“The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm: A Critique of the Adaptationist Programme” was written by Harvard biologists Stephen Jay Gould and Richard C. Lewontin and published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London in 1979. Their critique of their own field of evolutionary biology spilled out of the Ivory Tower onto the pages of general intellectual forums such as the New York Review of Books. I talked by phone with Lewontin on March 2 2015. In his mid-eighties, he is still scientifically active and could recall his collaboration with Gould in detail. Our conversation is highly relevant to the “Just so story” critique that is frequently leveled against Evolutionary Psychology.
Ian McCulloch and Will Sergeant of Echo and the Bunnymen explain how they came up with "The Killing Moon."
I’m on a mission to explore our relationship with gas stations, and this is the story of how I got hired at one.
In honour of Women's History Month*, Vibe has been doing brief interviews with "a woman who has made her living by doing exactly what she wants." [more inside]
Boys Don't Cry
If you take any personality trait—aggressiveness, say—and draw a bell curve for the distribution of this trait in girls and boys, you will find there are many girls who are more aggressive than a number of boys. But when adults buy into traditional masculine or feminine ideologies, they rear their children to conform to those norms. They try to force girls who are aggressive into not being aggressive, or boys who are nurturing into not being nurturing.Brian Gresko interviews psychologist Dr. Ronald Levant on the evolution of maleness and the sociocultural forces that have long stifled men and fathers. [more inside]
Greek MP Costas Lapavitsas on the economic barriers ahead for Syriza and the challenges of eurozone exit "I want to come clean, and this a good venue to do it, and say the following: the obvious solution for Greece right now, when I look at it as a political economist, the optimal solution, would be a negotiated exit." [more inside]
Bill Watterson, the famously reclusive creator of Calvin & Hobbes, has given his longest interview to date, to be published in the exhibition catalog for the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum's exhibit, Exploring Calvin & Hobbes.
How Wednesday Addams Would React To Catcalling went viral a few weeks ago with its darkly-humorous, sweet-revenge take on the issue. But it's only one episode of Melissa Hunter's "Adult Wednesday Addams" webseries - and season 2 concludes today. [more inside]
"You need to know who Billy Wilder was. You need to know the names of people who are no longer alive. Because it’s very important—it’s what our history is made of. You need to see the movies the way they were—with the racism, the violence, and the censorship. All the things that let you see what the movie past had been so you understand where we are! But really nobody’s interested in that right now. Their interests are so bifurcated." - An interview with Joe Dante (Part 1, Part 2)
Sufjan Stevens has released a new track, "No Shade In The Shadow of the Cross", from his forthcoming album Carrie & Lowell. The album is named for Stephens's mother and stepfather, and the musician recently spoke with Ryan Dombal at Pitchfork about his past and the album's origins.
Ry Cooder shares an hour of vignettes about skipping school in the '50s to teach himself guitar by listenting to hillbilly radio, how he came to work with Flaco Jiminez, being schooled by the old time Cuban musicians in the Buena Vista Social Club recording and more. Music journalist Barry Mazor draws him out about his 50-year career in a delightful and highly entertaining chat - an hour didn't seem nearly long enough.
“So you have six years of pretty expensive schooling here, and it's going to be burritos and tacos?"
Robert Stone, Novelist of the Vietnam Era and Beyond, Dies at 77 [New York Times]
"Robert Stone, who wrote ambitious, award-winning novels about errant Americans in dangerous circumstances or on existential quests — or both — as commentary on an unruly, wayward nation in the Vietnam era and beyond, died on Saturday at his home in Key West, Fla. He was 77.[more inside]
De-cluttering your house with love: "Marie Kondo has built a huge following in her native Japan with her “KonMari” method of organizing and de-cluttering. Clients perform a sort of tidying-up festival: time set aside specifically to go through belongings. Each object is picked up and held, and the client needs to decide if it inspires joy. If it doesn’t, it needs to go." [more inside]
Former football player & star of the popular series of Old Spice commercials Terry Crews speaks on CBC's "Q" about rejecting caricatures of manhood (both video & audio-only available at the link) [more inside]
In the darkest hour of the AIDS epidemic, Ruth Coker Burks cared for hundreds of people whose families had abandoned them. Courage, love and the 30-year secret of one little graveyard in Hot Springs, Arkansas. [more inside]
Nerdist talks to Sam Raimi about fruit, his career in retail sales, how he got started making movies, the links between comedy and horror, the Evil Dead TV show and of course why Spider-Man 3 was "awful".
An entertaining half hour spent with a man who initiated many of us into realms of magic, shifting our consciousness away from the mundane into the mystic.
Chicago's own Jan Terri offers up her version of "Ave Maria" paired with an interpretive video for your Xmastime enjoyment [more inside]
In July 2014, Indigo Girls did a show at the Greek Theater in LA with Joan Baez. They filmed a series of videos backstage discussing their songs and their songwriting process. In Part 1, they discuss and perform Amy Ray's song Devotion. (album version, lyrics) [more inside]
This particular solution to the Fizz Buzz problem is entertaining enough. Further reflection shows that it's actually an example of the Vogon programming language V--.
Peter Cook interview from 1967: Part 1 [YouTube]. Cook talks about the writing process, creating Bedazzled, taxes, Beyond The Fringe, stage-work, and more in this unguarded interview. [more inside]
The financial wisdom of Johnny Rotten. Former Sex Pistol John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) discusses spending, saving, investment, debt, and reveals the "best thing [he] ever bought." Unsurprisingly he's a bit cynical on celebrity charity, but it makes him "happy" when people spend their money on him.
A decade after Halo 2 (and a day before the MCC), enjoy this loose timeline of essential Halo fandom: Halo.Bungie.Org / Halo at Macworld '99 / Red vs. Blue / The Halo Trilogy in 5 minutes / The Cortana Letters / HBO's cutscene library and dialog databank / Main Menus / Kitty Cat / Warthog Jump (and BOLL's Warthog Launch game) / How Not To Be Seen / Fan Art / Panoramas / The Music of Marty O'Donnell (prev.) / Video Games Live: Halo / Analysis by Stephen Loftus / Who was Brian Morden? / I Love Bees and the ARG radio drama / Halo 2 Trailer / Halo 2 E3 '04 Demo / Full Halo 2 making-of documentary / Voice acting / Conversations from the Universe / The Beastiarum / Surround Sound Test! / Geography of New Mombasa / This Spartan Life / The Solid Gold Elite Dancers / Creepy Guy at Work / Gameplay May Change / Master Chief Sucks at Halo / Another Day at the Beach / '06 Bungie Studios Tour / Halo 3 Trailer / Starry Night / Believe / HALOID / No Scope Was Involved / 100 Ways to Die / "Bungie Favorites" gallery / Mister Chief / OONSK / OneOneSe7en / 2553 Civilian 'Hog Review / Griffball / ForgeHub / 405th Cosplay / Neill Blomkamp's Landfall / Weta's Real-life Warthog / Halo Legends anime anthology / List of Halo novels / Halopedia / Halo 3 Terminal Archive / DDR Dance / Animatronic Elite project / HBO's "Guilt-O-Lantern" contest / Keep It Clean / We Are ODST / Sadie's Story / Halocraft / "A Fistful of Arrows" fan comic / RvB Animated (and CGI) / Project Contingency / Halo Zero / Halo 2600 (prev.) / Reach Datapad Transcripts / The last Halo 2 player on Xbox LIVE / Bungie's Final Halo Stats Infographic / Key & Peele: Obama on Halo 4 / Top 10 Halo Easter Eggs / Behind the scenes of Halo 2 Anniversary
Over the past several months, Dave Noyze (né Dave Burraston) has been interviewing Aphex Twin. He's finally put the exchanges together as a "SYROBONKERS" interview. Part 1 was published on November 3, and Part 2 was published today. Both interviews were accompanied by a number of previously unreleased pieces of music, including a 21-track playlist of unheard songs made using Buchla and Serge modular synthesizers.
Friends, family, and co-workers reminisce before the camera in the biographic documentary I Don't Know Jack [~1h30m], about the life and career and character of Jack Nance, best known for playing Henry Spencer in Eraserhead and Pete Martell in Twin Peaks.
Guernica: In propagating a vision of life that's about wealth in the individual, perhaps the influence of these churches lies in what they obscure.Meara Sharma at Guernica talks to Anthony Pinn about the ongoing embrace of prosperity gospel by preachers and parishioners at black megachurches across America: Divine Acquisition. [more inside]
Anthony Pinn: Right. It hides the larger problem. The problem is poverty. And it hides the problem. We often associate black churches with a history of protest. But prosperity gospel and megachurches tend to be rather soft on political issues. T.D. Jakes doesn't take a major stand on political issues. Creflo Dollar certainly doesn't.
But it's the American way. So it seems to me that what they are doing is training black people to be even more American. To buy into this system rather than critique it. And if you're not gaining from it, to assume that the problem's with you. It provides a spiritual lesson that's very similar to the idea of "poor people want to be poor; if they just worked harder they could have more." Here, spiritual people could have more if they were just more spiritual and lived out scripture more authentically. So the prosperity preachers are training people to be better US citizens [laughs].
"In my experience, the reminder that the sexual fantasy isn’t real, that the women who perform availability aren’t ACTUALLY available, that we aren’t ACTUALLY clamouring to be sexualized by men, that we control when the fantasy starts and stops, and that our performance is just that, a performance that requires compensation… well, some men find that hard to swallow." [more inside]
Tucker Cullinan is a concept artist whose styles span vivid organic/sci-fi scenes in water colors and lost worlds from the imaginary past, to colder, sharp-edged futuristic worlds, and computer illustrations of imaginary prototypes. More on his blog and his portfolio site, plus two interviews.
When Musk went to price the mission with US launch companies, he was told transport would cost $60-80 million. Reeling, he tried to buy a refurbished Russian intercontinental ballistic missile to do the job, but his dealer kept raising the price on him. Finally, he’d had enough. Instead of hunting around for a cheaper supplier, Musk founded his own rocket company. His friends thought he was crazy, and tried to intervene, but he would not be talked down. Musk identifies strongly as an engineer. That’s why he usually takes a title like chief technical officer at the companies he runs, in addition to chief executive officer. He had been reading stacks of books about rockets. He wanted to try building his own. The Elon Musk Mars Interview.
Vice interviews the shit out of Ben Carr, full-time dancer for the Mighty Mighty Bosstones since 1983.
Ten years ago today saw the English launch of a quirky Japanese puzzler, a sleeper hit that would go down as one of the most endearing, original, and gleefully weird gaming stories of the 2000s: Katamari Damacy. Its fever-dream plot has the record-scratching, Freddie Mercury-esque King of All Cosmos destroy the stars in a drunken fugue, and you, the diminutive Prince, must restore them with the Katamari -- a magical sticky ball that snowballs through cluttered environments, rolling up paperclips, flowerpots, cows, buses, houses, skyscrapers, and continents into new constellations. It also boasts one of the most infectiously joyous soundtracks of all time -- an eccentric, richly produced, and incredibly catchy blend of funk, salsa, bossa nova, experimental electronica, J-Pop, swing, lounge, bamboo flute, hair metal, buoyant parade music, soaring children's choirs, Macintalk fanfares, and the finest theme song this side of Super Mario Bros. Called a consumerist critique by sculptor-turned-developer Keita Takahashi (who after one sequel moved on to Glitch, the supremely odd Noby Noby Boy, and playground design), the series has inspired much celebration and thought [2, 3] on its way from budget bin to MoMA exhibit. Look inside for essays, artwork, comics, lyrics, more music, hopes, dreams... my, the internet really is full of things. [more inside]
Bruce Dern is a life-long runner. Three interviews with Runner's World discuss his obsession with running and how it interplays with his acting. From 1978, Running Is a Hard Act to Follow:
In the case of certain roles such as The King of Marvin Gardens, where the character stays with me for months after the movie is over, it is hard to get rid of him. It’s a frustration of the character. I think the same thing is true of running. All of my acting is on the theory of working from the inside out. Everything happens inside and then it comes out and the person grows out of that. Well, the running is the same thing for me. It happens from the inside out. It's the need and the desire that then makes the body go out and do it. And the desire to improve.[more inside]
83 year old Chicano author John Rechy (City Of Night, The Sexual Outlaw, Rushes) talks to Lambda Literary about gay assimilation, being mistaken for white, melding truth and fiction, the post-Stonewall peroid, and hating the word 'queer.'
In this video edition of Chad Smith's interview series, the Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer sits down with his old friend, Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard, to talk about their early days on tour together, their attempts to form a "jazz odyssey" band, producers Rick Rubin and Brendan O'Brien, and a whole lot more. A jam-packed, laugh-filled hour-long chat.
Oscar Peterson interviews Joe Pass and Count Basie for his 1980 show "Words and Music." [more inside]
"There are a lot of people who are so innovative on twitter. That’s why it’s so puzzling to me when someone like Jonathan Franzen is like, 'twitter is murdering literature with a gun!' Twitter is seen as a millenial thing. Naturally, older people assume we only use it to send thousands of disrespectful selfies to God, or whatever the stereotype is nowadays." - Kimmy Walters (@arealliveghost) to Sheila Heti in Part One of The Believer Logger's interview series, "What Would Twitter Do?" [more inside]
You Are Now Entering the Demented Kingdom of William T. Vollmann: [The New Republic] Home to goddesses, dreams, and a dangerously uncorrupted literary mind.
In October 1990, Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez visited Tokyo during the shooting of Akira Kurosawa’s penultimate feature, Rhapsody in August. García Márquez, who spent some years in Bogota as a film critic before penning landmark novels such as One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera, spoke with Kurosawa for over six hours on a number of subjects.
Ed Brubaker on Velvet (his new comic book series with Steve Epting): “I loved the idea of flipping the typical male-oriented spy story, and doing one about a woman who was also a mature, middle-aged woman.” [more inside]
Black Glamour Power - a Collectors Weekly interview with Nichelle Gainer of Vintage Black Glamour (previously): "A lot of people think of vintage black pictures as either civil-rights photos or black ladies at church, or maybe sharecroppers picking in the cotton fields and sweating from the hard work. That’s fine. Those are our pictures. But that shouldn’t be the only image of us. It’s nice to see a black woman who is not sweating in the field, but glistening from all this bling, like Josephine Baker, dripping in diamonds. Sometimes you want to see that. Why not? It’s easy to take glamour for granted. You can be a white woman, and you can care less about Bette Davis, Jean Harlow, Greta Garbo, and Marlene Dietrich, and that’s fine. But you know what? Black women haven’t had the same option." [more inside]
The BeyondSynth Podcast is a podcast with artists and producers who make synthwave/new-retro/electronic music. From his home base in Canada, Adam talks to the top artists in the scene. Links to guests' music pages for each episode inside. [more inside]
Fourth in a series on screen writing in the Paris Review, an interview with Matthew Weiner, creator of Mad Men.
Q&A: Ginger Baker on Why 'the Rolling Stones Are Not Good Musicians'