Infinite LibraryPOSTED: Jun 07, 2012 02:51 PM
By Meredith Keller
One of my privileges as the intern here at The Wilson Quarterly is having access to our archives, which date back to the 1970s. Re-shelving old issues has been a great way to discover gems serendipitously rather than systematically, leafing through hard copies instead of browsing tables of contents online. One treasure I unearthed from a particularly deep stack of issues is a piece on Jorge Luis Borges in the Autumn 1998 issue, along with reprints of several of his poems. Borges is most known for his mind-bending short stories that tackle metaphysical questions and ponder the limits of language, but as the then-WQ poetry editor Edward Hirsch points out in his introduction, the Argentine actually saw himself more as a poet than a prose writer.
While many other Latin American literary giants used their writings as platforms for social activism, Borges did not. He has been criticized for his political aloofness during the 1976–83 rule of the military junta, but in spite of this, Borges is still very much revered in Argentina. When I lived in his hometown of Buenos Aires during my junior year of college, I could walk around the city and find plaques marking his former apartments as national landmarks.
In the latter part of his life, Borges went blind due to a genetic degenerative condition. Many of his poems consider mortality and the ephemeral nature of life, but they also allude to something lasting and eternal. In the poem “Camden 1892,”... READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY >>
A Line OutPOSTED: Jun 07, 2012 02:19 PM
By Darcy Courteau
Will the Internet reinvent us? In “The Call of the Future” in the current WQ, Tom Vanderbilt says that we should calmly consider the telephone, the last communication technology that threatened to change everything. His article brought up some questions, which he answers below.
Are you a phone call person or a texter? Does that preference change if you’re not the initiator of the conversation?
This may be too fine a distinction, but I’m really an e-mailer. I’ll use the phone for family, for interviews, for the things that can’t be worked out on email, but I never came around to texting—something about how it has all the disruptive annoyance of the phone call, but without any of the epistolary grace of the email. Not to mention I don’t like to find myself resorting to weird acronyms, like I were some police dispatcher. I’m also suspicious of the profit motive involved; texting plans are expensive, relative to what you’re getting, bandwidth wise.
There have been some grumblings here in the office about your claim in “The Call of the Future” that the telephone has not profoundly changed us. But might the independent talk that the phone allows have helped create a distinct youth culture in America?
I’d be dubious in attributing the emergence of a youth culture to the telephone. For the first part, in the beginning of the century not that many people actually had phones, and those that... READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY >>
What We’re DrinkingPOSTED: Jun 07, 2012 02:19 PM
Every now and then, we like to note what we’re reading in our down time. But with Memorial Day upon us, hydration, not edification, is on our minds. Here are a few of our favorite around-the-grill swills. Feel free to list your own in the comments—we’re always on the lookout for new summer drinks. Enjoy!
Cullen Nutt: Earlier this week, a tractor trailer carrying 4,000 cases of beer worth $50,000 overturned on Route 95 in Florida. It took seven hours to clear the road of broken Heineken and Amstel Light bottles. The message is foamy but clear: Drink American beer this Memorial Day weekend, and drink it out of a can. My choice will be Bud Light.
Meredith Keller: When I was in Rio de Janeiro, the ubiquitous caipirinha quickly became my go-to drink. Made with cachaça, a Brazilian rum derived from fermented sugarcane juice, limes, and raw sugar, the national cocktail of Brazil is a favorite at asados, or barbeques. While it’s not quite as easy to find a caipirinha at the typical U.S. bar, it’s the perfect drink to make at home for a Memorial Day barbeque. Just muddle 1/2 lime (cut into wedges) and two teaspoons raw sugar in the bottom of an old-fashioned glass, add ice and cachaça. For a summery twist, use passion fruit instead of limes, and add some chili pepper flakes for an extra kick.
Megan Buskey: Coconut water is a good alternative for people whose tongues, like mine, go numb at the thought of Gatorade. I sampled the... READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY >>
WQ editors share their winter weather reads.
If football is harmful to players, is it ethical to be a fan?
Germans know how to enjoy themselves during the holidays, but don’t invade their Internet privacy.
Two new books illuminate politics high and low—the role of high principle and the urgency of land grabs around the world.
College football success upends boys’ grades, but girls may actually benefit.
One photographer's journey to trace his family roots yielded an image for our fall issue.
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