“Every sense cleared about three hundred percent and stood up on its hind legs waving its feelers.” Eighty years ago, James Agee got an assignment that entered him into history, though not during his lifetime. Let us now celebrate Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. See also: our essay on famous artist-writer collaborations, like Agee’s with Walker Evans.
What’s the deal with all the fake birds animated into fantasy and sci-fi films these days? According to Brian Thill, these digital flocks “aren’t just there to make the unreal scenes feel a bit more real” but are rather signifiers of “our oldest and most common metaphor for freedom.” What to make of their ability to evade disaster or succumb to it, however, is another story entirely.
Northern England has its own distinct genre of crime fiction, yet it’s never taken off abroad the way its counterparts in Scandinavia and Scotland have. In The Guardian, AK Nawaz wonders why this is, arguing that “there is an argument for a common and marketable ‘Northernness’ – if not an identity, then perhaps a literary state of mind.”
The best longread you’re likely to find this afternoon: Martin Amis talks to David Wallace-Wells about his latest novel, Lionel Asbo: State of England, America’s decline, politics, porn, post-modernism and more. Amis even dodges another attempt to bring up that book he wrote about videogames that nobody will let him live down.
“Internet-centrism, then, treats ‘the Internet’ as an object that acts on society from outside, rather than a technological form that emerges from within a particular social and political situation.” The Los Angeles Review of Books reviews Evgeny Morozov’s latest critique of the digital age, To Save Everything, Click Here.