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Rhoda Feng

Rhoda Feng is a freelance writer from New York whose work has appeared in 4Columns, The Baffler, BOMB, The White Review, The Hedgehog Review, Paris Review Daily, The Atlantic, The Guardian, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Salon, Brooklyn Rail, Public Books, and more.

Jay Caspian Kang’s The Loneliest Americans

If you’re a youngish Asian American like me, you can likely dredge up memories of being dragooned to test prep or tutoring sessions. Housed in spartan rooms with the obligatory Scantron machine, these may have been academies for the SAT, PSAT, AP, and ACT or aggressively accredited courses to give you an edge over other applicants to private or feeder schools. Acres of paper would be distributed, from pallets of practice questions to flash cards and take-home exercises. Classes were set to the metronome of drills. At some point, the instructor might airily toss off a bit of advice for the clueless: if in doubt, just bubble in “all of the above”—whatever the question, there was a good chance that was the right choice.

Colette Brooks’sTrapped in the Present Tense: Meditations on American Memory

Have you heard of Mondaugen’s Law? Named for an engineer in Gravity’s Rainbow who studies atmospheric radio signals, it has the economy of an epigram. Here it is in full: “Personal density is directly proportional to temporal bandwidth.” Temporal bandwidth, by Mondaugen’s lights, is one’s sense of the present moment.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

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