A few interesting articles I read this week:
by Josh Kurp, The Awl, March 16th, 2011
This is what happened: A little over ten years ago, on March 9, 2001, 39-year-old Meiwes, a computer technician living in the German village of Wustefeld, brought home, had sex with and killed 44-year-old Brandes, a Berlin man who lived about 250 miles away. Meiwes then ate 44 pounds of his flesh over a period of ten months. While that may sound like murder, there’s something else that should be mentioned: Brandes wanted it all to happen.
by Pascal Bruckner, City-Journal.org, Winter 2011
On August 21, 1670, Jacques Bossuet, the bishop of Meaux and official preacher to the court of Louis XIV, pronounced the eulogy for Princess Henrietta of England before the Prince of Condé. The Duchess of Orléans had died at 26 after drinking a glass of chicory that may have been poisoned. At the threshold of death, the young woman had called on priests rather than doctors, embraced the crucifix, asked for the holy sacraments, and cried out to God. The wonder of death, Bossuet exclaimed, citing Saint Anthony, was that “for the Christian, it does not put an end to life but rather to the sins and perils to which life is exposed. God abbreviates our temptations along with our days; he thus sets a limit to occasions that might cost us true, eternal life; for this world is nothing but our common exile.” The good death was a door opened on eternity, a passage to that “true, eternal life.” In this life, by contrast, agony was expected.
The Atlantic, March 14, 2011
The opening salvo was a New York Times dispatch from Chicago’s Newberry Library, home to some of American arts and letters’ most important margin scribbles, tirades, and asides. Readers—famously among them Poe, Coleridge, and Jefferson—have long filled the precious real estate between the printed word and the edge of the page with their running commentary, and margins are a trove of insight for scholars and biographers. But Mark Twains of tomorrow, beware—the future of such “literary archaeology” in the Age of Kindle raises a number of questions about whether e-annotations will add value to paperless books or simply spew more ephemeral, unfiltered chatter to the digital world. Ink fixed on paper, fragile as it is, has a kind of permanence that bytes of data can’t claim.
by Stephanie Strom, March 15, 2011
Disasters, particularly those epic enough to earn round-the-clock news coverage, are a fast way to get donors to open their wallets. So it was no surprise when nonprofit groups, starting with the American Red Cross and moving down to small charities, scrambled to raise money to help the victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.
But wealthy Japan is not impoverished Haiti. And many groups are raising money without really knowing how it will be spent — or even if it will be needed.
The Japanese Red Cross, for example, has said repeatedly since the day after the earthquake that it does not want or need outside assistance. But that has not stopped the American Red Cross from raising $34 million through Tuesday afternoon in the name of Japan’s disaster victims.