Il bulllismo ai tempi dei social networks

Tyler Clementi, la vittima
Sul New Yorker c'è un lungo articolo su un caso molto inquietante di bullismo che, nell'era dei social network e dei new media, assume dimensioni catastrofiche: un freshman omosessuale, molto timido, viene - forse - indotto dal suo compagno di stanza a suicidarsi, dopo che questo spiava con la videocamera del computer i suoi incontri sessuali e li diffondeva tra gli amici dei social media. Il compagno di stanza colpevole - forse - (o solo molto superficiale), ora deve affrontare un processo e una possibile condanna a parecchi anni di galera. "A recent paper by two scholars of new media - Alice Marwick, of Harvard, and Danah Boyd, of N.Y.U.- describes the tendency of teen-age girls to categorize even quite aggressive behavior as mere 'drama,' in the same category as online gossip and jokes. Policy-makers and television anchors talk of 'bullies' and the 'bullied,' but teen-agers tend not to, in part because 'teens gain little by identifying as either,' the scholars explain. 'Social stigmas prevent teens from recognizing that they are weak, and few people are willing to admit that they purposefully hurt others. . . . 'Drama' also implies something not to be taken seriously, to be risen above, while the adult-defined 'bullying' connotes childishness or immaturity to teenagers." newyorker.


Master in Crime Fiction Writing

La City University di Londra
Volete diventare scrittori di gialli? Iscrivetevi al Master in scrittura creativa per giallisti della City University di Londra. "City University in London is turning to crime, with the launch of an MA devoted to teaching crime fiction and thriller writing. Launched in response to student demand, and to the growing popularity of the genre, the UK's first creative writing masters dedicated to crime and thriller novels is another harbinger of a 'second golden age of crime writing'.The genre is the second biggest in the UK, according to official data, with sales of £87.6m in 2011. guardian.


Nick Hornby on Robert Harris

Robert Harris fotografato da Annie Leibovitz
Non sapevo fossero parenti. Bello il profilo che Nick Hornby fa del cognato, Robert Harris, "The man who would one day become my sister's husband ticked all the right boxes, when I first met him. He was clearly smart. He looked as though he would prefer to spend the evening in an expensive but unpretentious London restaurant than in a crack house. He was warm, friendly, funny. If there was one tiny thing that might give a concerned brother pause for thought, it was the enormous bookshelf given over more or less entirely to books about the Third Reich: there were more swastikas in his one-bedroom Shepherd's Bush flat than in the whole of occupied France. But what was a brother supposed to do? It wasn't as though he was hiding them from my sister. She'd presumably seen them. I decided not to interfere. A few years later, in 1992, his first novel, Fatherland, was published, to enormous acclaim and grotesque international success, and it all started to make sense". vanityfair.



"In getting my books," Edgar Allan Poe wrote in 1844, "I have always been solicitous of an ample margin; this is not so much through any love of the thing in itself, however agreeable, as for the facility it affords me of penciling in suggested thoughts, agreements, and differences of opinion, or brief critical comments in general."
For a 2010 Talk of the Town piece, Ian Frazier wrote about a trip he took to the New York Public Library to view the annotated former possessions of various literary luminaries.
In a copy of 'Fifty-five Short Stories from The New Yorker, 1940-1950' once owned by Nabokov, he observed that the former Cornell literature professor had taken the trouble to give each story a grade, neatly penciled in beside its title in the table of contents. Only two stories in the anthology were awarded an A+ grade: J. D. Salinger’s 'A Perfect Day for Bananafish' and Nabokov's own 'Colette.'" newyorker.



Stereogranimator, a graphic tool that allows users to try their hand at bringing the more than 40,000 digitized stereographs from its collection back to flickering life."It's a nice example of the cool things that can happen when you put library collections online in free, repurposable forms," Ben Vershbow, the manager of NYPL Labs, the unit responsible for the project, said in a telephone interview. nyt. Forse è una cavolata, ma è divertente!



"Someone" è il titolo di un racconto molto bello di Alice McDermott, uscito sul New Yorker, ma purtroppo non disponibile online. Fa parte di un libro che McDermott sta scrivendo, ambientato a Brooklyn negli anni Trenta.
You mentioned that this piece was taken from a novel-in-progress. Is the rest of the book about Marie, the heroine of “Someone”?
Yes. Over time, I have honed what began as a teeming novel into the story of one unremarkable woman. I did this with some trepidation: teeming novels do strike me as so much more impressive. And novels about unremarkable women, especially those written by unremarkable women, seem a thing of the past. But that’s what the novel wanted to be. I suppose I’m drawn to the stories that the more sophisticated, critical chorus in my brain warns against. It’s the contrarian in me, I’m afraid. newyorker.


Speaking American

Speaking American. A History of English in the United States, del lingista Richard W. Bailey (Oxford University Press), è un libro da tener presente. "The history of American English has been presented in more detailed and precise fashion elsewhere - by J. L. Dillard, and even, for the 19th century, by Bailey himself, in his under­read ­Nineteenth-Century English. Still, his handy tour is useful in imprinting a lesson sadly obscure to too many: as Bailey puts it, 'Those who seek stability in English seldom find it; those who wish for uniformity become laughingstocks.'" nyt.



In un post di una certa Maria, che viene descritta come poliglotta e traduttrice, ho trovato un elenco di parole intraducibili in inglese (e anche in italiano). Per lo più non mi pare che mi capiterà di averne bisogno, se non nel caso di una, che in effetti descrive una situazione in cui mi capita relativamente spesso di trovarmi. Si tratta di Tartle: A Scottish verb meaning to hesitate while introducing someone due to having forgotten his/her name. altalang.


Sheila Heti e Joan Didion

La scrittrice Sheila Heti intervista Joan Didion su Believer.

THE BELIEVER: When you were a little girl you wanted to be an actress, not a writer?
BLVR: But you said it’s okay, because writing is in some ways a performance. When you’re writing, are you performing a character?
JD: You’re not even a character. You’re doing a performance. Somehow writing has always seemed to me to have an element of performance. believermag.


Writers' Bloc

E' il titolo di una rubrica lanciata dalla rivista online Guernica e curata dalla scrittrice Zadie Smith. Alcuni scrittori sono stati invitati a fare un reportage creativo, soggettivo, emotivo, ecc. sui paesi poveri, di solito descritti in modo impersonale o paternalistico dalle organizzazioni umanitarie. Ecco quel che dice Zadie Smith, "But it seemed to me a shame that between the highly technical, acronym-heavy documents written within the world of development and the often saccharine self-descriptions of the church workers, there were so few people writing development stories from a human perspective. Stories that were not especially concerned with a man’s eternal soul or his statistical representation, but with his life. ... The idea for Writers Bloc came from this perceived gap. ... The other thing that seems, to me, useful about Writers Bloc, is its tone of subjectivity, of passion. It is natural that development organizations should attempt a “neutral” voice, express little outrage, and try not to offend the governments with whom they work. But it is also natural, upon entering the gap between first world and the third, to feel something, to be moved, and to have opinions, to express anger". guernicamag.


Alla ricerca di chi parla più lingue...

... si dedica un libro uscito di recente, Babel No More: The Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Language Learners (Free Press), di Michael Erard. "On a quest to find the person we could say spoke the most languages in the world, I stumbled on the online personae of a language learning guru and hyperpolyglot, Alexander Arguelles, who invited me to Berkeley, California, where he was living at the time. It was my first introduction to the life of the contemporary hyperpolyglot. On many mornings, once Alexander has greeted the sun doing extensive writing exercises in Chinese, Arabic, Latin, Russian, Persian, German, and other languages, he goes for a long run in the arid hills of the park above his neighborhood, while listening to a German audiobook tape on his Walkman. (So far, he eschews the MP3." thedailybeast.


Miss S.

Miss S. è il titolo del divertente gialletto di Cathleen Schine (Mondadori). L'ho letto con piacere durante le vacanze. Nulla di che. Ma l'ambientazione è affascinante: una vecchia casa su un'isola lungo le coste del Maine. E uno dei personaggi è notevole: Miss Skattergoods, una vecchia segaligna, sbevazzona, lesbica e trasgressiva (non solo in quanto lesbica), spiritosa e naturalmente la detective - dilettante ma sagace. Bella la copertina.


Hitchens su Dickens

L'ultimo articolo di Christopher Hitchens parla di Dickens, ed è molto bello. "No, he [Dickens] was drawing on much wider and deeper sources of potency. The main one was the sheer stubborn existence of so many people whom the system had disregarded. Begin thinking about it and you start to whisper a list to yourself: the pathetic Jo, the crossing sweeper; Smike; Mr. Micawber; Amy Dorrit; Mr. Dick - all of them with pain to feel and a life to lead, and many of them kept going (like poor Dick Swiveller) only by a certain unique sense of humor and the absurd. Dickens was able to mine this huge resource of London life, becoming its conductor and chronicler like nobody since Shakespeare himself, and always remembering, as he noted in the last stages of The Old Curiosity Shop, to 'keep the child in view.'" vanityfair.


George Steiner e la letteratura

George Steiner parla di letteratura e di altro in un'interessante intervista.

Does the complicity between literature and philosphy still pertain today?
In my view, both forms are under threat today. Literature has chosen the domain of small scale personal relationships, and no longer deals with great metaphysical themes. We no longer have writers like Balzac and Zola, geniuses of human comedy who could explore every domain. Proust also created an inexhaustible world, and Joyce’s Ulysses is still very close to Homer... Joyce is the bridge between the two great worlds of classicism and chaos. In the past, philosophy could also claim to be universal. The entire world was open to the thought of a philosopher like Spinoza. Today an immense part of the universe is closed to us. presseurop.


What if we occupied language?

"A movement that challenges the power structure of language could help foster the sort of equality the protests aim to achieve".Questo e altri interessantissimi articoli sulle lingue (tra dui uno sulla creazione della lingua scritta per il N'Ko, un gruppo di lingue parlate in diversi paesi dell'Africa Occidenale), si trovano su bookforum.