Minding her manners: The not-always-decorous life of Emily Post. In 1960 — having lived through the introduction of the telephone, automobile, airplane, radio and television — Emily Post died politely in her bed. “Just over two weeks later,” Claridge tells us, “during a General Assembly meeting at the United Nations, Comrade Nikita Khrushchev removed his shoe and banged it on the table.” As Life magazine asked, “What Would Emily Post Have Said?” — Washington Post

The news blues. Let’s be honest—this new millennium, so far it’s been a huge disappointment. It was preceded by a false alarm (the Y2K rollover), was cursed by hanging chads (the Florida recount), and has been held hostage ever since by the ministry of fear, with Americans meekly removing their shoes for the privilege of flying in airplanes charging fees for pillows and blankets. It’s been seven years since 9/11, no follow-up attack has stabbed our shores, and yet the front pages of so many papers resemble the end is near signs toted by bearded prophets that were once a staple of New Yorker cartoons. — Vanity Fair

Still not to the tiller: Land reform in China. AGAINST the ear-piercing screech of the global economy hitting the brakes, what sounded like a piece of good news could still be heard this week. China’s Communist Party unveiled its plan to double, by 2020, the disposable income of the 750m people in the Chinese countryside. One way it hopes to achieve this is through land reform.– Economist

Everyone sucks: A review of Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York. This is a very sad movie for two reasons. First off, the story, about a theater director who’s sucked into the vortex of his own impossible artistic ambitions, is unremittingly bleak, making for one of the most depressing nondocumentary films you’re likely to see, well, ever. But secondly—and in the long run, more movingly—Synecdoche is sad because it’s a constant reminder, a ghostly double, of the great movie it could have been. — Slate

Peter Fray

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