Julian Levinson translates and comments on Moshe-Leyb Halpern; Derek Mong considers English as a second language; Natania Rosenfeld muses on her mother-in-law and Louise Bourgeois; Stefanie Weisman goes in search of E. B. White.
Fiction by Alan Cheuse (with help – a lot of help – from Herman Melville), Bernardine Connelly, Chidalia Edochie, and Peter Levine.
Poetry by Nicolas Born, Victoria Chang, Moshe-Leyb Halpern, A. Van Jordan, Nick Lantz, Margaret Reges, Brian Swann, and Ann Marie Thornburg.
Plus: A review by Raymond McDaniel of Maggie Nelson’s “The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning.”
Plates and bowls are meant to be simple conveyances for food, but now eating at home would possess the burden of memory: each grown-up, lonely dinner of spaghetti with jarred sauce and salad from a bag would be served on plates that screamed in my face COLLEGE! YOUTH! 1998! NORTHAMPTON! NEVER EATING ALONE! Over time, would these thirty-six pieces of cracked, used china simply become my regular old dishes, no longer returning to my mind an amalgam of dusty, distant college memories? Did I want my Madeleine or didn’t I?
“I’ve heard a lot of people defend the hipster headdress saying that it’s the same thing as wearing a crown or eating a pizza–that borrowing from and imitating other cultures is part of human nature. However, when you look at the history of genocide and other atrocities that Native Americans have experienced because of white settler colonists, the practice of appropriating their religious and cultural practices suddenly seems much more atrocious.”
Lev Grossman begins his recent Time article, writing “For every minute that passes in real time, 60 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube…Sixty hours every minute. That’s five months of video every hour. That’s 10 years of video every day.” How is that possible? Most often YouTube’s content includes movie clips, short films, whole films, television shows, music videos and amateur videos. “Anybody can run [a YouTube channel] easily and for free. That puts individual YouTube users on the same footing with celebrities and major networks.” I don’t know if I’d call them celebrities, but recently, I’ve developed this immense fascination with the people who have video blogs (vlogs).
What is the most perfect metaphor for synthetic happiness, which Gilbert argues is virtually indistinguishable from natural happiness, both as it is felt (internalized) and shared? Fake bacon? 3-D movies? Any form of cultural simulacra, in the Baudrillardian sense of the term?