- Christine Kane's blog has had three posts on Are You Saving Money or Wasting Time? I particularly liked the last one.
- Kyra Nichols, who just retired as the prima ballerina of the New York City Ballet, is one of the last two dancers from the days of George Balanchine. Terry Teachout, at About Last Night, has a wonderful post about her, Sunrise Sunset.
- Plastics are Forever from Fragments from Floyd, Virginia:
Consider this: "Except for the small amount that's been incinerated-and it's a very small amount-every bit of plastic ever made still exists." Each of us tosses about 185 pounds of plastic per year. And you have to wonder: do we need filtered-water bottles that will last for 500 years?
- For Poldark fans.
- What's the point of MySpace from Northern Light concerns his questions about his new MySpace account:
At the moment I have a grand total of no friends. Getting "friends" seems to be the thing to do on MySpace. I've had a couple of people email me asking to be my friend, it seems that the standard thing to do is to agree and then leave a wee message on their page saying "thanks for the add". After that I'm not quite sure what you do with your "friends"? Will any of them buy me a pint?
All three of friendship offers so far have been from musicians or bands, two in Finland which kinda makes sense... Best of all, a Finnish hardcore metal band "Skavenger" want to be my friend! As noted in a recent post, I think metal is pretty sad, and I don't get why death-metalers want "friends"? It's not very 'core is it?
DIE! DIE! YOU'RE ALL GONNA DIE!
DEATH! DEATH! THE APOCALYPSE IS COMING!
But, in the meantime would you like to be my cyber-buddy?
In 2007, it's still Jane Austen's world (or some mangled approximation of it); we just live in it.
How many 200-year-old authors of just half a dozen novels get this much play outside the ivy-covered walls of the academy? For that matter, despite complaints about current celebrity culture, how many scantily-clad half-wits get this much play? You can buy Austen puppets, dolls and posters, along with bumper stickers and tote bags that read "What would Jane knit?" and "Prepare yourself for something very dreadful."
Part of what differentiates this round of Austen consumption from dozens of past infatuations is the degree to which the satiric acid of Austen's work seems to have been drained and replaced with 100-proof, widely accessible romance.
"It's all about the dresses," laughed Rachel Brownstein, professor of English at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center at CUNY, when I asked her about the current bout of Jane-itis. She was only half joking. "Everybody really wants to be Jane," she elaborated, meaning that they all want "to wear long ball gowns and go to dances and be genteel," not that they want to live in constant financial jeopardy and die single in their early 40s.
Brownstein suggested that in addition to a frock, readers may want to borrow some perceived strength from their favorite author. Reading Austen's books, in which bright, funny and not-always-beautiful women tend to win the day, "you get a sense that you can be sexy and self-expressive in a way that women feel they're not allowed to be," she said. "Jane Austen, in spite of all the constraints [of her era], is remembered as the greatest woman writer, who managed to be her unique and brilliant self. So whatever your obstacles, you can be unique and brilliant too."
[Hat tip to Romancing the Tome.]