We also provided our usual mix of religious, books, and cultural coverage. In matters of faith, doubt, and philosophy, David Foster Wallace saw perfectionism as paralysis, George Scialabba remembered Camus’s brilliance, and Tom Jokinen considered the finer points of failure. Kaya Oakes found her religion again through Bach, Theo Hobson profiled the new new atheists, and David Sessions speculated about the future of evangelicals and same-sex marriage. Richard Brody pondered the religious themes in Malick’s To the Wonder, Tom Bartlett unpacked the complex faith of Christian Wiman, and William Hurlbut used the example of St. Francis of Assisi to question our biotechnological ambitions. Rachel Shukert tracked the rise of Jewish characters in Mad Men, Edward J. Blum examined depictions of Jesus’ race throughout the ages, Rod Dreher and Damon Linker debated the geography of the good life, and Carl Sagan divulged his highdeas.
In literary and arts coverage, James Wood revealed why he goes easy on first-time novelists, James Baldwin ruminated on the risk of writing, and Geoffrey Pullum elaborated on his critique of George Orwell. Jenni Diski explored the role of “just deserts” in literature and film, Ferris Jabr went through the research suggesting the downside to e-reading, and William Deresiewicz pointed out that the distortion of the English language often starts with the elite. Glen Weldon chronicled the various incarnations of Superman, J. Bryan Lowder walked us through this year’s avant garde winner of the Pulitzer Prize for music, and Damien Ober spotted a fascinating detail about Lincoln’s rise to national prominence. Read Saturday’s poem here and Sunday’s here.
In assorted news and views, Mark Mazzeti narrated the story of an enigmatic West Virginian entrepreneur, Aaron David Miller found the political consequences of America’s unique geography, and Max Fisher highlighted a study debunking some assumptions about which Europeans start drinking at a young age. Nate Cohn went another round debating if Obama’s race cost him votes, Craig Hubert interviewed Sebastian Junger about the allure of war, and Lauren Markham described the rise of a new type of refugee. Michael Pollan asked why we cook, Maria Popova dug up a 1949 guide to dating, and Emily McManus spotted an entertaining academic study of Facebook. Hathos Alert here, MHBs here and here, FOTDs here and here, VFYWs here and here, and the latest window contest here.
(Photo: Running shoes are placed at a makeshift memorial for victims near the finish line of the Boston Marathon bombings at the intersection of Newbury Street and Darthmouth Street two days after the second suspect was captured on April 21, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. By Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.)