The Sunday Post for December 3, 2017

Each week, the Sunday Post highlights a few articles we enjoyed this week, good for consumption over a cup of coffee (or tea, if that's your pleasure). Settle in for a while; we saved you a seat. You can also look through the archives.

Trapped: The Grenfell Tower Story

Tom Lamont’s account of the Grenfell Tower fire is riveting and wrenching. It’s not a political examination, but a human one, a set of interlocking stories by residents and firefighters who lived through the night. A piece like this always risks catering to looky-loos. But I think it’s worthwhile, for obvious reasons right now, to invest our attention in the implications of political decisions (regulatory, economic, and otherwise) — implications from which the politicians calling the shots are mostly exempt.

Fire from the fourth floor had reached an outside wall of the tower and then caught — unthinkably — the sheer sides of the exterior. Fat amber flames licked up Grenfell's northeastern elevation so quickly, so determinedly, that for a time firefighters stationed indoors and outdoors would have been responding to wildly different degrees of crisis. What would have seemed inside to be a manageable appliance fire was catastrophizing, outside, into the gravest threat to residential Londoners in 75 years: since the city's bombing at war. One of the first police officers to arrive at the scene would later say that "the building was melting." At least 320 people were inside. Most, like Oluwaseun Talabi, were asleep.
Ana Mardoll on Prairie Fires

With many apologies to those for whom Little House on the Prairie is a beloved childhood touchpoint, here’s Ana Mardoll’s brilliant, hilarious live-read of Prairie Fires, the new biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder. If you’re wearing rose-colored glasses, take them off now so you don’t get shards in your eyes — this woman has evidence-based smacktalk down to an art.

To no surprise whatsoever, Almanzo is now breaking homesteading rules and scamming the government. Again, I don't disapprove exactly, but I remind you this is supposed to be people who succeeded through honest hard labor.

Almanzo is being a dick to Eliza Jane but I am 100% on her side, fight me. She's going to claim her own homestead at 29 because fuck marriage and men, and that's frankly way more sympathetic than Manzo and Royal. I mean, they're all trash fires stealing land from indigenous people, but at least she hates men and I respect that.

Cormac McCarthy Returns to the Kekulé Problem

The only thing better than Cormac McCarthy offering up an apostrophe-less analysis of one of the knottiest problems in linguistics is McCarthy responding to readers’ comments and questions on the selfsame piece.

I havent read the William Burroughs book that several people mentioned in which apparently language is compared to a virus. The only Burroughs book I’ve read is Naked Lunch. One reader seemed to know that that is just what I would say. Bloody McCarthy lies about everything. Naked Lunch was supposedly so named by Jack Kerouac. When Burroughs wanted to know what it meant, Kerouac said that it was that frozen moment when everybody sees what’s on the end of the fork. Or so the story.
Mea Culpa. Kinda Sorta.

Remember how your mom taught you to apologize — straight up “I’m sorry,” not “I’m sorry you felt bad,” not “I’m sorry and here’s why it’s your fault”? Apparently not everyone got that memo from mom, even with professional PR agencies to help them. Jessica Bennett, Claire Cain Miller, Amanda Taub, and Choire Sicha of the New York Times analyze shitty responses from shitty men, media and otherwise, to accusations of harassment and assault.

These sound like the ramblings of your crazy uncle at Thanksgiving dinner.