Escape into Meaning: Essays on Superman, Public Benches, and Other Obsessions

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Escape into Meaning: Essays on Superman, Public Benches, and Other Obsessions

Escape into Meaning: Essays on Superman, Public Benches, and Other Obsessions

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This isn't a knock against his essays, or even essays generally, but his writing is so frequently about topics where actual representation of his subject can add meaning that even his imagery simply can't. He probes, questions and digests with such assured skill that it belies his own insecurities and unsettled views.

Here he dissects the blissfulness of sitting on a public bench in Barcelona, watching the world go by during the covid-19 pandemic. Then to read your exact thoughts on the page from an author who perhaps lived centuries ago… it reminds us of this shared thread of humanity that runs through everyone existing in this world. In a major work of scholarship both erudite and very funny, Jeremy Dauber traces the origins of Jewish comedy and its development from Biblical times to the age of Twitter. I'm also not really convinced Seinfeld's observations were all that universal so much as that the people they weren't universal to didn't really get to say much about it. R. James, from Edgar Allan Poe’s terrifying tale of a doppelganger to Charlotte Riddell’s Open Door that should definitely stay shut, join Stephen as he tells you some truly terrifying tales.To a smaller degree, Jerry Seinfeld's Intangibles also feels like it's missing something when it discuses the universality of observational humor that tries to make "everyone" laugh - the change in his position relative to the general public as he's aged has affected the universality to his beliefs without him quite accepting that.

My grades weren’t great, but they were good enough, and good enough is all a relatively privileged kid has to be. I’ve been watching his videos on YouTube for the past 7 years (at least) so it made me happy that he published a full book. The rest of the essays varied, the one on Superman reading to me like a guy's take on Superman, and I didn't finish the one on Seinfeld--I tried twice to watch some of the show, but both times got to where this loud, boring guy mansplained at the top of his lungs to a captive audience and I flipped the channel both times. Though it would’ve been far more dramatic if I followed through with my plan to mail the quote to my parents. If you’re feeling low, “Self-Reliance” is the best pep talk imaginable: “You cannot hope too much or dare too much.Some see this inconsistency, this fluidity, as a weakness of Emerson’s work; others point to it as the best reason for his longevity. Instead, I tried to understand what was the underlying themes behind these topic choices that range from Super Man, to Lord of the Rings, to Jerry Seinfeld and the merits of having friend.

I wanted to retrieve the cloudy, half-formed thoughts from my head and give them shape, make them real.

Have you had the experience of finding yourself back in the same place again and again, after attempts to start over, with new friends, new partners? Puschak reads like a young Oliver Sacks at times -- no small compliment -- and his reflections can be similarly elegant and masterly. I did the least amount of work necessary to cross the checkpoints and not be a disappointment to my family. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? And what’s so moral anyway about a system that selects for good test-takers, while leaving plenty of intelligent and talented students behind?

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