Saturday, April 26, 2008

The gods of world history

There's always something wonderful about just the right image, just the right combination of words to evoke a feeling you recognize at once, even though you didn't know it was there.

Like this, for instance, from Jonathan Frazen in The New Yorker:

"The week before, when I'd arrived in Shanghai, my first impression of China had been that it was one of the most advanced places I'd ever seen. The scale of Shanghai, which from the sky had presented a dead-flat vista of tens of thousands of neatly arrayed oblong houses—each of which, a closer look revealed, was in fact a large apartment block—and then, on the ground, the brutally new skyscrapers and the pedestrian-hostile streets and the artificial dusk of the smoke-filled winter sky: it was all thrilling. It was as if the gods of world history had asked, 'Does somebody want to get into some really unprecedentedly deep shit?' and this place had raised its hands and said 'Yeah!'"

– Jonathan Franzen
The New Yorker
April 21

Thanks, Robin, at Snarkmarket

1 comment:

  1. A celebrity is a widely-recognized or famous person who commands a high degree of public and media attention. The word stems from the Latin verb "celebrere" but they may not become a celebrity unless public and mass media interest is piqued. For example Virgin Director Richard Branson was famous as a CEO, but he did not become a global celebrity until he attempted to circumnavigate the globe in a hot air balloon. Another example is Al Gore, whose environmental crusade has elevated him to celebrity status. On the other hand, mass entertainment personalities such as soap opera actors or music stars are likely to become celebrities even if the person deliberately avoids media attention.

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