"A Black Coffee, A Cigarette, A Boiled Egg and THE ZONE" Edition
Obligatory shilling. I wrote for IM-1776 about how poetry ennobles language and enriches life.
I wrote for the Washington Examiner about why many of us have been mad for Manson, crazy for Kuklinski and downright obsessed with serial killers.
Finishing a chapter (but not the book). A sad day here at THE ZONE because this is the last weekly collection of links, quotes and comments I’ll be sending you at least for some time. As I said a couple of weeks ago, I think I should focus my limited promotional capabilities on my new workplace.
But it is this the end of THE ZONE? No! Indeed, I’ll write more pieces to make up for it. I’ll write some sort of monthly diary for free subscribers as well. Perhaps even fortnightly if I have enough to say.
Thanks so much for reading. I’ve really enjoyed doing this. I hope it has made your Monday mornings a bit brighter.
Origin stories. Matt Ridley and Alina Chan ask why people are so incurious about the origins of COVID-19:
Imagine if the accidental launch of a nuclear missile had killed 21 million people. It’s hard to believe the world would shrug and say: let’s not bother finding out how it happened. The Covid pandemic has killed around that number and disrupted the lives of billions.
Not to be too “we live in a society” but it is kind of ironic that people can’t get enough of origin stories about fictional characters but aren’t fussed where COVID-19 came from.
I think enough of the left is invested in the idea that the problem could have been neutralised once it had appeared and enough of the right is invested in the idea that there wasn’t much of a problem to begin with that there is no groundswell of popular interest. As for why there is no real elite interest, well – that is curious. As sexily subversive as the lab-leak hypothesis is, even if it came from animals that would have serious implications.
Stuff white people like. Ed West reflects on representation:
From time to time, some website will commission a writer to argue that ‘yoga or vegetarianism or bondage or xx has a race problem’; but it’s not that it has a race problem, its members are quite unusually un-racist, it’s just that only white liberals are generally interested in berating people for eating meat, or dressing up as animals, or for that matter hanging out in a field in Somerset getting rained on while Coldplay perform in the background. The people actually involved in these organisations would love to see some non-white faces, but supply doesn’t match demand.
Hey, Ed, India has more vegetarians than anywhere else. Not sure about Coldplay fans though.
It doesn’t pay but it spends. Ben Southwood reflects on the negative effects of crime:
I actually think the American problem is considerably bigger than this estimate, because this study only includes the costs of crimes that actually get committed. However, people try their damnedest to avoid being the victims of crime. This leads to many extremely socially costly behaviours.
thisisfine.jpeg. Malcolm Clark laments his fellow gay rights activists’s response to monkeypox:
The unavoidable and indisputable fact is that the vast majority of confirmed cases have been in gay and bisexual men. While the virus may have been circulating unnoticed at very low levels, the three events that seem to have kickstarted its rapid spread were all gay: a sex sauna in Madrid, a fetish event in Belgium and a Pride festival in Gran Canaria. You might think a lobby that claims to represent a community affected so disproportionately would spring into action to try to limit any more exposure.
I’d be very surprised if monkeypox turns out to cause as much chaos as COVID but I can’t resist pointing out that the WHO spent the earliest months of 2020 saying that stigma was more dangerous than the disease.
Enjoy the silence. Becca Rothfeld thinks that writers should speak less:
But I also balk at the prospect of a speaking writer for reasons that more or less generalize. For one thing, authors are often poor orators, inept at the most basic mechanics of verbalization. They hum and halt and hesitate, interrupting themselves, appending caveats to their caveats, thrumming a chorus of tentative “ums.”
Outrageous. I don’t um. I uhhhhhh.
I can’t do this. B.D. McClay reflects on being hospitalised:
Before you get your pain meds, if you’re sitting around in the emergency room, you’re hearing a lot of screaming, and maybe you are also screaming, though in my case I mostly kept looking at nurses and saying please, please, please.
Have a lovely month,