Best of the Moment
Allen Frances | Project Syndicate | 4th June 2013
We don't often think of Darwin as a psychologist. But, as Darwin himself was keenly aware, his theory of evolution applied as much to the mind as the body, and provided a scientific basis for psychology, which previously had been rooted more in philosophy. "Freud’s biographer, Ernest Jones, was mistaken in calling Freud 'the Darwin of the mind'. Darwin himself was the Darwin of the mind. Freud was his great populariser"
Pete Wells | New York Times | 4th June 2013
It's been a while since we recommended a restaurant review, and the last one was a hatchet job. Here's a three-star accolade sure to sharpen your appetite. The "joint" is a retro-themed Italian restaurant called Carbone. "No shrimp scampi has been handled as gently or luxuriously as Carbone’s chorus line of langoustines, claws extended, bodies split and slick with butter that implies garlic without coming right out and saying it"
Eliza Griswold | Poetry Magazine | 4th June 2013
Lovely illustrated essay about the folk verses created and shared by Afghan women. "Landays are sung aloud, often to the beat of a hand drum, They lilt internally from word to word in a kind of two-line lullaby that belies the sharpness of their content, which is distinctive not only for its beauty, bawdiness, and wit, but also for the piercing ability to articulate a common truth about war, separation, homeland, grief, or love"
Charles Simic | New York Review Of Books | 4th June 2013
On growing old. "A reviewer complained that my new book of poems is much too preoccupied with death. He appeared to suggest that I ought to be more upbeat, dispensing serene wisdom in the autumn of my life, instead of reminding readers every chance I get of their mortality. Just you wait, I said to myself, till you reach my age and start going to funerals of your friends. Nobody warns us about that when we are young"
Michael Munger | Cato | 3rd June 2013
Communities underprice landfill to reduce the attractions of dumping garbage illegally. But too-cheap landfill makes recycling look relatively expensive, leading to rules and subsidies that force and nudge households to do more recycling. None of which is bad in itself. But in the absence of clear price signals, confusion multiplies. We end up promoting recycling without a clear idea of the costs and benefits
John Jeremiah Sullivan | Bookforum | 1st June 2013
Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, James Agee and Walker Evans's book about poor white farmers in 1930s Alabama, started life as a commission from Fortune for a magazine article. The article was spiked as too long, but the manuscript has now been published, 77 years later, as Cotton Tenants. "It’s a smaller, lesser work, but a more perfect one. Prose is like glass in this respect. The bigger you go, the more opportunities for cracks"
Thought for the day:
"Wealth, in even the most improbable cases, manages to convey the aspect of intelligence"— J.K. Galbraith