Sunday Poem

The Printer’s Error Fellow compositors And press workers! I, Chief Printer Frank Steinman, having worked fifty- seven years at my trade, and served five years as president of the Holliston Printer’s Council, being of sound mind though near death, leave this testimonial concerning … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

Les Murray (1938 – 2019)

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John Singleton (1968 – 2019)

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David Winters (1939 – 2019)

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Democrats, Fight now or surrender

Chauncey Devega in Salon: If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything,” as an old piece of political folk wisdom holds. The Democratic Party has apparently not learned this lesson. This is why (among other reasons) Donald Trump will likely defeat the Democratic nom … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

Who wins from public debate? Liars, bullies and trolls

Steven Poole in The Guardian: When Jordan Peterson and Slavoj Žižek met a fortnight ago in Toronto to do battle on the theme “Happiness: Capitalism v Marxism”, it cost US$14.95 (£11.60) to watch online, and touts were selling tickets for hundreds of dollars. Peterson, not having … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

When Did Pop Culture Become Homework?

Soraya Roberts in Longreads: I didn’t do my homework last weekend. Here was the assignment: Beyoncé’s Homecoming — a concert movie with a live album tie-in — the biggest thing in culture that week, which I knew I was supposed to watch, not just as a critic, but as a human being. … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

John Huston’s Train Wreck

Melissa Anderson at Bookforum: First published in 1952, Lillian Ross’s Picture, an eyewitness report of director John Huston’s adaptation of The Red Badge of Courage, remains the paradigm of a slim genre, the nonfiction account of a movie’s making (and unmaking): from shooting to … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

Diane Arbus: An Illusion of Access

Mark Prince at the TLS: In the era of Instagram and YouTube, when photography has mostly become a means of projecting oneself into the world to gauge its reaction, it takes an imaginative leap to recognize how revolutionary Diane Arbus’s murky photographs of some of the more dist … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

Angels: Visible and Invisible

Alexander Larman at The Guardian: In our increasingly secular age, it comes as a shock to discover that one in three people believe in the existence of angels. This is attributed more to the egocentric idea that we have a “guardian angel” watching over us, ready to intervene in o … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

Fredrik Weibull interviews Abbas Raza

From ANOW: In this episode Fred Weibull interviewed Abbas to learn about the origins and intentions of 3QD, the reasons behind its extraordinary commitment to public service and the emphasis on the art of curation over content production. Abbas expands on 3QD’s process of locatin … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

The Origins of European Neoliberalism

Nicholas Mulder in n+1: Where most of the charges that the right levels against the EU are hard to take seriously, the left has produced cogent and sophisticated critiques of the organization. Leftist skepticism about the project of integration goes back to the beginnings of the … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

Must We Mean What We Say?: On the Life and Thought of Stanley Cavell

Marshall Cohen in The LA Review of Books: THE BOUNTIFULLY GIFTED Stanley Cavell was unique among American philosophers of his generation in the range of his philosophical, cultural, and artistic interests. He resisted the split between Anglophone and Continental traditions that h … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

Saturday Poem

On Entering Elysium On entering Elysium, Erato gives us a key to the library of poems we did not write. It is a moment of unbearable sadness. Some refuse it. Some take the key, but never try the lock. Some enter, find a chair and fall asleep. Most shelves hold the dreams to didn’ … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

Finnegan’s Wake at 80: In Defense of the Difficult

Susie Lopez at Lit Hub: The Wake has been called “the most colossal leg pull in literature” and even Joyce’s patron fell out with him over it. But Wake scholarship is thriving more than ever. In the words of Joyce Scholar Sam Slote almost “any analysis will be incomplete.” After  … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

Jenny Holzer in The Social Media Age

Josie Thaddeus-Johns at The Baffler: IN 1997, when Jenny Holzer created Installation for Bilbao for the Spanish city’s newly opened Guggenheim, social media did not exist. Google had yet to be founded; dial-up internet meant listening to an inhuman caterwaul every time you connec … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

Remembering Michael Rabin

Sudip Bose at The American Scholar: He was, to be sure, one of those candles that burn twice as bright but half as long, an all-American violinist in an age dominated by the European virtuoso. He was born on this date in 1936, into a highly musical Manhattan family, his father a … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

Werner Herzog: ‘I’m not a pundit. Don’t push me into that corner’

Charles Bramesco in The Guardian: Director-documentarian-deity Werner Herzog has stared death in the face, blazed a path through madness, and charted the outermost limits of human experience. For a man of such stature, sitting down with one of the most significant public figures … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

In the story of democracy: are we at the beginning, in the middle or near the end?

More here.  [Thanks to Misha Lepetic.] | Continue reading | 3 years ago

Nils Lonberg: The entrepreneur behind the cancer immunotherapy revolution

Matthew Herper in Stat: Nils Lonberg, a scientist at the center of a revolution in cancer therapy, has had a career full of fateful decisions. One of the most crucial: buying an entire bottle of whiskey at a hotel bar. It was 1998. Lonberg had just been part of a group dinner wit … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

Why the World’s Best Mathematicians Are Hoarding Chalk

[Thanks to Daniel Liss.] | Continue reading | 3 years ago

Human Exceptionalism Stifles Progress

Tania Lombrozo in Nautilus: Last November Chinese scientist He Jiankui announced the birth of twin babies whose germline he claimed to have altered to reduce their susceptibility to contracting HIV. The news of embryo editing and gene-edited babies prompted immediate condemnation … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

Daily Cartoon

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Thursday Poem

Generations people who are going to be in a few years bottoms of trees bear a responsibility to something besides people …………………. if it was only you and me sharing the consequences it would be different it would be just generations of men …………………. but this business of war these w … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

Christopher Columbus’ Son Had An Enormous Library and Its Catalog Was Just Found

Ari Shapiro at NPR: It’s the stuff of a Hollywood blockbuster: Five hundred years ago, a son of Christopher Columbus assembled one of the greatest libraries the world has ever known. The volumes inside were mostly lost to history. Now, a precious book summarizing the contents of … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

Dark matter detector observes rarest event ever recorded

From How do you observe a process that takes more than one trillion times longer than the age of the universe? The XENON Collaboration research team did it with an instrument built to find the most elusive particle in the universe—dark matter. In a paper to be published … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

Art students are trying to get Camille Paglia fired from a job she has held for three decades

Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic: For more than 30 years, the critic Camille Paglia has taught at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Now a faction of art-school censors wants her fired for sharing wrong opinions on matters of sex, gender identity, and sexual assault. “ … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

Nick Bostrom and others debate Artificial Intelligence

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Toward a Theory of the American TV Commercial, Vol. 3, Spuds

Ian Dreiblatt at The Believer: For a concrete demonstration, consider comedian Yakov Smirnoff, careening at Spuds Factor 10. Today, Smirnoff’s cultural activities have largely been quarantined to the town of Branson, Missouri, but in the 1980s, he was everywhere, including in num … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

The Rise and Fall of Turkey’s Grand Bazaar

Suzy Hansen at Lapham’s Quarterly: For some, the Grand Bazaar, with its remnants of Ottoman behaviors and designs and artisanal crafts, might suggest itself as Turkey’s most authentic self, but in Turkey the quest for authenticity often leads you further and further away from how … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

The Liberated Voice of Letitia Elizabeth Landon

Daisy Hay at the TLS: Not all readers will agree with the claims Miller makes for L.E.L.’s significance, but it is hard to dispute that the very ephemerality of L.E.L.’s work makes her a peculiarly appropriate spokeswoman for a literary age marked by artifice. L.E.L. came to matu … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

Stone Men – the Palestinians who built Israel

Ben Ehrenreich in The Guardian: Not far from the monstrous checkpoint at Qalandia – the main gateway through which the Israeli military controls the passage of human beings between Ramallah and Jerusalem – is a small, outdoor, stonecutters’ workshop, one of hundreds scattered thr … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

The Striking New Artworks That Follow Rockefeller Center’s Grand Tradition of Public Art

Laura van Straaten in Smithsonian: Conceived by John D. Rockefellear, Jr.—fortunate son of the oil magnate—as a city within a city, Rockefeller Center was to be a “mecca for lovers of art,” as he put it, in the heart of New York. He commissioned the installation of more than 100 … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

The Selected Works of Abdullah the Cossack – nostalgic fictionalised memoir

Ali Bhutto in The Guardian: Abdullah the Cossack”, the antihero of HM Naqvi’s follow-up to the award-winning Home Boy, is the personification of Karachi’s decaying soul. The 70-year-old revels in nostalgia at the Sunset Lodge, the crumbling family estate he is at risk of losing. … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

Les Murray, Dissident Poet

David Mason at First Things: Les Murray, who died at age 80 on April 29, has been called Australia’s greatest poet, but such an encomium meant little to him. Murray grew up in dire poverty on a farm with no electricity or running water, and always felt exiled from the privileged … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

What’s in Store as The Planet Heats Up

Kate Aronoff at Bookforum: Wallace-Wells stresses that these scenarios are the signs not of a new normal, but of a world in which “normal” ceases to be a useful framework for understanding an environment that is constantly changing, and almost always for the worse. “By 2040, the … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

Samuel Johnson

Freya Johnston at the LRB: To read his life in his work – to see that work as bearing the imprint of an existence that was, in Johnson’s words, ‘radically wretched’ as well as triumphant – is to attempt the kind of biographical criticism at which Johnson himself excelled, which h … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

Could Air-Conditioning Fix Climate Change?

Richard Conniff in Scientific American: It is one of the great dilemmas of climate change: We take such comfort from air conditioning that worldwide energy consumption for that purpose has already tripled since 1990. It is on track to grow even faster through mid-century—and assu … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

Wednesday Poem

Gratitude to Old Teachers When we stride or stroll across the frozen lake, We place our feet where they have never been. We walk upon the unwalked. But we are uneasy. Who is down there but our old teachers? Water that once could take no human weight— We were students then— holds … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

Our thinking devices – imitation, mind-reading, language and others – are neither hard-wired nor designed by genetic evolution

Cecilia Heyes in Aeon: The idea that humans have cognitive instincts is a cornerstone of evolutionary psychology, pioneered by Leda Cosmides, John Tooby and Steven Pinker in the 1990s. ‘[O]ur modern skulls house a Stone Age mind,’ wrote Cosmides and Tooby in 1997. On this view, t … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

Two New Books Dramatically Capture the Climate Change Crisis

John Lanchester in the New York Times: Climate change is the greatest challenge humanity has collectively faced. That challenge is, to put it mildly, practical; but it also poses a problem to the imagination. Our politics, our societies, are arranged around individual and group i … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

An Airbus A320 performs an autoland on a 125-meter visibility day at Amsterdam Schiphol airport

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The Deceptions of Thomas Demand

Morgan Meis in The Easel: It should be mentioned that Backyard is a huge C-Print (91 X 150 inches) mounted on plexiglass and without any frame. The mundanity of the image is therefore partially offset by its commanding presence. Looking at the large, high resolution image, one ca … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

Joseph Stiglitz: Progressive Capitalism Is Not an Oxymoron

Joseph E. Stiglitz in the New York Times: Despite the lowest unemployment rates since the late 1960s, the American economy is failing its citizens. Some 90 percent have seen their incomes stagnate or decline in the past 30 years. This is not surprising, given that the United Stat … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

Sean Carroll’s Mindscape Podcast: Antonio Damasio on Feelings, Thoughts, and the Evolution of Humanity

Sean Carroll in Preposterous Universe: When we talk about the mind, we are constantly talking about consciousness and cognition. Antonio Damasio wants us to talk about our feelings. But it’s not in an effort to be more touchy-feely; Damasio, one of the world’s leading neuroscient … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

The Life and Death of a Mexican Hitman

Falko Ernst at the website of the International Crisis Group (a few months ago): It’s 7pm on a Sunday, and night is falling in this Michoacán town. The heat of the day is past, and there’s a pleasant breeze. The first visitors to the park have left for dinner, but many hang aroun … | Continue reading | 3 years ago

Ron Chernow at 2019 White House Correspondents’ Dinner

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Tuesday Poem

Tuesday 9:00 AM A man standing at the bus stop reading the newspaper is on fire Flames are peeking out from beneath his collar and cuffs His shoes have begun to melt The woman next to him wants to mention it to him that he is burning but she is drowning Water is everywhere in… | Continue reading | 3 years ago