Prufrock: Finding Dead Archbishops, the Allure of Shipwrecks, and the Great Depression Revisited

Reviews and News:

Monster obsession: “There’s something kind of hot about monsters. They’re so dumb and hungry, with their big hairy mitts and gleaming fangs, leaving a trail of gore in their wake. And they’re soulful, too: Cocteau’s melancholy Bête, a tear spangling his fur; Boris Karloff as Frankenstein’s lonesome Creature, mumbling, ‘Alone: bad. Friend, good!’ Monsters plunder unconscious terrors about dangerous homes and unsettling bodies; hardly any wonder we’re all fixated on what Charlie Fox calls ‘monstrous entertainments’.”

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The allure of shipwrecks: “There isn’t a luxury ship that wouldn’t look better for having sunk.”

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What caused the Great Depression? Not the stock market crash: “Morris concedes that the stock market was due for a correction, but he plays down the kind of financial shenanigans that have occupied other writers, save for a detailed account of the mountains of leverage amassed by the public utility magnate Samuel Insull. Morris instead turns his attention to the other side of the Atlantic.”

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Caste is not in the past in India.

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Vanessa Bell, Bloomsbury’s defiant conformist.

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How the remains of five Archbishops of Canterbury were found by accident.

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Wendell Berry on supposed Southern despair.

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An open letter to Hannah Horvath.

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Essay of the Day:

Adam Chandler goes to a Billy Joel concert in Madison Square Garden. Joel has sold out 40 concerts at the Garden since 2014. His last new album was released in 1993:

“For those of you who are sick of wondering, this is what happens at a Billy Joel concert: A mother tries to cajole her reluctant young son to twist with her to ‘Only the Good Die Young.’ A 45-year-old man in a Billy Joel-themed softball jersey, sitting third row and visible to all, hoists aloft a New Jersey vanity license plate that reads ‘Joel FN’ and uses it to air-drum to ‘Pressure.’ Three 20-somethings on a ladies’ night out shoot a Boomerang of themselves swaying to ‘Scenes From an Italian Restaurant.’ A sexagenarian in business attire uses a lull during Joel’s Perestroika-era ditty ‘Leningrad’ to crush some work emails on his BlackBerry Priv. A 19,000-strong congregation—carpenter jeans and Cartier watches, Yankee caps and yarmulkes, generationally diffuse and racially homogenous—all dance, terribly and euphorically, to ‘Uptown Girl.’

“For more than two years now, Joel has held a ‘residency’ at Madison Square Garden, performing monthly gigs that are slated to last, in Joel’s words, ‘as long as there is demand.’ What drew me out to a recent MSG show is the staggering breadth of the current demand for Billy Joel. Since launching the residency in 2014, The Piano Man has sold out the Garden 40 times with performances already scheduled into July.

“Some of this has to do with the venue. After all, The Garden is fitted atop Penn Station—the busiest transportation hub in the entire Western Hemisphere—with subways and bus routes and seven different tunnels that fling Joel’s faithful base out to Hackensack on New Jersey Transit and Oyster Bay on the Long Island Railroad. But Joel’s dominance doesn’t end at the terminus of the Hudson River Line. The MSG residency, with help from a methodical regimen of packed stadium shows across the United States and beyond, has turned Joel, who was all but retired just a few years ago, into the music industry’s fourth-highest paid performer in 2014 and 2015 (the most recent years for which data is available). Another way of putting it: Despite having not released a new pop album since 1993, Billy Joel is outearning the likes of U2 and Adele.”

Read the rest.

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Photos: Iceberg passing (HT: Adam Keiper)

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Poem: Ange Mlinko, “What to Read This Summer”

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Forthcoming:

Bob Holmes, Flavor: The Science of Our Most Neglected Sense (Norton, April 25): “Can you describe how the flavor of halibut differs from that of red snapper? How the taste of a Fuji apple differs from a Spartan? For most of us, this is a difficult task: flavor remains a vague, undeveloped concept that we don’t know enough about to describe―or appreciate―fully. In this delightful and compelling exploration of our most neglected sense, veteran science reporter Bob Holmes shows us just how much we’re missing. Considering every angle of flavor from our neurobiology to the science and practice of modern food production, Holmes takes readers on a journey to uncover the broad range of factors that can affect our appreciation of a fine meal or an exceptional glass of wine. He peers over the shoulders of some of the most fascinating food professionals working today, from cutting-edge chefs to food engineers to mathematicians investigating the perfect combination of pizza toppings. He talks with flavor and olfactory scientists, who describe why two people can experience remarkably different sensations from the same morsel of food, and how something as seemingly unrelated as cultural heritage can actually impact our sense of smell.”

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This post originally appeared on Weekly Standard

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