046: Border Countries
Emily Ratajkowski, Michael Crichton, Scott Alexander, writing about yourself, and fun gift ideas for things you can't get on Amazon
And real borders are, in fact, very weird.
One of the more fraught conversations I had this past week was a short but heartfelt debate on whether or not there is a difference between memoir and autobiography and whether or not both are inferior to biography. Yes, this is the kind of thing that gets argued about in my family.
The first premise was that memoir, with its connotations of self-aggrandizement and transient celebrity, is inferior to autobiography, with its connotations of a substantive life, well-lived and reflected upon. The second was that biography is superior because it is ‘researched’ and, as such, ‘fact-based.’
For me, these premises are triggering.
Let’s take the last one first.
What is a ‘fact’ and what is ‘research’ hasn’t been something I take for granted since college when my “Astronomy 2: Physics of Stars” professor showed us how an aberration of 2 microns (or 1/50th the width of a h…