Emily Carter Roiphe:
The idea of someone living without a car didn’t come up any more than the idea of someone walking around without a head. If you lived, you drove, was the assumption anywhere but the small island where I was born. The only people who took the bus were disabled, like me: by poor eyesight, by Parkinson’s or schizophrenia, by deafness, by poverty. Those of us who rode the bus didn’t merely look resigned; we looked defiant, staring straight ahead in the kind of square-shouldered so-what attitude most often used to conceal shame about our cheap snow boots and the huge sums of subtraction that showed in our faces.
I hit up my mother for driving lesson money. “Only marginal people take the bus here,” I said.
“Well, Sweetie, you are marginal.”
Often when people have wine in their house they think, Well, I better be fancy and sip this plain wine very slowly. Nope. Wrongo. Wine is just an ingredient. Lose the monocle and let’s get creative with our wine consumption. Welcome to the fierce majesty of the wine spritzer.
“But how? Where do I start?” you ask. A valid question. The internet offers shockingly little utility here. Martha Stewart’s own wine spritzer recipe merely lists “white wine” and “club soda” as ingredients. Really Martha? ANY white wine? Plain ‘ol club soda? That might play in Connecticut but this is the internet, and we demand better. A glass is a canvas. Wine and soda are the daubs of vivid color with which we will paint the future.
The government is now keen to avoid signs of excess.
I only needed to go to work to see why. Nauru’s government offices were nice and new. They were a two-storey block, with a really clever system of verandahs around it that meant you could navigate the whole place even under conditions of torrential rain. The Finance Department operated out of a portable building attached to the side of the main complex, but overall it was a highly satisfactory working environment.
Of course, the explanation for investment in exemplary workspaces was less uplifting. Deliberately lit fires had consumed the old buildings. Nauru’s motto was “God’s will first”, and the will of God was that displeasing things should be consumed by fire.
The interaction between dark-suited editor and smiley Karp looked less a power move than that of a bar mitzvah accepting congrats on his big day; you could see Karp applying himself, but he hasn’t quite grown out of his executive-puberty stage. When asked a question that bores him, his eyes go unreactive, and there’s a nearly audible shutdown noise as he disengages. Among the topics that bore him are cars (“I don’t like cars anymore”); Internet comments (“Gross”); his company’s colossally expensive infrastructure (“I have a very rudimentary understanding of how Tumblr actually works these days”); and management (“I’m not super-passionate about how we run the company”).
[T]here was little enthusiasm for finding a cure for such an incomprehensible disease so long as it only affected a few dozen sailors in far-flung locales, far from the public eye. It wasn’t until the rise of the British Navy that serious attention turned to scurvy. As it became a global power, England found itself with a fleet of ships spread out across Europe, Asia, and the Americas, that needed to be kept at sea for months on end. What had once afflicted small ships at the ends of the mapped world was now sapping the strength of the greatest navy in the world. In the eighteenth century, scurvy was responsible for more deaths in the Navy than enemy actions: in 1780 alone, scurvy killed 1,600 men in a fleet of 12,000, while enemy action killed only sixty. Once a disease of exploration, scurvy had become a disease of empire.