Summary of “Susan Sontag on Her Advice to Writers”

Susan Sontag spent a lifetime contemplating the role of writing in both the inner world of the writer and outer universe of readers, which we call culture – from her prolific essays and talks on the task of literature to her devastatingly beautiful letter to Borges to her decades of reflections on writing recorded in her diaries.
Every writer of fiction wants to tell many stories, but we know that we can’t tell all the stories – certainly not simultaneously.
We know we must pick one story, well, one central story; we have to be selective.
Writing nearly a decade before the golden age of ebooks and some years before the epidemic of crowdsourced-everything had infected nearly every corner of creative culture, Sontag once again reveals her extraordinary prescience about the intersection of technology, society, and the arts.
Returning to the writer’s crucial task of selecting what story to tell from among all the stories that could be told, Sontag points to literature’s essential allure – the comfort of appeasing our anxiety about life’s infinite possibility, about all the roads not taken and all the immensities not imagined that could have led to a better destination than our present one.
Writing in 2004, she saw television as the dominant form of the latter, but it’s striking to consider how true her observations hold today if we substitute “The internet” for every mention of “Television.” One can only wonder what Sontag would make of our newsfeed-fetishism and our compulsive tendency to mistake the latest and most urgent for the most important.
To tell a story is to say: this is the important story.
Complement it with Sontag on love, art, how polarities imprison us, why lists appeal to us, and the joy of rereading beloved books, then revisit this evolving archive of celebrated writers’ advice on writing.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Too many people think satirical news is real”

In July, the website Snopes published a piece fact-checking a story posted on The Babylon Bee, a popular satirical news site with a conservative bent.
Conservative columnist David French criticized Snopes for debunking what was, in his view, “Obvious satire. Obvious.” A few days later, Fox News ran a segment featuring The Bee’s incredulous CEO. But does everyone recognize satire as readily as French seems to?
On his popular satirical news show “The Colbert Report,” comedian Stephen Colbert assumed the character of a conservative cable news pundit.
The Onion, a popular satirical news website, is misunderstood so often that there’s a large online community dedicated to ridiculing those who have been fooled.
Now more than ever, Americans are worried about their ability to distinguish between what’s true and what isn’t and think made-up news is a significant problem facing the country.
Many satirical websites mimic the tone and appearance of news sites.
Every two weeks, we identified 10 of the most shared fake political stories on social media, which included satirical stories.
Facebook tested this feature itself a few years ago, and Google News has started to label some satirical content.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Desirability of Storytellers”

Because of its antiquity and ubiquity, some scholars have portrayed storytelling as an important human adaptation-and that’s certainly how Migliano sees it.
Finally, almost as an afterthought, they asked the volunteers to name the best storytellers.
Good storytellers were twice as likely to be named as ideal living companions as more pedestrian tale spinners, and storytelling acumen mattered far more all the other skills.
Migliano says, “If you live in a more cooperative camp, perhaps you have more time and you just tell more fun stories.” But if that’s true, she adds, it wouldn’t explain why so many of the actual stories feature leitmotifs of cooperation, rather than other happy and positive themes.
Skilled Agta storytellers are more likely to receive gifts, and they’re not only more desirable as living companions-but also as mates.
All of Migliano’s results hinge on the Agta accurately naming the best storytellers in their midst.
Did they? Could they just have named people they were close to, or venerated celebrities who sprang readily to mind? Wouldn’t that explain both the fecundity and desirability of these supposed storytelling Jedi? Migliano thinks not.
“Stories also contain valuable cultural knowledge, and accomplished storytellers are repositories of this knowledge,” she notes.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Night Charlie Parker Soared in South Central L.A.”

City records add another layer of story, and record that in 1944 owner Sam “Jack” Jackson applied for a business permit and he sold the building in 1955.
Jack’s special late-Monday-night jam sessions that attracted local and visiting musicians to sit in after their club date at a down-the-street venue or across-town studio recording session was through.
Word on the street lit up with musicians reporting that he was suited up and headed for Jack’s, alto in tow.
At the center was Jack’s, and at the center of Jack’s was music-from the clientele who were players to the radio broadcasts and the famous “Cutting” sessions where musicians would display their prowess.
After-hours spots like Jack’s were essential one-stop catch-alls-a place to play, to find work, and to go get one’s head straight.
Once some of the grime had been cleared away, you could make out tracings of Jack’s original signage laced along the top edge of the facade, including a chicken head logo and a lyric fragment from an old jump tune: “Chicken ain’t nuthin but a bird.”
The years of work spent trying to re-create the spirit of Jack’s, literally brick by brick, were now rubble; the whole of it would be red tagged and ordered to be demolished within two weeks.
Did the restoration activity spark too much attention? Might Jack’s still be here if it was still riding incognito? It’s a question that has weight.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Toward a Theory of the New Weird”

By learning to read weird fictions on a literal level it may be possible to see how weird reality already is.
The Atwood story is a perfect example of The Weird, according to the definition of weirdness provided by the late Mark Fisher in his 2016 book, The Weird and the Eerie.
Taken together, Fisher’s notions of the weird and the eerie are ways of describing what he calls “That which does not belong.” The reason it does not belong is not that it is artificial or supernatural as opposed to natural.
“Natural” is exactly what is displaced, or made to not belong, in a weird story.
There’s a potential name for this kind of fiction: the New Weird.
The term itself isn’t new at all by now; it’s been floating around since the early 2000s, and even then, the type of writing it described was not necessarily a novel departure from types of writing that came before, such as the New Wave of the 1960s or the horror fiction of the 80s. Like all “New” and “Post-” terminology, the New is an adjective used to distinguish from and connect to a past genre-in this case what might be called the “Old Weird.” Old Weird is a name retroactively given to certain writing from the late 19th and early 20th century.
What feels weird or eerie depends on who you are, and is therefore a political question.
Through perceptual flips, New Weird could relocate the weird other from the outside to within.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Economic bubbles are irrational, but we can understand them”

To the extent that Tesla’s stock price reflects Gerber’s story, Tesla is a bubble.
Mrs W C B had constructed her ‘radio story’.
There were many possible radio stories available to Mrs W C B, but she wanted to have her story about the future of radio endorsed by the Tribune’s columnist.
Bubbles form whenever a new story is not only told, but can also be sold.
The 800 essays submitted to Radio Broadcast tell us something about how many different radio stories could be told and sold.
The story of powered flight has been part of human consciousness since the story of Icarus, but the Wright Flyer was not investment grade.
Every good story comes to a close, but speculative bubbles are like open books in the sense that we can never be sure when the story will end.
We do also understand that Tesla’s uber-protagonist, Elon Musk, will tirelessly work to shape the story to prevent a Tesla-failure narrative from emerging.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Want to Be a Great Storyteller? First, Break These Habits”

You’ve heard dozens of times that you’re more likely to engage your audience when you tell a story in your presentation.
Bad Habit No. 1: Giving Too Much Background Your audience won’t understand your story without at least some background information.
Even small doses of narrative evidence can go a long way to backing up the point you want your story to make.
If your story is too drawn out, you risk losing your audience’s attention.
Bad Habit No. 4: Not Including Any Dialogue You need dialogue to bring a story to life, and one line can make for a great climax.
Bad Habit No. 5: Taking Your Audience Through Unnecessary Detours Don’t go off on tangents when you’re building up the action of your story.