It requires a certain interior strength to begin reading a novel and then, finding that it’s poor, to excuse oneself from completing it. With practice, however, it can be done.
For example: after considerable training, I’ve developed the ability to not even start reading in the first place. Each day, I specifically not read hundreds of books. Perhaps even thousands. Indeed, thousands is probably closer to the truth.
To most effectively induce vomiting, one needn’t trigger his gag reflex nor quickly administer an emetic. Rather, one needs merely to meditate on the idea of cohesion in non-fiction prose — either in one’s own work or another’s.
The End of History. After the End of Art. There exists a compulsion among modern intellectuals to pronounce the death of otherwise seemingly interminable concepts. Or there appears to exist such a compulsion, perhaps is the correct way to phrase it. In fact, reason dictates that such titles represent a calculated means by which to prevent the end of something else — namely, of book sales.
It’s easy — and perhaps even glib — to suggest that the only sort of acceptable polemics are those which condemn polemicists and their work.
Which, that’s why one ought to suggest it: because of how easy it is and simultaneously true.
It’s either impossible or rare to extract pleasure from the contents of a lecture while also harboring a low opinion of the lecturer himself. The inverse arrangement, however — that is, to find a lecturer compelling while simultaneously possessing a lack of interest in the topic — this is quite common.
Are there grounds, probably, on which to dissent from the substance of these remarks? Probably. That said, one can’t spend the day in explanation.
One friend called another on the phone.
When the latter answered, the former (after sufficiently identifying himself) replied: “Hey, got your wedding invite. I’m supposed to respond with any ‘known regrets,’ it says. What about unknown regrets, though? Who do I talk to about any possible unknown regrets?”
“I see,” said the second friend. “Unfortunately, I’m not in a position to help you. We’re currently only equipped to deal with known regrets here. We looked into possibly doing work with unknown regrets, but that’s a whole big thing. Lot of moving parts with unknown regrets.”
They didn’t call it a bit. Like, they didn’t use that word. But it was pretty obviously a bit.