“It is a superstitious business—childish, really—the marking, or even the noticing, of anniversaries like these. Such fastening pretends that one day can be like another, pretends that every day is not, ultimately, only its own day, the only version of itself that will ever come. But ‘Daddy’ is itself a poem built on a bedrock of anniversaries.” At The Paris Review Daily, Belinda McKeon marks the birthday of an oft-revered poem.
“In the 1970s it circulated among Left Bank intellectuals, including Sartre and Bernard-Henri Lévy, as an aid to productive writing. In 1981 it was listed as a controlled substance in the US and in 1986, after it was scheduled under the WHO Convention on Psychotropic Substances, it was removed from prescription sale.” The London Review of Books reviews two histories about the role of drugs in the fighting of wars, Blitzed: Drugs In the Third Reich by Norman Ohler and Shooting Up: A History of Drugs in Warfare by Łukasz Kamieński Hurst. Both pay particular attention to Captagon (the name a portmanteau of “captain” and “pentagon”), a pharmaceutical that has become common throughout Eastern Europe, the Gulf States, India, and China, and by 2014 “had become a significant source of funding for all sides in Syria’s civil war.”
Brian Nitz wants environmentalists and writers to seriously consider whether the word “sustainable” is, well, sustainable. (Related: this XKCD comic)
Parul Sehgal, nonfiction editor at Publisher’s Weekly (and sister of The Millions intern Ujala Sehgal), has been awarded the National Books Critics Circle “Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing.” Previous winners include Joan Acocella, Ron Charles, and Sam Anderson. The award was based on her diverse portfolio of work as a reviewer, including a review of Susie Linfield’s The Cruel Radiance, a review of Stacy Schiff’s Cleopatra: A Life, and her piece on David Abram’s Becoming Animal. Congratulations!
“For a man who is making his living as a critic to write about Scott Fitzgerald without mentioning The Great Gatsby just means that he doesn’t know his business. Many people consider The Great Gatsby one of the few classic American novels. I do myself. Obviously such a judgment is debatable.” The New Republic digs up a tribute by John Dos Passos.
“I can’t help but worry that those of us who hoped that the marriage of pop culture and feminism would yield deliciously progressive fruit might have a lot to answer for.” Andi Zeisler on her new book and 20 years of Bitch Magazine. Also check out this Millions essay on feminist pop anthems.
“Good kid m.A.A.d city is a memento mori haunted by dead and living ghosts…When they are pieced together as a sequence they act like Muybridge’s zoopraxiscope: they give us the impression that from these clips we are watching a black boy learn to fly above it all.” Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah looks at hip-hop, Kendrick Lamar, and the tradition of the black blues narrative.