In 1952, John Steinbeck wrote that Al Capp, the cartoonist and Lil’ Abner creator, might well have been the best writer working in the world at the time. In the Times, Andy Webster reviews a new biography of Capp, which reveals that underneath it all lay “a toxic chip on his shoulder.”
Sometimes, when you read a lot of work by a single writer, you end up writing unconscious imitations of their work. The reliability of this effect raises an ourobouric possibility: what if you reviewed a writer’s fiction in their own style? At The Awl, Sarah Marian Seltzer reviews Henry James as Henry James. You could also read Charles-Adam Foster-Simard on binge-reading James’s fiction.
It’s been one week since the “Friday Night Lights” finale aired on network television, and it seems as though the entire internet is grieving. Two Grantland pieces: an oral history and a tongue-in-cheek analysis; an opinion piece juxtaposing Peter Berg‘s low-rated drama against “Glee”‘s success; and now even The Paris Review has thrown its hat into the ring. All of this, of course, comes on the heels of our own Sonya Chung‘s piece last April.
Beasts of the Southern Wild director Benh Zeitlin discusses the lessons he’s learned over the past year. He also gives a shout out to Underground, a film by Serbian director Emir Kusturica. Elsewhere, Zeitlin shares some of the music, books, and movies he’s been enjoying of late.