African Demography, Nationalism, Divorce, Gay Talese, Frank Sinatra, Little Richard


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The Young Continent

Briefing | Economist | 12th December 2015

By the end of this century, Africa will be home to 39% of the world’s population, almost as much as Asia, and four times the share of North America and Europe put together. At present only one of the world’s ten most populous countries is in Africa: Nigeria. In 2100 five will be: Nigeria, Congo, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Niger. None is a byword for stability or prosperity. A quadrupling of their population is unlikely to improve matters. (2,480 words)

In A Pomegranate Chandelier

T.J. Clark | London Review Of Books | 21st September 2006

Discussion of works by Benedict Anderson, scholar of nationalism and internationalism, who died this week. "What Anderson wanted to clarify were the conditions of production of imagined communities of the new kind. What technologies of representation did they depend on? From what classes and professions did nationalists come, and how did their particular interests and social styles inflect the great thing represented" (3,900 words)

The Divorce Colony

April White | Atavist Magazine | 11th December 2015

Late-19C America wrestled with "a divorce epidemic". More divorces were granted there than in all the rest of the Christian world combined. The glamorous and wealthy took the train to South Dakota where state laws allowed numerous grounds for divorce and required only 90 days residency. The city of Sioux Falls became a "divorce colony". The best hotel was filled with petitioners and the second-best with lawyers (8,400 words)

Frank Sinatra Has A Cold

Gay Talese | Esquire | 7th October 2007

Sinatra refused to give an interview. Talese wrote the profile anyway, and the result was one of the most celebrated magazine pieces ever published, a classic of New Journalism. "Sinatra gave away $50,000 worth of gold cigarette lighters before he was thirty. He arrived suddenly on the scene when DiMaggio was silent. Sinatra became, in time, a kind of one-man Anti-Defamation League for Italians in America" (15,700 words)

Frank Sinatra: The Playboy Interview

Joe Hyams | Longform | 1st February 1963

"As I see it, man is a product of his conditioning, and the social forces which mold his morality and conduct are influenced more by material things like food and economic necessities than by the fear and awe and bigotry generated by the high priests of superstition. But when lip service to some mysterious deity permits bestiality on Wednesday and absolution on Sunday — cash me out" (3,950 words)

Prayers For Richard

David Ramsey | Oxford American | 11th December 2015

The first mover of rock'n'roll lives quietly in a penthouse at the Nashville Hilton, wearing gold sunglasses and talking to God. Sixty years ago Little Richard was a "freaky-deaky bisexual black man" who wrote Tutti Frutti — Good Booty as a "raunchy ode to sodomy". Today, still torn between "his life as a Christian and he life as a rock'n'roll sinner", he is "a public treasure". "Every minute that he remains on this earth feels precious" (2,900 words)

Video of the day: How To Tell A Story

What to expect: Interview and animation. George Saunders explains how to breathe magic into a short story (7'12")

Thought for the day

Nothing will ever be attempted if all objections must first be overcome
Dr Johnson

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