Preparing for death. For the past half dozen years, I’ve been reading professor D.G. Myers’ literary criticism at A Commonplace Blog. Last week, in a sad post entitled “Dying is a 12-Step Program,” he wrote, “My seven-year-old son Isaac was listening to Gil Roth’s interview with me on the Virtual Memories Show. ‘He will be dead from prostate cancer within the next two years,’ Roth said in introducing me. ‘You’re dying?’ Isaac cried.” If you think literature is important, Myers is well-worth reading. As an Orthodox Jew, he takes seriously that man is more than material, and his book discussions are always worth reading.
Marriage fix. Megan McArdle makes an intriguing case against tougher divorce laws. Her conclusion: “If we try to strengthen marriage by clamping down on divorce, we may find that more and more people simply refuse to get married in the first place.”
Culture capsule. The Smithsonian Magazine features a story that explains “How Japan Copied American Culture and Made it Better.” In each case the Japanese imitator studied obsessively an American product such as bourbon, burgers, or denim work clothes in order to preserve and perfect an aspect of American culture.
Psycho-fad. “No Child Left Undiagnosed” is the provocative title of a column in Psychology Today. In it, Dr. Allen Frances, emeritus professor at Duke University, pokes fun at the latest psychiatric label being affixed to children: Sluggish Cognitive Tempo. He points to this article in The New York Times, which explains that proponents of the new disorder say it might affect some 2 million children who show signs of “lethargy, daydreaming, and slow mental processing.”