Willett’s will compile, every Monday, a list of likely links for our readers.  We’ll add to it all through the week.

Here are the reads for the upcoming week:


  1. NEW: This Warren Zanes‘article about Tom Petty’s coffee-making tips is a pretty crazy ride, that ends up in a paen to Petty and Maxwell House. It’s only rock n roll, and the coffee talk is strictly for dilettantes, but it all sort of makes sense.
  2. Dean Baker is right: you can’t discuss the growing degree of exploitation and the vast increase in wealth inequality over the last fifty years without talking about Intellectual Property.
  3. Henry’s parody of the so-called Triple Sokal Hoax is a little too much of a parody to make the point as clearly as it needs to be made, which is that the hoax is the kind of trifling that many rightwing groups engage in – James O’keefe’s Veritas comes to mind. Will be writing about this myself soon.
  4. Last week saw a flood of sexist cockadoodle doo, more than our head can manage. Lost in the Kavanaugh-Sokal hoaxer-Ian Buruma defender pileup was the case of an Italian physicist at CERN, Dr Alessandro Strumia, in which he decided to tell the world his opinion of women – they just can’t do the physics. According to Strumia, it is all nature. Strumia, who had a job going through grant papers, was obviously – not the man to go through grant papers with that bias. So CERN released him. I’m sure he’ll turn up in Quillette sooner or later. In the meantime, see Backreaction’s Sabine Hosenfelder for a nice, bullet pointed breakdown of the shaky and spurious in Strumia’s talk.  l
  5. I always like to read Marina Warner. She has the keen eye for the borderline object, the motif, the leak of the ordinary into the supernatural and vice versa. Her London Review piece this time is about translation. https://www.lrb.co.uk/v40/n19/marina-warner/the-politics-of-translation
  6. Robin Wright on Kashoggi’s murder is interesting as much for what it tells us about the American press corps as what it tells us about Kashoggi. Given the Saudi war in Yemen and horrendous tightening of an already oppressive system with the arrests of feminists, Shi’ites and even mild dissident voices, why did the collective thumbsucker borg wait until this assassination to express concern? This passage is perhaps the most revelatory in Wright’s article: “Khashoggi has long been an important voice in the kingdom. I’ve known him for decades. He had been loyal to the royals, and, for many foreign journalists and experts, he was always a good place to start to understand the monarchy’s thinking.” That the first person foreign correspondents turned to was a shill for the monarchy makes it not at all surprising that journalism on Saudi Arabia is of the milquetoast variety. No other place on earth can amass a such a wretched record of decapitation, flogging, intolerance, anti-semitism, dictatorship, elite corruption, and an unofficial policy of venting social tension by promoting terrorism and count on a flattering or blind foreign press to cover it all (up).
  7. This devastating glimpse of Palau, at the center of the earthquake in Indonesia last week.  https://theconversation.com/an-indonesian-citys-destruction-reverberates-across-sulawesi-104470





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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