How’s your festive countdown running, if you do such a thing? Tree up? Deccoes strung? Cards posted? If not, too late! Oh well, probably better for the environment not to send so much paper around just to have it go in the recycling. To us, it feels like we’ve almost forgotten what to do after two lockdown Christmases. Still, even if plans are askew, there are always mince pies. Whatever your belief system, you can always have faith in them.
And of course, in your regular Saturday visit from your pals at The Cut. This week: lies! Viking detectives! A recipe! And an anti-Christmas anthem.
Now is the time. Here is the place. This is The Cut.
The writing life, especially one concerned with word count and deadline, can be tough to negotiate. If you have to pull a thousand words out of nowhere to order, inspiration is a key factor. Sat at a desk staring at a screen and a blinking cursor is not conducive to easy word flow. Not surprising, then, that writers will use anything and everything as fuel for the creative fire, regardless of the cost to friends and family.
Christmas, as Bruce Borgos points out, is an event based on a lie. How do we balance the fiction against the possible psychological blowbacks of revealing the great untruth to our beloved children? It will happen at some point, corrupting their hitherto innocent lives. Should parents take control of that terrible moment, to soften the revelatory blow?
There is a fantastic novel waiting to be teased from the short taster Daniel Lavery provides for The Chatner on the working life of the Viking detective. We could speculate on how much of it is based on accurate research, but it has the ring of veracity. The Vikings lived in a harsher, more pragmatic time. Murder happened as a part of the unbreakable cycle of life and death in which these people were bound. How they dealt with it needed to be equally practical and free from emotion…
Laura Preston’s account of her year working as support to an expert system is the article we’d urge you to read above all others this week. It reconfigures many of the arguments and hot takes we’re having over AI right now and makes one thing very clear—artificial intelligence doesn’t exist in the way we currently imagine.
A question and answer session with Fozzy Bear and Kermit the Frog is exactly as pure and delightful as you’d expect. We don’t deserve The Muppets. It’s a better world for having them in it. Tip of the hat for long-time pal of The Cut Kelly for pointing us at it. Reader recommendations are always welcome.
Let us explore the cross point between Spooky Season and Yuletide Creeps with a nose around folk horror, hauntology and mysteries frozen in time. It’s fifty years since Nigel Kneale’s The Stone Tapes was released. The show retains an urgent power and the ability to chill the bones.
We thoroughly enjoyed the New York Times spin around fictitious dinner parties. It’s the season, after all. We’ve all been privy to the delicious drama waiting when a bunch of mismatched people are gathered around a table for a meal, whether they like it or not.
Sometimes, the baggage around Christmas can be a bit too much, but we still have that tribal urge to huddle together and celebrate—something. Even those of us without faith can join in. For the rest of us, there’s always Festivus. Prepare the aluminium pole and get your list of grievances ready…
And finally. We mentioned yesterday that Excuses And Half Truths has been running since 2009. This has been shown up as an untruth, as we recently came across this post from 2005. A recipe which may come in handy if you want something lighter and simpler for dinner over this period of excess. You will note, as it’s been written by an avowed ovophobe, the recipe contains no eggs. We also apologise in advance for the typos. It was a simpler age and we didn’t have spellcheck to give us that sheen of professionalism glinting off the edges of our current output.
That’s it for this week! The dreaded supercold has stripped out the staffing at Cut Central. Most of the hard work on this week’s ep has been done by Smedley the office junior with able assistance from the Cut cat Mogwai. Things Fall Apart, and yet we drag ourselves across the finish line. To celebrate, please enjoy Cristina’s elegantly acidic take on the woes of the season.
See you on Christmas Eve, jingleberries!