There are times when it’s a bad idea to wantonly split an infinitive. But there are other times, grammar Nazis, when it’s really okay to chill out.
There’s a new Ethicist in town. Chuck Klosterman is taking over the NYT advice column, and I’m thinking, gee, I wonder what the author of Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs knows about ethics. His first column seems pretty legit, but I can’t wait for him to introduce time-travel [pdf] and other hypotheticals.
“An ideal essay is hard to define, but easy to point to. An ideal essay mines the “I” in efforts of high exposition. It is driven by a need to testify or witness, and demands the same of its reader. It is a glimpse of something uncomfortably recognizable, a requiem for the quotidian, a look over the newly-gilded edge.” Samantha Tucker Iacovetto writes about “Defining the Ideal Essay” for Brevity’s Nonfiction Blog
Jessica Love writes for The American Scholar about some recent psychological studies on the art and perspective of storytelling. Of particular interest is the way “the first person does seem to encourage us to identify with the narrator, especially when that narrator is a lot like us.” Not that identifying with narrators is the primary purpose of reading, as the New Yorker reminds us in a piece against “relatability,” but it’s something to consider the next time you pick up a novel and find a character who seems to be just like you.
Poetry readership among U.S. adults is the highest it’s been in 15 years—with young adult readership (among 18-24 year olds) nearly doubling—according to the National Endowment for the Arts’ 2017 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (SPPA). (For what it’s worth: The Millions has always loved poetry).
Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals, died today at the age of 88, according to a statement released by his publisher. Pirsig’s work explored a system of thought called the “Metaphysics of Quality,” which has been defined as “a thesis that quality is the basis of reality, and that this understanding unifies most East Asian and Western thought.”