“[W]e are and we are not who our blood roots predetermine us to be.” Over at Electric Literature, Sion Dayson talks with our own Sonya Chung about race, writing, and her new novel, The Loved Ones, which is one of the books we’re most excited to read this month.
As John Steinbeck’s classic Travels With Charley nears the half-century mark, a writer has retraced the author’s cross-country journey and come to the conclusion that the resulting book was full of inaccuracies and outright fabrications. The journalist Bill Steigerwald, whose article appears in the current issue of the libertarian quarterly Reason, says he didn’t set out to trash the Nobel laureate. “As a libertarian, I kind of liked the old guy,” Steigerwald tells the New York Times. “He liked guns; he liked property rights.”
Researchers at Google have analyzed “audiovisual patterns,” “title, description and tags,” “words associated with amusement” in user comments, “emoticons,” and even the number of o’s in the average “LOL” in various YouTube videos in order to identify the funniest content on the web. Then they set up an algorithm to rank their findings, and subjected those findings to an audience vote (which you can join over here). Based on their calculations so far, this was the funniest video of all time. What do you think?
Litographs is a Massachusetts-based company that uses literature as inspiration for their designs. The text becomes the basis for the design. (Check out this example for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.) They’re launching a new Kickstarter campaign on Tuesday in which you can make a custom Litograph with whatever text you want. Pretty cool, right?
Recommended Reading: Tyler Stoddard Smith’s satirical essay on the new literary movement “The Real Newism” at Hobart. “Did Virgil go to hell? No. Did Virginia Woolf go to Disney World? No, and it turns out that Orlando isn’t a place, but a dude. And did Truman Capote ever have breakfast at Tiffany’s? Yes, but the eggs Benedict was cold and the bloody marys were ‘bullshit.'”
“What I want to argue is that we in contemporary English and literature departments need to think instead about how to keep doing abstraction, but better—how can we ‘own’ it, as my students might say, rather than wish it away.” Jeanne-Marie Jackson writes at 3:AM Magazine about comparative literature, the public, and politics.