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Aha! Moments (49 posts)
Every Monday, we're rounding up things—small and big—that made us stop and think. Today, we were captivated by a paean to postcards, a consciousness-raising moment on Broadway, and more...
"It just might be that the greatest threat to monogamy is the uncritical acceptance of it."
Tracy Clark-Flory, Salon.com sex and relationships writer, on what she learned from Salon's series about monogamy.
"...unlike letters, [post]cards require a verbal concision that can rise to high level of eloquence: brief and heart-breaking glimpses into someone’s existence, in addition to countless amusing and well-told anecdotes."
Poet Charles Simic on the lost art of postcard writing.
"I read Proust first, before Freud...And I think I simply realized that there was nothing, absolutely nothing, more fascinating than human nature. And human relations."
From a 2008 Guardian article about Hanna Segal, psychoanalyst who popularized play therapy for children, who died last week at age 92.
"People generally laud you for raising a well-rounded girl who knows how to wield a baseball bat as well as a princess wand...Watching [Billy Elliott], I started to think about all the useful things I've taught my daughter over the years ...I began to wonder what it might have been like had I had a boy instead. Would I have let him enroll in ballet if he wanted? I like to think so. I hope so.”
Mike Adamick, Jezebel's “Daddy Issues” columnist, on raising a well-rounded boy.
"Most foodies sneer at the word 'fusion'...but in fact, the fusion impulse is the human impulse--to cross over, to integrate two different, sometimes warring worlds, to create a new meaning.”
Todd Kliman, food and wine editor of The Washingtonian, writing about the "authenticity of food" in Lucky Peach.
Every Monday, we're rounding up things--small and big--that made us stop and think. Today, we were moved and inspired by an inaugural poet, Afghanistan's Romeo and Juliet, and more...
Shelley Keeling, a competitive runner who also coaches her 96-year old mother, Ida Keeling, in road races:
"It never occurred to me that my mom couldn't run."
Elizabeth Alexander, professor of African American studies at Yale, on what poetry can bring to a community:
"Are we not of interest to each other? To me, it's not about 'Oh i like her shoes...' It's much deeper than that. Are human beings who are in community, do we call to each other, do we heed each other, do we want to know each other?"
Halima Mohammedi and Rafi Mohammed, two Afghan teenagers whose attempt to go on a single date caused villagers to riot and the local authorities to jail them for their own protection:
Ms. Mohammedi: "We are all human. God created us from one dirt. Why can we not marry each other, or love each other?"
Mr. Mohammed: "I feel so bad. I just pray that God gives this girl back to me. I'm ready to lose my life. I just want her safe release."
Miranda July, writer, director and star of the new film, The Future:
She admires directors like [Noah] Baumbach and Wes Anderson, but she said: "All those men are also personal. I don't mind that, but I do mind that it's not really questioned, whereas I or another woman is looked at as so self-obsessed. Men are just not being judged in the same way. They're never going to be annoying in the same way."
Nathan Heller writing in Slate about the enduring appeal of book clubs:"They are our bid to stay on the same page across the blur of modern life."
Every Monday, we're rounding up things--small and big--that made us stop and think. Today, we were moved and inspired by two survivors of violence, a writer reporting from the domestic front, a woman who stopped waiting to be chosen and more...
Writer Ruth Davis Konigsberg on the "chore wars" being waged in American homes:
Actress Brit Marling on co-writing scripts with roles for herself:
"How terrifying to surrender your life to being chosen all the time. Writing so that I can act became a way of having not more control over my future but not having to wait for permission."
Tom Ford on the universality of the mid-life crisis:
"It comes to everybody, maybe in your thirties, maybe in your forties, maybe in your sixties or seventies, who knows. You get to the moment where you feel the clock is ticking and you are wondering if you are really getting the most out of your life."
Kara Curtis, a morbidly obese woman in upstate New York, speaking to NPR about her struggle with weight and shame:
"There were periods of time when I used to hang skinny pictures of myself up on my fridge. But that was brutal and mean. And I don't want to be brutal and mean to myself."
Every Monday, we're rounding up things--small and big--that made us stop and think. Today, we were captivated by two talented, hard-working women's soccer teams, one blogger's advice to parents of teenage writers, and more...
Thursdays Are from Mars: Remembering Gilligan's Island and a Grooming Product You'll Want for Yourself
Men! What are they thinking? We can't always answer that, but we'll be posting our favorite glimpses into their world in this space every Thursday.
* "It hit me that just an ounce of the unexpected can have a tremendous effect—and that a single word can change everything." — From Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston's Aha! Moment. The AMC show returns for its fourth season on Sunday night. [O magazine; AMC]
* Anyone mourning the passing of Gilligan's Island creator Sherwood Schwartz should read Gilligan's Wake author and GQ writer Tom Carson's remembrance of meeting him unexpectedly at a book signing. [GQ.com]
* Get your man the summer heat-wave survival kit—if only to steal the deodorant for yourself. [Esquire.com]
* Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose. Fans of Friday Night Lights sad to see the show come to an end tomorrow at least have a very thorough oral history to catch up on. [Grantland]
* "My dad looked back at me and said, 'Yes, that's your brother, and you love your brother.'" — Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin describes his struggle to come to terms with his older brother's homosexuality. [Out]
Every Monday, we're rounding up things--small and big--that made us stop and think. Today, we were captivated by a Yankees fan who shows true sportsmanship, an author who found a way to learn from one rejection (and the 59 that followed it), and more...
Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help, telling Katie Couric about the 60 rejections she received from agents (via Glamour):
Every time I got a rejection letter, it made me go back to the story and try to figure out what was not working. I think there are a lot of bad books out there that got published on the first try. And you've got to take a story, write it, put it in the drawer, soak out the stains, go back, and rewrite it over and over again.
Yankees fan Christian Lopez, who caught Derek Jeter's 3,000th-hit baseball, volunteering to return the home-run memento to Jeter for little more than a photo op (instead of trying to sell it for, like, a bajillion dollars):
It wasn't about the money, it's about a milestone, and I'm not going to take that away from him.
WSJ writer Katherine Rosman on how friends strengthen a marriage:
When a friend says to me, "I saw Joe and your daughter at the park and she has him wrapped around her finger," my focus is drawn past dirty socks left on the floor and onto the fact that I married a terrific guy who is loved by many.
Former First Lady Betty Ford, who died last week at the age of 93, on giving her name to the now-famous drug and alcohol treatment center in California:
It was very helpful for women, too, because women had in many ways been underserved. And if my name was one there it was a safe place for women to come and be treated.
Every Monday, we're rounding up things—small and big—that made us stop and think. Today, we were captivated by a gospel singer's defense of love songs, a comedian's advice to his TV daughter, a therapist coming forward to talk about her personal struggles and more...
* Kim Burrell, influential younger gospel singer, responds to criticism over her new "crossover" album that includes covers of nongospel love songs:
"What is our common ground of love outside of the four walls of the church? What is our conversation of love with people that are not of our fold? ... That's what The Love Album is about."
* Marsha M. Linehan, the therapist and psychology professor who created a now widely used treatment for severely suicidal patients, publicly acknowledges her own mental illness for the first time:
"I honestly didn't realize at the time that I was dealing with myself. ... But I suppose it's true that I developed a therapy that provides the things I needed for so many years and never got."
* Comedian Louis C.K. in the season premiere of Louie breaks down the rules of fairness to his younger daughter:
"The only time you look into your neighbor's bowl is to make sure that they have enough. You don't look into your neighbor's bowl to make sure you have as much as them."
* New York State Senator Roy McDonald, the second Republican to support the newly passed marriage equality bill (after previously expressing opposition), explains his change of heart to reporters:
"You get to the point where you evolve in your life where everything isn't black and white, good and bad, and you try to do the right thing. ... I'm trying to do the right thing."
* Beyoncé on the value of female friendships:
"I grew up around women; I believe that we can teach each other so much. I'm always thinking about how unselfish we are and the things we need to hear and how much pressure there is being a woman."
Every Monday, we're rounding up things—small and big—that made us stop and think. Today, we were captivated by a witty acceptance speech, a persuasive op-ed, a rockstar author/behavioral economist and more...
* David Kobia, director of technology development at the crowd-sourcing nonprofit Ushahidi, which connected people at crucial moments during crises in Kenya, Haiti, India, Gaza, India, Chile and Japan, accepting (in just five words) the (RED) Webby Award for Special Achievement in social innovation:
"Our voices revolutionize the world."
* Tim Kreider, cartoonist and essayist, in his New York Times op-ed, "In Praise of Not Knowing":
"I hope kids are still finding some way, despite Google and Wikipedia, of not knowing things. Learning how to transform mere ignorance into mystery, simple not knowing into wonder, is a useful skill. Because it turns out that the most important things in this life—why the universe is here instead of not, what happens to us when we die, how the people we love really feel about us—are things we're never going to know."
*Joy Bryant, actress, writing in the July issue of Elle about the grandmother who helped her (eventually) develop an ecological conscience:
"She scrimped and saved to give me experiences that I'll never forget ... That mindfulness—call it frugality or environmental consciousness, whichever you choose, whether you're affluent or of humble means—is what's important."
* Luke Russert, an NBC News correspondent, on what he learned from his dad:
"I learned that night it's okay for a man to show fear and vulnerability. My dad could have said, "Suck it up. It's only an hour-and-a-half flight." Instead he went out of his way to support my weakness. To this day, I don't believe in a "no fear" attitude. All of us have fears, and they're real. But if you can acknowledge them and understand them—you might need help, like I did—you can overcome them."
* Dan Ariely, author of The Upside of Irrationality and a behavioral economist at Duke University, writes in the July issue of Wired about becoming enslaved by calendar apps: "Think how differently we'd interact with our calendars if the default was for time slots not to be empty—if, instead, they were prepopulated with tasks like thinking, writing and planning. We'd be far less likely to neglect the opportunity costs: Every time we accept an obligation, it would be clear that we are giving something up."
Every Monday, we'll be sharing the quotes that make us snap to attention. Reading these recent revelations feels as bracing as a second cup of coffee.
* Ellen Barkin's Best Actress Tony acceptance speech for her role as a wheelchair-bound doctor trying to combat AIDS: "Performing in 'The Normal Heart' has transformed me, not just as an actor, but as a human being. Because it taught me something that I never believed in: It taught me that one person can make a difference, that one person can change the world. So thank you to the great, great Larry Kramer..."
* Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, in her 2011 commencement speech at Barnard College: "... do not leave before you leave. Do not lean back; lean in. Put your foot on that gas pedal and keep it there until the day you have to make a decision, and then make a decision. That's the only way, when that day comes, you'll even have a decision to make."
* Timothy Brown, the subject of the New York magazine profile, "The Man Who Had HIV and Now Does Not," on why he submits to being poked, prodded, tested and analyzed as a medical miracle:
"I can help."