Goodbye to all that

Some time later there was a song on all the jukeboxes on the upper East Side that went, “but where is the schoolgirl that used to be me,” and if it was late enough at night I used to wonder that. I know now that almost everyone wonders something like that, sooner or later and no matter what he or she is doing, but one of the mixed blessings of being twenty and twenty-one and even twenty-three is the conviction that nothing like this, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, has ever happened to anyone before. -  Joan Didion, “Goodbye to All That,” Slouching Towards Bethlehem



In the weekend’s New York Times Magazine, my Riff on the rhetorical gambits of David Foster Wallace and the Internet.


Qualifications are necessary sometimes. Anticipating and defusing opposing arguments has been a vital rhetorical strategy since at least the days of Aristotle. Satire and ridicule, when done well, are high art. But the idea is to provoke and persuade, not to soothe. And the best way to make an argument is to make it, straightforwardly, honestly, passionately, without regard to whether people will like you afterward.

<3 U, Maud Newton.