CRITICAL LINKING: November 2, 2011

“Some phenomena have an irreducible complexity that will defeat any big-idea effort at simplification. Detailed research has, not surprisingly, cast doubt on the reality of wise crowds, tipping points, and long tails. Second, most of the easy big questions about the way the world works have been answered. The questions that remain are really hard.”

Level-headed rationalism like this is, unfortunately, something of an outlier.


“Alan Hollinghurst, whose new book, The Stranger’s Child, is just out, does not immediately seem like the kind of writer whose first novel included what amounts to a field guide to the variety of male genitalia.”

What writers DO seem like their first novels would include what amounts to a field guide to the variety of male genitalia?


“All around us, life sucks. I don’t really disagree with that. But more interesting to me than the obvious fact of life’s shortcomings, are the reasons people hang on to it with all their might.”

In times such as these, art’s ability to show why we might love the world is all the more in demand.


“When the decor is complete, the shelves will be lined with a one-of-a-kind Assouline collection, consisting of 250 current and vintage volumes in the genre of your choice. Enjoy published works from the world’s foremost artists, photographers, writers, architects, interior designers, and fashion and culinary masters.”

When the revolution comes, I’m going after people who bought this first.