Scalzi & Sullivan & Burland
No, not a law or architecture firm, but two links that I enjoyed today plus a good debate from the other day.
"I never got Holden Caulfield anyway. This partially due to having my own reading tastes bend towards science fiction as a teen rather than the genre of Alienated Teen Literature, of which Catcher is, of course, the classic. If you were going to give me a teenage hero, give me Heinlein's Starman Jones: He traveled the galaxy and memorized entire books of log tables and became Captain of a starship (for procedural reasons, granted). All Holden did was bitch, bitch, bitch. Put Holden at the controls of a starship and he'd implode from stress. Not my hero, thanks."
Mr. Scalzi and I are the same age and as teenagers appear to have had similar tastes in literature. I loved SciFi and Fantasy novels as a teenager and when I was made to read novels like "Catcher in the Rye" in school, I found them to be repugnant. I remember thinking that someone should tell Holden to get a life and get on with it.
I was made to read that novel when I was miserable at my high school, but rather than whine about it, I went out bought thrift store clothes, dyed my hair, hitched every ride to Hollywood I could, and took lots of photos at concerts. Holden was up there with the non-hero of "The Good Earth" for folks I would ignore rather than hang out with at that stage of my life.
Mr. Scalzi has squarely hit the nail on the head with his assessment that Holden was too passive. I didn't have those words in high school, but I knew that if you didn't like your life, like I didn't like mine, you did something about it. To this day, I have always thought of Holden Caulfield as the hero to young men of a melancholy bent and I have yet to meet a woman who really liked him or the book as a teenager. If you are a woman and identified with Holden or Catcher in the Rye, please feel free to comment below in his defense.
"So much of American politics is debate conducted at a distance, through ads or soundbites or various talking points that never actually engage one another in debate. Reared in the British debate tradition - I debated through high-school and college, becoming President of the Oxford Union in 1983 - this has always felt to me like the biggest drawback of the American system.
The point of debate is to clarify things, to find where the real points of disagreement are, and to assess them in that context of actual alternatives. "
I find this a wonderful assessment as some of my favorite people to debate with have been raised and/or educated in the British or Irish systems. Just a few days ago, I found myself in a good give & take with James Burland on Twitter about Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu for the Nokia Booklet. After our tweeted mini-debate died down, I realized that I thoroughly enjoyed debating the merits of Windows 7 with a Brit who was also a fellow creative and Mac owner as he was able to help me parse out what I was really thinking about rather than both of us taking a side and sticking to it.