Here are some interesting things I read on the internet in 2016, in this episode of “no value added”
- Skopje, City on the Make Alexander Clapp in the Baffler writes about the Macedonian government’s bizarre penchant for recreating other places’ famous tourist attractions and non-bizarre penchant for corruption
- The Illegal Underground Ballerinas of Tehran Beulah Devaney in Vice writes about dance in the Islamic Republic
- Pity, O God, the Republican Susan Faludi in the Baffler on Viktor Orbán and what he’s done to Hungary
- Redistribute Wealth? No, Redistribute Respect Noah Smith explains, a few years in advance, what Trump voters want
- Trump and Brexit: why it’s again NOT the economy, stupid Eric Kauffmann explains, in a take that quickly went on to become conventional wisdom, who the Trump voters are
- Intellectuals for Trump Kelefa Sanneh in the New Yorker looks at terrible people who have the intellectual chops to delude themselves spectacularly
- The Defence of Liberty Can’t Do Without Identity Politics Jacob Levy makes the case for the statement in the title
Life and Culture
- Leonard Cohen Makes it Darker David Remnick in the New Yorker profiles Leonard Cohen, a man who seemed as ready for death as anyone could hope to be.
- The Writer Who Was Too Strong to Live Dave McKenna in Deadspin writes about the life and death of Jennifer Frey
- Access Denied John Herrman in The Awl writes about the breakdown of the media’s role as gatekeepers.
- Socks Janet Malcolm in the New York Review of Books writes about the two contrasting styles of translating Anna Karenina. As someone who’s against both Englishifying translations of Russian poetry, and against Pevear and Volokhonsky, I am of course conflicted (but mostly agree with Malcolm).
Fiction and Essays
- The Inner Ring C.S. Lewis gives a commencement speech
- On Venus, Have We Got a Rabbi William Tenn writes, well, you’re not convinced you should read this from the title? What do you need, a hand-printed invitation, maybe?