From Anthony Lane’s review of Before Sunrise in Nobody’s Perfect. I remember having a similar reaction to the character of Celine.
Anyways, Before Midnight is out next week. Should be fun.
The Oregon team persisted with therapeutic cloning research and eventually succeeded. Coffee is an essential feature of lab life – and the vital ingredient in their procedure turned out to be caffeine.
“It is remarkable that adding caffeine was the key that resulted in embryonic stem cell lines from all three [egg] donors,” commented Alison Murdoch, professor of reproductive medicine at Newcastle University in the UK where scientists have carried out similar research. “Scientists in human cloning breakthrough”
John Jeremiah Sullivan on David Foster Wallace
An excerpt from Wallace’s The Pale King:
Suffice it that Meredith Rand makes the […] males self-conscious. They thus tend to become either nervous and uncomfortably quiet, as though they were involved in a game whose stakes have suddenly become terribly high, or else they become more voluble and conversationally dominant and begin to tell a great many jokes, and in general appear deliberately unself-conscious, whereas before Meredith Rand had arrived and pulled up a chair and joined the group there was no real sense of deliberateness or even self-consciousness among them. Female examiners, in turn, react to these changes in a variety of ways, some receding and becoming visually smaller (like Enid Welch and Rachel Robbie Towne), others regarding Meredith Rand’s effect on men with a sort of dark amusement, still others becoming narrow-eyed and prone to hostile sighs or even pointed departures. […] Some of the male examiners are, by the second round of pitchers, performing for Meredith Rand, even if the performance’s core consists of making a complex show of the fact that they are not performing for Meredith Rand or even especially aware that she’s at the table. Bob McKenzie, in particular, becomes almost manic, addressing nearly every comment or quip to the person on either the right or left side of Meredith Rand[….]
John Jeremiah Sullivan discussing the passage above in GQ:
Imagine flat being able to dissect us like that, with that grain of detail—as primates, if you like—and worse, being unable to stop. A person would have to maintain tremendous stores of sympathy to keep the world from turning into a constant onslaught of Swiftian grotesquerie. Wallace didn’t seek to escape it, either—he cultivated it, as his art demanded. It ought to remind us of the psychic risk involved in writing at the level he sought. Like all good citizens, I’m with those who wish to resist romanticizing his suicide, but there remains a sense in which artists do expose themselves to the torrents of their time, in a way that can’t help but do damage, and there’s nothing wrong with calling it noble, if they’ve done it in the service of something beautiful. Wallace paid a price for traveling so deep into himself, for keeping his eye unaverted as long as it takes to write passages like the one just quoted, for finding other people interesting enough to pay attention to them long enough to write scenes like that. It’s the reason most of us can’t write great or even good fiction. You have to let a lot of other consciousnesses into your own. That’s bad for equilibrium.
Clive James: Wilson looked up to Fitzgerald’s natural talents but looked down on him as a mind, which was an unreal division, in my view. And anyway, Fitzgerald was never really as unscholarly as it suited Wilson to make out. In his maturity, Fitzgerald read a great deal. When he told his daughter that had hundreds of books about Napoleon in his library, he wasn’t kidding. But in Wilson’s mind Fitzgerald was a bad student because Fitzgerald had been a bad student when they were in college at Princeton.
Nichola Deane: You get an image of what a person is like when they are young and you can’t let go of it.
Clive James: Yes, and this is why you have to get away from your friends. At some stage you have to leave, or the people that know you will trap you in an image, and as far as Wilson is concerned, Fitzgerald was the talented goof-off, and of course he was, compared with Wilson. At Princeton they were both students of Christian Gauss, the great teacher. Certainly in Wilson’s eyes, Fitzgerald was the brain that could have been fine but never applied itself. Well, Fitzgerald never stopped applying himself all his life, and luckily he got away from Wilson. All the writers were lucky if they got away from Wilson because he would trap them in his impression of them, which was very, very sharply defined and very well done and everybody listened. Hemingway got lucky with Wilson, for example, but Nabokov eventually rebelled against him. It’s the Dr Johnson role. Wilson did treasure the Fitzgerald masterpieces. I think he called them two diamonds, Gatsby and Tender. I think he said that Gatsby was the perfectly cut one and Tender was the half-cut one, which is about right. Certainly he valued Fitzgerald as a prose writer, but he always gave the impression that he thought that with Fitzgerald it was a kind of fluke. It’s the way the Australian sports reporters used to talk about the swimmer Dawn Fraser. They would dismiss her genius on the grounds that she was a natural swimmer. For those reading or re-reading Gatsby ahead of the movie, and even for those who already came across it and hated it, Clive James on Fitzgerald is pretty great.
Michael Kinsley, “Writers Vs. Editors”