“O Unslaked Bill Maher, is it true that everything sucks? It probably is, but I didn’t think we were supposed to know that yet.” Fathers of pre-teen girls appeal to higher powers of various, disparate denominations over at McSweeney’s.
You may have heard that “because” is a preposition now, because Internet. What you may not have heard is that the American Dialect Society named “because” their Word of the Year. Their reasoning? The word’s new meaning allows us to omit full clauses, which makes it useful. (Hilariously, they also named Sharknado the “most unnecessary” new word.)
The world isn’t exactly wanting for character studies of Captain Ahab, but Chris Power manages to come up with a novel analysis of the character in this essay about the Moby-Dick antagonist. In Power’s telling, Ahab was valuable in part for what he told us about the 20th century — namely, he foreshadowed the dictators and despots to come. You could also read Hester Blum’s contribution to this essay about the best American novels.
Three days after Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the Times wrote about Katharine Weymouth taking over the Washington Post, Jeff Farhi reports that Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has agreed to purchase the newspaper. Will Bezos follow up his purchase of English™ with a brand-new WaPo style guide?
“I used to run cross country in high school and it was like, I knew if I put in a certain kind of training, it was going to make me faster. If X, then Y. But with writing, it’s like, if X, if I do this thing that’s necessary, which is giving myself the space and time, then what? It’s sort of a question mark. You have no idea. You work so hard to offer yourself up to the space of the unknown.” Leslie Jamison (and Angela Flournoy and Katherine Towler) on being alone and setting aside the time to write.