Recent Reading, 10/2/17
"Fuller’s adaptation of Gaiman’s novel isn’t a faithful one, and that’s where its genius lies. Instead, it’s the grand, operatic, incomplete, many-multi-part fanfiction you would find when you were up at 4am, wide-eyed and buzzing and sleepless. The show has the same sense of being plugged into a sweaty universe of equally wired, panting brains, fetid and shameful and all loving something desperately, all refusing to accept that the thing they love might be finite." —Helena Fitzgerald, “Sex and Maximalism: Why the Best Adaptations Are Like Fanfiction”
"In the outside world, the problem isn’t that plants are suddenly getting more light: It’s that for years, they’ve been getting more carbon dioxide. Plants rely on both light and carbon dioxide to grow. If shining more light results in faster-growing, less nutritious algae—junk-food algae whose ratio of sugar to nutrients was out of whack—then it seemed logical to assume that ramping up carbon dioxide might do the same. And it could also be playing out in plants all over the planet. What might that mean for the plants that people eat?" —Helena Bottemiller Evich, "The Great Nutrient Collapse"
"Daniel Freeman, a psychiatrist who’s studied the link between 'gut feelings' and paranoia, says anxious people are more likely to give their gut too much credit. People with anxiety often rely on “a kind of safety-first approach: a reliance on fearful hunches, with less measured reevaluation,” says Freeman. “This may keep fearful ideas in place, since the negative thoughts will less often be fully examined and put to the test.” —Katie Heaney, "A Thinking Person's Guide to Going with Your Gut"
"Somehow, without anyone intending it to, the idea that we do know what these cave symbols mean has permeated modern society. It’s there in a whole vast complex of normative judgments: when we talk about the diets and lifestyles that are natural and good, when we complain that mobile phones and social media are perilously rewiring our brains, when we vaguely condemn technology in general for drawing us away from our original (and implicitly Paleolithic) human nature, when we mention human nature at all. It’s the idea that we can meaningfully relate our world to that of our Stone Age ancestors, as if we knew anything whatsoever about what kind of world they lived in. This is an incredible violence against that lost universe, a place grander and stranger than we could possibly imagine. But most violent of all is the discipline [James] Damore off-handedly mentioned in his sexist Google screed, evolutionary psychology." —Sam Kriss, "What the Caves Are Trying to Tell Us"
"The feminist criticism of Playboy has always been obviously correct. Hefner literally reduced women to little bunnies who existed entirely to suck his penis. Of course, there’s plenty of mention in the obituaries of Hefner’s “highbrow” aspirations. In his words “We enjoy mixing up cocktails and an hors d’oeuvre or two, putting a little mood music on the phonograph and inviting in a female acquaintance for a quiet discussion on Picasso, Nietzsche, jazz, sex.” But it was always clear that the intellectual side of Playboy was strictly for men: he refused to discuss politics or literature with any of his girlfriends. They were there for him to have joyless unprotected sex with whenever he pleased." —Nathan J. Robinson, "Good Riddance to an Abusive Creep"
"Much of the creative-writing industry depends upon that misconception and the promise, implicit or explicit, that the acquisition of those skills [to transfer the contents of the writer’s interiority onto the page with as little loss as possible] is unconditionally achievable. I’ve grown to be suspicious of that notion, as I have learned that writing generates the content and therefore transforms—or even creates—the interiority. Writing is a means of interaction with the world, and therefore it changes the writer. If it doesn’t, it contains no discovery and merely reproduces the already known and familiar. Writing, I believe, should be a matter not of execution but of transformation." —Aleksandar Hemon, "The Transformative Experience of Writing for Sense8"