Archive for the ‘Literature’ Category

Proving God’s Existence


(FTB) – Mano Singham:

Edward Feser has responded to my critique of the press release about his new book that I used as the basis for pouring cold water on the idea of trying to prove the existence of gods by arguments alone. Not surprisingly, he does not like what I said and says that if I had only read his book, I would see that my criticisms were either invalid or had been addressed by him. Probably as a result of Feser’s post, a couple of new commenters have come here to defend Feser (see comment #23 and later) and some of them have also taken me to task for not having read his book. …

Let’s back up a bit to refresh what this is all about. The title of Feser’s book is FIVE PROOFS OF THE EXISTENCE OF GOD and the accompanying press release says that “the existence of God can be established with certainty by way of purely rational arguments.” (Boldface emphasis mine)

These are very strong claims and are what I took issue with. …

singham 2017/09/23 revisiting

Edward Feser: Five Proofs of the Existence of God


What Happened


(Atlantic Politics) – James Fallows:

Hillary Clinton‘s What Happened is the rare interesting work by a politician – and it offers an important critique of the press. …

theatlantic 2017/09 539973

Hillary Rodham Clinton: What Happened

What Ta-Nehisi Coates Gets Wrong About American Politics


(Atlantic) – George Packer:

There’s a lot to admire in Ta-Nehisi Coates’s new essay. It’s one of those pieces that grabs you with its first paragraph and never lets go. The argument keeps gathering force, building on the striking imagery (“Trump cracked the glowing amulet open”) and the caustic scouring of the polemics (opioids are treated as a sickness, crack was punished as a crime), to the very end. At its heart is the undeniable truth that racism remains fundamental in American politics. …

But the style of no-compromise sacrifices things that are too important for readers to surrender without a second thought. It flattens out history into a single fixed truth, so that an event in 2016 is the same as an event in 1805, the most recent election erases the one before, the Obama years turn into an illusion. It brushes aside policy proposals as distractions, and politics itself as an immoral bargain. It weakens the liberal value of individual thought, and therefore individual responsibility, by subordinating thoughts and individuals to structures and groups. …

theatlantic 2017/09 539976

White Donald Trump

Salman Rushdie Taking on America


(Guardian Books) – Emma Brockes:

Beginning with the inauguration of Obama and ending with the election of Trump, Salman Rushdie‘s latest novel, “The Golden House” is an intimate portrait of New York. The author talks about the journey from hope to despair and always feeling an outsider. …

theguardian 2017/sep/02 salman-rushdie

Kathryn Rathke: Salman Rushdie Taking on America



(Guardian Books) – Sam Jordison:

To mark the anniversary of Indian partition, we’ll be looking at a novel that may not as famous as some of Salman Rushdie‘s other books but promises to be just as energetic. …

theguardian 2017/sep/05 shame

Salman Rushdie: Shame

The Golden House


(NYTimes Books) – Dwight Garner:

Salman Rushdie‘s “The Golden House” is a big novel, wide but shallow, so wide it has its own meteorology. The forecast: heavy wind. …

nytimes 2017/09/04 golden-house

Salman Rushdie: The Golden House

To Help Coma Patients Communicate


(Guardian::long read) – Adrian Owen:

After suffering serious brain injuries, Scott Routley spent 12 years in a vegetative state. But his family were convinced that he was still aware – could a pioneering ‘mind-reading’ technique prove them right? …

theguardian 2017/sep/05 communicate

Adrian Owen: Into the Grey Zone: A Neuroscientist Explores the Border Between Life and Death

Undercover in North Korea


(The Intercept) – Jon Schwarz:

The most alarming aspect of North Korea’s latest nuclear test, and the larger standoff with the U.S., is how little is known about how North Korea truly functions. For 65 years it’s been sealed off from the rest of the world to a degree hard to comprehend, especially at a time when people in Buenos Aires need just one click to share cat videos shot in Kuala Lumpur. Few outsiders have had intimate contact with North Korean society, and even fewer are in a position to talk about it.

One of the extremely rare exceptions is the novelist and journalist Suki Kim. Kim, who was born in South Korea and moved to the U.S. at age thirteen, spent much of 2011 teaching English to children of North Korea’s elite at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology.

Kim returned to the U.S. to write her extraordinary 2014 book, “Without You, There Is No Us.” The title comes from the lyrics of an old North Korean song; the “you” is Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un’s father. …

theintercept 2017/09/04 undercover

Suki Kim: Without You There is No Us

The Hardcore of Yore: Mary Sherman Morgan


(FTB stderr) – Marcus Ranum:

Mary Morgan wanted to learn stuff and was smart and curious – which was not exactly an advantage for someone growing up in rural America in the 1930s. Rural electrification was just happening, and schools were a hit-or-miss affair. In the case of young Mary Morgan, aged 12, that equated to the sheriff having to go out and tell her drunkard father that he had to let her go to school, and couldn’t just keep her as free farm-labor. Then Betty Manning, from the school board, solves Mary’s school busing problem. …

stderr 2017/09/01 mary-morgan

Mary Sherman Morgan

Crocodile Danedee


(Good Tickle Brain) – Mya Gosling:

The bear in The Winter’s Tale gets all the glory, but there are actually many underrated animals in Shakespeare. Three of my favorites are in Hamlet: the beaver, the porpetine, and… the crocodile! …

goodticklebrain crocodile-danedee

Mya Gosling: Crocodile Danedee