Monday, March 31, 2014

Against updates and revisions

First Things, the CRB, and my precious Online Library of Liberty - all recently redesigned for the worse. First Things paywalled all their articles and now has fewer words on the front page than apps for pre-literate toddlers have in their entire interface, the CRB's articles resemble those biographical blurbs that CEOs and corporate lawyers feature on their company websites, and the OLL texts are no longer keyword-searchable - the greatest disaster of all. In case you ever needed decisive evidence that progress is an illusion, here it is.

I only discovered the CRB uglification because I'd been waiting for them to unlock Helen Rittelmeyer's witty African literature essay so I could link it. Now, here it is. In corporate bio form, with a lively and relevant graphic borrowed from the company letterhead, and the extremely enticing tab title: "CRB Article." Let's hope this is just an unfortunate transitional phase in the redesign. In the meantime, enjoy this digital magazine equivalent of Dimly Lit Meals for One.

(Incidentally, this is how my small-time college magazine has dealt with the contradictions of digital print: The Midway Review. Whimsy and relatively navigable readability, no Arial font.)

UPDATE: False alarm; OLL search option returns!
UPDATE II: Ugh, forget it. The CRB has, on top of its other crimes, paywalled its articles.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Confessions of small world delusions

Whenever I'm in Chicago, I spend a lot of time in Evanston and always fully expect to run into Joseph Epstein there, to recognize him, and to successfully waylay him. This has never once happened in the approximately 10 years since I first decided it would, but I remain entirely convinced that it will each time I walk down Church Street. If Phoebe can repeatedly run into Woody Allen in Manhattan, I'd think that the odds are in my favor here, given the relative diminuitiveness of both the city and the fame of the target in question.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Frigid vacation

Elliot Park, Evanston, IL