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An Exciting Career in Forensic Sculpting, and Other News

January 21, 2015 | by

Cezanne_-_Still_Life_With_Skull

Paul Cézanne, Still Life with Skull, ca. 1900.

  • “They lost their identity … We’re going to give it back to them.” In which the New York City medical examiner’s office teams up with fine art students in a last-ditch effort to ID crime victims: “Each student was given a skull—a replica made by the medical examiner’s office of each victim—and a block of clay to sculpt a face. The students were told to incorporate whatever information investigators recorded in finding and examining the skeleton, including estimates of the victim’s age and height, maybe a hair type or style, and possible clothing sizes.” (Listen to the sound of hundreds of television executives thinking, Could this be our next big crime series?)
  • Leslie Jamison on the enigma of natural beauty in Whitman’s Specimen Days: “Part of our pleasure in reading his book … is not just feeling close to his sensory perceptions, but feeling invited more deeply into our own—to feel the world more fully in all its snorting ice and malachite cabbages and whirling locusts and wriggling worms.”
  • In the thirties, a Grade A swinging-dick asshole named Harry Anslinger took over the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, then on the verge of being dissolved. So he set himself a reasonable goal: lock away Billie Holiday for drug abuse. Jazz to him sounded “like the jungles in the dead of night.” His agents wrote that “many among the jazzmen think they are playing magnificently when under the influence of marihuana but they are actually becoming hopelessly confused and playing horribly.”
  • In sci-fi, where exactly do the science and fiction collide? “Science writing isn’t the same as fiction writing. Sometimes people who read popular science about scientific theories like loop quantum gravity say ‘it’s like reading science fiction.’ But no, it isn’t.”
  • Painting and boozing in Belgium: Two years after Waterloo, J. M. W. Turner “visited the Belgian battlefield where the Brits, Prussians, Dutch and Belgians finally put paid to Napoleon’s dreams of empire. The resulting painting, an unnerving clash between dark, roiling clouds and corpses illuminated by the torches of the bereaved, is no paean to victory … What does a thirsty man—which Turner was, by all accounts—drink after a day sketching carnage?”

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Writers Sell Out, and Other News

November 13, 2013 | by

anitaloosad

  • A pretty amazing slideshow of authors shilling for products through the ages.
  • Jonathan Franzen loves Harriet the Spy. Now really want to know his views on the even odder The Long Secret and frankly bizarre Sport.
  • Herewith: a scratch and sniff wine book.
  • “The very foundation of Judaeo-Christian ethics is presented as a list.” On listicles.
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    See You There: Paris Review at the Strand, Tomorrow!

    July 10, 2012 | by

    Mark your calendars! Tomorrow, Wednesday, July 11, join The Paris Review and the Strand for the second in a series of literary salons.

    Enjoy wine (from Sip) and words (read by Amber Tamblyn) with two New York institutions. See you there!

    Wednesday, July 11, 7 P.M.–8:30 P.M.
    The Strand Bookstore, third-floor Rare Book Room
    828 Broadway at Twelfth Street

    Admission: Buy a copy of the current Paris Review or a $15 Strand gift card.

    To reserve your seat, click here.


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