Watching Netflix with Connie and Emma

I started this essay very unlike a third-person narrator. I didn’t know what was about to happen and how everyone would feel about it. I was just settling into “pandemic normal”—figuring out “remote teaching,” substituting Netflix for social life—when “pandemic normal” decided it was already time for a reset. First came news from afar: My […]

Andrew Strombeck’s List of 80s Art in 8 Novels

As a culture, we can’t stop thinking about the 1980s New York art scene. New retrospectives keep popping up—at the Whitney (“Fast Forward: Painting from the 1980s”), the Hirschorn (“Brand New: Art and Commodity in the 1980s”), and the Museum of Modern Art (“Club 57: Film, Performance, and Art in the East Village, 1978–1983”). Television […]

Hope Jennings on Joy Williams’s The Changeling

I want to tell you everything about Joy Williams’s The Changeling, but I fear there’s nothing sensible that I can say. When the book was published in 1978, Anatole Broyard dismissed it as an “arbitrary muddle.” In 2015, however, the Times Magazine offered (in typical Times fashion) a glowing retrospective with a headline admiring “The Misanthropic […]

Kevin Pask on Audiobooks

When I was a teenager, it was still possible to encounter slighting references to people who read while moving their lips. I didn’t immediately understand why this kind of reading should be a sign of deficiency although I simultaneously tried to determine whether I committed this apparently graceless act that betrayed something less than real […]

Crystal B. Lake on Benjamin Kahan’s The Book of Minor Perverts

Benjamin Kahan opens The Book of Minor Perverts: Sexology, Etiology, and the Emergences of Sexuality with a list of all the things that, in 1902, the sexologist Iwan Bloch said could cause homosexuality: impotence, onanism, habitual alcohol consumption, opium indulgence, seduction, same-sex environments, warm climate, anal sex with women, wearing clothing of the opposite sex, looking […]

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