paper trail

Lincoln Michel weighs in on the latest MFA debate; Naomi Kanakia on the myth of a Classically educated elite

Lincoln Michel

Today is the last day to submit books to Lambda Literary’s “Lammy” Awards. You can find submission guidelines here.

At his Substack, Lincoln Michel weighs in on the latest iteration of the MFA debate: “MFAs become a stand-in for whatever trend in literature someone dislikes. I’ve seen MFAs blamed for hysterical realism, dirty realism, McSweeney’s style fabulism, autofiction, ‘identity novels,’ and everything else in-between. (Sometimes it’s claimed that whatever style is being denounced was actually a deep state CIA plot all along.)” While MFAs can be useful for individual writers, Michel argues that they “just aren’t that influential to the larger culture.”

At the Los Angeles Review of Books, Naomi Kanakia writes about literature and elitism, her love for the Classics, and her misconceptions about the necessity of studying them: “Notice, I leave aside the question of whether knowledge of the Classics makes you a better thinker or more capable leader. I would argue that it probably does but that, in most eras, the wisdom conferred by the Classics is more likely, as Tocqueville noted, to discourage you from pursuing paths to power.”

“I was raised to believe I’d one day own property. Then I believed I would never own property. Then came the Sheriff’s auction.” Read new fiction by Madeline Ffitch online at n+1.

Gawker’s Tarpley Hitt looks into the turmoil at Jezebel. Since Lea Goldman was hired by G/O CEO Jim Spanfeller as the site’s deputy editorial director in March, nine employees, all editors or writers, have quit. According to Gawker’s sources, Jezebel staff worked under increasingly demanding conditions while under pressure to change their editorial tone: “They were told that stories should be shorter, less reported, and a bit less critical — of celebrities, of police, of parents frustrated by school closures. One person said that it felt like management was ‘creating a problem,’ for which ‘firing us all [was] the solution.’”

Kumail Nanjiani will star in and produce the TV adaptation of Ayad Akhtar’s Homeland Elegies, AV Club reports.