Why does the experience of being lost feel so valuable? It seems to me that this is one more myth about how people are supposed to engage with the city: to give over to discovery, imagination, and self-reliance. All of these, the myth assumes, lurk in the unknown and unplanned, not in the daily commute from A to B and back again.
And yet, individuals’ different understandings of geography are so subjective, founded on observation and experience and desire. My map of Paris may look nothing like yours, or like Google’s. But when I’m following it I’m neither lost nor found. I’m simply attuned to my city. Getting lost is not as important as being alert to the world, even when you know where you’re going.
The crimes and misdemeanors language perpetrates against music are many and various, but one offense is more insidious than most, simply for being so insignificant. It’s a preposition. In English, invariably, we listen to a piece of music. Never with a piece of music.
That little rut of syntax conceals a speed bump on what seemingly should be a musical express lane: the generation of empathy. Empathy is something music can and ought to steadily, even effortlessly create. Performing music, particularly in any sort of ensemble, large or small, exercises the muscles of empathy like no other. But even just listening to it should give empathy a boost, one would think. Name another art form that so regularly launches even its most historically, culturally, and ethnologically distant artifacts into newly immediate vitality, again and again.
The new American man, in other words, is more likely than ever before to be a capable home cook; maybe you’ve even read about him, in Jessica Pressler’s memorable 2015 introduction to the sous vide-loving dude foodie—the “doodie”—or perhaps in stories about how men’s increasing interest in cooking is making the kitchen the new man cave.
As men discover kitchens, kitchens have been quietly discovering men. Take a look at any roundup of the kitchenwares every man should own—the kitchen “tools” and “gadgets,” that is, or “essentials,” a favorite man-brand euphemism for “accessories.” For one thing, you’ll notice a lot of kitchenwares now have the stark, clean, neutral-masculine palette of brushed chrome and matte black as a default. (If there’s a dudely analog to “shrink it and pink it,” it’s something like “steel it, matte-black it, and make it heavier.”) Both appliances and the kitchens they fill have evolved around the men who now inhabit them—even if appliance brands often would prefer not to talk about it.
Few novels have had such mythical beginnings, and few have themselves achieved the status of myths, as “Frankenstein” has. It was the founding text of modern science fiction. It has been endlessly retold in different forms—perhaps only Emily Brontë’s “Wuthering Heights” and Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” have proved as fertile. Each generation of its readers finds new allegories for the anxieties and ambitions of what they take for modernity; the monster each sees is a reflection of themselves. Yet at the heart of the story, as of Mary’s biography, were primeval sadnesses and fears.
An amateur-investigator story, a black comedy, a family saga, The Hoarder knots together a number of genres, but with Bridlemere at its centre – part Bluebeard’s castle, part fly-tipped Manderley – its roots lie in the gothic tradition.