- Holman Jenkins on the Future Google Jenkins discusses
the possibilities of targeted advertising--Google knows, he explains
"'roughly who you are, roughly what you care about, roughly who your
friends are.' Google also knows, to within a foot, where you are."
Jenkins finds this "a bit scary," and takes a look at Eric Schmidt's
attitudes towards privacy, which, as Schmidt says and Jenkins admits to
be true, "go[es] far beyond Google."
- Allen Frances on the New
D.S.M.'s Anti-Emotion Attitude The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and
Statistical Manual of Mental disorders, writes
Frances, former chairman of psychiatry at Duke, contains guidelines
that would lead to the bereaved being diagnosed with "major depressive
disorder." What's wrong with this? We should oppose the "wholesale
medicalization of normal emotion," argues Frances, not least because
grieving "with family and friends, as people always have," is quite
effective. There's no need for drug companies to "quickly and greedily
pounce on the opportunity ... 'teach' physicians how to treat mourning
with a magic pill."
- Frank Rich on Judith Dunnington Peabody Rich dedicates
his column to recalling the tremendous service the late socialite did
for the cause of gays dying from AIDS. She "did the unthinkable," he
writes, "by volunteering to work as a hands-on caregiver to AIDS
patients and their loved ones" at a time when the patients were treated
"'as bearers of the plague,'" and even healthy gays were "second class
citizens." Peabody's example, Rich says, "had a discernable effect in
beating back ignorance and fear in New York." Rich then goes on to
discuss other civil rights battles. "Make no mistake about it," he
writes: "The Proposition 8 trial, Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision and
the subsequent reaction to it (as much a non-reaction as anything else)
constitute a high point in America’s history-long struggle to live up
to its democratic ideals."
- Joanna Weiss on Maternity Leave We don't really care about family values, argues
Weiss in The Boston Globe. If we did, we wouldn't be leaving maternity
leave "up to luck: the size of your company, the generosity of your
boss, the salary (or existence) of your spouse." Simply, "we need ...
some national standards for affordable leave." She reviews a few
options, "hardly European-style social welfare," and also suggests it's
time for the "boring Mommy Wars, which view working motherhood as a
luxurious option for the upper-middle class," to end. "In truth,
working moms are a fact of life. Children are a biological reality."
Hofmann on the Importance of Languages Forget the economic justifications some offer for
learning a foreign language, or the idea that you need "another
language ... to use and understand your own." The real reason to study
another tongue, asserts
the translator in The Guardian, "is "that you're not making enough of
your individual (or collective) human potential if you allow yourself
to be enclosed by one language." Here's Hofmann passionately making his
case against the increasing inattention to languages in the British
On the individual level, think of the loss
of possibility, the preordained narrowness of a life encased in one
language, as if you were only ever allowed one, as if it were your skin
in which you were born. Or your cage. That's your lot. When the great
Australian poet Les Murray said: "We are a language species", he didn't
mean English. We think and are and have our being in, and in and out of
languages--and where's the joy and the richness, if you don't even have
two to rub together? If you don't have another language, you are
condemned to occupy the same positions, the same phrases, all your
life. It's harder to outwit yourself, harder to doubt yourself, in just
one language. It's harder to play.
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments
or send an email to the author at
hhorn at theatlantic dot com.
You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.