Some days I think she’s great. Some days I think she sucks. Today, I think she’s great for three things. 1) Arguing for close reading & self-contained art 2) declaring war on literary theory 3) this quote:

Stop preaching to the choir all the time. You should start thinking about addressing the mass of the country thats voting the opposite. Thats your audience, too. And until you get that breadth of imagination, to try to put things in terms that are understandable to those who dont agree with you, not just those who agree with you, you’re lost.

(Hm, are you noticing a trend with my quotes for the day?)

Tough love from Marc Cooper

Powell’s review-a-day reprints an Atlantic article with some pretty scathing criticism of that damnable George Lakoff book all the liberal kids are eating up. My own take from what I’ve read of Lakoff in articles & interviews is that he gets a lot right about in documenting how successful conservatives have been at framing the terms of political discourse in the country, but his counterstrategy is just about completely useless.

Anyway, I find myself in complete agreement with Cooper’s closing:

The trick of effective politics — as opposed to thinly disguised self-affirming psychotherapy and aesthetically gratifying rebel poses — is precisely to unite people with different views, values, and families around programs, candidates, and campaigns on which they can reach some consensus, however minimal. Before liberals and progressives dash out with their new vocabulary to try to convince others of the righteousness of their values, they might consider spending some time listening to others instead.

The article that changed the world

Great Guardian article:

It’s the fault of American author Mark Kurlansky. In 1999 he wrote a book that set off the fashion for what Waterstone’s categorises as “biographies of things”, called Cod: a biography of the fish that changed the world. But not only did Kurlansky start a new trend in subjects – he went on to write a follow-up called Salt, and is rumoured to be working on Chips – but he also began a new and metaphysically dubious trend in subtitles.

Now each new biography of a thing thrusts itself on the reader with the justification that it was so vitally important that it transformed the planet. The style, “X: the [thing] that changed the world”, is now entrenched throughout the land.

Yes, yes, yes. Right on!