“These people may not take you seriously. And your boss might not either. Or your dentist or your best friend from middle school. But you who does take you seriously? Dictators. Dictators take you very seriously. Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot and Augusto Pinochet, all rounded up writers and artists in short order. They could not afford to have the unpredictability of literature at large while they were trying to create a totalitarian state.” Wendy Willis on subversion through writing for The Rumpus.
‘The 4½-foot tall poststructuralist philosopher I live with demonstrates a radical mode of viewership daily. Because of her, and with her, I am able—by moments—to move out of my own natural larval state and experience movies not just as deliverers of entertainment, conveyors of meaning, or objects of aesthetic contemplation, but as pure fields of emotional and sensory intensity, almost like rooms to which one can return.” Dana Stevens on watching movies with, and like, a child.
Over at the Masters Review, Marjorie Sandor writes about the uncanny in literature and film, the origins of the word, and psychology. “Uncanny. Look it up in a standard collegiate dictionary, and you’ll get a brief, unhelpful definition. Seemingly supernatural. Mysterious. [orig. Sc & N. Engl.]. But the slippage has already begun. Seemingly.”
The New York Times profiles our best tool in combating asinine email forwards: snopes.com. Use it liberally against all who forward you nonsense masquerading as “news.”
“How had no one ever told me about (Othello‘s) Emilia, who, in only a couple of lines, brings down one of the most conniving, merciless villains in all of Western literature? How had no one told me about this fantastic female character who defies not one but two sword-wielding men in order to make sure Desdemona, her mistress and friend, receives justice? I wanted to rip up my diploma. I wanted to start over as a freshman and devote my entire undergraduate career to the Gospel of Emilia.” On Othello’s Emilia and her refusal to be silenced.
Say you’re the kind of person who never ends a sentence with a preposition. You’re studious about distinguishing between “its” and “it’s,” and you’re likely to judge a person who says “nauseous” when they should have said “nauseated.” But occasionally, if you’re being honest with yourself, you suspect that a lot of the grammar rules you follow are conditional or even arbitrary. Herewith, Steven Pinker offers ten rules you should break from time to time. (Related: Fiona Maazel wrote an essay for The Millions on good grammar.)