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Gerard Jones's Blog

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Jul.02.2008
A Facebook friend was comparing herself to Sisyphus this morning, which got me thinking about the old stone-roller's dilemma. You know the myth: the arrogant king whom the gods punished by making him roll a huge stone to the top of a hill, only to have it slip away from him right at the crest and...
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Jun.30.2008
In addition to my ongoing ruminations about struggling with this book called The Undressing of America, I'm also managing to waste a little time every few days with another blog called The Second Act. I use it for miscellany that would feel a bit intrusive in the Red Room, like snippets of my son's...
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Jun.28.2008
There are two ways for me to be as I write my book: I can go to my office at the Writers Grotto, open my laptop, type a sentence, then type another one, then type another one, noticing that some of them are good and some of them of them are bad but remembering that I can go back and make the bad...
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Jun.24.2008
Of course I know that all the crippling expectations I wrote about yesterday are entirely in my head. I can pull any non-fiction book I like from the shelf right next to me—Neal Gabler's A Kingdom of Their Own, Robert Caro's biography of Robert Moses, Greil Marcus's Lipstick Traces, Jason Roberts's...
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Jun.23.2008
I know exactly when I froze up on The Undressing of America: when the publisher bought it. Through my whole career I've been able to keep a pretty low profile, hiding behind modest expectations. Writing comic books, I could win the approval of my editors and most readers by meeting the expectations...
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Jun.22.2008
Before I beat myself up too much for taking two years to face the fact that I'm not getting my new book written as fast as I thought I would, I should acknowledge a lesson I just received in the mysterious tides of creation. It will probably come as no surprise to you that some books take longer to...
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Jun.21.2008
Over two years ago, I sold a book idea to Farrar, Straus & Giroux, one of our more respected publishers. My editor was very praiseful and encouraging, and I liked him. I expected to jump right in and turn it around quickly. But I haven't submitted a word yet. I've written a lot: written long...
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Jun.20.2008
As much as I love thinking and writing about this political stuff, I'm going to have to back off politics for a while. See, I've got this book I'm supposed to be writing. Farrar, Straus & Giroux paid me money and everything, and I haven't turned anything in. This is different from the funny...
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Jun.19.2008
I continue to respect my fellow voters more than the people who try to "work" us. For all the efforts of geeks, wonks, pundits, insiders, players and cynics to interpret election results as being about images, strategies, symbols, gaffes and gotchas, when times are tough most of us go on...
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Jun.17.2008
I heard myself saying it to my son as I let myself out of the house: "I shall return." In an arch, mock-stentorian voice. He didn't react. He never does, and I'll bet I've said it a thousand times. I didn't intend to say it, but I know where it came from: My dad used to say it to me when...
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Jun.15.2008
My long-time collaborator Will Jacobs and I are trying something new in our ongoing efforts to call attention to our revived humor writing. We're calling it "Sundays with Will and Gerry" because it sounds sort of corny and appealing and it puts us in mind of the Sunday funnies. Every...
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Jun.12.2008
I'm in the mood to let the great issues of American politics take care of themselves today and think instead about one of those cultural contributions of ours that flourish despite all political and economic vicissitudes. The movies, specifically. A video artist named Philip Scott Johnson has made...
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Jun.11.2008
The condemnation of the world is one thing. Americans are used to that. But there's something especially humbling about being viewed, not with fear or hostility, but with indulgent condescension. Read this column by Alexis Papachelas in the English edition of the Athenian daily newspaper,...
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Jun.10.2008
Democrats can't afford to get cocky, I know that. Obama's lead in the polls is slim, and it may still be just a post-victory bounce. McCain may yet find a way to speak to contemporary Americans in a way that convinces more than half of us that he's the man to lead us into the future. But so far his...
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Jun.09.2008
The post-mortems for the Clinton campaign still fill the punditverse, most of which fade into one long, annoying drone: hubris...didn't find her voice...no plan after Super Tuesday...underestimated caucuses...generation gap.... But Dr. G. Clotaire Rapaille, founder of a marketing consultancy called...
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