“He sat on a shelf of our one-roomed apartment for a while, and then one day when I was sitting in front of my typewriter staring at a blank sheet of paper wondering what to write, I idly tapped out the words ‘Mr. and Mrs. Brown first met Paddington on a railway platform. In fact, that was how he came to have such an unusual name for a bear, for Paddington was the name of the station.’ It was a simple act, and in terms of deathless prose, not exactly earth shattering, but it was to change my life considerably. … Without intending it, I had become a children’s author.” Michael Bond, creator of the Paddington Bear series, has died at 91, reports NPR. We’d like to think that Bond might have appreciated our own Jacob Lambert‘s series, “Are Picture Books Leading Children Astray?” – in particular this entry questioning the moral fiber of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.
Spider-Man is one of our favorite superheroes, but he’s a terrible journalist. At The Atlantic, Daniel D. Snyder discusses how Peter Parker and Clark Kent are unethical reporters. “The media is, in theory at least, supposed to be honest. Putting on a costume, coming up with a fake name, and lying to everyone about what you really do are the opposite of that.”
Would you eat the marshmallow or would you resist temptation? That is the question. Our own Michael Bourne gets to the meat of why the mallow experiment fascinates us at The New York Times Magazine. “The tale of the marshmallows, as presented in Goleman’s book, read like some science-age Calvinist parable. Was I one of the elect, I wondered, a child blessed with the moral fortitude to resist temptation? Or was I doomed from age 4 to a life of impulse-driven gluttony?”
“You could call Zero K a grand summation of DeLillo’s career themes and prose stylings. You could also call it recycling.” Tony Tulathimutte reviews Don DeLillo’s “techno-prophetic novel,” Zero K. To revisit DeLillo’s prior work, check out David Rice’s review of The Angel Esmeralda.
Hitchens looks back at the Rushdie fatwa and its legacy of censorship.The Feltron 2008 Annual Report“The Governor and the Glove” – an encounter with BlagojovichJoseph O’Neill remembers Updike (via TEV)Ted Leo performs Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark.”The Paleolithic era of online news.TNR reviews Outliers: “It is an axiom of Malcolm Gladwell’s method that a perfect anecdote proves a fatuous rule.“