As in many other Western countries the ‘elite’ has become suspicious, but in Danish even ‘ambition’ has a negative connotation. When I look it up in my English dictionary, it’s associated with words like ‘achievement’ and ‘performance,’ ‘will power’ and ‘hard work;’ the examples suggest that ambition is an acceptable, or even admirable, way to achieve your goals (ambitious students; an ambitious attempt to break the record; an ambitious program to eliminate all slums). Definitions in my Danish dictionary, on the other hand, are notably different: ‘1) Which is full of ambition = desirous, pushy: an ambitious career-hunter. 2) Which requires great effort, perhaps too great: a very ambitious project, an ambitious goal.’
So there it was, still intact despite the technological advances and laconic delivery: the lyricism of night flight as first and famously evoked by Saint-Exupéry. It was as if he had revealed something intimate to me, the experience that was at the core of his being: a realm of poetry accessible only to those whose world-view is based on technology, knowledge and calculation rather than wide-eyed wonder.
Geoff Dyers’ book Another Great Day at Sea: Life Aboard the U.S.S. George W. Bush, gives us a look at the humdrum beauty of the routine on the largest aircraft carrier in the world.
"Places and lives contain all sorts of self-defeating contradictions, and in New Orleans one of the most potent was that many of the people who had come to help the city were also hurting it.”
It’s Thanksgiving here in America, a day of infamy for turkeys.
"The South, more than any other region of America, is forbidding to outsiders. … I grew up with what I take to be a somewhat common perspective, on the South as charming but inscrutable, languid but dangerous, a place where sinkholes — real and metaphorical — await anyone who doesn’t know exactly where to step."
In honor of Banned Books Week, we’ll be looking at authors who’ve had their work challenged in the United States. Today, take a look at Robert Penn Warren’s All The King’s Men, which was challenged in Dallas, TX in 1974 for depicting a “depressing view of life” and “immoral situations.”
This is America and I will not dance at the country
Club, I will run into the fields & stand with Carmen
Who once cut tobacco in the Piedmont summer.
Somewhere I am sixteen and some
How I am failing my driver’s
Test because I cannot back up for twenty
Feet in a straight line.