But where does one go for brainier culture fare? The site ALDaily.com (Arts & Letters Daily) is some solace. But here’s the weird thing. Much as I love that site, I worry that I might be deluding myself (like a PBS subscriber) if I think I’m really getting a near-random influx of new ideas from it.
On the contrary, if you read it long enough — especially if you just scan a few months worth of their little teaser descriptions of the linked articles — you start to notice certain familiar figures recurring with such regularity — Jacques Barzun, Darwin, Nietzsche, Orwell — that the familiarity almost becomes a soothing lullaby after a while, like knowing classical music radio stations will be playing the same composers ad infinitum.
Like the strange attractors in chaos theory, ALDaily will keep somehow leading you back to read one more surprisingly scandalous thing about the biography of some ostensibly staid writer from the nineteenth century, hear one more argument from cognitive science or behavioral economics for people being stupider (or smarter) than they appear, and enjoy one more strained metaphor from chaos theory written by a former English major. I guess there are worse mental fates.