Category Archives: Weekly Roundup

The Hedgehog’s Array: October 21, 2016

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Noteworthy reads from the last week (or so):

“Agnes Martin: The Essentials of a Minimalist Master,” Peter Plagens
“Martin achieved an artistic style that fused universal order and symmetry with a profoundly beautiful, subjective, oscillating human touch. Plato wouldn’t have believed his eyes.”

“Romancing the Romanovs,” Gary Saul Morson
“As any student of Russia from Peter to Stalin knows, Russian modernization, for all its embrace of Western technology, somehow missed something essential about being civilized.”

“Six Cups: A Wedding Present, a Family History, and Ukraine’s Dark Twentieth Century, 75 Years After Babi Yar,” Natalia A. Feduschak
“‘And then one day, the Jewish children were all gone,’ [my aunt] said in another phone call many years after she shared the story of the wedding cups.”

“From Attica to Harvard Law Students: A Message from Behind the Wall,” John J. Lennon
“Ignorance is ugly, particularly in prison. It’s loud and obnoxious and violent. It tumbles into my cell right now as I write this. But for some, education can quell that.”

“How John Berger Taught Us to See,” Colin MacCabe
“Berger was always committed to both criticism and creation: to the production of painting and fiction. ”

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The Hedgehog’s Array: August 12, 2016

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Noteworthy reads from the last week (or so):

“Monstrous Births,” Sarah Blackwood
“Perhaps it might be time to abandon altogether the idea of childbirth as a moral experience?”

“Are you dating a Fox News spy? Read it at Gawker, as the news site careens toward bankruptcy sale,” Matt D. Pearce
“It is time to soak up Gawker Media’s final days of freedom before the irreverent, influential and financially doomed media company goes up for sale next week.”

“Lives and Misfortunes of Lorenzo Da Ponte,” Antonio Muñoz Molina
“We imagine a very old man walking in New York in the twenties and thirties of the nineteenth century, recalling as if in a dream all the lives that he had lived, as remote as the opera performances that he used to attend in the Vienna of his youth, in an extinguished world.”

“Make America Austria Again: How Robert Musil Predicted the Rise of Donald Trump,” David Auerbach
“Trump is one of the most emotionally needy figures in American political history.”

“Delusion at the Gastropub,” Heather Havrilesky
“Food is personal. It’s sensual, it’s nostalgic, it’s political. But contrary to the slogans of our officious foodie overlords, food is not everything.”

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The Hedgehog’s Array: June 3, 2016

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Noteworthy reads from the last week:

“In Between Daze,” Michelle Dean
“I thought writing for a living would be a racket, and I’d be paid to pick out good art and go to parties, but since then I’ve learned it’s the art people who have the real scam going.”

“Gawker Smeared Me, and Yet I Stand With It,” Stephen Marche
“Such childish hostility notwithstanding, I believe that Gawker serves an essential function in a celebrity-obsessed culture, and if it were to disappear the world would be poorer and the cause of journalistic truth would be damaged.”

“Comfort and Joy,” Rohan Maitzen
“It’s hard to know how (or even whether) to try to tackle the larger problem. But one thing we can do—those of us who want a better conversation about romance—is, bit by bit, to correct the ‘error’ Regis identifies: to meet sweeping generalizations with specifics, looking not at “the romance novel,” but at particular romance novels.”

“Love on the Run,” Terry Castle
“The Highsmithian lover becomes that crazy-making contradiction: both the criminal genius and the doomed malefactor—ecstatic rebel and cast-off, terrified child.”

“Antiheroic Feminism: An Interview with ‘UnREAL’ Co-creator Sarah Gertrude Shapiro,” Karen Tongson
“And that’s the thing I was trying to say about reality TV and its effect on the world. Sure, shows like that feel like a guilty pleasure. They even feel like fun. But when you start ripping people apart that way, you’re eventually going to turn that lens on yourself.”

“The Sun Is Always Shining In Modern Christian Pop,” Leah Libresco
“I took a look at the last five years of Billboard’s year-end top 50 Christian songs to see whether Christian pop is unrelentingly cheerful. I looked at pairs of concepts across the entire collection of lyrics (life and death, grace and sin, etc.) and calculated the ratio of positive to negative words. For every pair I checked, positive words were far more common than negative ones.”

Hedgehogs abroad:

“Nadar’s highs and lows,” Leann Davis Alspaugh
“Although Eduardo Cadava’s introduction to this first-ever complete English translation of Quand j’étais photographe positions Nadar’s photography as a form of mourning, the subject himself refuses to take this line.”

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The Hedgehog’s Array: May 20, 2016

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Noteworthy reads from the past (few) week(s):

“The Delightful Language of Commencement”
“Do these speakers, from such disparate backgrounds, have anything in common when it comes to giving advice to youth (or the confused at heart)?”

“Living Things,” Sarah Marshall
“More than evil, more then fury, more than any dark force beyond the human, Jeffrey Dahmer’s life seems to have been marked by an unbearable loneliness.”

“Expert Textpert,” James Ley
“A frank exchange of views ensued, during which it transpired that our dining companion held eminently practical opinions on all manner of topics. These included a general disdain for the various academic disciplines that fall under the rubric ‘humanities’, an unshakeable belief in the virtues of trickle-down economics, and a strong disinclination to educate poor people.”

“Sexual Freelancing in the Gig Economy,” Moira Weigel
“If you want to understand why ‘Netflix and chill’ has replaced dinner and a movie, you need to look at how people work. Today, people are constantly told that we must be flexible and adaptable in order to succeed. Is it surprising that these values are reshaping how many of us approach sex and love?”

“‘Writing Is an Act of Pride’: A Conversation with Elena Ferrante”
“And I’m talking about the past, about what we generally call tradition; I’m talking about all those others who were once in the world and who have acted or who now act through us. Our entire body, like it or not, enacts a stunning resurrection of the dead just as we advance toward our own death. We are, as you say, interconnected.”

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The Hedgehog’s Array: April 22, 2016

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Noteworthy reads from the last week:

“Now’s the Time,” Eric Olson
“If I were to die today, my loved ones would be grief-stricken, my son would be orphaned, and my colleagues would have to mark my students’ exams. That would be terrible for them.”

“A groundbreaking artist, Prince astonished right to the end,” Steve Smith
“There was never a time, not even a passing moment, that Prince didn’t matter.”

“Note To Self,” Elaine Blair
“To throw in our lot with the essay — to place it at the center of our literary culture — is to accept the idea of a more or less continuous self that can make its observations, emotions, interpretations, and opinions intelligible to others.”

“On the Road,” James McWilliams
“The trade-off for submitting voluntarily to the pain of a marathon—which really can be otherworldly—is the opportunity to transcend your anger, to step outside normal life and build a unique narrative out of a sanctioned act of rebellion.”

“Still Tilting at Windmills,” Stephen Phelan
“On a recent Saturday morning, I caught The Cervantes Train from Madrid’s Atocha Station. Don Quixote greeted me on the platform.”

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The Hedgehog’s Array: April 15, 2016

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Noteworthy reads from the last week:

“How an Internet Mapping Glitch Turned a Random Kansas Farm Into a Digital Hell,” Kashmir Hill
“One important lesson of my sleuthing is that IP addresses, which get used as digital evidence in criminal trials and to secure search warrants, are not always reliable. Like Social Security numbers, they were a numerical system built for one purpose that are now used for something completely different.”

“Shakespeare’s Rotten Weeds, Shakespeare’s Deep Trenches,” William Logan
“A poet may make a poem worse in revision, may soften effects that give it the wrong conviction and finish when required for a chain of sonnets. Shakespeare likely had written the poems from immediate impulse, as his friendship with the Fair Youth developed, stumbled, had consequences. There was no need to polish them, because they were private. He passed a few to friends—which tells us little more than that he had friends.”

“Type Slowly: Word Processing and Literary Composition,” Dylan Hicks
“If, in one traditional view, literary perfection was either illusory or the province of poems and other short works, now, it seemed, even a long novel could be refined to an apotheosis of unalterable integrity.”

“Picturing Don Quixote,” Rachel Schmidt
“Whatever Cervantes’ initial idea, in the course of the last 400 years, Don Quixote has embarked on a journey in the world imagination that has taken the literary character far beyond its original conception. The book illustrations of Cervantes’ Don Quixote would play a decisive role in this — transforming not only the image of Don Quixote and his loyal servant Sancho Panza but also by giving life to the image of Cervantes himself.”

“Suspicious Minds,” Evan Kindley
“It is in detective and spy stories, Boltanski argues, that we find the clearest expression of many of the paranoid attitudes and ideas expressed more apologetically and self-consciously in the social sciences and in everyday political life.”

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The Hedgehog’s Array: April 8, 2016

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Noteworthy reads from the last week:

“In Defence of Minor Poets,” Stephen Burt
“Not all the stars shine equally; not all the stars are visible all the time (there are some you can’t see from the Northern Hemisphere), and not all are equally important to young astronomers’ sense of the sky. But they are there; they are numerous, too.”

“Freedom and Intellectual Life,” Zena Hitz
“The image of the intellect as a refuge from the world is rare nowadays, but its history is distinguished.”

“The Imaginary Suicide of Mrs. Darling,” Elyse Byrnes
“The point is, yes—the Little Mermaid stabs herself in the heart after the prince marries someone else. Why would you read a child this story? Two reasons: one, because life is hard and the earlier they learn that the better for them. Two, because life is hard and the earlier you learn that the better for you.”

“Can an Outsider Ever Truly Become Amish?,” Kelsey Osgood
“The wishful Amish have dedicated internet forums (ironically) on which they write with the feverishness of the unrequited lover about their long-held desire to get close to the aloof objects of their spiritual desire.”

“What I’ve learned reciting poems in the street,” Gary Dexter
“No. 2 was Tennyson’s ‘Lady of Shalott.’ That can’t be right. Only one person has ever asked me for ‘The Lady of Shalott.’”

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The Hedgehog’s Array: April 1, 2016

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Noteworthy reads from the last week:

“A History of Wallpaper’s Deception,” Jude Stewart
“Wallpaper has been guilty of little white lies, like visually altering the proportions of a room or projecting your idle fancies onto the four walls—and also of more outright deception, of social pretension, even the erasure of history.”

“The Declining Taste of the Global Super-Rich,” Amber A’Lee Frost
“This is the state of fine arts under contemporary capitalism. Classics and antiquity have lost cultural cache in the age of disruption, and there is no longer an aristocratic imperative to support noble projects of lofty ambition.”

“A Century of Wild and Utopian Experiments with Self-Sustaining Worlds,” Claire Voon
“Can a house sustain itself by eating its own tail?”

“Inside a Chinese Self-Help Group,” Yuebai Liu
“The desire for self-actualization in a hyper-competitive society like China is strong. It’s also increasingly difficult as inequality continues to rise.”

“Tracing the Steps of Lost Explorers in Miserable, Beautiful Siberia,” Hampton Sides
“Today it’s hard for us to understand how intensely curious people were in the 19th century to learn what was Up There. The polar problem loomed as a public fixation and a planetary enigma. The gallant, fur-cloaked men who ventured into the Arctic had become national idols. People couldn’t get enough of them.”

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