• Kindle

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Thanks to everyone who sent in Points this year—here were our five most popular based on page views:

1) Point 47: What a supremely minor thing! A button that says “like.” But what other habit so minor, besides breathing, or rinsing hands, or perhaps doubting oneself, do we respect with such tiny fervor? We do not collect others’ washed hands, do we? Not unless we are deranged. Nor feel more alive when someone else breathes at us, do we? Liking by button-image is the long denied possibility of creating energy. Look how ridiculous we’ve become—you cannot rightly demand logic. Today we are all question, we really? constantly, really everything. Today we go without punctuation entirely. Tomorrow’s leaders stuff language inside quotations, trying idiotically to punctuate in a way that expresses their and only their condition. Regarding diction and syntax I have calculated this for the medium. Here, we can hate with heavy fuck, we fucking hate shit on the internet and do it in our own words, or words we’d like anyway to own, but only inasmuch.    [Kyle Beachy]

2) Point 26: Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding is the first novel to emerge from the student loan crisis. A little over a year ago, in June 2010, the total amount of money Americans owed for student loans caught up with, then exceeded, the amount of debt we’ve incurred with credit cards. That’s the same month The Art of Fielding’s Mike Schwartz, the college senior who mentors superstar shortstop Henry Skrimshander, “would be unemployed and homeless, with a degree in history and eighty thousand dollars in student loans coming due.” According to a recent piece published in Vanity Fair (authored by Keith Gessen, who is a novelist and Harbach’s n+1 co-editor),Harbach himself graduated with student loans so usurious that he evaded paying them for a decade. (Gessen recalls Harbach triumphantly calling one of his collectors, the aggregate calls of whom had rendered Harbach’s landline unusable, and announcing he would pay, against his book advance, for one loan’s $30,000 principal.) Many historical figures have written their way out of usurious debts. It wasn’t, however, until Balzac—whose own indebtedness, like Harbach’s, prefigured similarly indebted characters in his work (particularly Lost Illusions)—that one could argue that debt, however much it crushes the soul, might also impel it to industry, artistry and (sometimes) brilliance and commercial success. You don’t have to read much of Harbach or his peers, including the aforementioned Gessen, to understand that good, enduring work often arises from the obligation to pay one’s bills.    [J. Keenan Trotter]

3) Point 28: Reading the news reports on the Wall Street occupation, the most common theme would seem to be the perplexity of journalists as to the “objectives” of the protesters. The “biggest problem,” it is said over and over, “is that there has yet to be a cohesive message”; the protesters have not expressed an “especially clear objective”; indeed their cause is “virtually impossible to decipher.” In recent days, protesters have begun responding to such criticisms with lists of policy demands—including highly worthy ones, like repealing the Bush tax cuts, overturning the Citizens United decision, or reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act. For me, though, the appeal of the occupation has been the gross obviousness of its objective. The objective is the location: one occupies Wall Street in order to protest it. But what does it mean to protest Wall Street? Obviously, it means to communicate that what goes on there is harmful—to some of us, and maybe to all of us. To communicate to whom? Well, we might start with the bankers, those “anxiety-stricken status seekers” (as Etay called them in his great “Predatory Habits”), historically “more vulnerable to social censure than to rules.” Will it succeed? It depends what we mean by that word. Already the occupiers have succeeded in turning Wall Street into the kind of thing worthy of an occupation.    [Jon Baskin]

4) Point 51: Most men dislike long-term relationships not because they have a fear of commitment, but because they hate being confronted with the question, “What did you do today?” It reminds them of time passing, of getting old, and of how depressing the examined life really is. Men want to watch action films. They want warm baths and cold bourbon. They want to feel the snow drifting in through the window. They want to have sex while listening to audiobooks where love is necessary to the story. They’re like women that way.    [Jonathan Ullyot]

5) Point 45: Soliciting for advice on my job hunt has only made me feel more confused about how to proceed. Whatever someone might tell me with perfect confidence, you can be assured I’ve heard the opposite at least once before. Call the organization: it will show you’re serious. Do NOT call the organization: they HATE that. Always organize your resume chronologically. Always organize it in terms of relevance to the position. Your cover letter should reiterate your resume. Your cover letter should highlight elements outside of your resume. When I tell people that one of my career guides, “Knock ‘em Dead Cover Letters,” suggests including a positive quote from a coworker in your letter, they nearly all groan. Even the (seemingly) universally well-regarded practice of sending thank-you notes after interviews isn’t safe. According to the author of “Sweaty Palms: The Neglected Art of Being Interviewed,” H. Anthony Medley, “In the majority of cases writing a thank-you letter is more of a risk than a help.” With no clear path, I cling to my intuition. Getting a job—even getting considered for a job—is a lot like dating. Eventually, I tell myself, some hiring manager will like my style and see me as a catch. That, or I’ll end up on the street. One of the two.    [Emilie Shumway]

Honorable Mention:

Point 44 [Samuel Bayle] Point 5 [Justin Evans] Point 42 [Jonny Thakkar] Point 6 [Twyla Bell] Point 9 [Jonathan Ullyot]

  • Kindle

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.