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Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Most Dangerous Hobby, by Eitan D. Hersh, Boston Globe

But something troubling has emerged on the American scene: Political activity has become a hobby. Voting, petitioning, partisan cheering, donating, watching infotainment news: The chief purpose for participating in politics seems to be self-gratification.

The Mysterious Woman Who Inspired A Bestselling Novel, by Emma Jane Kirby, BBC

On the face of it, Madonna In A Fur Coat is just a largely unrequited love story set in the crowded streets and seedy cabarets of 1920's Berlin. Protagonist Raif, who is no Heathcliff - he's often described as being more of a girl than a man - has been bewitched by the feisty feminist artist Maria, alias the Madonna in a Fur Coat, and they embark upon an intense, platonic love affair.

It doesn't sound very 21st Century - yet for the past three years the book has topped the bestseller lists. And its readers are Turkey's youth. When Filiz goes into schools and talks about the book to teenagers she sees the boys, as well as the girls, cry.

A Century Of Conflicted, Complicated Motherhood In Art, by Hilary Reid, New Republic

This is not a book filled with sweet, traditional depictions of motherhood; like Ferrante’s narrator, many of the female artists reckon with motherhood as a role that could physically and mentally deter them from creating art.

Perception Vs. Reality, by Harold McGee, Lucky Peach

Perception vs. reality is a venerable versus. From prisoners in Plato’s cave mistaking shadows for reality, to studies about the unreliability of eyewitnesses, the difference between what is and what we perceive has been a problem for thousands of years.

When it comes to eating and drinking, most of us generally assume that what we taste and smell is what’s there in the food. In fact it’s not. Fortunately, the categorical accuracy of what is or isn’t there is less important at the table than in the witness box. What actually matters at the table is perception. Perception is king when we’re eating and enjoying. It is its own reality.