Monday, 18 January 2016

Striking phrases and sentences

1. "the man in the ironic mask" - Frederick Raphael on Joseph Roth in the TLS. I bet he had been saving that one up for some time

2. "... for Crow it was like a lovely bin full of chip papers and ice cream and currywurst and baby robins and every nasty treat, physically invigorating like a westerly above the moor, like a bouncy castle elm in the wind, like old family pleasures of the deep species." From what looks like an extraordinary book, also reviewed here (a review which made me think that the book was more straightforwardly autobiographical than it seems to be).

3. "But what U.S. citizen today feels a pain at the thought that Toronto lies north of the U.S. border? I know I do." The whole thing (really about what great powers should do with rising great powers) is worth reading - and then thinking why Rhodes Scholarships were open to Germans, and what difference that made.

4. "Here are some prominent immigrants and children of immigrants, all intensely, identifiably English, all of whom arrived long before Britain’s postwar immigration waves: Hans Holbein, George Frederick Handel, Frederick William Herschel, Isaac and Benjamin Disraeli, Christina Rossetti, Gustav Holst, Augustus Pugin, Louis of Battenberg and his son Louis Mountbatten, Hilaire Belloc, Joseph Conrad, George Louis du Maurier, Winston Churchill, Leo Amery, T.S. Eliot, Lewis Namier, Learie Constantine, Alexander Korda, Michael Pressberger, Nicholas Pevsner, Isaiah Berlin, Geoffrey Elton, the two Michael Howards, Solly Zuckerman. // This list illuminates a fundamental point: although these figures immensely enhanced English life, they did not make their adopted nation cosmopolitan; their adopted nation made these cosmopolitans English." From a pessimistic but well-informed piece in the American Conservative, of all places. (But then link 3 above explains why I should not be surprised.)

5. "in Sweden ... currently there are 106 male 14- to 17-year-olds for every 100 women. If all asylum applications are granted, this will change to 116 men to 100 women," says the Economist.

6. "... when Goffman was a child, she was sent on the full-time, perpetual errand of collecting noteworthy linguistic misunderstandings for her parents’ collection." That is how a sociologist child prodigy is formed. (What does it say about me, after reading this piece and sympathising hugely with Ms Goffman, that I worry particularly about her taxes? I think she might have overpaid, and her friends in Philadelphia might have underpaid.)

7. "She had a diaper on from a site that specialises in bird diapers ...". That's from the BBC.

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