Amia Srinivasan on language and pronouns: “Language is a public system of meaning. No individual can unilaterally decide what a word means, or whether any given word, according to standard usage, truly describes them. And yet the definitions of words – as any lexicographer will tell you – depend on patterns of actual human usage, which can and do shift over time.”
“Dirty words tell us plenty about power. They show us who can speak, enjoy or censor language. They also point to those who are violated, brutalised, silenced. But there is a playful side to obscenity.”
A look at another crisis the world is facing: water scarcity. Rosa Lyster examines the water-stressed cities of Cape Town and Mexico City — cities grappling with issues related to climate change, infrastructure, and inequality.
“I was hired as an assassin. You don’t bring in a 37-year-old woman to review John Updike in the year of our Lord 2019 unless you’re hoping to see blood on the ceiling.” It’s all uphill (or downhill?) from this perfect lede.
A writer moves to a new town and finds himself living the environmental story in the books he’d agreed to review.
Patricia Lockwood travels through the internet in this piece, first delivered as a lecture at the British Museum in February 2019.
Composer Nico Muhly writes about his primary goal: “to create a piece of art that is better than the same amount of silence.”
It’s been 10 years since the 2008 financial crisis and we’re still living with the fallout: financial institutions have seen few major regulatory changes, the poor and middle class have carried the burden of austerity measures and have responded with a sharp rise in populism, and life expectancy has stagnated.
In an epic seven-part piece, Andrew O’Hagan writes on the harrowing Grenfell Tower fire that took place in London, England on June 14th, 2017. Telling dozens of individual stories of survivors and victims of the catastrophe, his essay posits that shoddy renovations and a poorly managed fire response that urged residents to “stay put” and wait for rescue — a policy only rescinded until it was too late for residents on the upper floors to evacuate — cost 72 people their lives.
Between ambulance delays, an aging population and a lack of beds, emergency medical care in England is on the brink of collapse. Compounding the issues is the fact that the country’s National Health Service is trying to reform its entire structure, and so far the transition is not a smooth one.