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Stamp out starving writers, buy their books!

We think you'll find something interesting here. There's lots to choose from. These posts just go on and on, backward through time. If you'd like to know whenever we post something new, you can get a feed from Critical Pages. If you type our address and add /feed/ at the end, that will do it. That's simply criticalpages.com/feed/ and you're on your way.

A New Word For New Times

Maybe you don’t frequent the Oxford Dictionaries site and you missed their choice for Word of the Year. The folks at Oxford Dictionaries don’t just put a bunch of neologisms into a hat and blindly pick one. In fact it took a lot of discussion, debate, and research before they chose post-truth as the Word of the Year — it’s an adjective they define as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal oxford-dictionaryof-english-220belief. ”

The lexicographers at Oxford Dictionaries are cool. They aren’t working in an ivory tower, remote from the rhetorical muck and fantasy of our eighteen-month campaign for president. They had this to say about the hyphenated word: “The concept of post-truth has been in existence for the past decade, but Oxford Dictionaries has seen a spike in frequency this year in the context of the EU referendum in the United Kingdom and the presidential election in the United States. It has also become associated with a particular noun, in the phrase post-truth politics.”

There was a time when post-truth meant “after the truth has come out.” No more. Now the word is used to mean a disregard and discounting of facts and an embrace of whatever you wish to believe. So, greetings to post-truth, the Word of the Year, and to the weird politics of the year 2016..

Stamp Out Starving Writers!

Stamp Out Starving Writers! Buy their books!Start by patronizing your local independent bookstore. Bookstores have lots of books and they’ll be glad to help you find whatever you want. We mean books. They’ll match you with a book. Or just wander amid the stacks of books and you’re sure to find something interesting.
Bookstore kissing 210
Sadly, the couple pictured here aren’t taking advantage of the amazing number and variety of books at hand. But we hope you will.

You can see our other Stamp Out Starving Writers announcements by using the search box at the top of the page.

Announcement: Rising Costs, Stagnant Wages

This poster came blowing by on the Web and we decided to put it up here. It doesn’t take up much space, but it says a lot. Apparently it originated at Occupy Democrats, but it isn’t so much a political opinion as it is an announcement of facts.

Poster about costs & wages from Occupy Democrats


Adoration of the MagiOne of the curses or blessings of contemporary life is that we get news instantaneously from all over the world, and a lot of days it’s truly depressing news. Whether or not you believe in angels singing over a stable in Bethlehem, whether or not you credit the tale of shepherds startled in their fields, and magi who traveled to Bethlehem bearing gifts, magi who got there by following a star — surely the news of that event would be better than what we’re getting these days. So enjoy this event, this balm for the soul. Use your imagination.

The painting is a detail from a much larger work, The Adoration of the Magi, painted by Domenico Ghirlandaio,the Italian Renaissance painter. Along with two brothers and a brother-in-law, he managed a studio workshop that turned out a number of paintings, a sort of “school of Ghirlandaio.” His most famous student-apprentice was Michelangelo. Those angels, or ones resembling them, appear in some other of the works to come out of that workshop, not quite mass production, but not unique either, and, indeed, how much was done by Domenico and how much by someone else is unknowable. The music that the Angels are singing is largely unknowable and quite inaudible. Do use your imagination.

Free! Almost, But Not Quite

Grumpy grammarian!

Grumpy grammarian!

We linguistic grumps at Critical Pages received an email from Amazon the other day. It was about Amazon Prime and FREE unlimited two-day shipping.  They said, “We thought you’d like to know that for just $79 a year, you can take advantage of unlimited FREE Two-Day Shipping with Amazon Prime.”  Now, we don’t want to be seen as old-fashioned, out-of-touch, mossback  reactionaries, but we’re pretty sure that if the two-day shipping is really FREE we shouldn’t have to pay $79 for it.  No, sir! We weren’t born yesterday.


Boston Marathon, 2013

Boston is a good sized city — a population of 680,000 — but small enough so you can get to know almost all of it. A large proportion of the citizenry of Boston and neighboring Cambridge is made of college and university students, giving much of the city a youthful feel. At the same time, it’s one of the oldest cities, with a history going back close to 1620. After the horrific attack on the crowd at this year’s  marathon, Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen told NPR’s Melissa Block , We only care about three things in this town. Sports, politics and revenge! And the revenge will be the laughter of our children. We are not going anywhere.” The photo of the flag at half mast was taken in an ordinary parking lot on this ordinary day,  far from the terrible scene in Boston, but bearing witness to it.

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Stamp Out Starving Writers!

Buy their books! As a Public Service, we at Critical Pages urge you to visit your local independently owned bookstore and buy a book. Now is a good time to prepare for spring and warm rains by  sitting in a tub of warm water with a good book. Bring a friend to the bookstore, too. Then you can sit together in that tub of warm water and read out loud to each other. You don’t think so? Have you ever tried it? We thought not. Yet it’s amazing what can be accomplished this way. Try it. You’ll be amazed. And you’ll make the bookstore, the publisher, and the starving writer happy, too.

Scribe working on a fresh post for Critical Pages.

Scribe working on a fresh post for Critical Pages.

O, we haven’t given up, called it quits, crept into a hole and pulled a rock over our head. Yes, we haven’t put up any fresh posts recently. But that’s only because we’re lazy. And, OK, just a wee bit depressed at the turn in the political life of the country. And, sure, the political life of the whole damned world.  We hope to regroup and get back to these pages soon.  Sooner or later, anyway.  In good time. Don’t rush us! We’re thinking! 

Server Error in the Scriptorium

Monks with parchment in scriptoriumWe warned you it might happen. We ascetics, working with no pay and even less glory at these Critical Pages, were informed that the server at our web host had “encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request. Please contact the server administrator to inform of the time the error occurred and of anything you might have done that may have caused the error.” Anything we might have done? Us? Us innocents? (That’s us and our server at in the graphic above .)  Anyway,  our website was offline for 24 hours. You didn’t notice? We  even lost the last couple of posts. Not to worry, we’ll put them up as soon as we finish sharpening our quills,  getting a new roll of parchment and some brightly colored inks. Please have patience.

More Notes

Tim Carmody, in his excellent piece, "How Haiti Became Poor", notes that President Trump's racist policies and vulgar language have sullied the word "shithole" which used to be one of the all-time great swear words. He's right. It's another terrible power this careless President wields.