Thomas Frank via The Baffler/Salon.com:
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It’s genius season again. From NPR to the New York Times, they’re talking about where people were when they found out they had won the MacArthur Fellowship, our society’s most prestigious honor. Twenty-one of these so-called “Genius Grants” were announced two weeks ago by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation of Chicago; they carry with them a prize of $625,000, to be spent over the course of five years however the Genius in question wishes.
Over the years, stories on the subject have always seemed to start with the phone call from MacArthur HQ in Chicago. Where was the Genius when he or she got the call? What was it like to find out that someone was giving you all that moolah? The famous critic, it was reported, finds she must sit down. The Southerner lets rip with a yell.