Why does the new Liam Neeson film use a hyphen in its title? According to AP Style, “nonstop” is one word, yet the film is marketed stateside with a hyphen stuck in the middle. At Slate, L.V. Anderson looks into a typographic mystery.
When did Samuel Beckett’s “fail better” become the motto of Silicon Valley? At Slate, our own Mark O’Connell traces the history of the phrase. “Fail Better, with its TEDishly counterintuitive feel, is the literary takeaway par excellence; it’s usefully suggestive, too, of the corporate propaganda of productivity, with its appeals to ‘think different’ or ‘work smarter’ or ‘just do it.’”
Oh, I will answer to my mother for such bad Southern manners—to speak at length of a woman’s age—but it is worth admiring such productivity and longevity. Spencer’s generation of Southern writers, born in the 1920s after the fact of William Faulkner and the Agrarians, have one way or another put down their pens: Ellen Douglas, Truman Capote, James Dickey, William Styron, and the two ladies who are still with us, Shirley Ann Grau and Harper Lee. If Flannery O’Connor were still alive today she would be 88, younger than Elizabeth Spencer.
"The Hatchet Job Award appeals, in its depressingly calculated way, to the basest and most self-serving of journalistic instincts, and seems to arise out of, and perpetuate, a misunderstanding of what criticism actually is." At Slate, our own Mark O’Connell criticizes the award for promoting the same bad criticism it claims to detest.
A couple weeks ago, I wrote about the upcoming Lifetime adaptation of Flowers in the Attic, the novel that Slate writer Tammy Oler called “a rite of passage for teenage girls in the ‘80s.” Now, Willa Paskin reviews the new film, lamenting that it “acts as if it is just another life-affirming Lifetime movie about surviving terrible situations.”
It’s not every day that fans of a novel look forward to a Lifetime movie, but such is the case for fans of Flowers in the Attic, whose 1987 film adaptation left out many of the details that made the book a “rite of passage for teenage girls in the ‘80s.” At Slate, Tammy Oler delves into the book’s importance and its history on the screen.
We have some bad news, writers. People actually dislike creative thinking. Despite how society celebrates creativity, most people are too risk averse to appreciate it, studies indicate. What’s the upside? Social rejection can bolster your creativity, but most writers probably knew that already.
In 1945 and 1946, the FBI began keeping tabs on Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus. The Cold War was just around the corner, and the Bureau suspected their new targets were secretly agents of Communism. However, FBI agents who followed the French writers evolved in the course of their spying: they became, in G.K. Chesterton’s phrase, “philosophical policemen.” (h/t Slate)