Twits on parade. Maybe you’ve noticed: These political blogs can be so gabby. Yap yap yap. You go to some website–democretin.com, republicreep.net, whatever–and there will be a new post for you to read, and the blogger goes on for one, two, sometimes three paragraphs, and each paragraph is a huge heap of sentences, two sentences long or even more, and you just want them to get to the point. This is a blog post, not Middlemarch, is what you want to say. — The Weekly Standard

Fear of fallowing: The specter of a no-growth world. Costco shoppers navigate with carts broad enough to seat two children side by side. Here it is possible to see the enormous throughput of the economy—its capacity to mobilize resources and energy and turn out waste. One store manager, on the floor for fourteen years, tells me he has seen eight pallets of paper towels move out the door in a single day. At forty packages to a pallet, twelve rolls to a package, this means nearly 4,000 rolls. I can hear the sound of chain saws laying off as falling trees cut the air somewhere high in the Cascades. The question that comes to my mind whenever I catch a glimpse of aggregate consumption is always the same: How can it last? — Harper’s Magazine

Unnatural Selection: Or, how I could have told you why people like Emma. The latest public discussion about the fate of literary criticism features The Literary Darwinists. With articles appearing in The Boston Globe, The Chronicle, The Nation and elsewhere, there’s a certain buzz. Literary Darwinists are reacting to the rather pitiful — and undisputed — state in which literary criticism finds itself. Particularly within the academy, literary studies is floundering as a discipline without a clear sense of how to move forward. A good deal of what’s written is such convoluted nonsense that reading it amounts to self punishment. The critic William Deresiewicz recently wrote an article in which he concluded: “The real story of academic literary criticism today is that the profession is, however slowly, dying.” — The Smart Set [via 3quarksdaily]

British writers pen protests at terror bill. In an unprecedented outpouring of anger, 42 of the UK’s most celebrated writers will each publish a short story, essay or poem tomorrow attacking the government’s determination to proceed with legislation to hold terrorist suspects without charge for 42 days. The list of writers taking part reads like a literary ‘Who’s Who’ of modern Britain. They include Philip Pullman, Julian Barnes, Monica Ali, Ian Rankin, Alain de Botton, Ali Smith and AL Kennedy. — The Guardian

Peter Fray

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