Liz sent this quote to me this morning. I won’t pretend to be a “master in the art of living” (still too clumsy at life, still finding my legs), but work looks ever more like play and play more like work. The similarities create all sorts of new complications involving the pursuit of uncomplicated pleasure, but I can not pretend for one moment that I do not love having the objects of my affection so close and accessible. We should all be so fortunate. Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.
Em and ens
Use spaced en dashes – rather than em dashes or hyphens – to set off phrases.
Standard computer keyboards and typewriters include only one dash, but a normal font of roman or italic type includes as least three. These are the hyphen and two sizes of long dash: the en dash – which is one en (half an em, M/2) in width – and the em dash—which is one em (two ens) wide.
In typescript, a double hyphen (- -) is often used for a long dash. Double hyphens in a typeset document are a sure sign that the type was set by a typist, not a typographer. A typographer will use an em dash, three-quarter em, or en dash, depending on the contest or personal style. The em dash in the nineteenth-century standard, still prescribed in many editorial style books, but the em dash is too long for use with the best text faces. Like the oversized space between sentences, it belongs to the padded and corseted aesthetic of Victorian typography.
Used as a phrase marker – thus – the en dash is set with a normal word space either side.
Use the em dash to introduce speakers in narrative dialogue.
The em dash, following by a thin space (M/5) or word space, is the normal European method of marking dialogue, and it is much less fussy than quotation marks:
— So this is a French novel? she said.
— No, he said, it’s Manitoban.
(via Robert Bringhust, The Elements of Typographic Style)
Ira Glass, on taste and creative work
Found on Kottke
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each tomorrow
Find us farther than today. — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
There is great tension in the world, tension toward a breaking point, and men are unhappy and confused.
At such a time it seems natural and good to me to ask myself these questions. What do I believe in? What must I fight for and what must I fight against?
Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of a man. Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man.
And now the forces marshaled around the concept of the group have declared a war of extermination on the preciousness, the mind of man. By disparagement, by starvation, by repressions, forced direction, and the stunning hammerblows of conditioning, the free roving mind is being pursued, roped, blunted, drugged. It is a sad suicidal course our species seems to have taken.
And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about.
— John Steinbeck, East of Eden
There are, for instance, twenty-one U.S. states that still allow corporal punishment in their schools. These are places where it is actually legal for a teacher to beat a child with a wooden board hard enough to raise large bruises and even to break the skin. Hundreds of thousands of children are subjected to this violence each year, almost exclusively in the South. Needless to say, the rationale for this behavior is explicitly religious: for the Creator of the Universe Himself has told us not to spare the rod, lest we spoil the child (Proverbs 13:24, 20:30, and 23:13–14). However, if we are actually concerned about human well-being, and would treat children in such a way as to promote it, we might wonder whether it is generally wise to subject little boys and girls to pain, terror, and public humiliation as a means of encouraging their cognitive and emotional development. Is there any doubt that this question has an answer? Is there any doubt that it matters that we get it right? In fact, all the research indicates that corporal punishment is a disastrous practice, leading to more violence and social pathology—and, perversely, to greater support for corporal punishment.
- Sam Harris, The Moral Landscape