Yea, yea, it’s Charles Dickens’ birthday. I’m sure you’ve heard, or at least been told by Google. But he’s only one artist born on this day. In addition, there’s James Yancey aka J Dilla, one of the most influential hip hop artists and producers of all time.
Recommended Reading: The Oxford American just unlocked David Ramsey’s 2008 piece on “How Lil Wayne helped me survive my first year teaching in New Orleans.”
A year and a half later, Jessie Gaynor returns to The Paris Review to follow up her much-appreciated “Drunk Texts From Famous Authors” series. (Part one is here.) On tap this time: T.S. Eliot, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Samuel Beckett, Roald Dahl, Jorge Luis Borges, Guillaume Apollinaire, William Blake, and a Flarf poet.
The Commission Générale de Terminologie et de Néologisme – the division of the French government responsible for preserving the integrity of the Gallic language – ruled last week that enough is enough when it comes to “hashtag.” They feel the word is just too English for the banks of the Seine. They recommend instead using the decidedly softer “mot-dièse” (pro: ‘Mo-Dee-YEZ’). Previously the group asked residents to replace “email” with “courriel.”
Sarah Fay, associate editor of The Paris Review, has a piece in The Atlantic on the digitization of book reviewing, framed beautifully by references to George Orwell’s 1946 essay “Confessions of a Book Reviewer.” She praises Bookslut, Nancy Pearl, Goodreads, and The Los Angeles Review of Books for their collective skills of recommendation, reviewing, and New Criticism. I’d add The Quarterly Conversation, The Rumpus, The New Inquiry, The Morning News (for their annual Tournament of Books feature), and of course, The Millions.
“Desire is transformative, and transgressive: whether it’s an unpeeled onion or a noble lover, to want something, especially for women, can never be entirely benign.” Kristiana Willsey writes about folktales, fairy godmothers, childless queens and hunger in a piece for The Toast.
Writing in the London Review of Books (Reg. Req.), Evgeny Morozov clued me onto how “scientists at UCLA – with funding from the Chinese government – have built an ‘image to text’ system that automatically produces text summaries of what is taking place in captured video.” A similar technology was also developed by NYU student Matt Richardson, whose “descriptive camera” can “automatically describe the scene in a camera’s viewfinder, which, when the image was uploaded, would make it easier to find.” Meanwhile one Twitter is describing typical Instagram shots in 140 characters or fewer.