I was, on the one hand, deeply occupied with splitting my body into two people and then getting to know the second person. On the other hand, I had a lot of time to read while awake in the middle of the night holding that person.
A longer list with less commentary than usual:
- The Useless French Language and Why We Learn It (LA Review of Books). Come for the poking fun at France, stay for the insights about different kinds of languages and how they are responding to English taking over the world.
- Is Oatmeal Healthy? Here’s What the Experts Say (Time). An algorithm suggested this for me to read, which made me feel seen. But also, this is such a failure at being clickbait that is both hilarious and a work of art. Time Magazine, for some reason, is trying to drum up controversy about oatmeal but every expert they talk to immediately resolves it. Good old oatmeal, squashing any attempt to make a fuss.
- Epic Pooh, by Michael Moorcock (Revolution SF). A funny and satisfying old rant that I had never read, about the infantile prose style of a lot of epic fantasy.
- Magic Mike XXL is Basically Just “The Odyssey” But With Butts (Electric Lit). A vision of a non-misogynist hero’s journey.
- The Personal Business of Being Laid Off (Hazlitt). Mainly for articulating this idea that now comes up for me all the time in daily life under capitalism:
On my most recent watch [of the 1998 movie You’ve Got Mail], though, I found myself emotional over one particular exchange. Joe visits Kathleen in a bid to win her over romantically and begins telling her that destroying her business wasn’t personal. In response, she tells him, “I am so sick of that. All it means is that it’s not personal to you, but it’s personal to me.”
- Physicists Are Misled By Outdated Notions of Beauty (Motherboard). A philosopher describes what qualities of a theory count as beautiful in physics, how they got that way, and why they need to change. I love a critique of beauty standards, and this one was in an unexpected place.
- Seattle Researcher Documents Necrophilia Among Crows (Slog). Of course!