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Here, Todd leans across my desk and thrusts his face into mine. “Open your eyes,” he says. “What do you see, Coates?”
I see blue eyes of startling clarity and nearly unlined skin that doesn’t show a single dilated pore. Somehow, Todd has found the secret of eternal youth. The formula is fourteen gallons of Pepsi-Cola a week, heavy use of Black & Mild cigarillos, and hatred of all living creatures. –“The Landlord,” Wells Tower, The New Yorker
Catherine M. and Ms. Surrender owe their fame to our cultural lust for juicy “true stories” in any form. The Sexual Life was hailed as “the most sexually explicit book ever written by a woman,” while Bentley was praised for “bravely” venturing into “what has been considered male territory.” If it is indeed brave for a woman to admit to enjoying anal sex—something one in three women has reported experiencing before the age of 24—then we do need frank nonfiction to widen the cultural conversation about sexuality. But form is inseparable from meaning. Through their writing, Bentley and Millet unconsciously reveal not the truth of sexual liberation, but the false conceit of their narrators: ordinary masochists masquerading as unprecedented libertines. –“The Vertical Altar,” Hannah Tennant-Moore, N1BR
So what happened? How did we end up living in this all-bets-are-off world where sockless Brooklyn hipsters with Edwardian moustaches make artisanal pickles while, across the bridge, desperate office chicks believe they have no social currency unless they own 398 handbags and 268 pairs of shoes, the heels of which are so high that they would previously have been worn only by a woman who was lying on her back wearing nothing but the pumps in question and a ball-gag? –“Welcome to the Fashion Apocalypse,” Simon Doonan, Slate
More from Rafe Bartholomew:
Number of people who attended the World Grits Festival, held in St. George, South Carolina, last spring:
The brown bears of Greece continued chewing through telephone poles.
In Peru, a 51-year-old activist became the first former sex worker to run for the national legislature. “I’m going to put order,” she said, “in that big brothel which is Congress.”
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“Civilization masks us with a screen, from ourselves and from one another, with thin depth of unreality. We habitually live — do we not? — in a world self-created, half established, of false values arbitrarily upheld, largely inspired by misconception, misapprehension, wrong perspective, and defective proportion, misapplication.”