In his 1993 collection Sweetapple Earth(Carcanet), John Heath-Stubbs includes a sequence of eleven poems titled “Botanical Happy Families.” Among them is “Solanaceae.” Like the human family, it contains members who sustain us and others less wholesome:
“Falstaff thought potatoes aphrodisiac;
Tomatoes were called love-apples once.
Familiar and chaste enough,
They’re now in every sandwich, every salad.
We also welcome to our tables—
Although a bit exotic still—the aubergine,
The pimento, the chili pepper (Becky Sharp
Found its name misleading, you’ll recall).
“But in the shadows stand
Sinister enchantresses, as belladonna,
Dulcimara, with the screaming mandrake,
Datura, bringing death or visions.
"And there’s a false friend too,
And that’s tobacco.”
Reassuring to know Heath-Stubbs (1918-2006) judged aubergine “a bit exotic still.”
Jordan Rothman (The Rothman Law Firm, New York & New Jersey), I Wish I Partied More In Law School:
IN OTHER WORDS, FORCING US TO STAY INDOORS MADE EVERYTHING WORSE: MIT researchers say you’re no safer from Covid indoors at 6 feet or 60 feet in new study challenging social distancing policies.
The Walrus – Why fact-checking alone won’t save us from fake news: “…False content online has only multiplied over the years. But the designation has also been used to serve all kinds of purposes—including, increasingly, to disparage real news reporters—so most experts now avoid the term. Instead, researchers usually talk about disinformation, which is purposefully false, and misinformation, which is unwittingly false (either because the publisher made a mistake or because the person sharing the content did). As false content spreads through social media networks, it can oscillate between the two, and it can manifest in various forms, including memes, tweets, or “imposter” content made to imitate real news stories….In 2014, there were fewer than sixty initiatives around the world focused exclusively on checking others’ claims, according to the Duke Reporters’ Lab; today, there are more than 300. The growing instinct to fact-check isn’t particular to journalists either: it’s part of a growing cultural movement emphasizing revision and debunking. Popular podcasts such as and ask us to change our understanding of well-known stories, while tell-all memoirs promise to give us the “real story” about crime, government misconduct, and our favourite celebrities…”