After a Boston attorney banned the publication of Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman set out to defend the book, arguing that the sex that earned the book censorship was an integral part of the experience he wanted to convey. In an essay for Salon, John Marsh examines Whitman’s defense in light of the content of his work, exploring the ways in which he upset Puritan mores. You could also read our own Michael Bourne on how Walt Whitman saved his life.
If consecutive profiles in The New York Times and The New York Review of Books are any indication, the reopening of Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre is a very big deal. To celebrate from the comfort of your chair, however, you can listen to the overture from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's opera The Voyevoda, which opened in the Bolshoi in 1869.
Don't forget to return your library books in Texas. This year an Austin man was arrested for failing to return a GED study guide that was three years overdue. Fines and arrest warrants are the new way to break even in towns with shrinking budgets. Other states, such as Iowa, Vermont, and Maine, are joining in.
Meet the man who calls his own fans "scum," R. Crumb. Crumb first rose to prominence after the 1968 debut of Zap Comix, the first of the majorly successful "underground comix" publications. His work with legendary poet Charles Bukowski is worth taking a look.
As you may have heard, Twitter went public last week, which means a lot of people are trying to figure out just what its IPO means for social media. Over at n+1, Benjamin Kunkel proposes that social media, by its very nature, cannot be profitable, and thus should be administered by the state as a public good.
"It’s rough out there for artists and writers right now, I know. There are days when you just want to throw in the towel, say fuck it, fake your own death, give insurance fraud a go, and live out of a Winnebago somewhere in remote Ontario. That’s a good plan—that’s a really good plan—but remember, you’ve got options." The Paris Review considers the life of artist Reuben Kadish, who bought a disused dairy farm, made it a viable business in a decade's time, and changed his medium from painting to sculpture in the process. For those of us who refuse to trade in the typewriter, however, there's always our popular piece on how to write a novel.