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Posts Tagged: The Atlantic

The Elusive Happy Ending

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Happy endings are hard to come by in great literature, especially in stories that center on affluent American suburbs and their inhabitants. Over at the Atlantic, writer Ted Thompson looks at the hopeful and redemptive (but still believable) dramatic climax of John Cheever’s “The Housebreaker of Shady Hill”:

This is one of the things that’s so apparent when you’re reading Cheever: his openness to redemptive beauty.

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The Decline of Punctuation?!…

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We live in a heyday of punctuation. “Call this what you will—exclamatory excess, punctuation inflation, the result of the Internet’s limitless expanse—it is everywhere,” writes Megan Garber at the Atlantic. But perhaps not for long—with the rise of image-based expression like emoji and gifs, we are finding new ways to express ourselves, and we’re leaving exclamation points and question marks out of it.

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Poetry Is Useful—Or At Least It Can Be

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Poetry is always already revolutionary, then. What it says hardly matters. Poetry is useful because of its useless essence, not because of its individual meaning.

Of course, this is nonsense.

The way Noah Berlatsky sees it, mainstream culture and poets agree with each other that poetry is useless—it’s just that most people see that as a bad thing while poets see it as a good thing.

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Coping with Anxiety

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Editor of The Atlantic, Scott Stossel, suffers from anxiety, and he’s hardly alone. In an essay called “Surviving Anxiety,” Stossel chronicles his lifetime battle with the nation’s most common mental illness, describing himself from the age of two on as “a twitchy bundle of phobias, fears, and neuroses.”

After failed attempts to use therapy, drugs, and booze to manage his condition, Stossel describes his essay as a “coming out” story, and writes in hopes of providing others with evidence that they too can “cope and even thrive” in spite of the illness.

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Every Kiss Begins with Konspiracy

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Sometimes, during the sparkly onslaught of holiday-season diamond commercials, someone you know might remark that diamonds aren’t inherently very valuable and that there’s a conspiracy among diamond dealers to keep supply low and demand high.

As Edward Jay Epstein detailed in this classic Atlantic article from the archives, that conspiracy not only exists—it goes way, way deeper than you ever imagined.

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Goodbye to…Earth-Shattering Sex?

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The Atlantic gave the Rumpus’s own Sari Botton, Melissa Febos, Mira Ptacin, and Cheryl Strayed a chance to delve deeper into their contributions to the anthology “Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York.”

In a roundtable discussion with Marie-Helene Westgate, they discuss what it’s like to leave a city that, as Westgate puts it, “is a human entity unto itself: one capable of offering earth-shattering sex, endlessly stimulating conversation, and eventual transcendence, too.”

Hear their takes on questions like: “Is there a sense that leaving New York…constitutes a failure of character?” and more—and be sure to check out our two excerpted chapters from the book, one by Elisa Albert and one by Melissa Febos, right here on the Rumpus.

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“Because” Has New Meaning, Because Grammar

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Like it or not, the meanings and uses of words are constantly shifting, because language.

At the Atlantic, Megan Garber writes about how the word “because,” normally a subordinating conjunction, is increasingly being used as a preposition, with examples and possible linguistic explanations:

However it originated, though, the usage of “because-noun” (and of “because-adjective” and “because-gerund”) is one of those distinctly of-the-Internet, by-the-Internet movements of language.

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To Outline Or Not To Outline

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Are you like John Irving, who outlines his novels to the last detail? Or are you more like Flannery O’Connor, who works the story out through multiple drafts?

There are many thoughts on the internet about the pros and cons of outlining a story before you write it but when it comes down to it, it is about the writing:

We’re all born with an imagination.

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Turning the Clock Forward

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Most Americans probably enjoyed the extra hour of sleep they got this weekend when daylight saving time ended, but was it the product of an antiquated, inconvenient method of timekeeping?

The Atlantic‘s Allison Schrager says yes, but she doesn’t stop there: she advocates not only doing away with daylight saving time but reduce the contiguous United States’ four time zones to two, one for the West and one for the East.

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What Are We Supposed to Do About Gentrification?

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We’ve previously written a bit about gentrification, particularly in San Francisco.

Gabriel Metcalf, writing for the Atlantic‘s Cities blog, has some thoughts about what caused the problem and what we might try to do to solve it:

Many outspoken citizens did—and continue to do—everything possible to fight new high-density development or, as they saw it, protecting the city from undesirable change.

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“All Your Life is a Work of Art”

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The Atlantic has been hosting a series called “By Heart,” where authors discuss their favorite quotes in literature.

Edwidge Dandicat talks about her immigration experience and chooses a passage from a novel by Patricia Engels, which articulates that “trying to start a life in a strange land is an artistic feat of the highest order, one that ranks with (or perhaps above) our greatest cultural achievements.”

Dandicat says, “This brings art into the realm of what ordinary people do to in order to survive.

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The Dark Secret of the Old Silicon Valley

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In 1983, “Silicon Valley” meant something different: different tech companies were dominating for different reasons, in different areas of California’s Santa Clara County.

The Atlantic’s Alexis C. Madrigal went to look at what remained of that Silicon Valley from thirty years ago, and what he found is actually kind of shocking:

I explained myself to him, trying not to sound completely ridiculous.

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The Words They Carry

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The Atlantic has begun curating a series of authors’ favorite passages, poems, and lines.

The series is called By Heart and includes an essay on each selection and an illustration by Doug McLean.

Many authors discuss their favorite line from their favorite author, others share the quotes that get them through the writing process, and some reflect on why they love the lines they love.

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David Sedaris Writes Speeches for High Schoolers?

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As strange as it might sound, according to an article in The Atlantic, American humorist David Sedaris included several vignettes in his new book Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls: Essays, Etc. that he specifically wrote for high school speech competitions called “forensics.”

Sedaris states:

Students take published short stories and essays, edit them down to a predetermined length, and recite them competitively.

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The Dark Heart of College Sports

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Here is an actual thing said by an actual sports marketing executive to a group of commissioners trying to reform college sports:

“You sold your souls, and you’re going to continue selling them. You can be very moral and righteous in asking me that question, sir…but there’s not one of you in this room that’s going to turn down any of our money.

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