Tennis, Elie Wiesel, Gender, Fine Art, Rory Stewart


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Federer, Both Flesh And Not

David Foster Wallace | Penguin | 30th June 2016

Arguably Wallace’s best essay. Roger Federer at Wimbledon. “In men’s sports no one ever talks about beauty or grace or the body. Men may profess their ‘love’ of sports, but that love must always be cast and enacted in the symbology of war: elimination vs. advance, hierarchy of rank and standing, tribal and/or nationalist fervor, uniforms, mass noise, banners, chest-thumping, face-painting, etc. For reasons that are not well understood, war’s codes are safer for most of us than love’s” (2,700 words)

Elie Wiesel: The Art Of Fiction

John S. Friedman | Paris Review | 1st May 1984

Interview. “I didn’t want to write a book on the Holocaust. To write such a book, to be responsible for such experiences, for such words — I didn’t want that. I wanted to write a commentary on the Bible, to write about the Talmud, about celebration, about the great eternal subjects: love and happiness. When you read a book on the Holocaust, written by a survivor, you always feel this ambivalence. On one hand, he feels he must. On the other hand, he feels … if only I didn’t have to” (12,600 words)

The Olympics Struggle To Define Gender

Christie Aschwanden | FiveThirtyEight | 28th June 2016

The International Olympic Committee maintains the division between men’s and women’s events, but relaxes its definitions of “men” and “women”. Athletes who have transitioned to another gender may compete without sex reassignment surgery. “You can still have your old parts, which is very forward thinking”, says Caitlyn Jenner. Athletes who have previously identified as female can compete in male events without restriction; but not the other way round (1,700 words)

Instagram And The Fantasy Of Mastery

Ricky D'Ambrose | Nation | 29th June 2016

Rambling essay full of interesting observations about fine art in the digital age, arguing that all art now aspires to the condition of Instagram. Style is the new substance. What matters is the “look”. “A look is a kind of instant style, quickly executed and dispatched, immediately understood. To say that a film, a photograph, a painting, a room’s interior has a look is to assume a consensus about which parts of a nascent image are the most worthy of being reproduced on a massive scale” (5,020 words)

An Interview With Rory Stewart

Ferdinando Giugliano | La Repubblica | 1st July 2016

Conservative MP on post-Brexit Britain. “We need our cabinet to go to Europe again and again until the Commission and European leaders are totally familiar with what we are trying to do. I don’t think we can accept the Commission saying ‘there is no deal’. There is always a deal. People say: ‘We can’t give you this because our own people want this, our people are going to ask for the same’. This is strange. If their own people want the same thing, what does it mean that they can’t give it to us?” (2,200 words)

Video of the day: Our Voices Are Rarely Heard

What to expect:

Inmates describe solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison in California. Directed by Cali Bondad for Sister

Thought for the day

We think we dislike flattery, but it is only the way it is done that we dislike
La Rochefoucauld

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