Postscript on McCain

Read David Grann in The New Yorker on what I consider an epic, a Greek, a heart-rending tragedy: the transformation, under pressure, of a great man, John McCain.

This is a man who was once “more at peace when he was losing” and who, above all, was afraid only of one thing: losing his honor.

Thinking in terms of the underlying idea for my book, I can’t help but wonder whether his (unexpected) “triumph” in the primaries was in fact the great “impostor” of his life, leading to an all-encompassing “disaster.”

(To those of you who are new to this blog, those words are from a Kipling poem that inspired my entire book.)


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I’m crushed: Only 3 out of 5

As you know by now, I’m a humor snob. So I’m gutted to discover, after taking the New Yorker‘s test for advanced readers, that I only scored three out of five. Being a Yoga snob as well, the last one threw me off. But even with that allowance, I’d only be four out of five. And so my Friday morning begins with a crisis.


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The Republicans and language

And from that same issue of The New Yorker, this piece, which might well have telepathically come out of my mind.

Regular readers of this blog may have noticed that I feel rather strongly about words and language–in more than one language, as it happens. So when a political movement arises with the apparent mission to abase and disdain language itself, you might be able to guess where my sympathies lie…


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Our election, Napoleon, and that map again

Remember that famous and superb map of the impostor success that I wrote about the other day? Well, it depicted Napoleon’s invasion of Russia, and how it went from triumph to disaster, which is one of the twin themes I explore in my book. There is a famous picture of Napoleon’s retreat. And now The New Yorker has updated it just in time for the remaining presidential debates:

The New Yorker

The New Yorker


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