Saturday Links

It’s Saturday and the weather here in LA is weird, so here are some ways to avoid having to go outside if you simply can’t bear it.

  • This short but sweet piece by Christopher Hitchens about the tyranny of waiters insisting on pouring your wine for you in restaurants is always worth revisiting.
  • Every year Bill Simmons ranks the top 50 assets in the NBA using a simple, but sensible metric: how likely the player’s current team would be to trade him. This year’s list is broken up into three installments, so prepare to lose  at least half an hour of your life.
  • Are you convinced that there’s no way someone could make a movie that successfully twins a meditation on the cosmos with testimonials about the atrocities committed by the Pinochet regime? You’re wrong. Nostalgia for the Light is a gorgeous documentary about just that, and it’s streaming on Netflix. I swear, it won’t make you feel nearly as bad as you’re assuming it will.
  • Kathryn Schulz has written a piece worth reading on why she hates The Great Gatsby. Not Luhrmann’s trite film version, mind you, but Fitzgerald’s novel. Obviously, I don’t agree with her assessment of the novel’s value. Virtually all of the reasons she gives for disliking the book are the precise reasons I love it. If there’s one excerpt from this article that sums up Schulz’s failure to actually engage the book on its own terms, it’s this one: “As readers, we revel in the glamorous dissipation of the rich, and then we revel in the cheap satisfaction of seeing them fall. At no point are we made to feel uncomfortable about either pleasure, let alone their conjunction. At no point are we given cause, or room, to feel complicit.” If you don’t feel uncomfortable or complicit (as Nick does) when reading about a culture that encourages people to use others up like natural resources, you have led a very moral, cloistered life that includes never having seen a rap video. Kudos to you for that, Ms. Schulz.
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