Remainders

  • What, Thomas H. Benton asks, is the message of digitization — the new preferred method for preserving books? His answer: “I think the absence of books confirms the disposition to regard them as irrelevant. Many entering students come from nearly book-free homes. Many have not read a single book all the way through; they are instead trained to surf and skim.”
  • A high school teacher regrets the axing of Dead White Men’s books from reading curricula, even as she believes her students have a healthier self-identity than she (an aspiring writer who so identified with male writers that she grew up “twisted, like a tree that leans toward Saturn instead of the sun”) did.
  • Ben Rutter reads Cormac McCarthy’s latest book and takes the author to task for trying to embrace two incompatible doctrines: “how is it possible to be a nihilist and a pessimist at once? Nothingness can’t be getting worse.”
  • Director Roman Polanski is suing Vanity Fair for claiming that he tried to seduce a woman in New York just after his late wife’s murder. Even if he wins on the merits, is it really going to enhance his reputation when the world recalls — as the trial inevitably will remind them — that he once admitted to having sex with a 13-year-old girl? (Transcript of girl’s testimony here.)
  • Forthcoming from the BBC: “a new version of the Charles Dickens classic, Bleak House, will be churned out like a ‘modern-day soap, with half-hour, twice-weekly episodes that end on a cliffhanger’, starring Gillian Anderson, Charles Dance and Alistair McGowan.”

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