THR Web Features   /   January 23, 2015

The Hedgehog's Array: January 23, 2015

Noteworthy reads from the last week:

"Instagram’s Graveyard Shift," Jeff Sharlet

"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."

"Confronting the Technological Society," Samuel Matlack

"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."

"The Trouble With 'It Girls,'" Anne Helen Petersen

"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)."

"Artificial Arms," David Gelber

"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."

"The Hunting of Billie Holiday," Johann Hari

"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."