Lunch Break Reads: Librarians Get In On World Series Trash Talk, America's Fascination with Serial Killers, Comparisons to Cormac McCarthy, A Cool Hip Writer, Western Ideas of Evil, & Ebola Freakout / by Lars Garvey Laing-Peterson

It's great to see two rivals—granted, rival librarians—be able to get feisty about sports and not be total jerks about it.


The Altantic's Julie Beck delves into why Americans are fascinated with serial killers.

The serial killer is a quintessentially American figure. According to the Radford database, there have been more than 2,600 serial killers in the U.S. since 1900. England, the country with the next highest total, has had 142. [David] Schmid, [who has studied serial killer celebrity and the popularity of true crime in the United States and] is originally from the U.K., says that while there are serial killers in other countries, because the rates of violence in general, and serial killer violence specifically, are so much higher in the U.S., “a difference of degree becomes a difference in kind,” and people are led to “see serial killers as prototypically American.”

An author complains about being compared to Cormac McCarthy. I mean, what a terrible thing to happen to a writer, to be compared to one of the most respected voices in American literature. I feel ever so terribly about this man's plight. Truly, I do. Poor man. Gosh, what a world we live in, huh? Why can't he just have his novel come out to little or no critical acclaim at all, like most other writers? Why has this literary world forsaken him, cursing—nay, plaguing!—him and his family with comparisons to McCarthy? Why Lord, why? Why must your torment this man?

Full story at The Daily Beast.


The Hairpin brings us a piece entitled "A Cool Hip Writer Who Has Definitely Had Sex Profiles Cameron Diaz," and it's everything you want it to be.

I sit on the ground with the star of There’s Something About Mary and think about ships. Big, old, colonial ships on dark, moody, masculine seas. Cameron, blonde and shining, at the front, carved in wood. There’s something in there, I’m sure of it. A truth-meaning swimming just below the surface like a shark. Maybe a binary. I live to point out binaries. The ship thing is an important and worthwhile tangent and I indulge it for paragraphs, with an emphasis on shark-as-phallus.

Also:

Her blood red lips evoke a menstruating vagina, and I am not scared about that because I am a modern man.

Monica Heisey is an American hero, even if she lives in Toronto.


The Guardian's John Gray on Western political leaders' idea of "evil":

Too morally stunted to be capable of the mendacity of which he is often accused, [Tony] Blair thinks and acts on the premise that whatever furthers the triumph of what he believes to be good must be true. Imagining that he can deliver the Middle East and the world from evil, he cannot help having a delusional view of the impact of his policies.
Here Blair is at one with most western leaders. It’s not that they are obsessed with evil. Rather, they don’t really believe in evil as an enduring reality in human life. If their feverish rhetoric means anything, it is that evil can be vanquished. In believing this, those who govern us at the present time reject a central insight of western religion, which is found also in Greek tragic drama and the work of the Roman historians: destructive human conflict is rooted in flaws within human beings themselves. In this old-fashioned understanding, evil is a propensity to destructive and self-destructive behaviour that is humanly universal. The restraints of morality exist to curb this innate human frailty; but morality is a fragile artifice that regularly breaks down. Dealing with evil requires an acceptance that it never goes away.

Read the full piece here.


Thanks, American media outlets. No really, thanks. Your "top notch" news coverage is really helping to prevent Americans freaking out about Ebola. Great work. I hope you all get raises.

Salon highlights six of the more hysterical reactions to the disease reaching America's shores.