All posts tagged: significant time

The Most Revealing Episode of ‘Expats’

The Most Revealing Episode of ‘Expats’

[ad_1] Expats, Amazon Prime’s adaptation of Janice Y. K. Lee’s best-selling novel The Expatriates, is a slow-burn drama following the lives of three American women in Hong Kong in the aftermath of a tragedy. Each protagonist deals with complicated feelings of grief as their lives overlap, with the affluent Margaret (played by Nicole Kidman) serving as the story’s anchor. Yet in the series’ splendid fifth and latest episode, titled “Central,” Margaret doesn’t appear until nearly 40 minutes in, and the women’s troubles fade into the background. Instead, the show brings into focus the people who have been hovering around the margins of the main characters’ lives: their live-in domestic helpers, non-expat friends, the church pastor. Taking a narrative departure several hours into a TV show’s run is not a new technique. But “Central” is unusually expansive in scope as well as in structure, conveying an inverted, impressionistic take on everything viewers have seen so far. By spending significant time away from its protagonists, the show reveals truths about them that they themselves never could. I …

How to Think Big Like Schopenhauer

How to Think Big Like Schopenhauer

[ad_1] Want to stay current with Arthur’s writing? Sign up to get an email every time a new column comes out. “How do you write a book?” Like most authors, I get this question often. Sometimes, I find that the person is asking about overcoming specific obstacles, such as getting started (answer: first spend three months talking about your idea to anyone who will listen) and how to deal with writer’s block (answer: lower your self-imposed standards and just get words down). But sometimes, underlying the question is a more general curiosity or concern about how to do a really big thing requiring a great deal of time and intense personal discipline. A similar question might be “How do you run a marathon?” or “How do you play the piano?” People want to know how to do a big thing because in a life full of quotidian trivia, a major project—even if it isn’t necessary to support oneself—conveys significance and permanence. It can be proof to oneself of being able to accomplish something out of …

Americans Vote Too Much – The Atlantic

Americans Vote Too Much – The Atlantic

[ad_1] It’s always election season in America. Dozens of local contests are taking place across the country this month, from Montgomery, Alabama to the Mariana Ranchos County Water District in California. On August 8 alone, Custer County, Colorado held a recall election for a county commissioner; Ohio asked residents to consider a major ballot measure; and voters in Oklahoma weighed in on several ballot measures. America has roughly 90,000 local governing bodies, and states do not—at least publicly—track all of the elections taking place on their watch, making an exhaustive accounting nearly impossible. In many cases, contests come and go without any local media coverage, either. I came across a notice for an August 29 election in Marin County, California. When I called the Registrar of Voters for more information, the county assistant had to search a few moments before he could tell me that the town of Tiburon (population 9,000) was selecting a short-term council member. Jerusalem Demsas: Trees? Not in my backyard. Americans are used to pundits and civic leaders shaming them for …