Coherence and closure are deep human desires that are presently unfashionable. But they are always both frightening and enchantingly desirable.—A. S. Byatt
—found in Possession (1990)
palaver · /pəˈlɑ:və(r)/ · /pə-LAH-və(r)/. noun or verb. Tedious, pointless work. a meeting or conference. Voluminous, idle talk. Flattery. In West Africa, a dispute. From Portuguese palavra (speech, talk), from (via metathesis) Late Latin parabola (speech), from Latin parabola(comparison).[Read more…]
- “…bringing on ‘more diverse voices’ is not enough. This white, highly educated core—both listeners and managers/editors—will have to give up their entitlement to these airwaves” → ‘I Just Don’t Hear It’: How whiteness dilutes voices of color at public radio stations
- “A social tragedy” is putting it mildly → Did Prisons Ever Work?
- “His account is a cross between an ego trip, a crusade, and a compulsion” → One Twitter Account’s Quest to Proofread The New York Times
- “Richard Magarey has facial hair, pigtails, a closetful of schoolgirl outfits and an endless supply of energy. In Tokyo, he became the world’s unlikeliest death metal superstar” → Meet Ladybeard, the Crown Prince of Japan’s Strangest Music Scene
- “A professor embarks on a six-month binge of celebrity-led online courses” → How to Learn Everything: The MasterClass Diaries
- “Obinwanne Okeke was supposed to be a rags-to-riches Nigerian success story. Then the feds followed the money” → Gone phishing
- ‘I noticed this stick, about the size of a pencil, hanging on twelve inches of string from the ceiling. Willie goes, “That’s our magic stick.” I said, “Really?” And he said, “Yeah. It tells us what we need to know. If it’s wet, it means the bus is underwater. If it’s on the roof, that means the bus is upside-down”‘ → That’s Just the Way Willie Rolls
- “It was a difficult decision, but after lengthy consultations with some of the University’s foremost financial experts, we concluded that it would be not only safe but also healthier (in the spiritual and fiscal sense) to reopen campus.” → Our Successful Return to Campus: An Update from Your University President
- Quick hits: Meet LizardBirdMammal // The Transparent Public Toilets of Tokyo // Painting Eyes on Cow Butts // RZA’s new Good Humor jingle // Marijuana Vending Machines // The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free // Japan’s Unknown Indigenous Cuisine // The ‘Slam’ of Your Car Door is Fake // ‘Extinct’ Butterfly Restored // Stealing the World’s Rarest Water Lily? // Finding North America’s Lost Medieval City
- Today in 1973, Jan-Erik “Janne” Olsson, on furlough from a Swedish prison, robs a bank in Norrmalmstorg Square, Stockholm, taking four employees hostage, and demanding three million kronor, body armor, and the release of a friend, Clark Olofsson, from prison. Swedish police brought Olofsson to serve as an intermediary, but after four days of fruitless negotiation, the police pumped tear-gas into the bank and rescued everyone unharmed. In fact, Olsson had built such a close relationship with his hostages that they refused to testify against him and, incredibly, started raising funds for his defense. The hostages’ sympathy with their captors was coined Stockholm Syndrome and despite being the subject of much debate—and no doubt buoyed by its invocation the next year by Patty Hearst—continues to be used to this day to refer to everything from literal captives to those who support their cruel, repressive dictators, such as Rodrigo Duterte, Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump.
Oleandrin (because WTAF?) ☡ virtual political conventions (because enough Zoom already) ☡ The university admissions scam (because it’s all a scam) ☡ Pumpkin products’ premature appearance (because it’s never too early)
- Reader A. w/r/t Walter Mosley: “All the pbs newshour commentators filmed in their homes, and guests, are filmed in front of mass arts of books. I have thousands, they are in fully asked shelves, boxes, stacked on the floor, staircases, by the bed, etc. they are. My life.”
- Reader B.: “Another glorious shipment from the Atelier Katexique! ¶ Reaction videos: my family wants me to make these because I react Gothically to cute animal videos.”
- Reader K.: “In your note about meretricious you asked for a word to refer to words that don’t mean what you might expect. I’ve been racking my brain! Help!!” — I did, in fact, find an apt coinage: phantonym!
- Another Reader K.: “What kind of of – I don’t even know – does it take to compose a work like Cadaeic Cadenza?”
- Reader Z.: “Coverage of the ongoing USPS debacle should not be WITHHELD.” — Noted. I expect I’ll have something in the next issue.