Good morning, friends of Friday, this is Jo speaking. It is downright chilly in New York City. Here are the headlines.
First things first: the winners of last week's crossword, 19. Nervous Breakdown, are a bumper crop. Congratulations to:
Jezebel St. John
Well done. The puzzle department gave Sahar the week off because she has written so much for us so fast—consider leaving her a nice and encouraging comment.
As ever, winners please email a picture of an animal to email@example.com and eventually I will draw it for you.
This morning I got the kind of email so far from the topic of gender and yet beginning and ending so thick with it that I shrieked with joy:
Nothing else, just happy about that.
However, you might note that the order is for a book, which I did not write but which I did edit and design top to bottom. Full service, lads. Relatedly, I just got the most part-time of part-time jobs that hopefully will build up to more. If you're taking the MFA in communications design at Pratt, I might be supervising your thesis. Thank fucking god.
Danny has an incredible piece about chickens and Jacques Pépin in the New York Review of Books:
If you are a bird, odds are that you are a chicken. Since the sixteenth century the global bird population has steadily decreased, in both the number of species and the number of individuals, and each year more of them are chickens. Today there are some 33 billion chickens in the world, although this number can fluctuate substantially according to slaughtering trends.
I read this, it's written in words:
I officially present to you the #TwerkWithJanelleMonae video from the @wondaland team. @JanelleMonae is a world-builder who inspires me to be a free ass mothafucker who embraces pleasure in every form. It was my absolute honor to throw ass for them. 💜 pic.twitter.com/yCAPfArpob— Sami Schalk (@DrSamiSchalk) September 12, 2023
Worth signing up for:
Yesterday, I published one of my oldest and best friends Jack on eggs and counterfactuals in academic philosophy. I pushed them on this because they already started a column on counterfactuals in the history of political revolutions. It's so good:
The key philosophical question is counterfactual in nature: what would have happened if someone who in fact cracked an egg into a frying pan had not done so? Let’s say it was Noam Chomsky who cracked an egg this morning. One might presume that if he hadn’t done so, he wouldn’t have eaten a fried egg for breakfast; he’d have had something else instead. Academic philosophers have raised an alternative possibility: What if Noam had eaten an egg exactly as before, except he never put it into the pan, it was just there?
Answering this question has been a matter of significant debate in philosophical journals in recent years. It has led to an investigation of how egg cooking looks if we run time backwards, Tenet style—but it’s Tenet for molecular physicists, so instead of rewinding the tape we reverse the laws of physics.
Speaking of me, did you catch my article in the resurrected Bookforum?
Sometimes words disappeared for no reason. Sometimes they emerged, fully formed, out of the obscure music of English nonsense. The term “dildo,” for example, comes from a once-popular chorus. “Sing doe with a dildo! you might bellow with enthusiasm in Tudor England,” Nuttall writes. Similarly, “hey nonny nonny” “conveniently rhymed with cunny, that slang word for vagina or vulva.” In an early modern multilingual dictionary, the Italian “fossa” or “pit” is translated as a nickname for “a woman’s pleasure-pit, nony-nony or palace of pleasure.” In contrast with these nonsense-derived words, the phrase “willy-nilly,” Nuttall explains, derives from a nasty and specific phrase: “wulle ha, nulle ha”—whether she wants to or not.
How are you? I hope you'll let us know in the comments and maybe recommend something by someone else.