The Digestif, December 4th/11th
Virgil samples, Canadian tragedies, and the best albums of the year
Sorry for the week out - a chaotic week meant it was unfeasible but I’m back like I’ve never left!
‘Shannon Abloh Is Ready to Talk’ by Vanessa Friedman (NYT). One of the best pieces of the year. Utterly heart-breaking and beautiful - it brought a tear to my eye.
‘Peru’s President Tried to Dissolve Congress. By Day’s End, He Was Arrested.’ by Mitra Taj (NYT). One of the more incredible news stories this year, and seriously under covered.
‘One More French Lesson - Le Drugstore’ by Robert Kuttner (The American Prospect).
‘Junot Díaz in limbo’ by Ben Smith (Semafor). But cancel culture isn’t real! they bleat. A pointless, tragic waste of talent, and great reporting.
‘The New York Times Is in the Tank for Crypto’ by Robert Kuttner (The American Prospect). A good piece by the best writer on the American left, it’s striking how the New York Times’s seemingly universally negative coverage of tech doesn’t extend to crypto, which they treat in more varied ways; often whimsically. What will these fun nerds do next!
‘Why Is Everything So Ugly?’ by Editors (N+1). Particularly so of ‘hyped’ items; their vulgarity often helps.
‘Hollywood’s Latest Diet Craze? Ozempic, the Insulin Drug With Vanishing—Literally—Side Effects’ by Emily Jane Fox (Vanity Fair). The fear tone is a bit much but it is amazing that we have an actually effective weight-loss drug.
‘Advancing antivenom’ by Mathias Kirk Bonde (Works in Progress)
My biggest story of the week comes out within a fortnight so keep your eyes out
Biggest Story You Missed
Canada’s horrific implementation of euthanasia:
If you have spent time at the wonkish nexus of new liberal thought and applied ethics, laws around euthanasia have doubtless cropped up in discussion. If you grant that death is sometimes preferable to some ways of living - which most would agree - euthanasia is the best worst option, and a stop-gap for grievous issues that technology has not yet solved. In the future, we should have painkillers, antidepressants, and ailments for currently terminal, degenerative illnesses that will make euthanasia totally unnecessary and immoral. However, the way these laws are implemented have to be immensely careful. If you fuck up, they lead to immensely awful, immoral results; in an effort to end unending pain, to cause unnecessary death.
Australia (strangely) has modelled the hyper-careful approach necessary. Canada is now the flashing red warning sign showing how terribly wrong it can go.
That Canada’s handling of it isn’t an enormous global scandal astounds me; and the notion that euthanasia is something one should cut advertisements for unfathomably tasteless and immoral, even for our deeply tasteless, immoral moment.
“Richard, you’d screw a snake, wouldn’t you?” Joan Collins once said to him. “Only if it was wearing a skirt, darling,” he replied.
For end of the year, by favourite albums of the year list:
That’s all folks!