from the world's big
“The Things They Carried,” 20 Years Later
Question: Do you look back on "The Things\r\n They Carried" with\r\nself-criticism or pride?\r\n\r\n
Tim O’Brien: I don’t think pride is the \r\nright word. I look at the book now, 20 years \r\nafter\r\nhaving written it, with a sense of dissociation. I\r\n find it hard to believe that those stories are mine and\r\nthose sentences are mine. And in a\r\nway they aren’t any longer. \r\nThey’re part of the world of literature. A\r\n book goes out and it takes on its own—I won’t say its own\r\nlife, but its own aboutness, an identity that is divorced from the \r\nperson who\r\nmade it. And I feel sometimes, even\r\nnow, a bit like a fraud. I know I\r\nwrote the book and intellectually I know it—but to read it, it surprises\r\n me at\r\ntimes. A phrase will surprise me\r\nor an event will surprise me, and it will come at me as a bit as a \r\nstranger’s,\r\nthe voice does. And in a way, I am\r\na stranger to the person who wrote that book. I’m\r\n 20 years older; I’ve got 20 years of new experiences;\r\nchildren, and things I never had before that make that old voice seem \r\nold.\r\n\r\n
Question: How does that dissociation \r\nrelate to the book’s\r\nthemes of continuous or discontinuous identity?\r\n\r\n
Tim O’Brien: No, in a way, life is eerily \r\nand uncannily\r\nechoed in that final chapter in the book where the Timmy, that little \r\nkid at\r\nthe end of that book, was a foreigner to the author who wrote the book. It’s an effort, as the story says at\r\nthe end, “To save little Timmy’s life.” \r\nThe little boy who grew up in a small cow town in southern \r\nMinnesota and\r\nfound himself entangled in Vietnam. But not just in Vietnam, in hard \r\nmoral\r\nchoices that it never would have occurred to me that I would have ever \r\nfaced in\r\nmy life. And the little naive,\r\nLone Range-playing Timmy that became that soldier in Vietnam was a kind \r\nof\r\nstranger to the guy who wrote that book, the middle-aged me, just as now\r\n the\r\nauthor of the book seems a bit of a stranger. By \r\n“bit of,” I’m not talking mysticism. I’m simply \r\nsaying that, you know, 20\r\nyears is a long time to pass, and one’s sense of self changes. I think of myself now primarily as a\r\nfather and secondarily as a writer. \r\nAnd I’ve heard those words come out of my mouth 20 years ago, it \r\nwould\r\nhave been impossible. Didn’t want\r\nkids, I didn’t think it would be very much fun. Didn’t\r\n think it would challenge me. I thought I would \r\nbe kind of bored by\r\nit and now that is more my life than writing.\r\n\r\n
Question: Why does the book seem to \r\nresist categorization as\r\nnovel, story collection, or memoir?\r\n\r\n
Tim O’Brien: It’s nothing intelligent\r\nbehind it, and it wasn’t a rationally planned operation, but rather it’s\r\n how\r\nthe world comes at me. It comes at\r\nme in a mix of my imagination. \r\nComing over here to do this interview I’m imagining who I’ll meet\r\n and\r\nwhat it will be like, and I’ve never done a video interview before, and \r\nwhat\r\nwill the physicality of the place be and all of these, and partly the \r\nreal\r\nworld. And I think that I’m not\r\nall that uncommon in that. I think\r\nwe all live partly in our daydreams. \r\nDaydreams is the wrong word because it makes it sound syrupy and\r\nmystically… but I partly mean daydreams, and I partly mean just thought \r\nor anticipation\r\nof an event that hasn’t occurred. \r\nAnd I think we all live there, and you certainly live there in a\r\nsituation such as a war where you’re partly—the reality of the world is \r\nin your\r\nface, and partly there’s the wistful call of girlfriends and home and \r\nall the\r\nthings you don’t have but yearn for. \r\nOr your living partly in your imagination and not in a war and \r\nyou’ll\r\nflow in and out of these two the way you would maybe in a cancer ward, \r\nor if\r\nyour marriage is collapsing, or your father has died, or you partly have\r\n the\r\nstark reality of that corpse in that coffin, and you’re partly \r\nremembering your\r\ndad’s face as he threw you a baseball, or even more poignantly in my \r\ncase, the\r\nwish that he were throwing you a baseball, the invented throwing of what\r\n wasn’t.\r\n\r\n\r\n
So, I guess what I’m saying is that, like \r\neverything, I\r\ndon’t and didn’t plan in a cerebral way the form of “The Things They\r\nCarried.” I took advantage of what\r\nwas natural to me. I intentionally\r\nknew what I was doing, but I was taking advantage of what really was \r\npretty\r\nnatural to me. I live in at least\r\nthose two worlds of imagination and the world we all live in.
Recorded March 22, 2010
Interviewed by Austin Allen
Two decades after his masterpiece, the author reflects on war, fatherhood, and the passage of time that’s made him feel like "a stranger to the person who wrote that book."
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Health officials in China reported that a man was infected with bubonic plague, the infectious disease that caused the Black Death.
- The case was reported in the city of Bayannur, which has issued a level-three plague prevention warning.
- Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
- Chinese health officials are also monitoring a newly discovered type of swine flu that has the potential to develop into a pandemic virus.
Bacteria under microscope
needpix.com<p>Today, bubonic plague can be treated effectively with antibiotics.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Unlike in the 14th century, we now have an understanding of how this disease is transmitted," Dr. Shanthi Kappagoda, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care, told <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">Healthline</a>. "We know how to prevent it — avoid handling sick or dead animals in areas where there is transmission. We are also able to treat patients who are infected with effective antibiotics, and can give antibiotics to people who may have been exposed to the bacteria [and] prevent them [from] getting sick."</p>
This plague patient is displaying a swollen, ruptured inguinal lymph node, or buboe.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<p>Still, hundreds of people develop bubonic plague every year. In the U.S., a handful of cases occur annually, particularly in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/plague/faq/index.html" target="_blank">where habitats allow the bacteria to spread more easily among wild rodent populations</a>. But these cases are very rare, mainly because you need to be in close contact with rodents in order to get infected. And though plague can spread from human to human, this <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">only occurs with pneumonic plague</a>, and transmission is also rare.</p>
A new swine flu in China<p>Last week, researchers in China also reported another public health concern: a new virus that has "all the essential hallmarks" of a pandemic virus.<br></p><p>In a paper published in the <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/06/23/1921186117" target="_blank">Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</a>, researchers say the virus was discovered in pigs in China, and it descended from the H1N1 virus, commonly called "swine flu." That virus was able to transmit from human to human, and it killed an estimated 151,700 to 575,400 people worldwide from 2009 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p>There's no evidence showing that the new virus can spread from person to person. But the researchers did find that 10 percent of swine workers had been infected by the virus, called G4 reassortant EA H1N1. This level of infectivity raises concerns, because it "greatly enhances the opportunity for virus adaptation in humans and raises concerns for the possible generation of pandemic viruses," the researchers wrote.
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
- The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
- Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
- Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.
Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Times of crisis tend to increase self-centered acts.