Category Archives: Narrative

Links and Comments: Bannon’s historical cycles; the Myth of Main Street; Late Bloomers

Interesting stories and essays from Sunday’s New York Times. Bannon’s Worldview: Dissecting the Message of ‘The Fourth Turning’ A news article about a book that has influence Steve Bannon’s thinking about the world, a book by two amateur historians, that … Continue reading

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Winter Comes to Water As Well As Land: Gene Wolfe’s “The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories”

Gene Wolfe, “The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories” (1970) (~15 pp) Winter comes to water as well as land, though there are no leaves to fall. The waves that were a bright, hard blue yesterday under a fading … Continue reading

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Founding Father Thomas Paine and the Bible

I haven’t subscribed to Free Inquiry magazine for years, but I picked up the latest issue last week and was fascinated by a piece about Thomas Paine, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, whom the modern religious … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Narrative; the Limits of Rationality

I seem to have not yet mentioned yet another essay about how narrative is taking over the world. James Murdoch (CEO of 21st Century Fox) a couple weeks ago in Time Magazine: Storytelling—both fiction and nonfiction, for good and for … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Conspiracy Theories, Cognitive Biases; Changing Minds; All Stories

Catching up on links and comments from this past week. First, a couple book reviews in last Sunday’s NY Times Book Review. First, a review by Adrian Chen of Suspicious Minds: Why We Believe Conspiracy Theories, by Rob Brotherton. Subtitle: … Continue reading

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The Yearning for the Golden Past

The Conservative Grand Narrative, according to Jonathan Haidt (mentioned in my discussion of his book The Righteous Mind in this post) is about “the struggle to return to a golden past” — a theme we hear echoed in Republican presidential … Continue reading

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The Narrative of Narratives

A couple of years ago, when I read David McRaney’s second book, You Are Now Less Dumb, with its long section about human beings’ ‘narrative bias’, in which everything must be understood as some kind of story, this was a … Continue reading

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John Crowley on Narrative

From the November issue of Harper’s magazine, a lovely essay on narrative by [the acclaimed sf/fantasy author] John Crowley: A Ring-Formed World. It begins (my bold): I have recently developed a crank theory, for which I can adduce no real … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Bruni on Cruz; Flip-flopping presidents are most effective; political persuasion; Republicans’ economic narrative; Lisa Randall, a new Trek

From last Sunday’s New York Times: Frank Bruni on Ted Cruz’s Laughable Disguise He emphatically recalls how his father’s embrace of Jesus Christ led him back to his mother — and to him — after his parents had separated. He … Continue reading

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Narrative vs Reality

Another post about Republican politics — because, cf. Heinlein, this is currently the greatest threat to the advancement of American society. Trump is a buffoon; Carson a mild-mannered religious zealot; Cruz an megalomaniac, evangelical religious zealot; Christie a political clown; … Continue reading

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