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Thursday, July 11, 2019

On Hunger, Women’s Bodies, And Margaret Atwood’s First Novel, by Lara Williams, Literary Hub

In The Edible Woman, it is sometimes unclear as to whether Marian is rejecting a subservient mode of womanhood in refusing to eat, or whether her body is rejecting a type of womanhood being foisted upon her. Certainly, Marian sees marriage as a devouring of her personhood and agency, evidenced by the switch to the third-person voice (who is in charge?). Peter tells her what to wear and how to behave. After sex, he asks how it was for her. “Marvelous,” she replies, wondering how he might react if she told him the truth: that it was bad. She talks about feeling “homeless” and “dispossessed,” a state to which she robotically acquiesces after Peter proposes: “‘I’d rather have you decide that. I’d rather leave the big decisions up to you.’ I was astonished at myself. I’d never said anything remotely like that to him before. The funny thing was that I really meant it.”

Writing With A Brush, by Colin Fleming, The Smart Set

We almost always assume that a writer is most influenced by other writers. They’ve read piles of books, they’ve decided that their skills best synch up with what a given number of other authors were doing, and they take a bit here, take a bit there, mix that in with their own sensibilities, and voila, a style is born.

I’ve always found this a slipshod way to go, in part because I don’t believe a great author ever has a single style. It’s one reason I rate Hemingway as at best mediocre, and often quite terrible, like the authorial version of some droning, one-note song that can’t leave its initial starting key or augment what it is doing with additional chords.

Should Neil Armstrong’s Bootprints Be On The Moon Forever?, by Nadia Drake, New York Times

Losing lunar historical sites is not an abstract concern. With a few crucial exceptions, what happens off-world stays off-world, and activities on the lunar surface are largely unregulated. Various private space actors have already demonstrated a proclivity for celestial shenanigans: Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, launched his car into space. Rocket Lab, the builder of small rockets, shot a disco ball-like object into orbit from New Zealand. And Vodafone has hinted at building a cell tower on the moon.

More seriously, a modern-day space race between governments and private companies is fast-tracking plans to return both humans and robotic landers to the lunar surface. One of those companies, PTScientists of Berlin, announced a plan to land near — and examine — the site of Apollo 17, where humans last traipsed across the lunar surface. Now, some are saying, it is time to get serious about preserving humanity’s heritage on the moon.

Nomads Travel To America’s Walmarts To Stock Amazon’s Shelves, by Josh Dzieza, The Verge

Chris Anderson moves through the Target clearance racks with cool efficiency, surveying the towers of Star Wars Lego sets and Incredibles action figures, sensing, as if by intuition, what would be profitable to sell on Amazon. Discontinued nail polish can be astonishingly lucrative, but not these colors. A dinosaur riding some sort of motorcycle? No way. But these Jurassic Park Jeeps look promising, and an Amazon app on his phone confirms that each could net a $6 profit after fees and shipping. He piles all 20 into his cart.

It’s not a bad haul for a half-hour’s work, but it’s not great either. He consoles himself that he hit upon a trove of deeply discounted Kohl’s bras the day before as he left East Brunswick, New Jersey, on his way here to Edison. Home is still 300 miles away, in Tyrone, Pennsylvania, and there are plenty of stores between here and there.

Anderson is an Amazon nomad, part of a small group of merchants who travel the backroads of America searching clearance aisles and dying chains for goods to sell on Amazon. Some live out of RVs and vans, moving from town to town, only stopping long enough to pick the stores clean and ship their wares to Amazon’s fulfillment centers.

On The Uncanny Adaptability Of American Fast Food, by Chris Cander, Literary Hub

As the United States emerged from the Cold War as the lone superpower in the early 1990s, it endeavored to showcase its singular influence in new ways. In lieu of traditional territorial expansion or colonies, there would be American culture and language along with science and technology, all orbiting out to the world’s far-flung corners. To be sure, a few scattered military bases here and there and a little expression of economic and political clout. And there would be American fast food.

The arrival of iconic chains abroad wove of all of these disparate strands of leverage together. The spread of Big Macs, Blizzards, Whoppers and Frosties projected the American character—approachable and agreeable, charismatic and casual, evangelical and democratic, hectoring and capitalistic. The expansion of fast food also embodied a defining enthusiasm of the era: globalization.

Enter The Quarantine Around 'Wilder Girls' At Your Own Risk, by Caitlyn Paxson, NPR

Rory Power's debut novel Wilder Girls combines grotesque physical metamorphosis with the intense bonds of love between teenage girls to create a unique variety of feelings-heightened body horror. If you took the creeping biological corruption that one expects from Jeff VanderMeer and the angry, intense teen girl relationships centered by Nova Ren Suma and mashed them together, they would mutate into this — something fresh and horrible and beautiful.

Epigenetic Inheritance, by Emily Franklin, Cincinnati Review

Girls born to Dutch mothers in the famine
had greater risk of schizophrenia.
Fathers who smoked before puberty
had heftier sons. Just what