How did these giants not notice: For the first time since an elderly friend became ill four years ago, Amtrak semi-failed us yesterday.
But that's a different story.
This morning, up here in the Hudson Valley, before we go to visit our friend, we were reading Steven Pinker, in an interview in in the Book Review section in tomorrow's New York Times. Asked for his favorite science writers, Pinker responded alphabetically:
PINKER (2/28/14): Broadly defined: Dan Dennett, Jonathan Gottschall, Colin McGinn, Geoffrey Pullum, Mary Roach, Robert Sapolsky, Steven Strogatz, Carl Zimmer.In a brush with greatness on somebody's part, Dennett's sister, Charlotte Dennett, was our pal in grade school.
We'll admit it! Daniel Dennett is one of the writers we enjoy reading for his apparent incoherence, especially in Consciousness Explained, which the New York Times declared to be one of the most accessible books of all time. Soon, Pinker was asked to name "the great writing styliests of our time:"
PINKER: Where to begin! In the book I showcase Richard Dawkins, Rebecca Goldstein, Margalit Fox, Isabel Wilkerson, Brian Greene, John Mueller and Mike O’Connor, author of the Ask the Bird Folks column in The Cape Codder.So many great stylists! Four ourselves, we have studied Greene at great length, pondering his inability to "make Einstein easy." Earlier this year, we spent maybe six weeks in the coffee joint puzzling over the world-class incoherence of Goldstein's book on Godel.
Pinker went on and on, praising the greatness of the high-minded and brilliant. For whatever it may be worth, Goldstein is his wife.
Can we tell you what we always think when we see work of this type?
Our current posts on The Houses of Nantucket County have led us back into the world of Clinton/Gore-trashing. Here's what we always wonder when the Pinkers go on and on about the greatness of their class:
We always wonder how all the named giants have managed to sleep through the past many decades. Why the lunacy of the "earth tones" journalistic culture didn't offend their massive pools of intelligence, as it so deeply insulted ours.
(Our active puzzlement about that culture dates to 1992.)
Are you happy with the place that culture has taken us to? Here at THE HOWLER, we aren't! Next week, we'll finish our Houses of Nantucket County posts and move on to our next topic.
Jack Kennedy wrote Why England Slept. In our view, the Pinkers, so skilled at self-praise, have slept through their own era.
Did they own TV sets in the Clinton/Gore years? What did they think when they read Maureen Dowd? Given their self-admitted brilliance, how have they managed to sleep so deeply and soundly, for so many years?
All in the family: On the front page of that same Book Review, Krugman discusses the rolling failure of the top economics professors!