During the Cold War, the CIA became entrenched in cultural life through an organization named, ironically enough, the Congress for Cultural Freedom. In order to fight communism, they funded socialist artists. The Awl has compiled a list of literary journals, including the Kenyon Review and The Paris Review, that were once supported by the CIA.
“You couldn’t say, no, this is actually a president, this is exactly how a leader ought to talk and reason, because even with the uhs and ums cleaned out and the spoken sentences made to look like written ones, Trump’s discourse isn’t coherent.” Linguist Michael Erard for The Awl on reading Trump’s transcripts.
With the erosion of the 175-year-old Times-Picayune, New Orleans will soon be one of the largest metro areas without its own major newspaper publishing every day. Over at The Atlantic, Emily Badger explains the sad saga of its demise as well as the complexities and uncertainties yet to come.
Attention Sassy and Jane fans: Infant savant/fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson and Jane Pratt (founder of Sassy and Jane) are starting a new magazine. The publication’s a bit of a mystery right now (no name or website yet), but if you want to be notified when the project launches, click here to get on the e-mail list.
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The January issue of Asymptote is out, featuring an excellent interview with Year in Reading alumnus Junot Díaz about language acquisition and diasporic identity. As he puts it, “I live a life where both English and Spanish are in italics in my brain. It costs me no extra effort; it doesn’t feel unusual; it doesn’t feel like an infirmity, but it does strike me every now and then that there are people who don’t pick over their language the way I do, who aren’t so self-conscious of what they’re saying, who have a natural tongue.” Pair with Thea Lim’s Millions essay on race and gender in Díaz’s books.