In the latest Baffler, Evgeny Morozov argues that Silicon Valley, in typical fashion, has taken to “hacking” our language. Old, trusted words don’t mean what they used to mean, and complex ideas have been stripped of subversive implications. “Complexity,” he writes, “is not particularly viral.”
For Buzzfeed Rachel Vorona Cote explores Eve Babitz and the white literary It Girl. “Readers, particularly literary women in their twenties and thirties, seem to be entranced by this child of Hollywood, who unabashedly relished her LA milieu and both chronicled and defended its paradoxes. But it’s still a milieu that flattens the city into one that is homogenous, wealthy, and white.” Pair with this essay about her novel Sex and Rage.
In a 2010 profile, Deborah Eisenberg told us, of her current efforts at writing fiction, “I’m sort of desperately throwing myself against pieces of paper and only coming up with what look like bug smears.” Now, as will shock none of her readers Eisenberg has come up with something considerably more appetizing: a new short story called “Recalculating.” It’s available, free, at the NYRB (!).
A startling conclusion from this data visualization of where in words each letter of the alphabet tends to fall: “the most common word may be ‘the, but the most representative word is ‘toe.’ ” (Also available: detailed methodology and algorithms for the data geeks; an explanation of data-viz as a narrative form for everyone else.)
Actress Mariel Hemingway, granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, will be producing a film adaptation of A Moveable Feast, a memoir of Hemingway’s early years as a writer in Paris. The essays feature a colorful cast of literary characters, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ford Madox Ford, Gertrude Stein, and Alice B. Toklas.
The Allen Ginsberg Estate supports a regularly updated blog called The Allen Ginsberg Project. I recommend reading it. Here’s a gem of a conversation between the late poet and a student over those delicious, sweet and cold plums in William Carlos Williams’s “This is Just to Say.”