Links of the week, 12/16/2011

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.

One Reply to “Links of the week, 12/16/2011”

  1. As someone who has immersed herself in Christmas carols for a long time now, I appreciate the list of “creepy Christmas carols” because it takes the songs seriously and actually pays attention to the words! I’m not familiar with all the carols mentioned, but I do love “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”, “In the Bleak Midwinter” and “We Three Kings”. It never hurts to be reminded that there is more to Christmas than presents and Santa and a sweet baby in the manger.


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