Quote of the day

“A polymath is someone who is interested in everything and nothing else ”
— Susan Sontag

Clearing Up Ambiguity

In almost every field of human activity clarity is a virtue. Only in literature (and sometimes in diplomacy) do we elevate ambiguity. But ambiguity is not something that an author can control; if attempted deliberately, it always appears contrived. Successful ambiguity comes when the author leaves the writing open to interpretations which the author herself does not foresee; it is the contribution of the authorial unconscious (1,800 words)

Taylor Swift: A Socratic Dialogue

Another masterpiece from McSweeney’s (the last one was Mamet’s Appliance Centre). After a long low period, it’s the renaissance over there. Socrates interrogates Taylor Swift about the contradictions in her lyrics: “It seems we’ve reached an impasse. If they fake, fake, fake then they do not always play, play, play for there must be at least some stay, stay, stay for otherwise, they only play, play, play and hence, are a player and not a faker” (780 words)

Bullshit Titles

Rant against the naming conventions for academic books and papers. “A couple of examples should be enough. Since I don’t want to ruin anyone’s career (including my own) I’ll just make up them up: Agency, Structure, and Power: The Milk-Marketing Board of Ruritania, 2007-2009; Realising the Juridical: The Roman Law of Dogs in Later Imperial Sources. These titles are, in an obvious pre-theoretical sense, utter bullshit” (730 words)

The Believer

Portrait of the soccer-loving introvert who morphed into a “monster” and now leads Islamic State under the name of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He was born Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Al-Badri in 1971 in Samarra, Iraq. He studied hard under Saddam and joined the Muslim Brotherhood. In 2004 the Americans detained him for ten months. He went into prison a brooding zealot, flourished, and came out a charismatic leader (6,000 words)

A History Of World Of Warcraft’s Gold Economy

“The general pattern went something like this. When a new server opened, prices would climb like crazy, because of the oversized demand. Everyone needed things to help level up their characters and professions, and there was no supply to speak of. After a while, perhaps a month or so at most, supply for basic materials and gear would begin to massively outstrip demand, dropping prices inexorably downward” (4,700 words)

Always be interesting.
Never be bored.

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