“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.
“Still, it’s difficult to know whether [Shel] Silverstein, who died of a heart attack in 1999, after keeping out of the public eye for more than two decades, meant for us to read the book so conclusively. His biography and body of work suggest a subtler, and, in the end, perhaps an even more troubling, way of looking at it.” Ruth Margalit on The Giving Tree.
“In its clumsy, ad hoc way, Facebook has brought death back into the public sphere in a way death hasn’t been for more than 100 years.” To celebrate Facebook’s 10th birthday, The Missouri Review has unlocked its Alexander Landfair essay on how we deal with death on Facebook. For another look at Facebook, read our essay on how the timeline changes the way we tell stories.
“Joseph K., that icon of single-lettered anonymity from Franz Kafka’s novel The Trial,” writes Tom Engelhardt for Guernica, “would undoubtedly have felt right at home in [James] Clapper’s Washington.”
Kirk Curnutt takes readers on a tour of of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s oft-neglected commercial short fiction. Fitzgerald, after all, “produced 160 short stories [in his life],” writes Curnutt, “earning a total of $241,453 off the genre — more than $3 million in today’s dollars.” Yet the author didn’t think highly of the work, and even referred to himself as an “old whore” because he wouldn’t quit.
In order to prolong the conversation around his Atlantic cover story, “The Case for Reparations,” Ta-Nehisi Coates recently took to Twitter to engage in a Q&A session with his readers. You can scroll through the entire exchange over here. Coates was also interviewed by Ezra Klein for Vox this week, and the resulting video is probably the most valuable piece of content that site has produced since its inception.
“APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding/Lilacs out of the dead land,/we’re graduating in may/do we seriously still have to do the reading/theres like three weeks left you cant be serious.” You know T.S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland,” but have you read Mallory Ortberg’s “The Teenage Wasteland” at The Toast?
In the latest issue of The Boston Review, Elaine Scarry reviews Steven Pinker’s
The Better Angels of Our Nature. Pinker argues that literature, by bolstering man’s empathy, has lead to huge reductions in worldwide violence, a thesis that sounds dangerously close to the absurd pop-science of Jonathan Gottschall’s The Storytelling Animal.