Posts by: Mary Allen

Not Quite Human

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For the second time that day, then, I waited in the dark for something not quite human—and all too human—to begin.

If you haven’t seen Charlie Kaufman’s new film Anomalisa, we highly recommend that you do. And then after, read this wonderful piece by Zadie Smith on Kaufman, The Polar Express, Schopenhauer, and the uncanny humanity of puppets.

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National Amnesia

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Race is an important and central issue in the United States, but what about abroad?

It appears that both the United States and the United Kingdom are witnessing one of those moments when we confront what Toni Morrison said in an early interview about Beloved (1987), ‘something that the characters don’t want to remember, I don’t want to remember, black people don’t want to remember, white people don’t want to remember.

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That’s Racist

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As much as we cherish the books from our childhood, there is no denying that some of the stories are just a little (or a lot) racist. But how do we reconcile this truth?

 They were the feckless prisoners of their times, and much as we’d like for people in the past to share our enlightenment, especially people we otherwise admire, it’s just not going to happen in an unfortunate number of cases.

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1984 or 2016?

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For the Los Angeles Review of Books, Stephen Rohde gives a thorough and chilling analyzation of our current socio-political climate which highlights just how closely our world parallels the one that George Orwell predicted in his novel 1984:

No one aware of post-9/11 society in the United States, England, Europe, and elsewhere can fail to see how chillingly Orwell (and Madison) imagined the consequences of permanent war in instilling fear, inflaming patriotism, creating an obedient citizenry, and establishing a pervasive surveillance state.

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Shakespeare’s First Folio, Coming to a City Near You!

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The Folger has 82 First Folios—the largest collection in the world. It’s located several stairways down, in a rare manuscript vault. To reach them, you first have to get through a fire door … (if a fire did threaten these priceless objects, it would be extinguished not with water—never water near priceless paper—but with a system that removes oxygen from the room).

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An Argument Against Spinelessness

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Considering the other forces vying to demarcate our time, dividing it up between mass shootings and other traumas, to encounter a packed bookshelf, a library, or a bookstore with a breathtaking procession of spines and all the potential therein—it is a relief to know that time can also look like that, that it could contain so many ways out, over, and through with those stories.

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