The North American Review began publication in 1815, long before The Atlantic, which was founded in 1857. It is not our oldest continuously operating publication because it ceased publication in 1940, after having fallen on some very hard times. But it almost did not fall on hard times! A savior had swooped in to save the magazine in 1938. That savior, Joseph Hilton Smyth, was in the business of snapping up a number of small struggling publications, including the Saturday Review of Literature and Living Age, and he bought a piece of Current History as well. Unfortunately he didn't have any money of his own and was apparently spending money [...]
Where do you go if you want the traffics and the attention? Straight into the bosom of Jesus! The New Yorker today publishes (subscription-only!) a profile of Lynn Vincent, the best-selling bookwriter that you don't know. She wrote Heaven is Real (oh actually called HEAVEN IS FOR REAL), which has sold more than seven million copies. (And also Sarah Palin's book!) That is eerie, because the cover of Newsweek this week is also headlined "Heaven Is Real." That is some world-class SEO trolling, Tina Brown's Newsweek. But the problem is, the story told in Newsweek by a doctor about going to heaven and coming back does not match up [...]
From time to time, The Awl offers its space to everyday citizens with something to say.
In light of a recent gripping narrative I wrote about air travel I have been hearing a lot of complaints about "internet trolling."
"Henry only wrote this to get attention," some people said. "This is a new low, even for Henry," Twitter users complained. "How does this dumb fuck even [...]
"The word comes from a Norse monster but the troll is a very modern menace. For some it's the internet equivalent of road rage, vandalising a grave, or kicking a man when he's down. Trolling is a phenomenon that has swept across websites in recent years. Online forums, Facebook pages and newspaper comment forms are bombarded with insults, provocations or threats. Supporters argue it's about humour, mischief and freedom of speech. But for many the ferocity and personal nature of the abuse verges on hate speech."
Actually, Farhad Manjoo makes a few good points in his Slate screed against the overuse of "trolling." Because, yes: some people who look like trolls are just trawling, for pageviews (or book deals, or maybe sex, who knows what dark things people want). Like for instance, if you have to say "Sure, my piece and its headline were hyperbolic," then you are probably just trawling the Internet with a big, loud net, but you are not actually trolling, because you do believe what you are saying. Despite being hyperbolic. Which, understandably, gives readers confusion.
And then probably some famous trolls aren't actually trolls! It sometimes happens that people [...]
The more one reads the Times' Styles section, the more one is convinced that it is a week-in, week-out exercise in trolling — giving bloggers topics to opine on and get lathered up about, as predictable in call and response as the Barbra Streisand references in the old Saturday Night Live sketch "Coffee Talk." That silly article on Sunday about the completely publishing-devised nontrend of "Formerly Hots" was but the most egregious example of the Times trying to get the self-appointed commentariat riled up — and succeding. And don't think the Wall Street Journal, which has been attempting to gain ground on the Gray Lady, hasn't noticed! Indeed, [...]