Here are the reads for the upcoming week:

  1. Rachel Z Arndt pins down linguistic and attitudinal similarities between Go Dog Go and Malone Dies. The dogs go. Malone does die. And finally, I do, I do like your hat! Here, as well, is an interview with Ms. Arndt.
  2. The uproar about Khashoggi’s murder and the subsequent tearing of garments by, among others, Tom Friedman, provides a grim note of comedy in the fumbling for explanations about the “reformer” prince Mohammed bin Salman. I have to give credit to Dexter Filkins, a hawk whose work I generally detest, for a New Yorker profile of MBS that delved a bit into the Prince’s background. Makes very interesting reading now. Especially this graf: “Each weekday, the staff ferried the young prince to class, at a prestigious academy called the al-Riyadh Schools. On weekends, the servants sometimes escorted him and his classmates into the desert, where they erected large tents and lit bonfires under the stars. His fellow-students would gather around him and recite poems of praise, calling him Kareem—the generous one—for sponsoring the lavish parties. The young M.B.S. would smile at the encomiums, especially if they came from a son of one of Riyadh’s better families.” This is all you need to know to predict everything about bin Salman. He radiates the type of privilege that attracts flatterers and revenges the slightest slight – making him a natural idol of the Foreign Policy thumbsucker set.
  3. Book review in the Irish Times of Seashaken Houses, a history of British lighthouses by Tom Nancollas, is a lovely survey of what must be the kind of eccentric book, half history, half psychogeography, that enchants peeps like me.
  4. Another article in the Irish Times, in which a journalist takes a ride with a trucker hauling frozen chickens from Northern Ireland to Holyhead via Dublin, has a prole density that makes me nostalgic for socialist realism.
  5. The odyssey of Kelly Holland, the president of Penthouse magazine, at the geological end of the era of the glossy mag wank.
  6. And on the decline of democracy front, this story of the race in San Diego for CA-50.
  7. Corporate interests are confident that in the world of tomorrow, even if your kids die, theirs will be safe. Or even if they aren’t, who gives a fuck, since a buck today is worth much more than a buck in 2050, when the disastrous results of our decisions will be brought home to us. In keeping with this policy, the EPA just fired a board of scientists.
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Roger
I am a translator, author and editor living in Paris. I finished a novel in March, and am busy trying to find an agent. In the meantime, I thought I'd like to start a magazine. Willett's is meant to be a venue for the review of books, personal reflections, and political bitching - and everything else.

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