Someone in charge of humorous scientific summaries once told me that anything involving bears was funny. A corollary to this is that anything that takes place in Kentucky is funny. Exempli gratia, Lady Gaga appears at a drag show: not funny. Lady Gaga appears at a drag show in Kentucky: funny.
“And, with the exception of the cover, which has been outsourced, it’s the most beautiful magazine I know.”—Roger Hodge explains why Uncle Sam is on the cover of Harper’s EVERY DARNED MONTH. Also, why it’s probably doomed.
On a balcony, an elderly woman looked at the crowd and threw her hands in the air. On other balconies, there was applause.
“Peaceful,” the marchers shouted. At the foot of the bridge, the security services were waiting, with other plans.
This narrative piece from today’s NYT reminded me a bit of Kapuscinski’s Another Day of Life. Kapuscinski is trying to make sense of a totally foreign city in turmoil, and he does so by observing keenly and describing concretely just what he has witnessed. The result lacks the abstract certainty of expert analysis—instead it has the feel of actual lived experience. Not surprisingly, this headline has slipped down below the more analysis-heavy articles about Egypt on the NYT site.
"And yet, as a foreign correspondent, I have always had to bring my own with me, because—American hegemony be damned—try finding a proper Kentucky bourbon or rye alongside Johnny Walker and J&B in the bars of Kampong Cham, Cambodia, or the cabarets of Kisangani, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or even in most cafés in France."
Really spectacular piece of writing today in the NYT Style section, a profile of Courtney Love. I almost skipped this, having read quite enough about Love last spring when the new Hole album came out. But I’m glad I didn’t. Eric Wilson has written a riveting, fair, and even tender piece—with a depth that’s rare for any section of the Times, let alone Sunday Styles. I like to think this reflects Alexandra Jacobs’s influence.
“I do think that something of the effect I have on people is to put everything on an edge where they’re both infatuated with a kind of charmingness happening in the person or in the writing, and also flatly terrified by a revelation or acceptance of revelation that’s almost happening, never quite totally happening.”—I want to be unbearable
[…] I don’t want to live in a small town in Kentucky. I know that life’s not for me. But I think about other regions, and cottage industries, and weird little cabins in the woods, and it’s like playing paper dolls. What would I look like with this set of rubber boots? That set of snow tires? What could I accomplish in the middle of nowhere? How would I be different in a different place? […]
Likely to be the same, except with different accessories. And slightly amended anxieties (snow tires, for example, need to be switched on—but how late to wait? And how early to make the appointment? Do I get them mounted on new rims to save the cost of switching altogether? etc.). But I also find this kind of thinking irresistible.
“The cure, or at least a salve, for this condition is transparency, accountability, humility. If The Times is going to publish more and faster, it will have to react faster to rectify more mistakes. The speed and volume of correction or response has to try to equal the speed and volume of error.”—The new public editor.
“Basically what it means is, I’m ripping off the movies that ripped off ‘Last Year at Marienbad,’” Mr. Nolan said. Both films explore the relationship between dreams and memory, and seemingly impossible physical settings are crucial to the spells they cast — though one detail distinguished the two, he said: “We have way more explosions.”—Christopher Nolan
“your mind is nowhere else but in this world that started off in the mind of another human being. There are two miracles at work here. One, that someone thought of that world and people in the first place. And the second, that there’s this means of transmitting it. Just little ink marks on squashed wood fiber. Bloody amazing.”—David Mitchell