This week: fantasy languages, creepy Christmas carols, and incendiary screeds.
- Terry Gross and Louis C.K. are both thoughtful and witty, so it’s hardly any surprise that her interview with him is a delight. (Incidentally, Sean and I bought, downloaded, and watched the show they discuss—and it was hilarious, of course—but I couldn’t figure out how to write about it. Writing about comedy is next to impossible.)
- In honor of the infuriating, smug, brilliant, contemptible, passionate, inflammatory Christopher Hitchens, who died Thursday, I link to the essay I most associate with him: his fervid, raging screed against the beatification of Mother Teresa. Years later, the take-no-prisoners audacity of the thing still blows me away.
- This New York Times article on languages created for fantasy and sci-fi programs is fascinating. The “conlangers” definitely have a strange hobby, but I can’t help but appreciate people who devote so much thought and creativity to words, grammar, and diction—imaginary or not.
- Since I can’t link to Alex Ross’s great article on Gesualdo (The New Yorker has it behind the firewall), I’ll have to content myself with his posts on music—particularly Copland-esque music—in political campaign ads.
- Gawker‘s round-up of “creepy Christmas carols” is silly but fun. As a kid, I always loved that unabashedly morbid “We Three Kings” verse (“Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying!”), and “Coventry Carol” is beautiful despite its dead-baby subject matter. I’ll take those (and “Adam Lay Ybounden” and “I Wonder as I Wander” and all the rest) over stupid Santa stuff any day.