“Because what [narcissists] have inside is empty space, they have had to make a study of the selves of others in order to invent something that looks and sounds like one. Narcissists are imitators par excellence. And they do not copy the small, boring parts of selves. They take what they think are the biggest, most impressive parts of other selves, and devise a hologram of self that seems superpowered. Let’s call it ‘selfiness,’ this simulacrum of a superpowered self.” Go enjoy this excerpt from Kristin Dombek’s new book The Selfishness of Others: An Essay on the Fear of Narcissism.
Things you can learn about Teddy Wayne from his essay in the New York Times Book Review: one, his first name is Derek; two, he believes the modern lit world is crazy for guys named Jonathan; and three, he once considered using the pen name D.T. Wayne. (For more, you could go read our interview, or else check out our review of his latest novel.)
As Teju Cole demonstrated with his real-time ghazals (one, two, and three) this past week, Twitter is a medium ripe for linguistic experimentation. And far from being the exclusive domain of human beings, the social network can also produce “found poetry” at the behest of computer programs – a practice I recently wrote about for The Bygone Bureau. But who’s behind these Twitter bots? Over at The Boston Globe, they check in with Darius Kazemi, the 30-year-old programmer who’s made some of the most-loved accounts out there.
If you thought the English language went downhill when the emoticon was introduced, you can blame a 17th-century poet. Editor Levi Stahl found that English poet Robert Herrick used the first emoticon in his 1648 poem "To Fortune." As Herrick writes, "Tumble me down, and I will sit/ Upon my ruines (smiling yet :)" For more on the potential ruin of language, read Fiona Maazel's piece on commercial grammar.
What's the best book Mary Roach has read recently? Tim Johnston's first novel, Descent: "I read the last 30 pages in an airport, 10 feet from the gate, and did not notice the boarding announcements. I missed my flight for literature." Bonus: Here's Roach's interview with The Millions from a couple of years back.