“They said banning me from Twitter would finish me off. Just as I predicted, the opposite has happened.” Talking Points Memo reports that Simon & Schuster is moving forward with plans to publish a book by Breitbart News editor and white nationalist Milo Yiannopoulos, whose extended harassment of comedian Leslie Jones finally led to his expulsion from Twitter last year. Critics of the publishing house have called for its boycott, including some of its own authors.
Year in Reading alum Angela Flournoy writes about Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man for the National Book Foundation. “I return to Invisible Man often because it accomplishes so many things at once, but never at the sake of intelligent, moving storytelling.” Pair with our interview with Flournoy.
In the mid-aughts, Jonathan Gottschall pioneered “literary Darwinism,” a new form of analysis which applied evolutionary theory to works of literature. It was part of a wider upheaval in English departments across the country. Now, more than ten years later, we can make an assessment: how’d it work out for Gottschall? The answer: not well. (h/t The Paris Review Daily)
Half-meme, half-myth, ‘Slender Man’ came to us from the same internet that brought LOLcat, doge, and Rule 34. After the surreal stabbing of a 12-year-old girl by two other children claiming they were acting on his behalf, this particular story has taken on a tragic resonance. In The Semiotic Review, Jeffrey Tolbert argues that Slender Man took hold because of the documentary nature of internet ‘evidence’. As one Something Awful blogger put it, “Even if we don’t really believe in [Slender Man], we are cutting him out and sewing him together. We’re stuffing him with nightmares and unspoken fears. And what happens when the pictures are no longer Photoshops?” Very meta–and very scary, all over again.