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Monday, February 8, 2016

The Trouble With Superman, by Asher Elbein, The Atlantic

Behold! I give you the problem of Superman. It’s a problem that has less to do with the character himself and more to with DC Comics, which found itself stuck with a flagship character it thought needed fixing. In trying, it broke him nearly beyond repair.

Neurothriller, by Patricia Pisters, Aeon

It’s not just your imagination. Horror films are much more scary than they were in the past. Here’s how they do it.

‘The Good Death,’ ‘When Breath Becomes Air’ And More, by Andrew Solomon, New York Times

These recent weeks have seen the publication of five books about death: one by a historian; two by hospice workers; one by a widow; one by a man who is dying himself. Several of them quote Dylan Thomas’s “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” to advocate resilience, then map the fine line between denial and succumbing. In “Death’s Summer Coat,” Brandy Schillace complains, “The modern Westerner has lost loss; death as a community event, and mourning as a communal practice, has been steadily killed off.” Examining rituals of bereavement across cultures and across time, she suggests that everyone else has been better at the rites of farewell than we are. Our postindustrial disavowal of mortality is described by Simone de Beauvoir, who wrote, “For every man, his death is an accident and, even if he knows it and consents to it, an unjustifiable violation.” Schillace, a research associate at the Dittrick Museum of Medical History, points toward the confusion that has emerged in a technological age when brain death, heart death and other definitions becloud our understanding of expiry itself, observing that by current legal definitions, the same person could be alive under American law and dead under British law. We don’t know what death means or even what it is.

Shylock Is My Name By Howard Jacobson Review – A Provocative Retelling Of The Merchant Of Venice, by Howard Jacobson, The Guardian

Shylock meets his modern doppelganger in the novelist’s playful examination of what it means to be Jewish.

What Is The Female Orgasm For? Science, Gender Bias, And The “Upsuck” Theory That Won’t Go Away, by Tim Lewens, Salon

Female orgasms, like male nipples, have no direct biological function. Which means the science gets a bit strange.

Grey, by Edwin Morgan