Saturday, February 12, 2005

Good first sentence

From Julia Phillips' "You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again," a winner in style as well as content:
"She watched herself watching her nails dry and the news washed over her, a litany of chaos, lies, and despair."

8 comments:

Zemblan said...

Since things are slow around here I thought I'd share an interesting article I found from: http://prospectmagazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=6761

I take the main point to question the common economic assumption that increasing GDP, or at least increasing avg wages, is always desirable. And therefore it also gives good reasont to question the common tax policy assumption that it is bad when taxes lessen the incentive for people to work.

"Since people are always comparing their incomes with what others have, or with what they are used to, they only feel better off if they move up relative to the norm. This process can have counterproductive effects. I have an incentive to work and earn more: it will make me happier. So do other members of society, who also care about their relative standard of life. Since society as a whole cannot raise its position relative to itself, the effort which its members devote to that end could be said to be a waste—the balance between leisure and work has been shifted "inefficiently" towards work.
. . .
"That is why the rat race is so destructive: we lose family life and peace of mind in pursuing something whose total cannot be altered. Or so we would—if we had no income taxes. But income taxes discourage work. Most economists consider this a disadvantage. They say that when someone pays £100 in taxes, it hurts more than that—it has an "excess burden"—because of the distortion away from work. But without taxes there would be an inefficient distortion towards work. So taxes up to a certain level can help to improve the work-life balance of citizens and thus increase the overall sense of wellbeing in a society. They operate like a tax on pollution. When I earn more and adopt a more expensive lifestyle, this puts pressure on others to keep up—my action raises the norm and makes them less satisfied with what they have. I am like the factory owner who pours out his soot on to the neighbours' laundry. And the classic economic remedy for pollution is to make the polluter pay.
. . .

"Those who want to cut taxes should explain why they think we should work harder and sacrifice our family and community life in pursuit of a zero-sum status race."

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star said...

I am a great lover of first sentences in novels. I have many that take my breath away.Here are some of my favorites.
'When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.' Harper Lee - To Kill A Mockingbird.
"Sally." Stephen King - The Stand
"Last night, I dreamed I went to Manderlay again." Daphne du Maurier - Rebecca
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star said...

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'When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.' Harper Lee - To Kill A Mockingbird."Sally." Stephen King - The Stand "Last night, I dreamed I went to Manderlay again." Daphne du Maurier - Rebecca.
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