A couple weeks ago, Matt Ashby and Brendan Carroll argued in a Salon piece that David Foster Wallace, who wrote an essay about the television and irony back in the early ‘90s, presciently diagnosed the danger of snark in our own age. Now Peter Finocchiaro, a senior editor at Salon, argues instead that we need irony more than we ever have. You could also read A-J Aronstein’s notes from the DFW Symposium.
"To be awake was a thing many had dreamed of, while continuing to sleep for years, like the famous princess in her coffin of glass. Once I opened a Chinese fortune cookie that said, Some will attain their heart’s desire, alas." Revisiting this fantastic Anne Carson poem, "The Day Antonioni Came to the Asylum (Rhapsody)," over at The Paris Review. Carson's newest, Float, is due out in a couple of months.
2011 is the year of television's oral history. On the heels of Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN, published last May and reviewed by n+1 here, you can now check out I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution. You can whet your appetite with an excerpt here. If television's not your thing, you can also check out New York Magazine's oral history of the Upright Citizens Brigade, and of the founding of Ms. magazine.
Sophia Nguyen writes for Harvard Magazine about the Dark Room Collective, a group of black writers of “starry critical mass whose impact on American letters continues to expand.” Pair with her Millions review of Collective member Tracy K. Smith’s new memoir, Ordinary Light.
"Riordan’s books prompt an uneasy interrogation of the premise underlying the 'so long as they’re reading' side of the debate—at least among those of us who want to share Neil Gaiman’s optimistic view that all reading is good reading, and yet find ourselves by disposition closer to the Tim Parks end of the spectrum, worried that those books on our children’s shelves that offer easy gratification are crowding out the different pleasures that may be offered by less grabby volumes." In an essay for The New Yorker, Rebecca Mead considers questions about what children should be reading through the lens of the Percy Jackson series.