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The best American political book of all time is a product of bipartisanship. That in itself might seem implausible. The word “bipartisan report” is liable to trigger a panic response among those who associate the “B-word” with long-winded, superannuated statesmen and “thought leaders” who are even longer of wind. A bipartisan book written by authors from different ends of the political spectrum promises a combination of bloviation and blather.

More… “All for the Bestiary

Michael Lind is a contributing writer of The Smart Set, a fellow at New America in Washington, D.C., and author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States.

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Hello, everyone. My presentation today is about the harm that PowerPoint presentations are doing to the way we think and speak. To illustrate the danger, this warning is in the form of a PowerPoint presentation.

Next slide, please.

For nearly two millennia, from Isocrates and Cicero to the 19th century, the art of rhetoric was at the center of the Western tradition of liberal education. The liberally educated citizen was taught to reason logically and to express thoughts in a way calculated to inform and, when necessary, to motivate an audience. More… “PowerPoint Makes Us Stupid”

Michael Lind is a contributing writer of The Smart Set, a fellow at New America in Washington, D.C., and author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States.

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I’m pissed that I can’t play my Wii all day to make a living. I’m really good at it. Don’t you think my skills are valuable in the job market? Or do I really have to go to work every day?

— Buddy, New York, New York

You know what? I’m pissed that I can’t write poems all day to make a living! What happened to the days of poet-as-shaman? When the poet was revered and everybody looked to the poet for guidance? When the poet simply needed to impart her wisdom in verse to earn a slice of the bison and a place by the fire? Poets can’t do what they do best these days, which is write poetry. If and when a poet finds a publisher, the first book is not going to make any money, so poets need to supplement their income by teaching, editing,… More…

 

How much does it cost to be a poet? — Kerri L., Cordova, Tennessee 

I wrote poems when I was 13 and it didn’t cost a dime. Unfortunately, most poets want recognition, and that can cost a lot. True, poets don’t need to go to school to write good poems, but these days poets are expected to give lectures, conduct workshops, and write intelligible and pertinent blurbs on the back of other poetry books. Those all require a decent amount of education, probably including grad school, which can get expensive depending on where you go. But that’s just the monetary cost — there are others.

When you are a poet in this age, your eyes go bad from too much time spent in front of the computer screen and you may develop carpal tunnel syndrome from deleting and… More…

If the Marx brothers had ever taken to food writing, they might have produced something very like F.T. Marinetti’s marvelously slapstick work, The Futurist Cookbook. The provocative (and regrettably Mussolini-approved) Italian artist Marinetti was infatuated by all things sleek, sharp, electronic, and shiny, but he was also an avowed enemy of pasta, which he denounced as a pathetic Italian addiction to nostalgia and tradition. Instead, he preferred his Futurist meals to combine the radical use of color, shape, music, lighting, and ideas, leaving taste and nutrition off the list entirely. In fact, the modern vitamin supplement industry should make Marinetti a patron saint: He argued that all sustenance should come from pills, freeing up food to be the raw material of art, preferably to be consumed while listening to the soothing hum of an airplane engine.

His oddball cuisine debuted in the first (and only) Futurist restaurant, in… More…