This Week in Great Sentences

On death, immortality and slipping into the future:


A few days later, Patient No. 93 was hoisted up on a forklift head first, like a hibernating bat, beside invisible cats, inside a seven-thousand-square-foot building in an industrial park in the heart of America, where some of the sorriest ideas of a godforsaken and alienated modern culture endure.

Jill Lepore, “The Iceman,” New Yorker, Jan. 25, on Robert Ettinger, founder of the cryonics movement.


Why, within the clerk’s small store alone, there were notepads and gauze pads and corn pads and sanitary pads and heating pads and cleansing pads. He also knew, making his living in a slightly medical field, that periods happen, and sanitary pads exist, and that neither of these facts is worth getting all giggly and red-faced about.

Kate Dailey, “The iPad: Love It or Hate It, but Leave Periods Out of It,” Newsweek, Jan. 27


These schools of thought, if that is the right word, are politically correct and value vacuous, citing social purpose as the purpose and yet violating the basic principle of reporting, which is that we should genuinely have the objective of being objective. Many of these individuals would be far better servants of society if they joined an NGO or charity in which they could more coherently expiate their bourgeois guilt.

Robert Thomson, (editor-in-chief of Dow Jones and managing editor of The Wall Street Journal), “End of the World As We Know It,” The Australian, Jan. 23, taking jabs at J schools, googles, aggregators and bailouts.


The more that TV pundits reduce serious debates to silly arguments, big issues into sound bites, our citizens turn away.  No wonder there’s so much cynicism out there.

Barack Obama, “State of the Union,” Jan. 27


I hope to hell that when I do die somebody has the sense to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except

sticking me in a goddam cemetary. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you’re dead? Nobody.

J.D. Salinger, “Catcher in the Rye,” 1951

3 responses to “This Week in Great Sentences

  1. did you just soundbite Obama about soundbites? jk! but srsly, did you think he was quoting Conan? I did.

  2. I sorta did — the theme of cynicism was too obvious. Too bad George W Bush is going to take back the presidency due to low poll numbers

  3. Thomson raises some good points, but he doesn’t offer many concrete steps to saving journalism. He comes off as another one of the old guard bitching about how things have changed without offering any insight into the specific technical challenges of making money from online content. At least he does recognize that something needs to change.

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