Caitlin Flanagan | Atlantic | 19th February 2014
Glorious first paragraph; fascinating throughout; funny and penetrating about youth, education, and the law. But let's stay with that first paragraph for a moment: "One warm spring night in 2011, a young man named Travis Hughes was struck by what seemed to him — under the influence of powerful inebriants, not least among them the clear ether of youth itself — to be an excellent idea: he would shove a bottle rocket up his ass"
Lucy Kellaway | FT Magazine | 21st February 2014
Conversation — rendered rather wonderfully as a script, with asides and stage directions — during rehearsals for Nunn's staging of Fatal Attraction. "Misogynist claptrap", says Kellaway. Nunn demurs: his version will be "genuinely theatrical, genuinely complex and genuinely tragic". But the bunny stays in the picture: "If you call something Fatal Attraction but rewrite it to the point of leaving out iconic instances, you betray expectations"
James Meek | London Review Of Books | 20th February 2014
President Yanukovich's willingness to trade Ukrainian sovereignty for gas and cash must have confirmed Vladimir Putin in his belief that "Ukrainians are a greedy and frightened people in their entirety". But Putin was blinded by his own cynicism. Ukraine proves to have idealists ready to fight. Their goal, a decent government, "may be a fantasy, a paradisal vision. But there are times when visions take charge"
Paul Ford | MIT Technology Review | 18th February 2014
Ingenious essay on possible uses for Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies. "Imagine an online advertising campaign where people who clicked on an advertisement would be given the virtual coins. Small amounts of money might be distributed without friction. The entire web of advertising would suddenly become a more interesting place. Before, the ads seemed to hunt you, but now you would have reason to hunt for ads"
Carla Blumenkranz | New Yorker | 20th February 2014
Notes on the methodology of Gordon Lish, teacher of creative writing and celebrated editor for Esquire and Knopf. "In two ways his workshop extended beyond the established boundaries of the classroom: if he really liked what you were doing, he might sleep with you, or he might publish your book". He told young writers, in effect, to exploit their reserves of personal trauma — which produced some good first books
Julia Ioffe | New Republic | 13th February 2014
Sad on several levels. McFaul resigns after two years as US ambassador in Moscow. He spoke out for gay rights, democracy; which may well have been counter-productive. As he says: "It’s easy to overestimate the coercive power of outsiders when dealing with Russia. Many times I’ve heard from civil-society leaders and members of the opposition that, in the name of a nice sound bite or photo op, we have done damage"
Thought for the day:
"I would rather be terrified occasionally than supervised continually" — Walter Kirn
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