“That to me was the rub. A writer freed from the need to calibrate with reality, or even be internally consistent, could put a washing machine into the sky along with a rainbow. So why not put a rhinoceros up there too?” On negative literary influences.
From Hunter S. Thompson’s 1958 job application to the Vancouver Sun: “And don’t think that my arrogance is unintentional: it’s just that I’d rather offend you now than after I started working for you. I didn’t make myself clear to the last man I worked for until after I took the job. It was as if the Marquis de Sade had suddenly found himself working for Billy Graham.”
“When danger or pain press too nearly, they are incapable of giving any delight, and are simply terrible; but at certain distances and with certain modifications, they may be, and they are delightful, as we every day experience. The cause of this I shall endeavour to investigate further.” David Shields quotes Edmund Burke in an interview about his new book War Is Beautiful.
Scaachi Koul’s childhood friend introduced her to Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events books candidly: “You’d probably like them,” she said. “They’re really depressing.” Now, in a piece for Buzzfeed, Koul explains how the works have helped her into adulthood. (Bonus: Koul’s forthcoming essay collection, One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter, made our Great 2017 Book Preview.)
“So scary are the consequences of a collapse of white privilege that many Americans have flocked to a political platform that supports and translates violence against the defenseless as strength. These people are not so much angry as terrified, with the kind of terror that makes knees tremble.” We highly recommend you read Toni Morrison‘s post-election essay for The New Yorker.
And now, a little bit about a world you might be totally unfamiliar with; this piece from The Rumpus is a fascinating, in-depth look at identity politics and eating pork in the Chinese borderlands. Bonus: a complementary piece about what it’s like to be a Chinese-American writer living in china.
Stephen Colbert is keeping his promise to Maurice Sendak. The comedian will publish his children’s book I Am a Pole (And So Can You!) this spring. “I hope the minutes you and your loved ones spend reading it are as fulfilling as the minutes I spent writing it,” Colbert told The Hollywood Reporter. (See also: Colbert’s equally literary meeting with Ann Patchett)