May 18, 1986 |
"Why not devote a column sometime to the paradox?" asks the Rev. Vance Geier. Well, for one thing, anything as simple as the paradox is very hard to write about, the easiest things being the most difficult. If those two statements seem contradictory, I'm getting to the point. G. K. Chesterton, the British essayist and master of the paradox, observed, "It's the little things in life that are colossal."
June 11, 1986 |
In writing the other day about the oxymoron and the paradox, I did not claim to be an expert on either. Readers have alleged that I was wrong on some points, which makes me right. According to the definition I used, a paradox is "a seeming contradiction; whatever sounds impossible yet is in fact possible." For example: "Less is more." An oxymoron, as I defined it, is a very brief paradox, one usually expressed in two words, such as "honest thief."
October 11, 2009 |
Modern architecture is growing old. The groundbreaking designers at Germany's Bauhaus began building nearly a century ago. Many landmarks of midcentury Modernism, while somewhat younger, are also showing their age, their curtain walls taking on water, their cantilevers askew. And now the most recent examples of the style, late-modern buildings from the 1960s, are nearing the half-century mark. That advancing age, in the simplest terms, means the most significant modern landmarks increasingly need protection from demolition, and even from benign disregard.
August 19, 2009
The new General Motors poses something of a conflict of interest for taxpayers. The restructuring brokered by the Obama administration left the public owning 61% of the company, so the more profitable it becomes, the better the return will be on the public's investment. At the same time, taxpayers in the market for a car don't want to maximize their local GM dealer's profits, at least not until they drive away from the showroom. The bottom line, though, is clear: Now that we co-own GM, we're in favor of anything that boosts sales of its cars and trucks.
April 24, 2013 |
Bob Hicok is one of my favorite poets. Partly, it's the movement of his lines, which are both conversational and utterly unexpected, almost as if he (or we) are joining a conversation that extends beyond the framework of the poem. “My heart is cold,” he writes in “Pilgrimage,” the opening effort in his new collection “Elegy Owed” (Copper Canyon: 112 pp., $22), “it should wear a mitten. My heart / is whatever temperature a heart is / in a man who doesn't believe in heaven.” And then there's that: his unrelenting vision , a sense of the world as both utterly real and utterly elusive, and heartbreaking because we have to die. Death is at the center of Hicok's writing - not in a maudlin, self-pitying way, but rather as a vivid presence, infusing everything, even the deepest moments of connection, with a steely sense of loss.
November 10, 1991
Life is full of paradoxes. I'm sure someone famous said that. Everyday paradox floats up at me from the pages of the L. A. Times. The paradox suggested by . . . "The Pregnancy Police" (is that) society seems to be quite self-righteous about controlling a woman's vices during pregnancy for the sake of the infant. At the same moment, society bats no eye at aborting the same infant for convenience. I personally don't smoke or drink, and clearly abortion is a complex issue. I'm not on any committee to stop anything, but it sure does make a person think.