<= 2001.03.01

2001.03.03 =>

the modern lovers

How to generate your own solar power and sell it back to your utility company. If you live in that big state that just ran out of power and don't trust PG&E any more, this might actually make sense.

An editorial by two folks at the Rand corporation points out that a U.S. national missile defense could easily goad China into becoming a nuclear threat.

The only thing that stands between China and a large strategic nuclear arsenal is motivation. And that could be deeply affected by the decisions that the United States makes about national missile defense and perhaps even theater missile defense in Asia.

You don't say. Now will someone please go and explain this to our President, who's currently busy pitching his tax cut, which will save you like $400 a year unless you own a sports team.

Ferdinand Mount, book critic for the Guardian, posits what's wrong with male novelists.

The modern male novelist (henceforth MMN) prizes formal ingenuity, tricksiness, exuberance; flights of fancy and fireworks, that's what his genius specialises in. No doubt as he goes along he hopes to tell us something, whether obliquely or in your face, about the Modern Predicament or the Hell that is America. But MMN expects to be awarded more of his marks for technical merit than for artistic impression; or, rather, it is his technical merit that overwhelmingly creates the artistic impression. The female novelist, by contrast, follows the approach that F R Leavis characterised as the Great Tradition: that is to say, that the novel at its best creates a sort of moral poetry, in that the questions of human choice and of how life is to be lived are intrinsic to it.

Aside from the fact that this is a pretty arbitrary gender distinction and I can think of dozens of counterexamples (A.S. Byatt, Cynthia Ozick, Ethan Canin, Kazuo Ishiguro), I don't really see the artistic superiority of what he calls the "female" tradition. I know the kind of book he's talking about and I love many of them, but fairly often at the end I'll be left... not bored, but with the feeling that I've just had a snack rather than a meal. Maybe that just means I'm the Modern Male Reader, so desensitized by Pynchonesque pyrotechnics that I'm incapable of appreciating the quiet force of moral poetry. But just as earnestness counts for something, you also have to chalk up points for skill and artistry. And anyone who doesn't see moral seriousness or emotional poignancy in Underworld or The Moor's Last Sigh should be kicked in the head.


<= 2001.03.01

2001.03.03 =>

up (2001.03)

The Warm South
The Roof Rat Review