Various matters.

Sorry for the slow day. I got engrossed in Gatsby. I’ve read it before, but this is the first piece of fiction I’ve touched in almost three years, and I’m relishing the chance to return to some literature. Apparently my younger self once bought This Side of Paradise and the Benjamin Button Penguin short story collection, so I have plenty of Fitzgerald to be getting on with. Other stuff I have lined up includes Fear and Loathing, Martin Amis’ Money and Catch-22.

Anyway, I’ll be in Manchester tomorrow for Regina’s concert and I’m staying over, so things will dry up now until Thursday evening at the earliest. I’m sure I’ll have something to say again by then, but meanwhile, some links.

Rolling Stone profile Rachel Maddow in a piece that raises my respect for her to new heights.

Pareene and Clark-Flory at Salon debate whether Anderson Cooper had a moral obligation to come out, in light of his letter to Andrew Sullivan yesterday. They dart around a little bit, but I think reach the right conclusion: given his prominent position and thereby his power, using his platform to finally confirm he is comfortably gay is undoubtedly a Good Thing insofar as it will further normalise homosexuality, in a culture which still has tendencies to demonise it. Insofar as his character is concerned too, the letter is insanely thoughtful and indicative of an attentive mind at work. Respect for a second American TV anchor going out right now.

And thirdly, Nelson Jones over at the New Statesman considers scientology’s status, public image and relation to other religions:

To its critics, Scientology looks like both pseudoscience and pseudo-religion. But then most religions require of their adherents belief in concepts or entities that strike outsiders as unlikely or even absurd: Virgin Births, the revelation of scripture by divine dictation, miracles, angels and demons. Is Xenu any more ridiculous an idea than a saviour who could walk on water, or less historical than Abraham? Scientology’s credibility problem may partly be a consequence of its youth. It has yet to build up a patina of ancient wisdom, the respectability that comes from age. Nor does it have the ballast provided by a long-standing intellectual tradition.

Ciao for now.

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