To be sure, the fifteenth century was one of the most politically unstable periods in English history and most modern readers’ view of the period is heavily colored by Shakespeare. He portrayed the bitter civil war known as the Wars of the Roses as divine punishment for the Lancastrian usurpation and the murder of Richard II, and in his portrayal of Richard III he created one of the most magnificent villains of the English stage.
“That said, the thinking that lay behind the invasion of Iraq—the notion that we could transform a society more or less overnight, and in the process “jumpstart democracy” in the entire Middle East—was a colossal act of hubris. And it was essentially a Roman act. It was undertaken with America-centric motives, and with little understanding of the people on the receiving end, or of their ability to oppose us. Those haunting words from Velleius—’as if on a picnic’—pretty much sum up our approach to this and to too many other things.”
Clocks, with their symbolic freight of time and plot, can serve as weapons with which the murderer and the detective attempt to impose their will on the world. In changing a clock’s hands, falsifying an alibi, or cheating a timetable, the killer tries to take control of time, and it is up to the detective to wrest it back from him by proving that time is logical and relentless.
This relationship — Mari, plain and studious; Eri, “gorgeous” and shallow — is our first intimation of where After Dark is really looking. Takahashi addresses the question to Mari this way: “I wonder how it turns out that we all lead such different lives. Take you and your sister, for example. You’re both born to the same parents, you grow up in the same household, you’re both girls. How do you end up with such wildly different personalities?” Here is After Dark‘s central preoccupation: different lives and different states of being, this side and the other side, within ourselves and between ourselves and other people.
Repression, fear and even loathing run through her mind as she braces herself for what is to come after their meal. We are told in the first sentence that they are ‘young, educated and both virgins’ and she is unwilling to alter this state. Her only knowledge of sex is derived from a manual and she has convinced herself that she is without desire.
“I know food is hot right now – we have the Food Network – but believe me, in Western civilization we have never elevated cuisine historically to the level of art, to which it’s been elevated in China. But through learning about Chinese food, and through her encounters with this man and his family, and his effort to compete in an Olympics of cuisine, in the 2008 games, she learns about life.”
“I think hunters need to start demanding more research into the human health impacts of hunting with lead bullets. Saving condors may benefit us more than we ever imagined.”
“The title was inspired by Snoop Dogg. It captures the ethos of the new gender politics I explore in the book–which is essentially that women are disposable, exchangeable, throwaway commodities to charismatic males who bond around keeping them “down” or in their place.”
“I think the most powerful common thread running through Kahn’s work was his humanity. He seems to have believed deeply in the idea that humankind is perfectible, and that architecture could play a role in that.”
“One of the components of genius, I would argue, is an unnaturally high tolerance for practice. Pete could stay on the court longer than other kids. Much longer.”
“When I finally encountered the concept of ‘agoraphobia’, I recognized myself. I have an intense fear of being trapped or isolated.”
Suppose one’s made a viable, literate translation that succeeds in conveying the narrative or expository sense of an original. What if it turns out that one’s own culture resists it, and refuses to receive it?
Their glossy and frequently rather smug “postmodernism”, which refuses to acknowledge any authority other than previous horror movies, masks a fear that such authority is all too real, and is probably furious with them.
Are environmentalists really prepared to embrace a simpler, less materialistic life? Or do they still want all the stuff but in a more efficient way?
In my view, the Americans’ most serious problem for the longer term is the development of a new class of super-rich, while at the same time their middle and lower classes find themselves increasingly burdened by debt and worried whether their jobs will be “outsourced” to India or China.