Best Of The Web
“This July, I hit a low. A how-do-we-keep-fighting-one-more-day low, a scream-silently-into-the-mirror low, a twilight-of-democracy low. Not my first, not my last. I tried to distract myself by retreating to the bubble of literary Twitter, where I started a thread listing some of my favorite overlooked fiction. Others added, until the list was heartbreakingly long. (All these masterpieces, neglected!) Soon, though, someone jumped in with a bit of scolding: “We’re 100 days out from an election,” she wrote. “That’s what we should all be thinking about.”
My self-righteous response was easy like-bait: “I refuse to live in a world where an oppressive regime prevents us from advocating for art,” I wrote, and added some feel-good words about fighting despotism through empathy. Soon, the woman apologized — a writer herself, she’d been despondent lately, she said — and I hold no ill will toward her. She might just as easily, as many have done before her and many continue to do, ask how one could post about books on a day when there’d been a mass shooting, a day when babies were in cages, a day when toddlers were gassed, a day when… well, any other day, really. Her question wasn’t new to me, in part because it’s something I ask myself on a daily basis. Is it really okay to talk about art right now? To leave the real and broken world behind and talk about fictional ones?
It’s a crisis many of us face not only when we promote our work, or someone else’s, but when we sit down to make that work itself. Anyone engaged in thoughtful reading and writing is also engaged in, and likely consumed by, national politics right now. No one I know is unaware that this is a particularly weird time to make art, rather than to spend every moment calling your senators.”
JJ Editor's Picks
"In a bid to create new space for green industries and fossil-free energy production, greater Copenhagen wants to build an entirely new business and infrastructure district on the city’s southwestern edge."
Donald Trump ran for president saying that he would be a shrewd businessman with a propensity for making deals. Why, then, are we in the longest government shutdown on record?
"There isn’t an Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the way that many outsiders seem to think... In the Israeli view, no peacemaker can bring the two sides together because there aren’t just two sides. There are many, many sides."
"I've always wondered what fans see in her. After debating with a friend about her “merits” for over half a decade now, I thought I had found the one thing that could probably change my opinion of the pop star: the Reputation tour documentary..."
"Even if the economy is on a roll, many Americans aren’t feeling the benefit... In fact, when adjusted for cost of living increases, real wages actually declined 1.3% since the end of 2017, PayScale found."
"Cutting ties with Facebook would mean consciously cutting ties with my own community, and I can't bring myself to do it. When I asked my connections on Facebook why they were staying, their answers were very similar to mine..."
Fear of the news; fear of climate change, fear of touch screens... these New Yorker cartoons portray the modern phobias that are driving us crazy.
"Texts replaced authors as the privileged objects of scholarly knowledge, and the performance of critical operations on texts became essential to the scholar’s identity."
"When I speak to parents’ groups about kids who are addicted to Fortnite and other video games, I tell them that it is the parents’ job to limit, govern and guide their kids’ use of video games..."
"Startups like Hungry Harvest and Imperfect Produce say they're helping to reduce food waste in America. Critics say they're deceiving their customers and making the problem worse."
"Scholars are now interested in whether having a vocabulary item for a concept influences thought in domains far from language, such as visual perception."
"The much-documented anti-Semitism of the British Labor party leader is no accident... Jeremy Corbyn reminds us that anti-Semitism is not just an irrational hatred, harbored by madmen at the fringes of British society."