say, everyone else listed in 89 to start.


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 9:56 PM
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Have the haters read The 27th City and Strong Motion? I think they're a lot better than his other books, and certainly different.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 10:07 PM
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I haven't read them. Supposing they are better, I think that "author of two interesting books goes on to emit pointless doorstops for which he is both canonized and lambasted, sucking up all the air in the room" is still a downer.


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 10:18 PM
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It would be, and was for Franzen. He says he gave up trying to write socially important books after those two didn't do especially well.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 10:27 PM
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And yet he kept writing books, and somehow they kept getting tons of attention.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 10:29 PM
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A lot more attention. His memoir is largely a record of ceasing to try to be a good person, beyond just personal relationships.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 10:33 PM
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That... doesn't really speak well of him.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 10:34 PM
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Maybe not. It's an interesting little book though. Possibly his best.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 10:39 PM
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Noted.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 10:40 PM
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Maybe mcmanus and I can have a Death of Virgil reading group. I have sincerely and repeatedly tried. Years ago I shared these vignettes from a biography of Broch on an old blog:

Broch was imprisoned in Vienna for a time after the Anschluss, and his mother was deported and died at Theresienstadt (after resisting his desperate attempts to get her to leave Austria). This story dates from after his release from prison in 1938 or so:

In the café Broch told Barcata the following anecdote which throws light on his situation at the time: he was afraid of being denounced as a Jew, so considered who might bear him a grudge, who woud be most likely to take such a step. There were two locksmiths in Gonzagagasse, one of whom Broch had often given work, the other never. Fearing that this second locksmith might harbour hostile feelings towards him he employed him for various repair jobs. After receiving three such commissions in two weeks the second locksmith thanked him, touched, saying that it was extremely decent of Broch, an Aryan, not to forget an old Jewish locksmith in these difficult times and to have the courage to give him work and so keep him from ruin. (160)

Once he got to the U.S. and settled in Princeton, some semblance of normal social life could resume; but there was also culture shock, as described by John Berryman's wife, Eileen Simpson:

Pulling on his pipe, he might talk in a rather preoccupied way about 'twilight consciousness', or be very down-to-earth about a New Yorker cartoon. It was not how well one understood philosophical ideas in a foreign language that measured one's comprehension, he said; it was one's grasp of the humor. The New Yorker was the weekly test he gave himself. Failure to understand even one caption made him gloomy. He would show it to John and me, and ask us to explain what to him was incomprehensible. (209)

Now take a moment to imagine John Berryman's explanations of New Yorker cartoons. I'll wait.

Jean Starr Untermeyer-- Broch's credulous and inexpert translator for The Death of Virgil - remarked on the experience of working with him & translating simultaneously, as he was writing it:

Broch was thoroughgoing in his role of Socrates, and [he] so divested one of every pleasing self-illusion that one felt stripped to the bone . . . At other times, on the contrary, his humility was disarming. Now and again he would look at me with a woebegone expression: 'Maybe this whole Virgil is nothing but a big word salad. What do you think?' (212)

Don't say yes... don't say yes... crap, I waited too long to say no...

And finally, there is this beautiful epitaph (and, as it were, epigraph):

In June 1949 Broch had written to his publisher[. . .]:
"By the way, what is to happen . . . to my literary remains? [. . .] I almost feel like making you God and arranging for all my papers to be sent to you and your wife for you to look through so you can publish what is publishable, give my heirs as is usual any financial profit, and afterwards transfer anything not wanted for the press archives to Yale University Library since they intend setting up in Gestapo fashion a Broch Archive in their cellars as a torture cell for future generations of students."
That is more or less what did happen. (269)

Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 11:03 PM
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Never heard of Death of Virgil, but it seems pretty awesome.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 11:14 PM
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Broch's The Sleepwalkers (lurid's recommendation also) is a sincere, messy, peculiar attempt at big sociohistorical fiction that might also be of interest to mcmanus, not sure.


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 11:23 PM
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100: Honestly, the thought of you diving into that particular book is a little like watching an excited kid yawning wide over an ice cream cone of chilled mud and pebbles. Give The Sleepwalkers a shot if you like. It gets pretty batshit towards the end, and there's filler, but it's a good book.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 08- 8-16 11:28 PM
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Bolano as noted above, 2666 is just a whole world, or indeed several. Also Vikram Seth. Also Orhan Pamuk.

Jo Walton did a very credible Victorian novel a few years back that, at 300 pages is hardly sprawling, but concerns itself with a family dispute over a country squire's estate and the marriage prospects of the squire's younger children. Admittedly, all of the characters are dragons, and the dispute is over who ate how much of the squire's body after his passing, but it is otherwise the kind of Victorian that commenters above implied nobody is doing anymore.

Speaking of sprawling ambition, there's Terry Pratchett, although his was more an English sensibility than an American one.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 12:57 AM
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Only vaguely aware of Frantzen's existence, but if he doesn't have many black friends he probably shouldn't write a novel about race. No blame: African Americans are only about 13% of the population and I dare say most of them have better things to do than collect white literati as friends or lovers.

Wussy are good, though.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 1:02 AM
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104 contd. (Obviously, if he has a ton of Korean friends and has been married to a Korean for 25 years, he could probably write plausibly about the racial experience of being Korean in America. Substitute Malagasy (sp?) or Balochi or Native Australian, whoever. But the question seems to be about African Americans.)


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 1:17 AM
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On the one hand, I'm on team "he's overrated", on the other hand, trash talking Franzen is about as tired as trash talking Bono at this point.

About 6 months ago or so, a mediocre snarky "Well Bono thinks he's cool but he's totally not!" essay was published somewhere. I think Salon, but I can't remember. What I do remember thinking is "People have been writing these things for 30 years. High school composition classes could add a "how to write a well constructed 'Bono sucks' essay" to the curriculum at this point.

The "Franzen sucks" genre hasn't quite reached that point, but it could given time.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 3:27 AM
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I think most of the writers people have mentioned are not particularly like Eliot, so if you like Eliot you won't be particularly satisfied. 2666 reads like the world is about crack open under the weight of endless murder. Infinite Jest is 20% realism about alcoholism and 80% weird jokes about the Year of the Depends Undergarments and Les Assassins des Fauteuils Rollents.

106: Franzen shat on the most credible effort to introduce literature to mainstream audiences since the US Army published literature for soldiers in World War 2. He can never be forgiven. Are you tired of people writing that Hitler sucks?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 4:50 AM
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106 Wait until Apple includes the latest Franzen novel with the newest iPad whether you wanted it or not. Then you'll know we've hit peak Franzen sucks.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 4:54 AM
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103 reminds me that I should finish "Mort".


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 5:10 AM
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107.2: Oprah Winfrey forgave him, shouldn't we?

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2010/sep/16/oprah-winfrey-jonathan-franzen-freedom


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 6:31 AM
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Except for the required Protestantism, I think I'd make a very good country squire.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 6:32 AM
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I'm not very good at shooting birds in the sense of hitting them, but as I understand it, when country squires go shooting birds, they do it in a large group so maybe nobody would notice that I keep missing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 6:37 AM
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Plus, I look good in tweed.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 6:39 AM
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On a shooting party you're not obliged to hit the birds, but it's considered bad form to hit your host.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 6:39 AM
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113: Who isn't, though? It's the best!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 6:39 AM
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||

How can it be that we don't have a swimming post? I know this is not the Unfogged of old, but still!

I mean, Katie Ledecky ferchrissakes!

|>


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 6:42 AM
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The woman who won the bronze in the race where she got the gold went to high school about two blocks from where I am now.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 6:43 AM
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Anyway, tweed would obviously be ridiculous for a swimsuit used in competitive racing. I don't know why you'd bring that up.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 6:46 AM
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117 confused me terribly for a considerable time.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 6:58 AM
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"She" refers to Ledecky.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 7:04 AM
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Ledecky apparently grew up not far from where I went to high school, but she went to private schools.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 7:11 AM
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110: Jesus would forgive Hitler. Should we? You be the judge.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 7:16 AM
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On a shooting party you're not obliged to hit the birds, but it's considered bad form to hit your host.

Unless you're Dick Cheney, in which case it's considered bad form for the host to get hit.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 7:33 AM
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Its pretty cool how dominant Maryland is in the Olympics. Both Katy Ledecky and Michael Phelps are from Maryland. There must be something in the water. Or maybe not, because I'm a pretty shitty swimmer. Of course, we had well water growing up, so maybe that's whats different. I think my swimming improved after we switched to municipal water when I was about 12. Still, the damage was done.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 7:44 AM
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109: not his best work, in my considered opinion -- too much filler


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:01 AM
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You all swim across Chesapeake Bay every day right?


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:02 AM
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126: And back at night.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:06 AM
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Actually, it's because it's so humid in Maryland we get accustomed to moving through water.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:08 AM
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Upstream both ways.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:08 AM
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Well the bay is tidal, so.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:10 AM
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You all swim across Chesapeake Bay every day right?

The Chesapeake Bay, dammit! With the definite article. I've noticed the internet screwing that up a lot in recent years. It drives me crazy.

I blame that episode of West Wing back in about 2003 which had some stupid subplot about federal money to protect "Chesapeake Bay," like it was written Hollywood writers who didn't know the place from a hole in the ground. Since then, people have been rampantly leaving off "the" from its proper name. I can't tell you how many times I've had to correct that error on Wikipedia.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:24 AM
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Did The Chesapeake Bay hire Ohio State's publicity team?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:28 AM
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132: Ohio State? Do you mean the THE OHIO STATE?


Posted by: OH-IO!!!!! | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:30 AM
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You're on an airplane with Ukraine, Ohio State, and Chesapeake Bay. The plane starts to crash. You look in the bins and see only two definite articles. What do you do?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:32 AM
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131: Huh, I have that usage, too, with the qualification that I'd expect the "The" to be left off in maps and titles (like the Wikipedia page name). Same with any other large body of water I can think of, actually--but not small bodies. I guess "San Francisco Bay" is right on the cut-off, but maybe I only feel a slight urge to use "the" there because of The [San Francisco] Bay Area.

This must be some weird holdover, like how in Latin you'd only use the locative case for "small" island.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:32 AM
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small islands, even. Where "small" means smaller than Crete.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:33 AM
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The Chesapeake is a hole in the ground.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:36 AM
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134: I believe Ukraine has officially dropped usage of the definite article, so I think we are good.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:37 AM
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The demise of Wekraine and Uskraine did make it kind of redundant.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:40 AM
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135: Isn't it because it's named after the river? It's "The Chesapeake River," so it's "The Chesapeake Bay".


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:40 AM
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140: I don't think so--I'd say "Delaware Bay," which is much smaller.

This is also one of those things where I shouldn't think too hard about it because if I do, I'm going to change my usage into a more standard form. Have to come at it sideways, and all.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:43 AM
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Every bay is a hole in the ground.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:47 AM
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138 Sudan then.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:47 AM
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101, 102. My dad loves that book. He is generally uninterested in literature. I keep thinking about reading it. I bet I could get him to contribute ideas, an artisanal blend of interesting and loony, from roughly speaking outer space to a group reading if that were to happen.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:47 AM
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138: dsquared had some theory about this being the Imperialist Definite Article, where colonies got called things like "The Ivory Coast" and "The Congo" and "The Ukraine", but became "Ivory Coast" and "Congo" and "Ukraine" after independence. The Gambia, however, remains The Gambia, not Gambia.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:50 AM
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And, to the best of my knowledge, central Ohio no more or less colonized than the rest of the state.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:51 AM
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There is no Chesapeake River. Its the Susquehanna River. And Delaware Bay is just Delaware Bay.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:51 AM
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With The Gambia, the river takes precedence. After all, it's the world's only river-state. Not sure if there are any historical antecedents.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:51 AM
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140: is there a Chesapeake River?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:52 AM
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With The Gambia, the river takes precedence. After all, it's the world's only river-state.

What about Congo? Both Congos, in fact.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:52 AM
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The Gambia, however, remains The Gambia, not Gambia.

A kid I knew in elementary school was son of the Gambian ambassador. And he called it "Gambia," which is why "The Gambia" has confounded the hell out of me ever since.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:53 AM
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But the jungle is also called "Congo," and the Congos have a lot more territory than just the littoral. By river-state I don't mean named for a river, but I mean by analogy to a city-state it's a country that is just that river.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:53 AM
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The Gambia is limited essentially to the Gambia and its banks, making the fluvial and the imperial a distinction with little difference.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:53 AM
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Honestly, the Delaware should merge with the Susquehanna and they should both flow into (the) Chesapeake Bay. It's just weird how they get so close but don't meet.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:54 AM
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In their long form they are the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, just as it's the Islamic Republic of the Gambia - but the two Congos collapse down to just "Congo".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:54 AM
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145. I remember that. Also Sudan has the definite article in Arabic.

||

Werner Herzog is directing a commercial for Tinder. You heard it here first, folks.

|>


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:54 AM
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Shoot, I don't mean littoral. There's a word that means "the zone directly adjacent to a river" that I can't recall right now.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:55 AM
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The Susquehanna doesn't need any of the Delaware's filthy water.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:55 AM
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So, after the breakup of the USA, we won't have to talk about "The Mississippi" and "The Ohio".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:56 AM
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If only the Kabila kleptocracy had had the nerve to follow through on Mobutu's bold rebranding campaign.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:56 AM
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I could head up to Glacier, but maybe I should go to the Bob instead. Either way, I pass through the Flathead. Unless I decide to drive up the Blackfoot.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:57 AM
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Werner Herzog is directing a commercial for Tinder. You heard it here first, folks.

The only way this could get better is if he is also narrating it, and it involves Klaus Kinski.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:57 AM
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I probably mean "riparian zone," but I thought there was a single noun. Well, whatever.

There has long been a canal between the two. Rivers getting close together, even downstream, really isn't that uncommon.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:57 AM
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I think I say "the Delaware Bay," which was how I formulated the theory.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:57 AM
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Time was, a man would paddle up the Susquehanna as far as he could and then walk a few dozen miles to the Allegheny so that he could float down to Pittsburgh and then to New Orleans.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:59 AM
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They called it Great Shamokin Path.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:00 AM
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Do it Moby. I can hear the glint in your eye.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:00 AM
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157 Riparian.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:01 AM
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162 Too true.

168 pwnd.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:02 AM
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Riparian is a fine word, but inferior to lacustrine.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:03 AM
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Female jazz singers living next to or in very small watercourses are known as minnie riparian.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:04 AM
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165: And then it became the portage on the Main Line. And now we only remember it for a series of tony suburbs west of Philly.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:05 AM
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Until a mysterious stranger from Nebraska limped through, with a canoe on his shoulder and a phone in his hand.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:06 AM
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A packraft. They're down to a few pounds and you can add a paddle blade to your trekking pole.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:08 AM
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What about Congo? Both Congos, in fact.

Both the river and the countries are named, in European languages, after the Bakongo, the people who dominated the central west coast of Africa when the Europeans first got there.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:10 AM
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I hear Shamokin's on some hard times. You may need to delay your trip until they rebuild.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:10 AM
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On personal, somewhat cartable watercraft, I've been thinking about getting one of these. Feasible/sensible for an out of shape guy who wants to paddle around on flat water and slow rivers?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:11 AM
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My high school used to play against Shamokin, leading to awful puns.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:12 AM
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Until a mysterious stranger from Nebraska limped through, with a canoe on his shoulder and a phone in his hand.

"And when someone says to me 'what's that on your shoulder?' that's where I'll settle down."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:14 AM
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177: I saw a guy and a woman paddling them (separately) in North Park. I couldn't tell if they were out of shape, but I am and was moving at about the same speed in a rented kayak.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:16 AM
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154: There's a canal. Isn't that good enough for you?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:18 AM
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That's a very pretty kayak. Nice lines.

I just bought an inflatable stand-up paddleboard, also in white. Far more cartable than my fiberglass board, and great for an out of shape guy poking around on flat water.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:19 AM
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179. If somebody looks at a canoe and thinks it's a winnowing fan, you'll know you've reached somewhere they haven't had agriculture very long (like, a day or two.)


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:22 AM
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I think you'd need to walk longer than that to get to where they haven't had agriculture very long.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:24 AM
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in a rented kayak.

Nothing looks as rented as a rented kayak.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:25 AM
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Thank you. Somebody had to do that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:26 AM
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I take my moments of purpose where I can get them these days.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:29 AM
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179 would be an appealing mission statement if it didn't imply walking into a desert carrying a canoe.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:33 AM
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Thanks. Psyching myself up to buy one and go down to the river more.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:37 AM
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188: I realize you're not American and perhaps overestimating us, but I suspect Moby could get a response like that within a couple blocks of home and within a house or two if he tried it with a winnowing fan instead.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:46 AM
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This is no time for wearing the shallow mask of manners. When I see a spade I call it a spade.


Posted by: OPINIONATED CECILY | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:48 AM
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I am glad to say that I have never seen a spade. It is obvious that our social spheres have been widely different.


Posted by: OPINIONATED GWENDOLYN | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:49 AM
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My house has central air. I don't even have a winnowing fan.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:56 AM
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I'm disappointed that 191 and 192 came from the same IP.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:00 AM
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A more trusting person would have just thrown 191 out there and hoped for someone to cap it, I suppose.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:01 AM
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194 is cheating.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:02 AM
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Precisely.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:02 AM
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Yowza.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:02 AM
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198: Funny how the way it's painted makes it easy to misinterpret the design and fabric used for her dress in ways that probably wouldn't have been possible at the time.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:05 AM
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200

Latex isn't a fabric.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:09 AM
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199: What do you mean, that to us it might read as latex rather than silk? (Goodness, I need to learn to sew properly. And figure out how to work on the bias like that.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:10 AM
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And figure out how to work on the bias like that.

Yowza.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:11 AM
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I don't actually think it's all that difficult; I'm just unskilled. Maybe I should splurge on one of the Vionnet pattern books I've been wanting once I'm settled in....


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:14 AM
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200: I anticipated that response, but I figured the incorrect generalization is in-character for someone who confuses "littoral" and "riparian."

201: Yeah. Admittedly, that that was my reaction because when I loaded the image it was very zoomed-in so I was missing context clues.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:18 AM
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Anyway, Nosflow, I'm not going to sew you a gown. I think I've done enough already, though I was more than compensated in marmalades.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:19 AM
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Get a room you two.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:21 AM
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204.2 probably needs a "was" or something in it. Can't language today.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:21 AM
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199: I take you haven't seen that moment in the scene in Platinum Blond I think in the library when Jean Harlow walks away from the camera?


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:28 AM
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You take correctly. This is out my ken. (In my ken is that it's surely "Blonde.")


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:41 AM
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This scene, dq?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:47 AM
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I think I've done enough already

One of my most prized possessions.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 11:00 AM
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You know, I was just thinking the other day that I might be stuck if I were playing a game about "what's something I've done that others here haven't," but on second thought I think I'm safe.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 11:06 AM
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After all, how many people do filet crochet at all?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 11:10 AM
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156

Many Arabic place names take articles if Google is to be believed.

El Qahirah (Cairo)
Ar Riyadh
El Madinah
Ad Doha

Also, TIL Tataouine is a real place (in Tunisia).


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 11:32 AM
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||

Pretty much every year, we are short-staffed in our department and asked if we could teach a 5th course. I always say no. I have small children and feel generally overworked.

I just got the email request for this fall, and offered to help finding an adjunct. It's really hard to find adjuncts, because we don't pay well enough.

Right now, the university is exploiting the goodwill of the faculty of our department, because enough people will agree to teach the extra course that they aren't forced to pay adjuncts better. If I stand my ground about not teaching the 5th course, am I just punishing my colleagues?

I cannot stress how much I do not want to take on a 5th class this semester. But I also feel like a jerk.

|>


Posted by: tired professor | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 11:35 AM
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So, a 25% increase in your work for no pay because goodwill? That's fucknuts.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 11:38 AM
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I mean, it is punishing your colleagues, but fuck 'em.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 11:39 AM
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No, we'd get compensated at the adjunct rate for the extra course. (Maybe a touch better? Still not very much.)


Posted by: tired professor | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 11:39 AM
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214: Algiers, and by extension Algeria. El Alamein, I presume.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 11:40 AM
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Then somebody in your department probably has gambling debts or is going through an expensive divorce. They really need the money like you need the rest.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 11:42 AM
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Your reasonable colleagues will not expect you to be the one who steps up because kids. Probably saying that the adjunct rate is too low because notice the hiring problem would be contentious/damaging.

Articles mean different things in different languages-- there are no articles in Slavic languages, a noticeable tic of slavic speakers in English is imprecision about when to use the articles.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 11:46 AM
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The email only went out to 3 of us. One guy near retirement, one guy with a baby, the chair who sent the email, and me. It's reasonable that two of them have more free time than me, but this happens again and again and again. I assume at some point they'll start resenting the distribution of 5th courses.


Posted by: tired professor | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 11:47 AM
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The distribution of 5th courses approaches normality, which, at least for me, is resentfulness.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 11:48 AM
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320: nice! but that's towards the end of the movie, I'm thinking of a scene much closer to the beginning, the family is gathered for pre dinner drinks or some such, maybe even when she first meets our intrepid reporter? It's a pretty good movie, worth checking out of the library.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 11:57 AM
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I assume at some point they'll start resenting the distribution of 5th courses.

If they resent you, rather than the administration, they're chumps. The administration is trying to get the course taught at a rate of pay where you don't want to do it, adjuncts don't want to do it, and you believe your co-workers don't want to do it. Not taking the work doesn't make you slack, it makes you rational.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 12:28 PM
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a noticeable tic of slavic speakers in English is imprecision about when to use the articles.

slavicall non-native, to my mind. English articles are confusing even to other languages that have them.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 12:42 PM
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Really? We've only got like three of them. Other languages have whole bunches of them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 12:43 PM
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So I've been offered a new job. I have been applying elsewhere since 2009. The new one is attractive, and offers more money, but existing one has offered more money plus a bunch of sarcasm. The problem is that I find it extremely difficult to quit, up to the point of wondering if I could turn both offers down and just ask people to forget the whole thing.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 12:45 PM
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How good is the sarcasm?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 12:51 PM
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Mediocre, directed at me.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 12:56 PM
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||
Well, here we go.
|>


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 2:55 PM
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The problem is that I find it extremely difficult to quit, up to the point of wondering if I could turn both offers down and just ask people to forget the whole thing.

Apparently you are the target audience for this article.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 3:52 PM
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228 Why would you turn down the existing one for more money? Presumably this is a promotion, is it too much/different responsibility?

Why is it difficult to quit? Apprehension of what a major life change a new job will bring or something more? Will the new job mean moving house?

I'd say go for one or the other but don't stand still. You're obviously not fully satisfied with your current job otherwise you wouldn't have been applying for other jobs for the past 7 years. Now's your chance and I think you'd come to regret, perhaps bitterly, not having done something , even if it's a move up the ladder where you are, when you clearly want something else.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 1:07 AM
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111: Later on, it is discovered that some of the upper classes have secretly kept the Old Religion with its priests instead of parsons.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 1:54 AM
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234: no, it doesn't mean moving. I think it's mostly impostor syndrome, plus a sense that it means buying into the system.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 2:17 AM
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232: I just re-read it. I thought it was good advice first time out, and it's helping.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 2:18 AM
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215. Get a union. This is what they're for.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 3:34 AM
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I'm suffering major impostor syndrome re: my upcoming job move. Not helped by the fact that there's some things that I really need to be pretty sharp on, where I'm fairly sure I'm not.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 3:39 AM
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[delurks]

Having just faced the same situation recently, stick to your guns. If you back down now, they'll own your ass. The second I turned down the (very attractive) counter offer, it was startling how abrupt the change in attitude was.


Posted by: Richard J | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 4:12 AM
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Really? We've only got like three of them. Other languages have whole bunches of them.

No, it's true. I edit the copy of a bunch of generally fluent non-Slavic language speakers (as well as some Slavic), and the nuances of the indefinite article are particularly tricky for them. Slavic language speakers have more of a problem with the definite article than others, unsurprisingly.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 5:38 AM
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So I've done it.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 5:54 AM
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Which "it," Alex? I hope it goes well for you!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 6:00 AM
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I quit.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 6:43 AM
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We'll miss you then. But before you go, tell us what you decided about work.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 6:44 AM
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I'm converting it into an eclectic webmagazine.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 6:46 AM
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Probably you won't regret it. If you think about regretting it, remind yourself you'd have regretted staying even more.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 6:58 AM
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Congratulations, Alex!

If you hurry, maybe you can still make it to the National Hobo Convention in Britt, Iowa!

http://brittiowa.com/events-attractions/hobo-days/!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 7:00 AM
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The 404 error makes it better. The files are out riding the rails.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 7:03 AM
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I hope you mean you quit and accepted the offer.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 7:04 AM
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249: Sorry about that! So excited about it that I added an exclamation point to the url.

http://brittiowa.com/events-attractions/hobo-days/


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 7:07 AM
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250: Oh! I hadn't considered that possibility.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 7:08 AM
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Congratulations Alex and good luck.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 7:12 AM
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For the avoidance of any doubt, I've quit Why Won't You Use HTML Email Ltd and moved over to EnormoCorp PLC.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 8:20 AM
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