Friday High Five: Digital Spies, Canned Soup and Clive James
You’re not paranoid if they’re really spying on you
The US National Security Agency has gained direct access to the servers of nine prominent internet companies, ‘enabling the spy agency to track e-mails, photographs, and video, among other forms of digital communciation’. The program is run with the assistance of the Silicon Valley tech companies it targets - and its exposure has triggered international debate over ethics, privacy and national security.
While the White House has defended the program, started by former Republican president George W. Bush, former Democrat vice president Al Gore has said, ‘In (this) digital era, privacy must be a priority. Is it just me, or is secret blanket surveillance obscenely outrageous?’
Miranda July’s email snooping project
Speaking of digital snooping, Miranda July’s new project has given her an excuse to read the emails of her friends - and people she wishes she was friends with. ‘How they comport themselves in email is so intimate, almost obscene – a glimpse of them from their own point of view,’ she says.
For We Think Alone, she has convinced ten people to donate their emails (written before the project began) - for ten weeks, those who sign up will receive a compendium of emails per week, from people like Lena Dunham, Etgar Keret, Kirsten Dunst, and Sheila Heti.
Clive James on why the US literary scene is too nice
Clive James has written about why America is too nice - in the book world, anyway. He says ‘America can’t do the bitchery of British book reviewing and literary commentary’ and cites the huge reaction to (Brit) Zoe Heller’s gentle savaging of Salman Rushdie in the New York Review of Books as evidence, saying that hardly any American publication wants to be ‘negative’.
‘Ripping somebody’s reputation is recognized blood sport [in the UK]. Shredding a new book is a kind of fox hunting that is still legal today.’
Fine form from the critic who once wrote the poem: ‘The book of my enemy has been remaindered/And I am pleased.’
Flavour Palace: lime and cheese milkshakes and canned soup
Ronnie Scott, former editor of The Lifted Brow and Estelle Tang, former online editor of Kill Your Darlings, have teamed up for a new venture - a food blog called Flavour Palace. They’ll be publishing four times a week for the next year, and it promises to be driven by a passion for eating, an irreverent sense of humour and the occasional disgusting eating experience. Ronnie has already shared his recipe for a lime and cheese milkshake, whereas Estelle has reviewed Campbells canned soup for blokes.
Ten Things I Learned From Loving Anne of Green Gables
Bookish girls (and redheads) everywhere have a special spot in their hearts for the orphaned Anne (‘with an e’) Shirley - as evidenced by the uproar when a recent book cover cast the redhead as a bosomy blonde.
In this sweet piece at the LA Review of Books, Sarah Mesle shares the ten things she’s learned from loving Anne.