John McWhorter, linguist and author of What Language is (And What it Isn’t and What it Could Be), takes a look at the history of spoken and written language in an effort to understand how text messaging, IMs, and other informal forms of written language impact literacy.
“Even after I realize that we are being robbed, that bullets can shatter glass, that being locked in is no help in this situation, I still feel a vague resentment at having to hand the laptop over. It’s mine. It contains my work, a week of writing, a month or more of photography, personal information. I have hesitated only a few seconds but feel as though I have just woken from a trance: briefly, I imagined myself with a bullet in my thigh, imagined myself bleeding out in traffic in Ojota.” At Granta, Teju Cole writes about living in Lagos.
December 26, 1962 marked the first time that Playboy Magazine ever used the phrase “turn-on.” Since then, humans have conceived of a remarkable variety of metaphor and colorful language in an attempt to try and make some sense of copulation. Over at Hazlitt, Chelsea G. Summers takes a close look at the increasingly electric language of sex. Unsurprisingly, sex is never far from the mind of a literary writer, either.
Gossip is often seen as inherently frivolous and trashy, which is why it’s odd that a poet would use it as the subject of his or her work. On The Poetry Foundation’s blog, Austin Allen writes about George Green’s collection Lord Byron’s Foot, in which, as Allen puts it, “the dish spares no one.” (h/t Arts and Letters Daily)
On George Kimball and “the two-fisted, one-eyed misadventures of sportswriting’s last badass.”