Assorted links


Sorry for posting out of topic, but this is relevant for a year long ongoing discussion:

"Only 150 of 3500 U.S. Colleges Are Worth the Investment: Former Secretary of Education"

Ps. Not sure if 150 is a typo and it should be 1,500.

#3 munching on my lunch and scrolling aimlessly through this one (still think Gatsby's a good high school book) and then this sentence caught my eye:

"Yet here he [Fitzgerald] is in A Short Autobiography: “Women learn best not from books or from their own dreams but from reality and from contact with first-class men.” It's a funny thing for someone to say who writes books and I suspect considered himself a 'first class.' I think the author of the piece might have just trolled herself with that quote. Happens.

Admit it- that's what keeps you coming back here.

Amory did most of the strutting and tried painfully to make every remark an epigram, than which, if one is content with ostensible epigrams, there are many feats harder.

Last time I checked wikipedia I was surprised to read that Europe & America have lower population densities than Asia. I thought Siberia would make up for it somehow... (unless I misinterpreted something)

Aside from Mexico and the US's east coast, North America is practically uninhabited:

For North America the Canadian Arctic is almost as large as Siberia and the US is as big as China with a quarter of the population. It is hard to counter the population density of Bangladesh, Korea, Taiwan, or India. The least dense countries with more than 12 mil are Australia, Canada, then Russia.

Look at a satellite photo of the Americas as night. More than half of the US has almost no population, Canada is a wilderness, and Latin America is largely uninhabited.

An interesting fact is that almost every social ill is highly correlated with population density. Hell is other people. Little wonder that most of mankind has suicidal and homicidal tendencies.

Are Twain and Whitman the only decent "classic style" American writers?


#5 was not a surprise... judging from the title I thought it would be something surprising. (BTW they should have corrected for the projection...)

Exactly, if you project that circle in that map, it's not a circle =)

3. I have always found Gatsby dull and worthy, but very overrated. This is by far the best explanation of why this is the case I have read.

I will always treasure the memory of a high school english class in which the teacher was desperate for us to think Daisy running down the mechanic's wife instead of crashing into the oncoming car was proof of her depravity, while the class at my inner city school basically thought it was an intelligent response to the trolley problem, which none of us had ever heard of. As to books we had to read in school, it is a lot better than "Catcher in the Rye", but that is not saying much.

Th YouTube article mentioned YouTube's ability to have ads, but does anyone still actually watch YouTube ads? I have ad block and forgot that there even ads on YouTube.

off topic but up MR alley: File under maybe China's not as poor as we thought? (opposite of all those we aren't as rich as we thought we were posts)

SUV boom in China, the world's largest car market.

I don't really disagree with any of the criticisms of Gatsby set forth in #3. Nonetheless, there's not the slightest doubt in my mind that it's within the top .001% of all American novels (and I may be missing a zero or two).

It is an occupational hazard of literary criticism to spend too much time bashing works for what they are not, instead of appreciating them for what they are. That, and it's hard to get published by saying "you guys, the Great Gatsby is a really good book."

5. Conveniently packaged for mass destruction.

I also found the Great Gatsby not exactly bad -I agree its a good high school novel- but overrated. It has a thin plot, which I had forgotten about until Kathryn Shultz described it, and characters that are fairly dislikeable and uninteresting. There is a good use of language and symbolism, but the underlying material is threadbare.

It might have worked better as a short story. Or written by just about any contemporary British author, as the essayist points out.

Someone in the comments (about six down) made the interesting claim that the "Archie" comics have pretty much the same social dynamics as "The Great Gatsby".

"It has a thin plot... and characters that are fairly dislikeable and uninteresting"

The reason that Gatsby is so remarkable has nothing to do with plot or character development; both are pedestrian at best.

"There is a good use of language and symbolism, but the underlying material is threadbare."

Great Gatsby is a great novel ONLY because of Fitzgerald's incredible prose. It is one of the few novels that can be enjoyed by reading discrete passages, completely at random. His 'craftmanship' of the English language is exquisite.

Does anyone have a source for the circle in #5? I'm sure it's correct but I'd like to see the source

Glad others find GG overrated. The facts that its easy to read, fairly short, and still agrees with the current fashionable views on classes makes for its durability, IMHO.
A high school level book is a good way to put it.

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