Why do some ideas only come to you when you’re under a tremendous amount of pressure? At the Ploughshares blog, S. Hope Mills reflects on the importance of deadlines, which may explain (according to Guardian columnist Robert Crum) why Dickens chose to serialize his novels.
Vanity Fair’s latest cover is proof that we live in an era in which men have the privilege of being just as objectified as women. Nominally a celebration of the 2010 World Cup that kicks off in South Africa in June, the magazine’s gay porn-ish cover features soccer superstars Didier Drogba of the Ivory Coast and Portugal’s Christiano Ronaldo in nothing but their flags, photographed by Annie Leibovitz. Within (oh, my stars & stripes!) you can behold the U.S.’s Landon Donovan, as well as Brazil’s Kaká, Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon, England’s Carlton Cole, Germany’s Michael Ballack–all in their undies. Cheers to you, Vanity Fair: Your enterprising shamelessness truly knows no bounds.
Over at Salon, Joel Whitney explains how The Paris Review worked with the CIA and “served, in part, as a covert international weapon of soft power.” While the possibility is certainly tantalizing, it’s necessary to read Whitney’s article alongside Carolyn Kellogg’s piece in the LA Times, which notes how “the threads of the article … become unsupportably tenuous” as it carries on.
For over twenty years, from the thirties through the fifties, a group of Oxford writers who called themselves The Inklings met weekly to drink, exchange ideas and read aloud their drafts. Though J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were easily their most famous members, the group had other notable figures, among them the language historian Arthur Owen Barfield. In The Chronicle of Higher Education, a history of the group.