Recent reads (10.9.23)

Recent reads (10.9.23) October 9, 2023

• “Sam Pepys and the goddamned shredders of lowercase history

Dale McGowan’s peep at Pepys’ diaries is, like the diaries themselves, full of fascinating trivia with hints of its connections to larger grand events in history. I personally benefitted from reading this because it taught me how to pronounce “Southwark,” potentially sparing me future embarrassment and helpfully reminding me, again, that our British friends don’t do phonics.

• “This is the strange, true saga of a mutiny at a Carmelite order in Texas

There’s a strange saga unfolding in Texas. It involves allegations and accusations of illicit sexual relationships, drug use, theft, abuse, spying, planted evidence, and plots to steal a multimillion-dollar property. The people involved are Catholic priests, bishops, and some pretty fired-up nuns.

What has become an open, bitter feud between the bishop of Fort Worth and 10 cloistered nuns in Arlington, Texas, has scandalized and thrilled American Catholics. The cops, the courts, and the Vatican are involved. Onlookers are taking sides. It’s still unclear who’s going to come out on top. And it all started with a startling confession from a devout nun.

• “Life seemed golden for Leon Jacob. Then he hired a hit man to kill his ex-girlfriend.”

“Here’s yet another point where Leon might have been stopped,” Stephanie Clifford writes, for the umpteenth time, deep into this saga of a litigious, entitled narcissist and how the legal system seemed powerless to stop his long record of unchecked abuse.

Imagine if Tom Buchanan from Gatsby had wanted to become a surgeon. That’s this story, the story of a careless person smashing up things and creatures and then retreating back into his money and his vast carelessness. “I couldn’t forgive him or like him, but I saw that what he had done was, to him, entirely justified.”

• “How America’s First Banned Book Survived and Became an Anti-Authoritarian Icon

Historian Peter Mancall … describes New English Canaan as “not very long” and “not very well written,” but with immense value in what it says about the nation’s founding.

… Morton himself wasn’t a completely sympathetic character. Mancall believes he was “probably fairly obnoxious”—referring to himself as “mine host” and giving his Puritan enemies nicknames such as “Captain Shrimp,” his moniker for Standish. And while he wrote about Native Americans in a much more humanizing way than some at the time, arguing that they “lead [a] more happy and freer life” than many Christians, he was also colonizing their land, describing them as “savages” and comparing them to “the wild Irish.”

• “Escape from the rabbit hole: the conspiracy theorist who abandoned his dangerous beliefs

As a former conspiracist, Lee hopes he will be better equipped to help people still caught up in these beliefs. Rather than antagonising them, he is able to take a more empathetic approach. “These ideas aren’t alien to me – they are second nature. Most conspiracists want a better world. They think something bad has happened, and they want to expose it. I think if you can lean into that with them, and say: ‘Yes, I understand why that would worry you, but perhaps it’s not actually what’s happening.’ I think that’s a better way to approach it.”

• “This Book Will Change How You Think About Protest Forever

This particular recipe works too well at getting huge amounts of people on the streets. It gets far more people to participate than the original organizers had ever imagined. At first this appears to be amazing. This is what we always wanted. It’s really happening. But so many people on the streets means that a protest generates a revolutionary situation—in which you’re either dislodging the people in power or providing the opportunity for someone else to take power. Often what we see happen is the final story is dictated by who can take advantage of that revolutionary situation.

• Heath Carter on how “UAW President Shawn Fain Is Reviving That Old-Time Religion: Christian Radicalism

So when Shawn Fain talks about his militantly pro-labor Christian faith as something he inherited from generations past, he is not making it up. His baptism of the UAW’s current strike requires no new revelation. Fain’s call is for the revival of an old-time religion, one which, if it finally had its way, would bring justice rolling down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

• “The explanation for Lincoln’s crooked tie was not what we anticipated.  …

"Llamas Gracefully Malingering?Languid Grumpy Marsupials?Leavened Granular Morsels?Lethargic Gross Mascots?Leaping Grinning Mormons?Lenticular Gravid Miasmas?Lurch Grows Moons?‮ytsuL‬‎ ..."

‘The political violence of Herod’
"I recommend you include one of those sonic pulsers, or whatever they’re called..Y’know, the ones ..."

‘The political violence of Herod’
"Me watching the current fiasco over at LGM as the front pagers react poorly to ..."

‘The political violence of Herod’
"Unfortunately, leprosy is not easily transmitted so you'd have to throw quite a few infected ..."

‘The political violence of Herod’

Browse Our Archives