What You Should Be Reading…Now: Sarah Palin is Back (but did she ever actually go away?)

This week’s Must Read: I actually went out and bought the new Vanity Fair because I didn’t want to have to read the 10,000 word Todd Purdum piece on Sarah Palin and the 2008 presidential election online. It’s only been out a few days, but it’s already caused internecine warfare to break out on the political right.

Other pieces of note:

  • Will we pay nothing for information in the future? “Yes” says Chris Anderson of Wired magazine in his new book, appropriately named Free. Malcolm Gladwell, reviewing the book in The New Yorker, is skeptical. Anderson replies here.
  • The Washington Post had a good feature about the tragic Metro accident last week.
  • Newsweek has a list of “Fifty Books for Our Times”, If you’re feeling especially frisky, they’ve also compiled a meta-list of the top 100 books of all time. Check it out and see how uncultured you are.
  • From Newsweek (again), a good piece about how the Reagan Revolution actually helped lead the G.O.P. to its current state of disarray.
  • A good piece from the Oxford American about a travel writer who has to reboot his career as a freelancer after he was laid off in late 2008 after twenty years at the same paper. I rather like the closing ‘grafs:

    The combination of waiting and rejection used to drive writers to drink; now it drives them to blog. The blogosphere is an editor-free zone, a lawless, all-embracing realm from which uncertainty, disappointment, and standards have been banished. Anything goes and everyone, it sometimes seems, is there, even the talented, which is proof of the painful universality of rejection. (We all need a place safe from putdowns.) The blogosphere is the hack’s idea of heaven.

    Blogs unquestionably have their uses, but finding room for what John Cheever called “a page of good prose” isn’t one of them. Andrew Sullivan’s claims to the contrary, their rise would seem to put artful writing in jeopardy. For what use is nuance in the age of information? What hope has the poetic in a landscape of opinion? When so much is of the moment, is there still a place—and an audience—for the timeless? “I rewrite,” André Gide is popularly quoted as saying, “in order to be reread.” But who rereads on the Internet, that ever-changing screen?

    The people who still care about the written word tend to become writers (MFA programs are thriving), which necessarily limits the number of disinterested readers. The practice of writing has always verged on folly, and in a world that craves images it has become more questionable and frustrating than ever. I’d give it up tomorrow if I could shed my unfashionable belief in its importance.


    ~ by uvasig on July 2, 2009.

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