“Some products of the eighties are immortal, I realized the other night, while I was listening to the Pet Shop Boys and thinking about Raymond Carver’s short story ‘Careful.’ ” Here’s my essay for the Paris Review’s Redux newsletter about Carver and PSB, in case you haven’t seen it yet. The link here is kind of makeshift, and I suspect it will only work this week, so go for it now, if you’re interested.
“You need a human to check that the AI is being fed the right type of data and maybe another human who checks its work before passing it to another AI that writes a report, which goes to another human, and so on. ‘AI doesn’t replace work,’ he said. ‘But it does change how work is organized.’ ” —Josh Dzieza on AI in New York magazine
“I arrived here on Friday night from London. I’m staying at the Hotel Artist for $30 a night. Most of the plugs don’t work, so I can’t put my apple juice in the refrigerator. There’s a stool by the window with an ashtray. The shower isn’t bad. The room could use a desk, and the wifi from the router in the hall a floor down is spotty.” —Christian Lorentzen checks in from Tirana, where he has briefly settled as he “walks the earth”
“H. P. Severson (1921) tells of a nest that was placed on a trolley wire; ‘cars passed under this nest every few minutes, their trolley being only a few inches below it. On each occasion the Robin stood up, then settled back on the nest.’ ” —Winsor Marrett Tyler, “Eastern Robin,” in A. C. Bent, Life Histories of North American Thrushes (1949)
“It’s an impressive feat, in its way, to write novels spanning four decades in which style and characterization remain entirely stagnant.” —Claire Lowdon on Richard Ford in The TLS, taking no hostages
“Each written thing a response to a particular stimulus. That may be why you think you’ll never write anything else—because you finished responding to that particular stimulus.” —Lydia Davis, “Selections from Journal, 1996,” in the Paris Review
“Laurence Tribe, the Harvard professor, put an even finer point on it: ‘This wasn’t something that had an organic development in the law. It was, frankly, something that was pulled out of somebody’s butt, because they thought it was a convenient way to fulfill a short-term partisan agenda.’ ” —Andrew Marantz in The New Yorker on the Independent State Legislature Theory, which is the idea that state legislatures can award their Presidential electors to whoever they want, regardless of how their constituents voted
“An engineer at the dam describes a situation so chaotic they didn’t even know if the site of the command center was safe from flooding if the dam failed.” —Christopher Cox in the New York Times Magazine on whether California’s dams are ready for a storm as big as one the state had in 1862