CRITICAL LINKING: February 1, 2012


“No, autocorrect and spellcheckers are wrongheaded because they reinforce a traditional spelling standard. Consistent spelling was a great way to ensure clarity in the print era. But with new technologies, the way that we write and read (and search and data-mine) is changing, and so must spelling.”

That language is changing doesn’t mean we can reject all standard. It means we need new standards. Classic logical error.


“Eliot resists the characterization of a writer as willing to forgo the niceties of daily life in order to make art. What he wants are not luxuries—the early letters testify over and over to the Eliots’ impoverishment despite Tom’s bank wages, with thank-you letters to his American relatives for sending checks that fill in the financial gaps so he can have new underwear and pajamas, not brandy and cigars. Rather, Eliot craves security.”

If The Wasteland can be written in off-hours, you don’t need to spend all day in the coffee shop.


“The weakness of this approach to fiction should be obvious: If what you really want is a set of fortifying maxims, why bother with stories about feckless romances or foolish kings? Why not just go straight to the self-help section — the secular equivalent of the sermon — as so many American readers already do?”

Complicated messages must be relayed complicatedly. That’s why.


“And then it broke through. It hit No. 549 by late afternoon, and No. 151 by dinnertime. It settled at No. 76 by the end of the night, but the sales kept rolling in, even late on a Friday night. It’s currently ranked No. 1 among all Kindle legal thrillers, No. 2 among ALL legal thrillers, and even No. 44 in Fiction and Literature, which I really like because it sounds very official.”

Is it just me, or does the Amazon bestseller list feel a lot like the stock market?

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