paper trail

Amia Srinivasan on gender-neutral pronouns and public language; Vice to launch an investigative news podcast

Amia Srinivasan. Photo: Nina Subin

In the London Review of Books, Amia Srinivasan examines the history of gender-neutral pronouns: “What words mean and which words exist is not up to any single person. But it is up to us, collectively. When an individual refuses the application of a word that applies, by the rules of public language, to them, or when an individual applies to themselves a word not yet in the public lexicon, they are making a move that they hope others will take up—and that will, in turn, change how they are seen and treated by others. Words can change the world.”

Nikole Hannah-Jones on why it is time for reparations. The author writes, “If we are truly at the precipice of a transformative moment, the most tragic of outcomes would be that the demand be too timid and the resolution too small. If we are indeed serious about creating a more just society, we must go much further than that. We must get to the root of it.”

At the Los Angeles Times, Anousha Sakoui writes about how Black writers in Hollywood are getting hired, but are often overlooked for promotions: “Studios . . . pay for shows to hire staff writers of color in a so-called ‘diversity slot.’ But only about half of those writers go on to be rehired or have long-term positions.”

Masha Gessen considers the question of “moral clarity” in journalism.

The first issue of a new magazine about culture and politics, The Drift, is out now. The inaugural edition features an interview with Wendy Brown, articles on the pandemic, essays “not about the plague,” fiction, poetry, “extremely abbreviated reviews,” and dispatches from protests around the world.

Vice is launching an investigative news podcast.

Tonight, via Zoom, the Strand is hosting Megha Majumdar and Maris Kreizman talking about Majumdar’s new novel, A Burning. In Bookforum’s summer issue, Elizabeth Flock called the book “an ambitious first novel, a critique smuggled into a thriller.”