Women in Power
From Medusa to Merkel.
From Medusa to Merkel.
All of the books about all of the David Bowies:
There are more and more books like this these days: rock histories and encyclopedias, stuffed with information, compendiums of every last detail from this or that year, era, genre, artist – time pinned down, with absolutely no anxiety of influence. And while it would be churlish to deny there is often a huge amount of valuable stuff in them, I do think we need to question how seriously we want to take certain lives and kinds of art – and how we take them seriously without self-referencing the life out of them, without deadening the very things that constitute their once bright, now frazzled eros and ethos.
The psychology of trolling.
“If I had to pick one sentence I’ve heard more than any other in the last six years of conversation about economics, it would be ‘Why aren’t people more angry?’ The Brexit vote showed that plenty of them are. But perhaps it expressed that other feeling, the one of bewilderment, just as much. ‘Take back control’ is a cynical but extremely astute pitch to an electorate in that state of mind.”
On the relationship between conservation, British farmers, and a possible Brexit.
Money is an idea that we all agree to believe in.
On the response to the Paris attacks.
On the manifestos that mass shooters leave behind.
On the sex lives of the castrati.
An accidental evening with Yeats, in the spring of 1937.
On Keith Richards’ autobiography.
There’s some very sensible advice on how to take drugs, too.
Remembering jazz musician Ornette Coleman.
On being kicked out of Doris Lessing’s house.
The Houthi coup in Yemen.
“The White House still maintains that the mission was an all-American affair, and that the senior generals of Pakistan’s army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) were not told of the raid in advance. This is false, as are many other elements of the Obama administration’s account.”
On women, monarchy, and breeding.
Being friends with Susan Sontag was thrilling, but also “shot through in the end with mutual irritation.”
“What I had going for me was teen rage, contempt impervious to offers of compromise; the power of the mask capable of turning ice to marshmallow, and all the time in the world, all the ability to sustain it without surrendering.”
“When constant revisionism and re-invention is under way, what does it profit a biographer to drag the weary ‘facts’ before us?”
Recalling a sexual assault.
Perhaps you didn’t know that in addition to being a very funny writer, Kafka’s life yields a lot of comedy too.
"What’s it like to be giving birth at home, and see blood pooling between your legs, and look up at the ashen faces of a birth attendant, a midwife, a spouse? What’s it like to feel the earth tremble and see the roof and walls of your home or school fall towards you? More to the point, in terms of survival: what happens next? It depends. Not just on the severity of the injury, but on who and where you are."
At the age fifteen, Jenny Diski, a “foundling,” went to live with Doris Lessing. For fifty years, the two talked every week. Diski promised Lessing that she would never write about her but now, after Lessing’s death, Diski has begun to recount the story of their relationship.
Creating, and then attempting to dismantle, a fake persona based on a man who died in 1984.
On spectacular saintliness, holy anorexia, and female hysteria.