I asked Lynn Philips for her favorite joke of Iris’s. “My personal favorite,” she emailed, “was from a write-in interview of downtown New York City authors in that neighborhood newspaper, The Villager. The question put to the interviewees was, ‘What was the biggest lie you have ever been told?’ The other writers gave answers like, ‘The check is in the mail,’ and ‘This won’t get you pregnant.’ But Iris’s answer was, ‘Work will make you free.’
"It was a joke about the American dream," Lynn continued. "It was a joke about being Jewish. [ … ] It was a joke about writer’s block. (When your standards of psychological honesty were as strict as hers, impending deadlines feel like advancing storm troopers.) More, it was a joke about the second-wave feminist delusion that entering the workforce would somehow liberate women from male domination — rather than simply changing the signage. On top of those jokes, there is also, of course, the joke of finding career coaches, the Nazis, literary agents and feminists telling her the same lie. But the biggest joke of all is the tacit puzzle that underlies it. If work won’t make you free, what will?
The Silver Palate opened on Columbus Avenue in Manhattan in 1977, the same year I moved to the Upper West Side. My friends and I used to go there often. This was before “take-out” was ubiquitous in every supermarket. You could buy a meal or, as we did more often, buy hors d’oeuvres, cheeses, and breads to tide us over until dinner got out of the oven. One of our favorites was their Paté Maison with Calvados and dried currants. I still remember how thrilled we were when the book was published and there was the recipe. No cheating, either; it was the real thing.
I made that paté for years. I used to bring it as a hostess gift. I’d pack it in crocks for holiday presents. And then I just didn’t make it any more. Did I tire of it? Was it just that paté went out of fashion? I’m sort of tempted to try it again, but have no appropriate occasion coming up. And truth to tell, I’m afraid that what appealed to my palate 25 and 30 years ago might not today. Anyone else remember this recipe? Fondly or otherwise?
”—From a Chowhound thread about people’s favorite Silver Palate recipes. Lukas pointed out that this would be a great audition monologue.
It is a little unclear to me why I decided to do this other than “why not” but now I’m listed in Tumblweeds, a user-generated community directory that rates Tumblr bloggers by their number of followers (which: that’s a great way to find stuff you’ll like except huh?) Find me listed in #books, #cats, #food
“In fact, because the unself-aware — which includes basically everybody — are impervious to uncharitable perceptions of their underlying motives, all these insights you have into people and what makes them tick are surprisingly useless.”—The Post-Birthday World is full of things that make you go “oof”
"I spent the winter on the verge of a total breakdown while living in Norway
I felt the darkness of the black metal bands
But being such a faun of a man I didn’t burn down any old churches
Just slept way too much.”
Songs that address seasonal depression (and, almost incidentally, cure it!) do not get much more straightforward than this one. This whole album is great, actually, for feeling understood and consoled when you feel S.A.D. Also it’s like “at least I don’t live in Norway”
It’s hard to think of a controversy that could be less relevant to my life than a debate about parenting style, and also I know that this controversy is old news, but I still can’t get Amy Chua’s assertion that “nothing is fun until you’re good at it" out of my mind. Far be it from me to say whether she’s right about anything else, but I think she’s right about this.
The Internet is such a shrine to dilettantism. I am worried that dilettantism is the only thing I’m good at, and it’s not even very much fun.
“What else is an artist but someone who believes that she can barter a little piece of herself to the world and not only preserve its essential worth, but even multiply it, by sharing it with others? She has to hope that the machinery making it all possible won’t kill the thing itself. Because that machinery isn’t going away, even if it does assume new forms and new powers to go with those forms.”—Laura Miller on how contemporary novels — and novelists — are slowly coming to terms with the Internet