Critical Linking: November 28, 2012


Bezos knows what anyone with a basic grasp of math knows: They could all merge together and still not out-spend him. He can lose money on every big book deal; the publishers cannot. You think he’s not crazy enough to keep losing money until he dominates an industry? Try him.

Banding together to fight Amazon seems like a rational move. Until you realize that rational isn’t really the name of the game.


What a character eats is a detail—like eye color or a favorite song. But food is also our lifeblood. I wondered: When does food become more than just the thing your character is putting in her mouth?

Symbolism: it’s what’s for dinner.


A former editor of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) quietly deleted foreign words from the text and then blamed previous editors, claims Sarah Ogilvy, a lexicographer who once worked at the dictionary.

As lexicographer gossip goes, this is pretty juicy.


The popularity of 50 Shades of Grey has accelerated a mainstreaming of the BDSM subculture already underway—the initials stand for bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism—and the trend has been especially pronounced in our more elite institutions of higher learning.

It says something that The Observer has to explain, or rather thinks it has to explain, what BDSM is. Question: in a random polling of Americans, do you think more people would know what NATO or BDSM is? I wish I could say I think it would be a toss-up.

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