Last weekend The Southern Festival of Books took over Nashville. The latest installment of #LitBeat takes you to Ta-Nehisi Coates’s panel there, on the importance of studying–but not romanticizing–history.
“If the taglines used to market lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans to the country’s mainstream—‘Love Wins,’ ‘It Gets Better,’ and ‘You Can Play’—have led to unprecedented levels of inclusion and visibility, it is precisely by shoving sex aside and presenting gay people and straight people as essentially the same at heart. In the process, as the outsider status attached to being gay disappears in more and more contexts, some of gay culture’s radical roots risk being expunged from memory.” On Jim Downs’s Stand by Me: The Forgotten History of Gay Liberation.
Recommended Reading: A new story by Yuri Herrera for Granta Magazine, featuring “the prayer of the overheated-horndog”: “Oh please, oh please, oh please / May he, the drunken me / May he, the dumbfuck me / May he, the me who never ever ever knows where shit is / May / he have saved one / Just one / Lubricated or corrugated / Colored or flavored / Magnum or tight-fit / Oh please / Holy Saint of horndogs / Grant me just one condom.”
If you’re like this writer, you’ve read enough by now about the scourge of writer’s block. The literature on authors having trouble producing literature is enough to sustain a whole genre by itself. Which is why it’s refreshing to read this article, which tackles another problem: the vexing, peculiar strain of overload known as reader’s block.
A while back, I pointed readers to Ayn Rand’s version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, helpfully published by The Toast’s Mallory Ortberg. It satisfied those of you who never understood why Harry didn’t slough off his legions of parasitic friends. Now, The Toast brings us the conclusion to the series, in which Harry’s labors bring him the rewards he deserves. Sample quote: “I have earned the Elder Wand through my own achievements.”
The popularity of Joshua Katz’s American dialect maps inspired The Atlantic to create their own dialect video. In it, Atlantic staff members call people from across the country, recording them so listeners can hear their accents, and ask them to answer questions from a 2003 Harvard survey.