In a big reveal to devout fans like me, The Simpsons creator Matt Groening finally copped to the fictional Springfield’s real-life inspiration: Springfield, Oregon. Of course this matter has been widely pondered before, and was perhaps even answered by Paul Nelson and his cohorts at SNPP.com.
Andrew Hazlett discovers that following the keyword “humanities” on Twitter is not the best way to keep tabs on the discipline.
Here are a couple more pieces on Bill Keller’s departure as executive editor of The New York Times. An interview with Esquire conducted not long before his announcement: “Newspaper publishers have done more to kill newspapers than any innovative form of media.” And New York describes how Keller’s recent cranky columns about new vs. old media ticked off the newsroom.
Toni Morrison wrote an obituary for James Baldwin in The New York Times, published December 20, 1987 and online for you to read. “Jimmy, there is too much to think about you, and too much to feel. The difficulty is your life refuses summation – it always did – and invites contemplation instead. Like many of us left here I thought I knew you. Now I discover that in your company it is myself I know.” Justin Campbell reflects on Baldwin, race, and fatherhood.
The New Yorker announced that their literary blog, The Book Bench, will henceforth be called Page-Turner. The name change signals a “building on the work of the Book Bench blog, and expanding on it.” In an inaugural post, Ryan Bloom translates the deceptively simple first line of The Stranger.
There are reality TV shows for aspiring designers, singers, and chefs, so what about writers? The Italian reality show Masterpiece will pit writers against each other in competition for a book deal. As judge Giancarlo De Cataldo said, “The book is dying, and we must do everything we can to save it. Even a talent show.” We expect a lot of dramatic crying at typewriters.
The Beatles‘ remastered catalogue is probably the hottest rock release of the moment, but there are other notable new releases this month: The Stone Roses‘ 20th anniversary re-release double CD and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (recently written up at The Millions)’s second full length EP, Higher Than the Stars.
What happens when two magazine writers publish stories on the same topic within a month of each other? We get to read some of the best long-form journalism of the year. Both Esquire’s Chris Jones and The Washingtonian’s Garrett M. Graff wrote about what it was like to be on Air Force One after the Kennedy assassination. Jones’ “The Flight From Dallas” hits 7,600 words, but Graff’s “Angel is Airborne” totals 18,000. Save some time to read both because they’re equally gripping and uniquely told narratives.