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Friday, September 23, 2022

A History Of The Pleasures And Powers Of Showing The Nude Body, by Annebella Pollen, Aeon

For around 100 years, naturists – formerly known as nudists – have been arguing that public disrobing is physically and morally improving. They first promoted their ideas in illustrated books and magazines in the 1920s and ’30s, and soon extended their claims to the pleasures and practices of viewing nude bodies in photographs. They did this, in Britain, in the face of an incredulous public and a hostile legal system with strict ideas about decency and obscenity.

Can looking at nudes be good for you? The lively debates raised by historical nudists about the pleasures and powers of showing the nude body are fascinating. They provide surprising perspectives on questions about physical beauty, nature, and the sexualised body.

L.A. Writer Laura Warrell Gave Up On Love — But Never On Writing, by Dorany Pineda, Los Angeles Times

“Love is finding someone with whom you don’t have to translate yourself,” says Warrell, 51 — a line she credited to a friend, the poet Charles Coe. “Love, to me, means creating a safe place for vulnerability to happen.”

She had an outlet for those ruminations because one thing she never gave up on, after decades of persisting and surviving rejection, was writing. It’s been a steady presence in her life since she learned to string words together. She wrote her first book in elementary school, her first novel in her 20s, and she hasn’t stopped since.

Podcasting Is Just Radio Now, by Nicholas Quah, Vulture

Perhaps the days of the blockbuster podcast are gone. Podcasting wouldn’t be unique in this loss — after all, we do live in a post-monoculture era of too much everything. Maybe it’s not so bad to settle for art house: a smaller domain within the industry for fresh ideas, new talent, and actual podcasts as podcasts. There will be plenty to fill your ears. Just don’t expect to hear it at a listening party.

Celeste Ng’s Dystopia Is Uncomfortably Close To Reality, by Stephen King, New York Times

The definition of “dystopia” in the Oxford English Dictionary is bald and to the point: “An imaginary place in which everything is as bad as possible.”

Literature is full of examples. In “The Time Machine,” the Morlocks feed and clothe the Eloi, then eat them. “The Handmaid’s Tale” deals with state-sanctioned rape. The firefighters in “Fahrenheit 451” incinerate books instead of saving them. In “1984”’s infamous Room 101, Winston Smith is finally broken when a cage filled with rats is dumped over his head. In “Our Missing Hearts,” Celeste Ng’s dystopian America is milder, which makes it more believable — and hence, more upsetting.

Tree Of Life, by Sophie Klahr, New England Review

The week after our family friend is not shot
that Saturday morning in synagogue,

she invites us over for dinner. I’ve known
her and her husband long enough