Links vom 1. Mai 2020

Zwei Longreads für den Feiertag.


Susan Sontag traf als 14-Jährige ihren literarischen Helden Thomas Mann und ich möchte jeden Absatz rauskopieren, weil es um so viel mehr geht: um die Faszination des Lesens, um die Suche nach Gleichgesinnten und die Suche nach sich selbst.

„I considered telling him that I loved “The Magic Mountain” so much that I had read it twice, but that seemed silly. I also feared he might ask me about some book of his which I had not read, though so far he hadn’t asked a single question. “ ‘The Magic Mountain’ has meant so much to me,” I finally ventured, feeling that it was now or never.

“It sometimes happens,” he said, “that I am asked which I consider to be my greatest novel.”

“Oh,” I said.

“Yes,” said Merrill.

“I would say, and have so replied recently in interviews . . .” He paused. I held my breath. “ ‘The Magic Mountain.’ ” I exhaled.“

Why the Coronavirus Is So Confusing

Der Untertitel schubst in die richtige Richtung: „A guide to making sense of a problem that is now too big for any one person to fully comprehend.“

„The coronavirus is not unlike the Y2K bug—a real but invisible risk. When a hurricane or an earthquake hits, the danger is evident, the risk self-explanatory, and the aftermath visible. It is obvious when to take shelter, and when it’s safe to come out. But viruses lie below the threshold of the senses. Neither peril nor safety is clear. Whenever I go outside for a brief (masked) walk, I reel from cognitive dissonance as I wander a world that has been irrevocably altered but that looks much the same. I can still read accounts of people less lucky—those who have lost, and those who have been lost. But I cannot read about the losses that never occurred, because they were averted. Prevention may be better than cure, but it is also less visceral.

The coronavirus not only co-opts our cells, but exploits our cognitive biases. Humans construct stories to wrangle meaning from uncertainty and purpose from chaos. We crave simple narratives, but the pandemic offers none.“