Infinitely Sad – David Foster Wallace obituary. David Foster Wallace began his review of John Updike’s Toward the End of Time by classing Updike, along with Philip Roth and Norman Mailer, as “the Great Male Narcissists who’ve dominated postwar American fiction.” The word narcissist isn’t strictly disapproving there. — Slate

What I did on Indigenous Literacy Day. The speakers were to talk about how literacy has made an impact on their lives. There were many interesting points raised about literacy and the project itself. To sum up, all writers made note of the fact that literacy enables empowerment of the voice of a people who may not otherwise be heard. But they also all recognised problems with placing too much emphasis on English and the written word when other forms of literacy are also valid and important. Oral storytelling, for example, carries ancient stories and wisdoms rhythmically into the present. It was raised that the Indigenous languages themselves are something that could be embraced and learnt by the wider community (as the group Australians Against Racism is doing). — Literary Minded

The Atlantic, Jill Greenberg and those McCain vampire photos. Gawker writes: “The Atlantic said it didn’t vet Jill Greenberg’s politics before hiring her to shoot John McCain. Even if it had known about her controversial anti-George Bush photographs, it wouldn’t have cared, as a matter of policy. The policy may soon change: Greenberg is gloating she left McCain’s eyes bloodshot and skin gnarly for the Atlantic’s October cover. Worse, from the magazine’s perspective, is that she tricked the Republican presidential nominee into standing over an unflattering strobe light, then posted the worst shots and Photoshops to her personal site. — Gawker (more from Michelle Malkin here – The Atlantic should have Googled Jill Greenberg before hiring her.)

From wine to new drugs: A novel way to reduce damage from heart attacks. An alcohol-busting enzyme may help prevent heart attack damage, according to a new study in Science. Researchers report that aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2), an enzyme important for processing alcohol in the human body, clears harmful toxins produced in cells when blood flow is blocked in the heart—and a new drug can switch it on. — Scientific American [via 3 Quarks Daily]

Peter Fray

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