Despite your lifelong aversion to robots and crash-test dummies, the Uncanny Valley might not actually be real. At Boing Boing, Maggie Koerth-Baker looks at the evidence that unsettling dolls are just that, unsettling.
An early example of the literary take-down. Willa Cather on Mark Twain: "He is not a reader nor a thinker nor a man who loves art of any kind."
David Foster Wallace stranded on a desert island.Another reason to love Washington Post critic Jonathan Yardley: his refreshingly enthusiastic take on "slacker fiction" and All the Sad Young Literary Men by Keith Gessen, who, admittedly, "scarcely qualifies as a slacker."Paul Auster was a protesting, fence-tearing, rioting crazy '68er, too, it turns out.The phenomenal Burkhard Bilger supplements his New Yorker piece on folk-music field recordings with some audio.Malcolm Gladwell's seemingly endless string of public appearances continues. This one is, intriguingly, a public "book discussion" with the Washington, D.C. chief of police.With some speculating that CBS News is about to close up shop and that Katie Couric is on her way out, rumors are already swirling about the obligatory memoir.Jonathan Franzen answers the question "Do you regret your run-in with Oprah?" in a "Big Think" video. Aficionados of Franzen mannerisms may also enjoy the other fifteen or so Franzen videos that Big Think has available.
Nowadays, Lord of the Flies is a byword for savagery, a book that illustrates more potently than any other just how low it’s possible for humanity to sink. In The Guardian, Robert McCrum ties the book’s conception to the second World War, arguing that its view of the world was “unimaginable” without Nazi Europe.
The hype keeps building for Baz Luhrmann’s oft-delayed Great Gatsby adaptation. The first trailer had the whole internet up in a tizzy, and now the latest teaser from Beyoncé and Andre 3000’s “Back to Black” cover has even more people interested. Perhaps, in order to wind down, we should all check out the first cinematic reworking of Fitzgerald’s classic. Over at Open Culture, fans can get a look at The Only Known Footage of the 1926 Film Adaptation of The Great Gatsby (Which F. Scott Fitzgerald Hated).
Anyone who’s read The Divine Comedy knows that rivalries and petty grudges are timeless. To further prove the point, Mallory Ortberg provided this list, which details the cattiest lines from Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. Sample quote: “Why do unskilled and ignorant souls disturb him who has skill and knowledge?”