This week, the Internet reached an unusual degree of synthesis in the condemnation of the killing of Cecil the Lion by Walter Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota, for which Zimbabwean authorities are now seeking his extradition. If you thought only Hollywood stars were the target of shaming, think again: a flood of one-start Yelp reviews and Facebook-shaming pages have put him out of business and into hiding, and if you want to know how that happens, you can read it in the New York Times here. Cautionary tale: don’t kill lions. Especially lions named Cecil.
And if you ever want to kill something, maybe next time skip the polonium. Notwithstanding all the macho-posturing with enormous guns and animals, it always seemed like Russian President Vladimir Putin was untouchable even in the light of obvious complicity. Now, nearly a decade later after the death of Russian spy and dissident Alexander Litvinenko, the BBC reports that British inquiry has heard that Putin directly ordered his killing.
Speaking of things we ingest, read this article and Q&A with Anastacia Marx de Salcedo, author of Combat-Ready Kitchen: How The U.S. Military Shapes The Way You Eat, which started from the realization that “everything in my kids’ lunchboxes had military origins or influence.” What that means is that America is basically feeding its children like Special Ops. No wonder all the kids that ate Lunchables were so much cooler than me.
Inspired by the desire to materialize Borges’s famous story, The Library of Babel, into some kind of a reality, Jonathan Bacile, a fiction writer and programmer, has created a website called libraryofbabel.info which now contains “anything we ever have written or ever will write”. In The Paris Review he describes his fascination with Borges and what spurred him to this idea, which is coupled with a critical analysis of the short story. Theoretically, that library should also contain the 2015 Man Booker Longlist, which unlike the library itself, is actually now possible to find here.
The death of a toddler in an attack on the West Bank has spurred outrage, and Atlantic writer David Graham provokes an interesting discussion on the legal and semantic questions of labeling Israeli settler attacks as ‘terrorism’, which happened with much greater speed in contrast to the public discourse around Dylan Roof’s massacre in South Carolina.
In more general news, tests of an experimental Ebola vaccine in Guinea have shown the potential to become 75-100 percent effective, which could possibly check Ebola epidemics for good. Read about the process here. The Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei has been granted a six-month visa by the British government, after initially being granted a visa for only one month.
Stefan Kielbasiewicz is an editorial intern for The Brooklyn Quarterly. He is the co-chair of YorkPEN, the student-run affiliate of English PEN/PEN International at York University.