Kickoff For December 20, 2021

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

Is Amazon Changing the Novel?, wherein Parul Sehgal looks at how the ecommerce juggernaut has transformed not only how we obtain fiction but how we read and write it.

Why is Baseball the Most Literary of Sports?, wherein Lincoln Michel expalins the history of the great American pastime in fiction, and why writers choose to focus on the sport in their novels.

The Most Ambitious Diary in History, wherein we learn about the life and lengthy personal journal of classics professor and writer Claude Fredericks, which despite praise heaped upon it from a number of corners may never be published as Fredericks (and his admirers) hoped.

Online Life

The Internet's Dark Ages, wherein Adrienne LaFrance argues that, in spite of efforts to save it, took much information online is too easily lost for good.

How your personal data is being scraped from social media, wherein we discover how easy it is to grab personal information posted to any social media site and how much information about ourselves we should make publicly available online.

The Internet’s Unkillable App, wherein Dave Pell looks at how, despite the supposed death of email and the prevalence of social media, the humble email newsletter has not only survived but thrived.

Odds and Ends

The Maddening, Twisted Story of the Diplomat Who Became a Troll, wherein we learn about a long-serving U.S. foreign service officer who became an incorrigible anti-Arab troll and how his employer didn't make much of an effort to help stop him.

Two Rich Men Decided to Fund a Failing City. Some People Say They Made It Worse, wherein we learn how a pair of philanthropists in Kalamazoo, Michigan created a foundation to fill gaps in the cities budget but which also potentially set the stage for the super wealthy to control more and more aspects of public life.

The Frenchman Who Pioneered the Modern Mercenary Industry, wherein we learn how Bob Denard became a mercenary kingpin, laying the basic template for the so-called private military companies to come.

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

— Scott Nesbitt