Posts by: Casey Dayan

The Efficacy of Words

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The truth is that the horror of being eaten outpaces the horror of death by any other means. Microbe, animal, another human: being consumed feels sharper, entirely visceral. But why? Over at Guernica, Lance Richardson writes on Peter Gorman’s Ayahuasca in My Blood: 25 Years of Medicine Dreaming, an ethnographic account of his experiences  in […]

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On Social Capital and Staying Hidden

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Meander to Hazlitt for Linda Besner’s recent reading of Alfred Hermida’s Tell Everyone: Why We Share and Why it Matters. Besner’s critique is particularly concerned with the role of anonymity in a new, social-media-dominated landscape: Social media, in other words, is a gift economy, in which we share information both in the expectation that others […]

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Amis, Oates, and the Foul-Smelling Meadow

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Recent [WWII] novels by Susanna Moore and Ayelet Waldman achieve their emotional power by focussing upon characters peripheral to the terrible European history that has nonetheless altered their lives. The conflagration must be glimpsed indirectly, following Appelfeld’s admonition that “one does not look directly into the sun.” Such circumspection has not been Martin Amis’s strategy […]

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Writing Tomorrow Better

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Find yourself at the New York Times for Nick Bilton’s most recent article, a piece on the ways in which the sci-fi of the past has affected our real-life present. Moreover, Bilton highlights a recently formed group of writers, aware of literature’s future-shaping effects, interested in writing more auspicious future fiction: One thing writers are […]

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A Whole Jar of Change

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Make your way to The New Yorker, where Elif Batuman makes an inquiry into what has become a dominant American disposition: awkwardness. “Awkwardness,” Batuman argues, “is the consciousness of a false position.” Here is the top-rated definition of awkward in Urban Dictionary: “Passing a homeless person on your way to a Coin Star machine.” In […]

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On On Writing

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Fourteen years after it’s publication, Stephen King’s On Writing has become a necessary read for anyone interested in prose-burnishing. Follow this string of red letters for a new interview with King on his book with The Atlantic’s Jessica Lahey. Jessica Lahey: In On Writing, you identified some phrases that should be excised from every writer’s […]

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The Beautiful Private Life of the Other

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Italian photographer Olivier Fermariello’s collection, Je t’aime moi aussi (NSFW)—a striking gallery of the sexual lives of the disabled—gives a glimpse into the private sphere of those who fall outside culture’s narrow standards of beauty. These people were willing to give their most intimate appearance to a total stranger in order to let others know that […]

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Straight out of Kafka

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All for a novel? Eighth grade school teacher Patrick McLaw was placed on leave by the Dorchester County Board of Education and is currently being investigated by the County’s Sheriff, James Phillips, who explained—somewhat cryptically—that McLaw is at a “location known to law enforcement . . . [without] the ability to travel anywhere.” So far, […]

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Sprose Poems and Flarf

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Dan Piepenbring has had a bee in his bonnet about the spam comments they get over at the Paris Review Daily—”they’re by turns,” he says, “ludic, cryptic, disquieting, emotional, and inadvertently profound”—so fascinating, in fact, that he has kept a working list of his favorite ones. I admire the impulse behind spam lit, and I’ve […]

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Whistling in the Dark

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Every generation has its reservations about popular music—all the same, the last few market-driven decades have undoubtedly left their own, new, unique mark on its most contemporary manifestations. Still, there are radio programs out there dedicated to music as such. This Thursday, our very own Allyson McCabe will be joining radio host Binnie Klein on WPKN […]

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Fire All the Jugglers

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This is the biggest thing, we gotta appeal to sesquicentennials. You know who I’m talkin’ about, these youngsters that have been coming of age in the 1910s and 1920s. They’re obsessed with what’s current and modern. They have at least one telephone in the home. They’re not afraid of bicycles. They want to see soft-shoe […]

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New, Old Salinger Stories

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Having realized the rights to three unpublished Salinger stories were unclaimed, small publisher Devault-Graves set about purchasing them. The stories were published earlier this week. But despite the fun of having a little more Salinger to read, some are unhappy with how the stories were released: They’re more innocent, more trusting, but ultimately, and unfortunately, they’re […]

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