“The Twenty-first century is invisible. We were promised jetpacks but ended up with handlebar moustaches. The surface of things is the wrong place to find the 21st century. Instead, the unseen, the Infrathin—those tiny devices in our pockets or the thick data-haze which permeates the air we breathe — locates us in the present. And in this way, The New Aesthetic is not so much a movement as it is a marker, a moment of observation which informs us that culture—along with its means of production and reception —has radically shifted beneath our feet while we were looking the other way. As such, The New Aesthetic handily articulates the importance of the new writing, situating it and its modus operandi within broader cultural trends.”—The New Aesthetic and The New Writing : Kenneth Goldsmith : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation
“Federally-funded research of dog urine ultimately gave scientists and understanding of the effect of hormones on the human kidney, which in turn has been helpful for diabetes patients. A study called “Acoustic Trauma in the Guinea Pig” resulted in treatment of early hearing loss in infants. And that randy screwworm study? It helped researchers control the population of a deadly parasite that targets cattle—costing the government $250,000 but ultimately saving the cattle industry more than $20 billion, according to Cooper’s office.”—Why ‘the sex life of the screwworm’ deserves taxpayer dollars - The Washington Post
“At posh restaurants with short menus, he advises, order whatever sounds least appetising: it made it on to the menu for a reason, and if it did so despite sounding off-putting, it’s probably great. Avoid places with crowds of beautiful women – not because they have specific culinary tastes, but because they attract male customers regardless of food quality, enabling the kitchen to coast. When picking a Chinese restaurant, cheaper is often better, but with Japanese go for the priciest you can afford; the reason has to do with the socioeconomic profiles of immigrants from those countries. And don’t Google “best restaurants Edinburgh”; search instead for “best cauliflower dish in Edinburgh”, whatever your views on cauliflower: specificity will lead you to good-value quality.”—This column will change your life: restaurant rules | Life and style | The Guardian
“Yet they also embody a far more romantic modernist fantasy of Europe after the war, of a continent trying to forge itself anew in the white heat of technology. As the tension in their music between melancholy melody and crystalline, computerized texture attests, this fantasy is bittersweet; that of doomed lovers split by the Berlin Wall, nations troubled by the pain of history and the threat of nuclear annihilation, a kind of introverted and scarred new dawn hope which was of a different character to the confident, forward-looking idealism expressed by American modernity in the 1950s and ‘60s.”—Kraftwerk-Retrospective 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | Blog | Frieze Publishing
It has become a cliche to look back through rose-tinted glasses at the world of Bagpuss, space hoppers and Curly Wurlies - all of which, I should admit, dominate my memories of the decade, because I was born in 1974. But in a funny way, those things actually work very well as symbols of the decade, because what they represent is the reality of everyday affluence.
The fact that so many children had space hoppers, ludicrous as it may seem, is testament to the fact that even working-class families now had a solid disposable income and could afford toys for their younger members.
Even Star Wars, which first went on general release in Britain in early 1978, would never have become such a phenomenon had not so many children had the pocket money for all those Palitoy figures.
The truth is that behind all those terrible economic and political headlines, most ordinary families in 1970s Britain were better off than ever. While people shook their heads sorrowfully over the breakfast table, digesting the news of some new IRA bombing or absurdly petty British Leyland strike, their surroundings often told a rather more optimistic story.
The lurid furnishings of their new suburban homes, the swanky hostess trolley in the kitchen, the bottles of Blue Nun and Black Tower cooling in the fridge, the brand new colour television in the lounge, the turmeric-coloured Rover SD1 in the drive, even their teenage children’s painfully tight flared trousers - all of those things, which are so easy to satirise today, reflected the realities of a brave new world, forged in the crucible of mass abundance.
“The total absence of sound outside your body makes you keenly aware of what’s going on inside your body. Your heart pumps. Your lungs inflate and deflate. Your ears buzz. Your blood pulses. In an anechoic chamber, you are one noisy organism. With no reverberation in the room, you have no spatial orientation cues. After about half an hour in the dark, you can become disoriented. Eventually, you might experience visual and aural hallucinations.”—Twin Cities Business Magazine
“But the steakhouse is a relic of a time that has passed, and we as a people need to let it go. It celebrates consumption when we should be conserving and prime cuts (strip, rib eye, tenderloin) when we should be embracing ways to eat the whole animal (without grinding it up with ammonia, that is.) It’s a splurge of the grossest kind, on food of the crudest character. A great steak is one of the best things in the world, but you’re far more likely to get it at a great restaurant that has to stand on the quality of its food, rather than at a generic feeding trough where the whole culinary program consists of a guy throwing meat under a broiler for nine minutes.”—The Problem With The American Steakhouse | TIME Ideas | TIME.com
“Which makes it all very curious to me that those most eager to self-desribe as “curators” are often the most vocal in their concerns with “proper” attribution. And attribution I can get behind! Footnotes, endnotes, bibliographies—I’m a big fan! I’m also a big fan of the internet’s native form of attribution, the hyperlink. Yet the Curator’s Code seeks to bolt an additional piece of ultimately vestigial metadata onto this native form—the “ᔥ”—an addition only made necessary so as to distinguish this one particular form of attribution from that other one which Popova and others are so eager to see elevated: the “via.””—Matt Langer · Stop Calling it Curation
The best reason to ask a question is to contribute to the quality of the discussion that has already begun. You can do this if you can draw something more and perhaps unexpected out of the speaker you are addressing. “Mr. Rasputin, I admire your tunic. Do you consider fashion to be a revolutionary statement?”
Think of yourself as someone who seeks to enhance the occasion, rather than as an opportunity to show yourself to advantage. “Mr. Darwin, your description of odd wildlife in the Galapagos Islands is fascinating. Do you think evolution works differently on large continents?”
You have not been invited to give a speech. Before you stand up, boil your thoughts down to a single point. Then ask yourself if this point is something you want to assert or something you want to find out.
“Trying to explain ‘pop’ in a half-paragraph is like decorating an Airfix model with a paint roller, but we can at least attempt a back-of-an-envelope definition. ‘Pop’, it’s clear, is a sensibility rather than a genre: a means of describing music that is immediate, frivolous, and itchily compulsive. Poppy music (like the poppy flower) has an opiate quality: it pitches for a gut reaction, and makes no apology for doing so.”—‘Golden Touch’: why Electronic Dream is the ultimate pop record – FACT magazine: music and art
“There were two problems with this. The first is that this “passion” ideal didn’t recognize that the vast majority of people have legitimate physical, emotional and psychological needs — things like sleep, exercise, relaxation and the maintenance of strong family and social support bonds — that these engineers didn’t have to nearly the same degree. The second was that most managers, lacking windows into their workers’ souls, decided to cut corners and measure passion with one easy-to-chart metric: “willingness to spend your entire life at the office.” (It was about this time, with gourmet company cafeterias and in-house fitness centers and on-site child care sprouting up in high-tech campuses all over town, that I realized if a company is working that hard to make the workplace feel like home, it’s a strong suggestion that their employees risk sanction if they ever attempt to visit their actual homes again.)”—Bring back the 40-hour work week - AlterNet - Salon.com
“In its raw form, pork takes on a lightness that’s really unexpected because the flavor is subtle in ways that you never get with cured ham. Balanced with the acid from the lemon and the fruity olive oil, I found myself saying something I never thought would come out of my mouth: pork crudo is really good. You just have to get past your mom’s voice in the back of your head saying you’re going to die from eating raw pork.”—Los Angeles: On The Subject Of The Pork Sashimi At Pigg | Food Republic
“Diplo’s engagement with the music he champions seems to typify the worst in web-age faddism. Micro-genres emerge, are hyped to the nth degree and then sink without trace – presumably leaving the proponents of those genres, who for the most part have been doing it for years anyway, back where they were before Wesley came to town. Each successive discovery is approached with a fratboy’s incredulity – everything is, “mad”, “weird” or “crazy”; Diplo, the eternal backpacker, travels the globe hunting for that ephemeral thrill of a novelty unearthed. It’s an approach that seems to say “marvel at the incomprehensible ‘other’-ness of it all, but for god’s sake don’t engage with it on any meaningful level”.”—The eternal backpacker: Diplo, Master-D and musical theft in the internet age – FACT magazine: music and art
To my eye, the purebred American action film can be identified by three elements:
1. A loner hero who excels at combat — this is not the provenance of miscast heroes or industrious everymen. (John McClane in “Die Hard” is the arguable exception, though as a workaday cop, he proves to have a disbelief-suspending amount of lethal expertise.)
2. A perverse fetishization of firearms. No dainty Walther-concealing James Bond here. The M60 machine gun was a popular sidearm, and that’s a weapon you would typically see mounted on a helicopter.
3. Explosions. Big, blossoming, ecstatic, pointless explosions. This is what separates action films from, say, “Dirty Harry.” These cathartic money shots serve no purpose plotwise, which is precisely what marks them as the philosophical earmark of the action film. It’s a genre dedicated unreservedly to carnage as a source of aesthetic delight.