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Shakespeare in the Park Julius Caesar Persists Despite Political Challenges

The Delacorte Theater, New York/Photo via Public Theater

Editor's Note:

The Donald Trump parallels drawn in this season’s Shakespeare in the Park production have incited the ire of Junior! This and more in today’s Daily Blunt.

An update on that Trump-themed production of Julius Caesar staged by NYC’s Public Theater that we reported on last week: The Daily News reports that this expression of free speech was not without its costs, as Delta Airlines and Bank of America have since withdrawn their sponsorship from the popular Shakespeare in the Park program. “I wonder how much of this ‘art’ is funded by taxpayers? Serious question, when does ‘art’ become political speech & does that change things?” tweeted Donald Trump Jr., whose bachelor degree in economics clearly qualifies him to comment on art history and Constitutional law. The New York Times and Time Warner are still standing up for the production; meanwhile, artistic director Oskar Eustis dismisses concerns about the production inciting any violence, describing the play as “a warning parable to those who try to fight for democracy by undemocratic means.”

Banned Books Week isn’t celebrated until September, but visitors to the Acropolis in Greece are getting a jump on the tradition thanks to the work of Argentinian artist Marta Minujin, who has re-created the Parthenon entirely out of books for her latest installation, focusing on titles that are still challenged today, in addition to those by Jewish or Marxist writers that Nazis burned at the site in 1933. In all, we’re looking at forty-six columns made from a total of 100,000 copies of 170 different books. Art historian Florian Gassner explains why even our contemporary lists of banned books are a privilege: “In communist East Germany, there wasn’t a list of banned books drawn up by the authorities … What happened was that at the moment when a writer wanted to get his work published, suddenly there was no more paper for the job.”

Never forget that reading does more than just change minds — it changes brains. Recently published research reveals that adults who learn to read late in life undergo extensive cerebral renovations, in which “areas evolved for the recognition of complex objects, such as faces, become engaged in translating letters into language.” This field of study is actually quite practical: It will help teachers and literacy experts determine what methods and programs are likely to have the most success with new readers of all ages.

The so-called dark web has a bad reputation for facilitating all kinds of evils, necessary and otherwise. However, Tor reveals that the part of the internet devoted to “the Silk Road, terrorist networks, pornography, and other sinister threats” is also home to its own literary journal, called The Torist, where wanderers of this shadowy realm can share poetry, short fiction, and essays with each other. Click the link to take in all sorts of perspectives on contemporary literature that you might not have otherwise considered, such as: “I thought a poem about Snowden and preserving data would speak to this audience in a different way than in a normal literary context.”