“Our culture claims to celebrate vigor and well-being, yet holds up steroid-addled men and impossibly thin women as models of physical perfection. Those of us unwilling to juice or starve ourselves are left feeling inadequate and confused about why we do not bear any resemblance to the humans we are meant to emulate.” Michael Ian Black reviews two books about the male physique — and reveals a bit about the unrealistic nature of our cultural expectations.
“In noir, the problem is not an individual: the problem is the world.” Over at Electric Literature, Nicholas Seeley advocates for the efficacy of noir as a protest genre. Here’s a piece from The Millions’s Hannah Gersen that argues for Bartleby, The Scrivener as another surprising example of protest literature.
“I’m not paranoid, I’m really not.” The Washington Post has a profile of the so-called American Redoubt, an area of the Pacific Northwest populated by doomsday preppers. Pair with our own Emily St. John Mandel‘s reading list of five can’t-miss apocalyptic narratives.
A team of archaeologists just found Cervantes‘s body, and while that seems like a fun literary and historical event, the New Yorker‘s Ilan Stevens has a slightly different perspective: “Frankly, there is something creepy about bringing Cervantes back from the dead.”
“Long before the term ‘graphic novel’ was coined to explain long-form comic strips, the artist Milt Gross was making precursors to the format,” and one of his lost works is finally being republished. The work, Milt Gross’ New York, was written for the World’s Fair in 1939 and “follows the adventures of the sausage-nosed, conniving, yet amiable con man Pop.”
“In the imposed rhythm of the day, there wasn’t the time to step back and appraise my ideas, to delete paragraphs, to question my identity. Whether or not I was a writer was temporarily immaterial, because I was writing.” Adam Dalva contemplates life at an artists’ residency. For more of his writing, check out his essay on Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch for The Millions.