A few good things you should read

that I did not write

But that I did edit, and that utterly blow me away. If you’ll allow me just a brief bout of sentimentality, I’ve been thinking a bit about how editing, like teaching, is a morally elevating activity, at least when you do it properly. I suppose it’s dangerous to suggest, in this fraught and paranoiac political climate, that teaching and editing are in any way reminiscent of anything romantic, but I think it’s undeniable that an editor or teacher is like a lover in at least one limited respect. To love someone well is at least in part to treat her interests as your own interests—and to edit well, or teach well, is to do the same, at least within some circumscribed domain. It is to take the writer or the student’s reasons as your own, rather than imposing your own agenda, or your own turns of phrase, or your own conclusions, upon the writer or student. A good editor sets aside her own convictions and favored formulations in the interest of helping the writer achieve something the editor would never think to attempt, the editor being, after all, a different person than the writer. I’m not always a good editor (or, for that matter, teacher, or lover), but I think that the demands of the role itself do go some way towards improving me. All of which is to say, I feel like my one of my purest selves emerges in relation to my writers, and I’m honored to have had any hand in bringing these marvelous essays into the world. I hope you’ll take a moment to read them! They are really, really, really worth your time.

Ryan Ruby on The Aesthetics of Resistance and the relation between art and politics: https://thepointmag.com/criticism/resisting-oblivion/

Nicholas Whittaker on Them, black horror, and the delectable pleasures of aesthetic excess: https://thepointmag.com/criticism/making-them-suffer/

Ege Yumusak on organizing—and thereby locating—the university: https://thepointmag.com/politics/where-is-the-university/

Ian Marcus Corbin on the lost art of dying: https://thepointmag.com/examined-life/existential-matters/

And of course, this piece, which I did not edit, but which I, somewhat predictably, love—and not just because of the bits about me, but also because it’s full of wonderful insights about criticism and its role and because (forgive me, Christian, for my Earnest Feelings) the kicker is beautiful and made me a little teary. (Of course, I disagree with Christian about the Topeka School, but that’s neither here nor there; he’s smarter than I am, so there is a good chance he’s right about it. Anyway.) If any of you are not too-online and missed this gem, miss it no longer: https://www.gawker.com/media/the-intellectuals-are-having-a-situation

If you are a MacIntyre subscriber, it’s been a busy week. More MacIntyre reflections are coming soon—in the next few days! And more regularly hereafter, I promise you. I went to my first Catholic mass today (as an observer, not participant, of course), so I have been doing something that arguably resembles “research.”