Tag Archives: writing

Native ‘Son’

A chance juxtaposition of readings* has suggested to me the perennial nature of America’s brutish policing streak. In 1941, Richard Wright’s manuscript novel “The Man Who Lived Underground” is rejected by publishers who are made queasy over scenes of violence: … Continue reading

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‘Cry of Pain’

Housman’s “To an Athlete Dying Young” ruefully ironizes over a lad clever enough to “slip betimes away / From fields where glory does not stay.” Novelists, though, get more mileage out of superannuated jocks — Updike’s Rabbit Angstrom, Malamud’s Roy … Continue reading

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‘Inter faeces et urinam nascimur’

“Between feces and urine we are born,” said Augustine in the 4th century. The bishop of Hippo’s take on parturition was that our mothers effectively defecate us from their feculent crannies. Doctrine on sex and love handed down by dour … Continue reading

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But Also Thank the Devil

The worst way to defeat a social or cultural ill is to declare war on it. The U.S. declares war on problems it can’t or won’t solve. The worst way to foster a social or cultural good is to declare … Continue reading

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The Humble Art

I support the premise, aspirationally, that translation “involves being a writer,” to quote this article. The premise piggybacks on something I took on board long ago — that the first asset of a capable translator is to write well in … Continue reading

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‘Ethics of Translation’ (?)

As a presumptive translator I’m nagged by a sense of straying where I don’t belong. Where is my writ to translate into a non-native language, for example? I didn’t suck Spanish from mother’s teat. How can I possibly match what … Continue reading

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Au Revoir, Dr. Ferlinghetti

“In some ways what I really did was mind the store,” he told The Guardian in 2006. “When I arrived in San Francisco in 1951 I was wearing a beret. If anything I was the last of the bohemians rather … Continue reading

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Shiny Objects and Hot Takes

When I re-read my EthicalDative posts at a later date they often seem overly arch or frivolous — less trenchant and cleansing than they felt at the moment of posting. “Stale” is the word to describe them, I suppose, with … Continue reading

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Away with Wayward Words!

In a dispute with the EU, AstraZeneca’s CEO insists their contract requires only “best reasonable efforts” to meet delivery schedules. Lawyers disagreed over the language of the E.U. contract, which was only partly made public.(Steven Erlanger and Matina Stevis-Gridneff, “E.U. … Continue reading

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‘Style Is Character’

Didion once wrote, “Style is character…” Rhetorically, a “this is that” assertion that plops two abstractions around a copulative can be a facile expedient for simulating profundity. Nathan Heller comments that Didion’s observation about style has to do with “the … Continue reading

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