Kickoff For March 21, 2022

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Monday Kickoff, a collection of what I’ve found interesting, informative, and insightful on the web over the last seven days.

Let’s get this Monday started with these links:

Arts and Literature

Against Translation, wherein Benjamin Moser, a translator himself, ponders the subtleties that are lost in translation and laments the need to transfer critical power to people outside a writer’s own language.

Out of Sir Vidia’s Shadow, wherein Paul Theroux describes the intricacies of his friendship with V.S. Naipaul, the man’s quirks as a writer and person, and how Naipaul influenced Theroux’s growth as a writer.

Listening to Books, wherein Maggie Gram describes the appeal, and joys, of audiobooks and looks at why some people look down upon them.


Why do we buy into the ‘cult’ of overwork?, wherein we learn a few reasons why many people look up to, and try to emulate, those who work long (almost impossible) hours.

Your work is not your god, wherein Jonathan Malesic dissects the idea that if I got the right kind of job, then success and happiness would surely follow.

Smile, wherein we get a piece of short fiction that illustrates the grinding difficulties of dealing with management while working from home.

Odds and Ends

The Art of Negativity, wherein Enis Yucekoralp examines the necessity of negativity, which contains the seed of critical thought and a beneficial duty to engage with one’s internal feelings.

How the Chinese Language Got Modernized, wherein Ian Buruma examines how Chinese has evolved over the centuries, and how reformers in the modern era radically changed the language — especially the written script.

‘At 6pm every evening the screen went blank’: the outlandish tale of the UK’s TV blackout, wherein we learn about the toddler’s truce in 1950s Britain, which tried to limit how much TV a child could watch, and how it gradually faded away thanks to the advent of commercial television.

And that’s it for this Monday. Come back in seven days for another set of links to start off your week.

Scott Nesbitt