Richard Jackson

Long Reads: Harper Lee, poaching and the Ivy League

Harper Lee
Image: Wikipedia

The Decline of Harper Lee – Boris Kachka (Vulture)

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is one of the rare literary works able to encapsulate the American experience and its history within its pages. It fulfils the worn definition and brutal ambition of any novelist, by being “The Great American Novel.” Boris Kacka profiles author and recluse Harper Lee, who is now in a retirement home in the small town of Monroeville, Alabama, where she was born and also set her Pulitzer Prize winning novel.

 

Where the Wild Things Die – Scott C. Johnson (ForeignPolicy.com)

Scott Johnson takes us through poaching in South Africa. Focusing on the trade of rhino horns, we learn why they are in demand, how the demand has fluctuated over the last decades, measures being taken to stop the poaching, and inadequate legislation and governmental action concerning their trade, including a muted idea to legalise it in an effort to kill the poaching trade.

Experts argue that the intensity of the current poaching spree is such that the rhinos’ death rate will start eclipsing their birth rate as soon as next year — a critical juncture that would mark the beginning of species extinction if the killings continue unabated.

 

Don’t send your kid to the Ivy League – William Deresiewicz (The New Republic)

A critique of elite education in America, but the points Deresiewicz raises are universal. One particular element that strikes home is that education as a whole, from when children enter school to their leaving, either at 18 or after university, is that there has been a failure to imbue a desire to learn and a thirst for knowledge. Education is reduced to accruing high marks to do the next thing that you’re told you should be doing – from my own experiences, I knew few people at university who would go to the library to study a subject outside of their course structure or few taking humanities who would try to study science and vice-a-versa. When it comes to fees at universities I sometimes think we are paying for a service rather than seeing the opportunities and facilities as a gift to improve ourselves.

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