Noteworthy reads from the last week:
"When I was first drawn into this nighttime Instagram grid, I was looking for a distraction, for images to displace the thoughts that had agitated me to exhaustion. What I found instead was something that seemed descended from Walt Whitman’s 'Democratic Vistas,' his great prose poem of an essay that was really a proposal for a new kind of literature, a way of speaking, a way of seeing."
"How did we reach a point where 'nothing at all escapes technique today'? Ellul offers a long genealogy of technique, from primitive man to the Greeks and Romans, to Christianity, the early modern era, and lastly the Industrial Revolution, when technique finally came into ascendancy."
"In naming someone an It girl, a publication is either hedging a bet (Gretchen Mol will be all that anyone’s talking about in 1998) or trendspotting (Cara Delevingne is everywhere in New York; you’ll be seeing her everywhere else soon)."
"England in the time of Shakespeare lived in a state of heraldic enchantment. The spell was cast at court, where participants in tournaments decked themselves in heraldic emblems and carried onto the field specially designed imprese expressing some cherished virtue."
"In the end, the Treasury Department told Anslinger he was wasting his time taking on a community that couldn’t be fractured, so he scaled down his focus until it settled like a laser on a single target—perhaps the greatest female jazz vocalist there ever was."