THR Web Features   /   December 12, 2014

The Hedgehog's Array: December 12, 2014

Noteworthy reads from last week:

"Has modern art exhausted its power to shock?," Roger Scruton

"If the public has become so immune to shock that only a dead shark in formaldehyde will awaken a brief spasm of outrage, then the artist must produce a dead shark in formaldehyde—this, at least, is an authentic gesture."

"Can We Criticize Foucault?," Daniel Zamora

"Foucault was highly attracted to economic liberalism: he saw in it the possibility of a form of governmentality that was much less normative and authoritarian than the socialist and communist left, which he saw as totally obsolete."

"The Disappearance of Rosemary Tonks," Ruth Graham

"Decades later, a London poet named Rosemary Tonks would name Rimbaud as one of her main influences. If she was not quite the scandalous sensation of her forebear, she was nonetheless respected, and she ran with a bohemian crowd.… And then, quite suddenly, she disappeared."

"Good Feminist," Vivian Gornick

"Fast-forward another twenty-five years, and we’re into what’s called Third Wave feminism—a non-movement movement whose participants seem to bear an uncanny resemblance to the young women who called themselves free women in the 1920s."

"The Gothic Life and Times of Horace Walpole," Carrie Frye

"As a child, Horace Walpole frequently heard it said of himself that surely he would die soon."

"Future Perfect," Iwan Rhys Morus

"For the Victorians, the future, as terra incognita, was ripe for exploration (and colonisation). For someone like me—who grew up reading the science fiction of Robert Heinlein and watching Star Trek—this makes looking at how the Victorians imagined us today just as interesting as looking at the way our imagined futures work now."

"Who Killed Cat Fancy?," Abraham Riesman

"Extensive interviews with writers and executives there have suggested an answer: Cat lovers killed Cat Fancy. In their defense, they had no idea they were doing it."

"How Torture Became Just Another Government Bureaucracy," Scott Shackford

"A bureaucracy always protects its own existence above any and all things. The nature of the CIA's acknowledgements of deficiencies are about fixing the bureaucracy and actually expanding it."