In the wake of their grunge-y breakout hit "Creep"
and the success of sophomore record The Bends
, Thom Yorke and the rest of Radiohead
were under pressure to deliver once more.
So they shut themselves away inside the echoing halls of a secluded 16th century manor
and got to work.
What emerged from that crumbling Elizabethan castle fifteen years ago today was a shockingly ambitious masterpiece of progressive rock, a visionary concept album that explored the "fridge buzz" of modernity
-- alienation, social disconnection, existential dread, the impersonal hum of technology
-- through a mosaic of challenging
, eerily beautiful
music unlike anything else at the time.
Tentatively called Ones and Zeroes
, then Your Home May Be at Risk If You Do Not Keep Up Payments
, the band finally settled on OK Computer
, an appropriately enigmatic title for this acclaimed
harbinger of millennial angst. For more, you can watch the retrospective OK Computer: A Classic Album Under Review
for a track-by-track rundown, or the unsettling documentary Meeting People is Easy
for a look at how the album's whirlwind tour nearly gave Yorke a nervous breakdown
. Or look inside for more details and cool interpretations of all the tracks -- including an upcoming MeFi Music Challenge! [more inside]
The Mommy-Fight Site.
What does it mean to raise a child in "America’s highest-income, best-educated Census area
? D.C. Urban Moms and Dads
might be as close as it gets to a field guide to parentis Washingtonianis
" [more inside]
On Why Soup Is So Bad for Diurnal Rhythms
: “Certainly. Carrot soup mimetically resembles a carrot only in color.” John was worried by the mainstream diet of soup. Not only is frantic chewing part of the joy of feeding, but widespread and protracted ingestion with minimal effort could derail diurnal cycles. Originally food was partly invented for sustenance, and partly to pass time and to mark it, and so John, in any given day, would scrupulously observe all nine meals: an early breakfast on rising; a second breakfast, in the German tradition, as rumbling recurred around nine; brunch, closely followed by elevensies, or vice versa if you favor Bohr’s algorithm; lunch; tiffin at four, with the focus on small savory sandwiches rather than cake, to avoid a mid-afternoon sugar coma; dinner; supper, and, of course, a final midnight feast to salute the day as it retires. Each meal consists of one, two, or three courses, plus intercourses where appropriate, and the main cycle might be accessorized with any number of subcycles of casual snacking.
makes luxury, design-oriented vibrators and other sex toys and accessories. ("Design inspired by Apple, not Hustler.") They'd like to change the way Americans think about them: instead of as 'dirty little secrets,' they're hoping for mainstream acceptance and to usher in an "Age of Great American Sex.
" (Via) [more inside]
Reuters photographer Jim Urquhart recently captured these scenes from a fading culture, as he followed Montana ranchers on their final horse drive, moving more than 300 horses down from their winter range.
Every spring the Mantle family, along with with a group of wranglers, drives the herd north over 35 miles and three days, through the small town of Three Forks to their ranch. After decades of supplying and tending to horses, the Mantles, citing financial challenges, now plan to sell off their herd and shift to raising beef cattle. Take a moment to travel with the Mantle family through big sky country, on a journey once so familiar and iconic, now fading into memory with the rest of cowboy culture.
A treatise on fungibility, or, a framework for understanding the mess the news industry is in and the opportunities that lie ahead. The younger the person you ask, the less likely it is you’ll find that link between wanting to know what’s going on and grabbing a paper or opening up a news website. They use Pinterest to figure out what’s fashionable and Facebook to see if there’s anything fun going on next weekend. They use Facebook just the same to figure out whether there’s anything they need to be upset about and need to protest against.
There are comics, print and online, and then there are comics reporters and comics critics finding obscure yet remarkable manga and strips. High-Low
offers reviews of comics from a Comics Journal
critic. The Comics Reporter
recently published a list of upcoming comics events. Comics212
founded the Toronto Comic Arts Festival
which is going on today. Comics Worth Reading
weeds out the chaff so you don't have to. Comic Book Resources
is a news source with columns and reviews. The Beat
take a look at comics culture. [more inside]
A chronic public health disaster.
Complex trauma and toxic stress puts children into a state of reflexive fight, flight, or freeze responses to a perpetually threatening world. The traditional authoritative response only serves to reinforce those behaviours and, perhaps worse, has long-term health consequences:
With an ACE score of 4 or more, things start getting serious. The likelihood of chronic pulmonary lung disease increases 390 percent; hepatitis, 240 percent; depression 460 percent; suicide, 1,220 percent.
One doctor describes it as “a chronic public health disaster”. Remediating this problem is going to require listening, kindness, and parachutes.
Women are often referred
to as crazy
when remembered by exes. A magazine article propagating this view
was forcefully rebutted
. Have the times changed
for women with a wide range of emotions?
The National Association of Afro-Swedes calls for the resignation of Culture Minister Lena Adelsohn Roth after photos and video surfaced of this "living" cake
, which was part of a celebration of World Art Day. The cake's creator talks
a bit about the cake.
Wired called them, digital graffiti
and John Carmack spoke of them
at QuakeCon 2011 but they remain little known. A recently released full-length documentary
) gives a portrait of the creative digital subculture from 80s to the present day. [more inside]
The Incentive Bubble
) - "The fraying of the compact of American capitalism by rising income inequality and repeated governance crises is disturbing. But misallocations of financial, real, and human capital arising from the financial-incentive bubble are much more worrisome to those concerned with the competitiveness of the American economy." [more inside]
A column by John Brownlee over at Cult of Mac
yesterday highlighted his privacy concerns about the app Girls Around Me
-- which used a mashup of FourSquare check-ins, Google Maps and Facebook public profile information to show the user women who were nearby. In response to the story, Foursquare cut off the app's API access to their data
, effectively knocking it out of commission. CNET: How to prevent friends checking you into locations at Facebook Places
. [more inside]
A self-identified hipster re-presents: the American hipster
What comes next?
Why Nations Fail
- In a nutshell
: "Proximately, prosperity is generated by investment and innovation, but these are acts of faith: investors and innovators must have credible reasons to think that, if successful, they will not be plundered by the powerful
. For the polity to provide such reassurance, two conditions have to hold: power has to be centralised and the institutions of power have to be inclusive." [more inside]
290 cultural Icons in their own words
- a nicely curated collection of audio & video clips of great artists, writers & thinkers ... Einstein, Eliot, Beckett, Nabakov, Malcom X, Muddy Waters, Georgia O'Keefe, Zora Neale Hurston & 282 more
"Fast Company’s four-hour interview with [Martin Scorsese] for their December-January cover story
: How to Lead A Creative Life
, was ostensibly about his career, and how he had been able to stay so creative through years of battling studios. But the Hugo
director punctuated everything he said with references to movies: 85 of them, in fact." Welcome to Martin Scorsese’s Film School: The 85 Films You Need To See To Know Anything About Film [more inside]
The Control Revolution And Its Discontents
- "the long process of algorithmisation
over the last 150 years has also, wherever possible, replaced implicit rules/contracts and principal-agent relationships with explicit processes and rules."
The Great American Novel -- will there ever be another? ...even if a new Melville or Twain, Faulkner or Fitzgerald were to appear in our midst, his work would fail to achieve the critical traction and existential weight of those earlier masters. We lack the requisite community of readers, and the ambient shared cultural assumptions...The diffusion or dispersion of culture brings with it a diffusion of manners and erosion of shared moral assumptions. Whatever we think of that process—love it as a sign of social liberation or loathe it as a token of cultural breakdown—it has robbed the novel, and the novel’s audience, of a primary resource: an authoritative tradition to react against.
Kirby Ferguson's fourth and final installment of Everything is a Remix
: System Failure
has been released. (Also on YouTube.)
It covers intellectual property rights, the derivative nature of creativity, patents and copyright. Transcript
. [more inside]
is a film that is also a clock. It runs for 24 consecutive hours, and is made of thousands of samples, some lasting only seconds, others minutes, from hundreds of films and videos. All of it edited into a seamless whole by video artist Christian Marclay. When it is shown, it is synchronized to the real time, so if it's 2:15 on a clock shown on-screen, it's 2:15 in real time. Harrison Ford is in it. So is John Cusack, Humphrey Bogart, Michelle Pfeiffer, Lon Chaney, Roger Moore(and all the other James Bonds), John Cleese, Peter Sellers, Orson Welles, the Beatles, Jody Foster, Gregory Peck, Nicole Kidman, Nick Cage and a few hundred others. You'll see The Simpsons and The Office. You'll see The Avengers. You'll see stuff you have no clue about. Here's what it feels like to watch all twenty four hours of it in one sitting. [more inside]
A decade after the death of renowned folklorist Alan Lomax, his vision of a "global jukebox" is being realized: his vast archive — some 5,000 hours of sound recordings, 400,000 feet of film, 3,000 videotapes, 5,000 photographs and piles of manuscripts, much of it tucked away in forgotten or inaccessible corners — is being digitized so that the collection can be accessed online. About 17,000 music tracks will be available for free streaming by the end of February. NYT article here
talks about The Help
, Hattie McDaniel, why black women are still winning awards for playing maids, how black culture is appropriated and represented, and whether marginalized groups in America all serve the purpose of "cultural maids". [more inside]
In 2002, Doug Monroe placed his parents in assisted living
. A decade later, he's looking back at "the weighty financial and emotional costs that come with a parent's immortality": The Long Goodbye
Results of a new survey by the Washington post and Kaiser sheds some light on black women in America
in a way that some others have failed to do. 2011 saw a record number of articles, books and shows dedicated to analyzing the "plight' of black women in America. Naturally, most of it devolved into popular tropes about black women being undesirable, ugly, angry, and lonely. This new survey shows that for some black women, the path to happiness doesn't necessarily have to be through companionship with a mate.
You may have never heard of them, but they definitely have your email address. They are the Yahoo-Yahoo Boys; the young Nigerian men who cut wide swaths of cash by preying on the naiveté of moneyed Westerners vis a vis their dreaded 419 emails.
...But if you check your spam folder right now you might notice that it is slightly lighter these days. That's because it's been a tough week for Nigeria’s most infamous internet enthusiasts. Due to the week-long strike action that took place in response to the government’s decision to remove a national fuel subsidy, it has become increasingly difficult for the Yahoos to extract funds from their “clients”.
The Yahoos' disposition towards #OccupyNigeria is also worth paying attention to because 419 culture is essentially a street-level microcosm of the institutional corruption that has plagued Nigeria for the past forty years. And although the Yahoos are often blamed for distorting Nigeria’s image abroad, they've also become part of the cultural fabric.
This is a story of a young man named Chotu Lohar* from a small nondescript village in one of the poorest states
of India. He dropped out of school to work in the iron mines. Music on a radio was the only entertainment available in his house but last year
he came to national notice on a reality show called Dance India Dance
- where although his untutored enthusiasm and energy captured attention - he was unable to make the cut. His passion, on the other hand, caught the interest
** of the show's producers who took him under their wing and a year later, he's just made
the shortlist for this year's show. [more inside]
tells the stories of 36 Sri Lankan elders, about their lives and work, and their connections to their hometown. ... With the movement of people away from their hometowns, particularly from Jaffna and Galle, I also spoke to the so called 'internal diaspora', about their longing for their hometowns and their sense of belonging to their adoptive homes."
Yesterday, the Village Voice fired J. Hoberman,
long-time champion of independent and experimental film (and its senior film critic of 24 years). Hoberman promises that there's a blog
in his future. The Voice has an archive
of his writing for them since 1998. Here are his Top 10 lists for the years 1977 to 2006
, and here they are for 2007
, and 2011
. Here is a compilation
of his advice for aspiring film critics. A critic who came of age in an era when the lines between "film critic" and "film scholar" were blurrier, Hoberman has also written books about American movies and the Cold War
and the forgotton history of Yiddish cinema
interviews with him
about his work.
We Simulated The NFL White Vs. Black Race Bowl On Madden So You Don’t Have To
"Earlier this week, reader Dustin asked who would win between an all-white NFL All-Pro team and an all-black NFL All-Pro team. Mind you, this question was asked without ANY ROOTING INTEREST, and without any hint of RAYCESSNESS. Are we clear on that? Good. BECAUSE WE TOTALLY SIMULATED THAT RACE WAR ON MADDEN TO SEE WHO WOULD WIN." [more inside]
National Register Photostream
— Authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the U.S. National Register of Historic Places
is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect our historic and archeological resources. Properties listed in the Register include districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that are significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture.
A decade on, the Coen brothers' woefully underrated O Brother, Where Art Thou? [alt]
is remembered for a lot of things
: its sun-drenched, sepia-rich cinematography
(a pioneer of digital color grading
), its whimsical humor
, fluid vernacular
, and many subtle references
to Homer's Odyssey
. But one part of its legacy truly stands out: the music
Assembled by T-Bone Burnett
, the soundtrack is a cornucopia of American folk music, exhibiting everything from cheery ballads
and angelic hymns
to wistful blues
and chain-gang anthems
. Woven into the plot of the film through radio and live performances, the songs lent the story a heartfelt, homespun feel
that echoed its cultural heritage, a paean and uchronia of the Old South
Though the multiplatinum album was recently reissued
, the movie's medley is best heard via famed documentarian D. A. Pennebaker
's Down from the Mountain
, an extraordinary
concert film focused on a night of live music by the soundtrack's stars (among them Gillian Welch
, Emmylou Harris
, Chris Thomas King
, bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley
) and wryly hosted by John Hartford
, an accomplished fiddler
, riverboat captain
, and raconteur
whose struggle with terminal cancer made this his last major performance. The film is free in its entirety on Hulu
-- click inside for individual clips, song links, and breakdowns of the set list
's fascinating history. [more inside]
An Essay On The Noble Science Of Self-Justification:
"Timid brides, you have, probably, hitherto been addressed as angels. Prepare for the time when you shall again become mortal. Take the alarm at the first approach of blame; at the first hint of a discovery that you are any thing less than infallible:--contradict, debate, justify, recriminate, rage, weep, swoon, do any thing but yield to conviction.
I take it for granted that you have already acquired sufficient command of voice; you need not study its compass; going beyond its pitch has a peculiarly happy effect upon some occasions. But are you voluble enough to drown all sense in a torrent of words? Can you be loud enough to overpower the voice of all who shall attempt to interrupt or contradict you? Are you mistress of the petulant, the peevish, and the sullen tone? Have you practised the sharpness which provokes retort, and the continual monotony which by setting your adversary to sleep effectually precludes reply?" For remember, "a lady can do no wrong."
Everything feels old.
There have been no radical changes in style, culture, art, and fashion over the last 20 years—a stark contrast to every other two decade period going all the way back into the 19th-century, Kurt Anderson
argues in Vanity Fair
. Every 20 year period marked a drastic and unmistakable shift in cultural appearance with the exception of our current quarter century. [more inside]
The history of Toronto in photos
is 90 some odd posts linked to provide a thematically organized visual overview. The vast majority of the photographs featured derive from the Toronto Archives. Should you be interested in a less visually oriented take on Toronto history, there is also the Nostalgia Tripping series
, which was designed to be a bit more about storytelling than just the photos.
is a collaborative project between eight members
who have come together to explore the culture and music of Morocco, which is often poorly represented online to the world at large, thus "beyond digital." The team put together a 9 minute "behind-the-scenes" look at their work
, or you skip the preview and jump into their YouTube channel
, articles on The Fader
, and more on their website
. Highlights: a collection of Moroccan percussion loops
, a photo essay on Morocco's changing culture
, and a collaboration
between Moroccan musician Hassan Wargui
) and Nettle
, a "band project" by DJ/rupture. [more inside]
The Great Shift in Japanese Pop Culture: Part 1
, Part 2
, Part 3
, Part 4
. [more inside]