The Summer Olympics begin in exactly one month, so I recommend checking out this 52-minute American Experience episode on Olympic legend Jesse Owens to set the tone.
“Updike stopped cartooning while he was an undergraduate at Harvard. This is a factually true statement, but it ignores a larger reality. While Updike might have ceased cartooning, the visual language of comics was never far from his mind. Cartooning was an inextricable strand in his creative DNA.” Jeet Heer writes about John Updike, cartooning, fandom and “bedesque” prose for The Paris Review. Pair with James Santel‘s Millions essay on “The Curious Paradox of John Updike.”
The sports world lost a legend this week in Joe Frazier. In honor of Smokin’ Joe’s indelible mark on the sport of boxing, Byliner has gathered thirteen great stories on the sweet science. Also worth reading is George Plimpton‘s classic Sports Illustrated story on the Frazier vs. George Foreman fight in Kingston.
The recent passing of Christopher Hitchens has led to numerous praiseful eulogies. Many have been (and he would’ve hated this…) hagiographic. Now, in an article for The Nation, Katha Pollitt seeks to “complicate the picture … at the risk of seeming churlish” to allege that the man “had virtually no interest in women’s writing or women’s lives or perspectives.”
“The joy of reading about the meals of others shows that, in many ways, we are simple creatures: by merely looking upon someone else eating we can feel better fed.” In the New Yorker, Bee Wilson considers the “Pleasures of the Literary Meal,” something Seth Sawyers wrote about for the Millions last year.
“What knits together the families of Roth’s Newark are adults—some foreign-born but many the children of immigrants—who either experienced the insecurity and deprivation of the Old World themselves or heard stories about it from their own parents. What they want most is to find stability in a neighborhood, in a city, and in a country that offers them the chance at security for their families.” On Philip Roth and Newark, NJ.