SAT reading scores have fallen to their lowest level on record.
Though Franzen would surely argue (in great excess of 140 characters) to the contrary, the excellent introductory essay from the latest issue of N+1 lauds Twitter for “the very last thing to have been expected from the internet: a renovation of the epigram or aphorism, a revaluation of the literary virtues of terseness and impersonality.”
Did David Foster Wallace predict our anxiety over selfies? At The Wire, Danielle Wiener-Bronner argues that Wallace was prescient in Infinite Jest. Although videophony, his concept of video-chatting, isn’t the same thing as a selfie, the paranoia over looking good is strikingly current. “This sort of appearance check was no more resistible than a mirror. But the experience proved almost universally horrifying. People were horrified at how their own faces appeared on a TP screen.”
According to the title of Matt Steinglass‘ new essay (a qualified rebuttal of Katie Roiphe‘s recent piece “The Naked and the Conflicted“), “Today’s Male Novelists Do Write Exuberant Sex Scenes, But Mostly Lesbian Ones“
None other than Randy Cohen, “The Ethicist” of the New York Times, has decided that illegally downloading an e-book version of a book for which you’ve already paid full price in hardcover is “not unethical… subsequent downloading is akin to buying a CD, then copying it to your iPod.” He adds, “Sadly, the anachronistic conventions of bookselling and copyright law lag the technology.”