Writing links

16th March 2019

John Wyver writes: for this collection of links I am interpreting the idea of ‘writing’ rather broadly, and so there are pointers towards pieces about writing, pieces about journalism, pieces about reading, and pieces of what I feel to be simply really good writing. As with other pull-togethers like this, which have included recent ones about photography, television and the visual arts, I’m going to add to an initial selection during today and over the next few days.

Social humanities: a number of really interesting blog posts about the relationship between autobiography and fiction, especially from British working-class writers, by Nick Hubble, author of The Proletarian Answer to the Modernist Question.

John Williams and the canon that might have been: Leo Robson for The New Yorker on the once-neglected now-revered author of the 1965 novel Stoner.

Does talking about books make us more cosmopolitan?: Tim Parks’s troubled reflections are well worth your time.

The necessity of being judgmental – on “k-punk: The Collected and Unpublished Writings of Mark Fisher”: Roger Luckhurst contributes to LA Review of Books a truly considered assessment of this monumental collection by the late maverick.

Why we need a new philosophy of sex: Victoria Brooks, Lecturer in Law at the University of Westminster, for The Conversation, has a new book out in June, Fucking Law: The Search for Her Sexual Ethics. She begins her article in this way:

A number of years ago, I found myself at a public sex beach in southern France for research purposes. Unsurprisingly, I experienced some ethical dilemmas. Because I was researching the ethics of sexuality, my research involved potentially having sex with men and women at the beach. The question of whether I “should” or “could” do so was complicated by a number of factors. I am a woman. I am queer. I am an academic. At the time, I was also in an (increasingly) difficult relationship with a man who was a philosopher. Given all of these complex factors, I desperately needed ethical assistance supported by philosophy (that I read and revered) that did not judge, and was aligned to my sexuality. But this philosophy – whichever way I turned to find it – doesn’t exist

Fall from grace: Paul Starr for New York Review of Books on journalism, technology, truth and ethics in a response to Jill Abramson’s Merchants of Truth: The Business of News and the Fight for Facts, about the media organisations BuzzFeedViceThe New York Times, and The Washington Post, and Network Propaganda: Manipulation, Disinformation, and Radicalization in American Politics by Yochai Benkler, Robert Faris, and Hal Roberts.

A chemistry is performed: for LRB Deborah Friedell reviews John Carreyrou’s rigorously researched study of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos:

Carreyrou’s book tells the story of Theranos and of how he painstakingly took it down, which means that it’s the story of how he painstakingly found sources, and painstakingly persuaded them to talk to him on the record. One of them was Rochelle Gibbons. Her husband, an English biochemist in his mid-sixties, had been the ‘first experienced scientist Elizabeth had hired after launching Theranos’. Gibbons told Carreyrou that a non-disclosure agreement had forbidden her husband to discuss his work with her, but shortly before his suicide, he had told her that ‘nothing was working.’ She thought that whatever was happening at Theranos was the reason he’d killed himself. 

On indexes: after my recent post about Indexes, my friend Luke McKernan drew my attention to his May 2018 post on the subject, which is far more informed and insightful than mine own – do take a look.

Los Angeles plays itself: just a glorious essay, posted at Longreads in 2015 (but only just found by me) about walking in the city of angels, excerpted from Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles, by David L. Ulin. 

Presidential libraries and the digitization of our lives: Dan Cohen on the changing make-up of the materials (paper documents, photographs and audiovisual media, and, starting with Bill Clinton, email) in the presidential libraries of LBJ, Clinton and Barack Obama – and what the implications of this are for archivists, historians and the rest of us. Above is a public domain image by Jay Godwin of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library in Austin, Texas, which has always intrigued me as a building.

Academics want to go public – how can we help them?; an interesting piece by American academic David M. Perry about how others of us who are privileged to undertake research for at least part of our living can most effectively share this and contribute to public debates.

Where next for interactive stories? and Storytelling of the future: two valuable BBC Research & Development blog posts by Nick Hanson about interactive narratives.

Reading Machines class schedule: a wonderful outline and reading list or an experiential graduate seminar about technology and the book f in the English Department at Northeastern University; a thousand thanks to Ryan Cordell for making this publicly available – there are so many interesting (forking) paths to follow here.

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