Friday High Five: Zombie Apocalypse, Mad Men and Fruit
The US government guide to surviving a zombie apocalypse
In America, the Centre for Disease Control and Protection has published a guide to how to survive a zombie apocalypse on its website. Why? ‘If you are generally well equipped to deal with a zombie apocalypse you will be prepared for a hurricane, pandemic, earthquake, or terrorist attack.’ The campaign started as ‘tongue in cheek’ but ‘has proven to be a very effective platform’.
Matthew Weiner on the Art of Screenwriting
The latest subject of the Paris Review’s iconic series of interviews on the craft of writing is Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, interviewed by one of the show’s writers. It’s a fascinating piece, ranging across his influences, the knack of writing a period piece, his road to success, and the mechanics of writing different kinds of scenes, or authentic-seeming (yet still hyper-articulate) dialogue.
‘Cheever holds my attention more than any other writer. He is in every aspect of Mad Men, starting with the fact that Don lives in Ossining on Bullet Park Road – the children are ignored, people have talents they can’t capitalize on, everyone is selfish to some degree or in some kind of delusion.’
How preserving fruit might help you survive
John Jeramiah Sullivan is one of America’s finest essayists; Medium is currently reposting a Lucky Peach piece he wrote on his friend’s overwhelming (and at first surprising) passion for fruit preserving, how it reconnected the urban world of his California home with that of his rural youth, and how old-fashioned activities like this might become more relevant in ‘the post-oil/post-global/post-Apocalypse future’.
‘These days when you say someone becomes “obsessed” with something it usually means they spent four hours reading about it on the Internet last night, but it seems accurate to say that Kevin became obsessed with preserves. It gradually became not the only thing he talked about, but the thing you could tell he was always thinking about.’
What a librarian looks like
Slate has recently published a photo-essay celebrating the diversity of librarians across America. ‘I realized I had a stereotype in my mind of what a librarian looked like, which is one of the reasons I wanted to do this project,’ said photographer Kyle Cassidy. ‘Whenever I think something is true, I’m often wrong.’
Dave Eggers' original Infinite Jest Review: He doesn’t love it
In 2006, Dave Eggers wrote the foreword to the tenth anniversary edition of David Foster Wallace’s masterpiece Infinite Jest. ‘1,067 pages long and there is not one lazy sentence.’ But in 1996, he reviewed the book for the San Francisco Chronicle quite differently. ‘Besides frequently losing itself in superfluous and wildly tangential flights of lexical diarrhea, the book suffers under the sheer burden of its incredible length.’ You can read and compare the two assessments (which do have some overlap) at Reluctant Habits.