Book Of Kells, Body Parts, David Lynch, Mansplaining, Old Age


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The World’s Most Famous Manuscript

Christopher de Hamel | Literary Hub | 24th October 2017

Notes on a visit to Trinity College, Dublin, to handle the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript Gospel in Latin created around 800 AD, and one of the most precious cultural artifacts in the Western world. “The security arrangements around it are necessarily as complex as presidential protection undertaken by the secret services of a great nation. The three of us went out to a secure room in the library in which there could have been no possibility of accidental interruption” (1,800 words)

The Body Trade

Brian Grow & John Shiffman | Reuters | 25th October 2017

A modern American story, repugnant on many levels. The writer pays $300 for a spinal column cut from a man who died at the age of 24 after 66 surgeries and whose parents could not afford to cremate him, instead giving his body to a purportedly benevolent organisation. “Reuters was seeking to determine how easy it might be to buy human body parts and whether those parts would be useful for medical research. Reuters later purchased two human heads, each priced at $300” (5,200 words)

Small-Town Noir

Adam Thirlwell | New York Review Of Books | 29th October 2017

On the near-genius of David Lynch. “His cinema is disreputably baroque, brimming with meaning that it disavows. He’s of the same generation as Malick and Scorsese, but where they now seem historical, Lynch still has the fragility of the contemporary. The greatness of his art is linked to the kitsch of his materials, all the B-movie unheimlich maneuvers: doppelgängers, prosthetics, recurring numbers, dream sequences, animated corpses. This is an enigma worth pursuing” (3,900 words)

Men Explain Things To Me

Rebecca Solnit | Guernica | 20th August 2012

Rebecca Solnit’s brilliant formulation of male arrogance a decade ago has changed the way we talk and think now: “One evening over dinner, I began to joke, as I often had before, about writing an essay called Men Explain Things to Me“. The word “mansplaining” was yet to be coined, but Solnit was already steeped in the boorishness which it described. “Men explain things to me, still. And no man has ever apologized for explaining, wrongly, things that I know and they don’t” (2,950 words)

The Istanbul Derby

Spencer Hall | SBNation | 28th April 2014

Gorgeously sprawling epic about a football match in Istanbul — a city “so old it has Viking graffiti in a Muslim mosque which was once a Catholic church built for an emperor”. The city has “so many spare parts from so many civilizations” that stone from one era of antiquity shores up buildings from another. A Greek statue marking victory over the Persians sits in the Hippodrome “because it might as well be there, in a place filled with fragments from four different empires” (7,200 words)

Kathleen Taylor On Ageing

Sophie Roell | Five Books | 27th October 2017

Neuroscientist talks about theories of dementia, and what, if anything, we can do to minimise our susceptibility to it. “All of that Sudoku/foreign language stuff is built on the idea that the brain is like a muscle and you use it or you lose it. The research is suggestive but not conclusive. There is a certain amount of evidence that keeping your brain active can help stave off things. That doesn’t mean you have to learn a foreign language. It means going out and socialising” (4,600 words)

Video of the day We Got Your Back

What to expect:

Scandinavian thought experiment. If you could pay a monthly offset in order to behave badly, would that be a good thing? (3’10”)

Thought for the day

Never take a job for which you are qualified. You won’t grow
Esther Dyson

Podcast of the day The Mother’s Story | BBC Radio 4

Almost unbearably sad, so do be prepared. A mother talks about why her children have been taken away from her
(11'47")

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