I’m convinced that David Sedaris’s books should not be read; rather, they should only ever be listened to. Some of his stories that are darkly funny when read aloud are just depressing on the page. His latest, all 8 CDs of it, is fantastic: his story of quitting smoking is great, and I don’t even smoke.
Can you believe I’ve never read a Sarah Vowell book? Or David Sedaris, for that matter?
This was a fun, light read. I can’t quite imagine the experience of reading this without having heard her on This American Life – I could hear her reading it aloud in my head. Her writing is pretty distinctive.
It’s a funny book, and yet Vowell clearly cares quite a bit. I respect that. There’s one passage that I want to quote at length, because it spoke to me, and expresses one of the reasons I’ve decided to change careers:
Once, headed uptown on the 9 train, I noticed a sign posted by the Metropolitan Transit Authority advising subway riders who might become ill in the train. The sign asked that the suddenly infirm inform another passenger or get out at the next stop and approach the stationmaster. Do not, repeat, do not pull the emergency brake, the sign said, as this will only delay aid. Which was all very logical, but for the following proclamation at the bottom of the sign, something along the lines of, “If you are sick, you will not be left alone.” This strikes me as not only kind, not only comforting, but the very epitome of civilization, good government, i.e., the the crux of the societal impulse. Banding together, pooling our taxes, not just making trains, not just making trains that move underground, not just making trains that move underground with surprising efficiency at a fair price—but posting on said trains a notification of such surprising compassion and thoughtfulness. I found myself scanning the faces of my fellow passengers, hoping for fainting, obvious fevers, at the very least a sneeze so that I might offer a tissue.
“If you are sick, you will not be left alone.” Is there a more important promise a government can make its people? Good stuff.
I canâ€™t remember where I got most of these links and every day I put this off, the links become less relevant, no citations, so… deal. Like last time, there’s a pretty good chance the links come by way of Freakonomics, Boing Boing, kottke.org, and various and sundry other wonderful websites.
- We’re setting the clocks forward about a month earlier. This is going to mess up a lot of people.
- There probably won’t be a lot of YouTube videos on these posts. Well maybe once in a while. But this one is very cool!
- I’ve started to become obsessed with costs and prices. This coffee shop lets you pay what you want. And what if it cost more to drive during rush-hour?
- The East German secret police kept files on EVERYONE. When the wall came down they made the decision to open up most of their files. This guy read his.
- Everyone loves David Foster Wallace, but not everyone subscribes to the New Yorker.
- Michael Pollan wants you to stop eating junk food.
- This guy was a hacker who then went to work for the FBI.
- Now it’s going to get political
- This is how the GOP “Supports the troops”, fucking hypocrites. Most of these links are from AMERICAblog, which has been kicking ass on this issue since Sunday. Aiding the enemy, my ass.
- Germs don’t support the troops either.
- Everyone loves David Sedaris, but not everyone subscribes to the New Yorker.
- All politics is local especially when the Gangster Disciples run for office.
- Better than Mosaicer?
- Three part story of a foreigner in a Japanese jail.
- This will make you feel stupid, but it will help you remember how many days are in each month.
- And finally, another long Vanity Fair article I didn’t read yet.