May 1, 2014 / From the Editor, Uncategorized
Each Friday we compile a list of interesting links and articles our editors find from …
September 5, 2014
Each Friday we compile a list of interesting links and articles our editors find from across the web. Here’s what’s catching our eye this week.
The bravery of Flannery O’Connor:
I’ve been writing about favorite female authors of mine lately, and figured I might as well include Flannery. Mary Flannery O’Connor, who, like Harper Lee, went by her middle name. Another Southern writer, she is one of the most kick-ass writers I can think of. Her religious background fascinates me, as does her writing about religious themes. Her Prayer Journal did not surprise me. I was aware of Flannery before I actually read her work.
How bad would it be to have nude photos on the Internet? The Verge examines how photos hurt:
Celebgate is probably the biggest privacy breach of the most famous people ever to come to public attention all at once. If you didn’t feel vulnerable after the massive Target breach or after Mat Honan’s epic hacking, surely you should feel exposed now that dozens of rich and famous celebrities have had their private photos stolen.
David L. Ulin of the Los Angeles Time explains how nonfiction may be infringing on fiction in this online world:
When the Smoking Gun website first reported inconsistencies in James Frey’s memoir “A Million Little Pieces” last month, it looked as if we might finally have an opening to discuss the most interesting development in contemporary writing: the emergence of nonfiction as a literary form. Yet four weeks later, we are still fixated on the state of the publishing industry and the tenuous relationship between truth and illusion in a culture that seems willing to believe anything as long as it comes in a neatly digestible package. To be sure, these are important issues, but the Frey fiasco raises a more elusive question: To what extent (if at all) is invention, or re-imagining, allowable in a nonfiction work?
Ian Penman of City Journal writes about the tragic life and enduring influence of Walter Benjamin:
Nearly 75 years ago, at the outset of World War Two, stranded between official borderlines, right on the edge of things, the German Jewish philosopher and critic Walter Benjamin slipped out of life. His passing barely registered beyond a small circle of friends and fellow travelers—habitués, like himself, of severe literary journals, fringe politics, esoteric philosophies. Like that of Benjamin’s own literary heroes, Franz Kafka and Marcel Proust, his posthumous career was to prove far more lively. These days, anyone tilling the stony fields of literary or political theory would soon find himself persona non grata if he didn’t pay due obeisance to Benjamin—at least, the version of him now favored: the presiding angel over all that is left-leaning, interdisciplinary, and media-studious.
Is it worth it to know your history? The New Yorker unravels this question:
About a year ago, I wrote about some attempts to explain why anyone would, or ought to, study English in college. The point, I thought, was not that studying English gives anyone some practical advantage on non-English majors, but that it enables us to enter, as equals, into a long existing, ongoing conversation. It isn’t productive in a tangible sense; it’s productive in a human sense. The action, whether rewarded or not, really is its own reward. The activity is the answer.
The Pacific Standard examines the rise of biblical counselors over psychologists and how some want the psychologists back:
For millions of Christians, biblical counselors have replaced psychologists. Some think it’s time to reverse course. In March 1979, a 24-year-old Californian named Kenneth Nally took an overdose of his antidepressant medication, Elavil, and waited to die. Unconscious, he was found by his parents and rushed to a San Fernando Valley hospital, where he had his stomach pumped. A doctor recommended to Kenneth’s parents, Walter and Maria Nally, that they commit their son to a mental institution, but Kenneth and his father balked at the idea. Instead, Kenneth accepted an invitation to stay at the home of his pastor.
How can communities recover from Ebola? Gorillas may have the answer:
If a disease as deadly as Ebola spreads throughout a community, cutting it down to only a fraction of what it was before, will that population ever recover? In the case of great apes at least, a new study in the Journal of Animal Ecology suggests the answer is yes.
Could music make your more confident? Scientic American reports on a study that suggests so:
We all have those confidence-surging songs we listen to before a big event. Now researchers say that the lyrics are not necessarily what make us feel dominant—it’s the booming bass. That’s according to a study in the journal Social Psychology and Personality Science.
How to get an 11-year-old interested in the works of David Foster Wallace? Crack out your copy of Infinite Jest, and recreate it in Lego. That was the project embarked upon back in April by American English professor Kevin Griffith and his 11-year-old son Sebastian. They’ve just finished, and – running to more than 100 scenes, as I guess any recreation of a 1,000-plus page novel would have to – it’s something of a masterpiece. It certainly puts these Lego scenes of classic literature to shame.
Ever wondered how they make decaf coffee? This video explains:
David A. Garner