“If culture is purely entertainment, nothing is of importance. If it’s a matter of amusement, an impostor can undoubtedly amuse me more than a profoundly authentic person. But if culture signifies more than this, then it’s worrying.” Sociologist Gilles Lipovetsky interviews the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Mario Vargas Llosa about the contemporary collapse between “high” and “low” cultures.
“Nobody there but dirty old men who spit tobacco juice and try to look up your skirt.” The city square is one of the biggest architectural differences between the United States and Europe. Over at The Daily Beast, George Packer takes a look at plazas/piazzas and makes a case for why America needs more.
Incredible interview with the New Yorker’s Jon Lee Anderson. He tells about the time he was arrested in Guinea and accused of being a spy. Happens to journalists all the time, you say? No, this was when he was thirteen. If he ever writes a memoir, publishers will be lining up. (via Jenny)I thoroughly enjoyed Ed’s account of a near-drink with William T. Vollmann.Golden Rule Jones has a lovely new home. Be sure to update your bookmarks and feed readers.Interesting article about a promotional push by The Economist in Baltimore. A few years ago, I started hearing people talk about The Economist all the time. I wasn’t sure if the magazine was getting more popular or if I was just traveling in different circles. This quote clears it up: “Of The Economist’s worldwide circulation of just less than 1.1 million, Rossi said, North America accounts for a bit more than half, at 569,336, a figure that has increased 47.3 percent since 2001.” Wow, that’s a big jump. They deserve it. It’s a great magazine. If I had more time, I’d read every issue all the way through.
As Le Petit Prince author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said, “The aeroplane has unveiled for us the true face of the earth.” Perhaps that can be extrapolated for satellites, too. Either way, if this incredible, orbital HD Vimeo footage doesn’t move you, then I don’t know what could.
No surprise here — Elena Ferrante fever continues to sweep the literary world. Last week, an Italian historian was forced to deny claims that she was actually the Neapolitan novelist. Now, The Guardian takes a look at the unique history of pseudonyms and posits whether Ferrante’s mystery might outlast some famous historical masqueraders. For the unacquainted, here’s a quick piece on reading Italy through Ferrante’s work.