Edmund White’s eloquent consideration of Cheever in the new New York Review of Books remembers the late author's connections with Chekhov, his love/hate relationship with Catcher in the Rye, and his short story, "The Enormous Radio," in which one woman is brought to despair via an excess of information from her neighbors.
Again and again Cheever nests one story into another. One of his first successful stories, "The Enormous Radio," is about a young wife in New York who listens to a new radio all day that, strangely enough, is tuned in not to broadcasts but to the conversations going on in the adjoining apartments. When her husband comes home one day she's a wreck. She sobs:
'They're all worried about money. Mrs. Hutchinson's mother is dying of cancer in Florida and they don't have enough money to send her to the Mayo Clinic. At least, Mr. Hutchinson says they don't have enough money. And some woman in this building is having an affair with the handyman—with that hideous handyman. It's too disgusting. And Mrs. Melville has heart trouble and Mr. Hendricks is going to lose his job in April and Mrs. Hendricks is horrid about the whole thing and that girl who plays the "Missouri Waltz" is a whore, a common whore, and the elevator man has tuberculosis and Mr. Osborn has been beating Mrs. Osborn.'
The consoling husband has the radio removed—other people's stories may be gripping but they can also have such a sad cumulative effect that they make one's own life impossible to live.
Isn’t this us, now? What is Facebook other than the magic radio, tuning us in "accidentally" to The Lives of Others, and leaving us feeling the addictive, quick euphoria of new information? Will we hang on to it, or will we ultimately beg our lovers to dismantle the machinery, leaving us free—not only to remember life without the constant hum and rush of detail but, moreover, life in which we grow by using our own imaginations.
White’s last words on Cheever reinforce the latter’s charms as explicitly sensual:
The vitality and fantasy of Cheever's writing, even when he is at his most serious, stand in complete contrast to the despair and loneliness and boredom of his life. What was it that allowed him to transform all this dullness into art? My own answer may sound trivializing but I would say it was his knack for writing seductively about the world of the senses—its colors and associations, its sexiness and its smells (above all, its smells!), not to mention its suave beauty, at once transitory and eternal in a way that Wallace Stevens understood in that paradoxical line of "Peter Quince at the Clavier": "The body dies; the body's beauty lives.
The is the opposite of the banality of gossip; this is the rare incandescence of prose.
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Big tech is making its opening moves into the health care scene, but its focus on tech-savvy millennials may miss the mark.
- Companies like Apple, Amazon, and Google have been busy investing in health care companies, developing new apps, and hiring health professionals for new business ventures.
- Their current focus appears to be on tech-savvy millennials, but the bulk of health care expenditures goes to the elderly.
- Big tech should look to integrating its most promising health care devise, the smartphone, more thoroughly into health care.
Turns out pushups are more telling than treadmill tests when it comes to cardiovascular health.
- Men who can perform 40 pushups in one minute are 96 percent less likely to have cardiovascular disease than those who do less than 10.
- The Harvard study focused on over 1,100 firefighters with a median age of 39.
- The exact results might not be applicable to men of other age groups or to women, researchers warn.
Here's why universal basic income will hurt the 99%, and make the 1% even richer.
- Universal basic income is a band-aid solution that will not solve wealth inequality, says Rushkoff.
- Funneling money to the 99% perpetuates their roles as consumers, pumping money straight back up to the 1% at the top of the pyramid.
- Rushkoff suggests universal basic assets instead, so that the people at the bottom of the pyramid can own some means of production and participate in the profits of mega-rich companies.
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