Noteworthy reads from the last week:
"Last night, my Twitter timeline was filled with sad reflections on the life of Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, who had passed away. Very sad—but the sadness is cut by the fact that Achebe actually died two years ago."
"Offices became highly ambiguous spaces in the fast-developing world of American capitalism. Were clerks part of the growing industrial working class, replacing the artisans and small farmers of the old-world economy? Or were they merely stopping points on the way to becoming part of the 'ruling class'?"
"Karl Kraus, the acerbic fin-de-siecle Viennese critic, once remarked that no nation’s literature could properly be judged by examining its geniuses, since genius always eludes explanation. A better metric is the second-rate, which is to say, the popular literature and art that makes up the bulk of what people consume."
"If, as Umberto Eco tells it, 'the list is the origin of culture,' then the Internet may be culture’s apotheosis."
"In my work life now—a paragon of telecommuting flexibility from wherever and whenever—the Angelus has become a precious fixture. I mostly forget to say it, of course. But when I don’t, it bounds the beginning and end of the workday, sanctifying each, and abruptly, insistently interrupting in the middle, as if something other than the work before me matters."
"Asked about his politics, he said: 'I’ve been called a Marxist and a conservative. I guess both are kind of true.' He added: 'Marx had a whole anthropology of what a human being is, which is connected to activity.'"