‘‘I could as easily make a Collection for you of all the past Parings of my Nails,’’ Benjamin Franklin wrote to his sister Jane in 1767, after she asked him to send her all his old essays on politics. It was as if, in dashing off articles, he’d been sloughing off pages, like a snake shedding skin. Franklin liked to think of himself as a book: a man of letters, spine of bone, flesh of paper, blood of ink, his skin a cover of leather, stitched. When he wrote, he molted. He could be as sneaky as a snake, too, something to bear in mind when reading his autobiography, as sly an account as anything Franklin ever allowed himself the grave indiscretion of putting on paper.Jill Lepore revisits the legacy of Benjamin Franklin, who in his time was “the most accomplished and famous American who had ever lived.”
Walter Benjamin presented "True Dog Stories" on September 27, 1930, as part of Radio Berlin's youth programming. Thoughtful but sometimes oblique commentaries on human society, Benjamin's radio shows have been called "Enlightenment for Children" and "NPR for weirdos," but an interview with the editor of their recent translations into English gives much greater context. Some essays have been re-recorded in German (including the dog episode, track 16), and Börne's original poodle letter is also online.
Act 1, scene 1. "The stage directions read, “Vienna. The Ringstrasse promenade at Sirk Corner. Flags wave from the buildings. Soldiers marching by are cheered by the onlookers. General excitement. The crowd breaks up into small groups.” The newsboys with their “Extra Extra,” announcing the outbreak of war, are interrupted by a drunk demonstrator who shouts “Down with Serbia! Hurrah for the Hapsburgs! Hurrah! For S-e-r-bia!” and is immediately kicked in the pants for his mistake (LTM, p. 69). A crook and a prostitute exchange insults, even as two army contractors, talking of possible bribes the rich will use to avoid the draft, cite Bismarck’s words, in Neue Freie Presse (Vienna’s major newspaper at the time of the assassination of the archduke in Serbia), to the effect that the Austrians deserve kissing. One officer tells another that war is “unanwendbar” (of no use) when he really means, as his friend points out, “unabwendbar” (unavoidable) (LTM, pp. 70–71). A patriotic citizen praises the coming conflict as a holy war of defense against “encirclement” by hostile forces, and the crowd responds by making up rhymes (in Viennese dialect) denigrating the enemy (LTM, p. 72)." [more inside]
"The Demo" [SLYT] is the original pilot episode of the animated tv show, Bob's Burger's (previously).The theme remains the same, although the art style is a bit rough. The plot is exactly the same as the first episode, "Human Flesh", with minor differences in animation and timing. Oh, and Tina was originally a Daniel! [more inside]
In Theory is a column in Ceasefire Magazine that introduces and reflects on major figures in cultural/political/literary theory (Agamben 1 2; Althusser 1 2; Amin 1 2; Appadurai 1; Aristotle 1 2; Badiou 1 2; Bakhtin 1 2; Bakunin 1 2 3; Barthes 1 2 3 4 5 6; Baudrillard 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14; Benjamin 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8; Deleuze 1; and Marcuse 1) in addition to discussing general topics such as anarchism, asymmetrical war, autonomism, commodity fetishism, global cities, local knowledge, peacekeeping, and precarity.
Based in Beijing, Zhang Bin aka Benjamin(his blog in Chinese), works with brilliant colors in a sequential style to create eye catching graphics which include the covers of Marvel Comics and his own, manhua graphic novels. His subjects are generally young and urban, produced in splashes of color (A video slideshow of his art - watch out for the music). An interview with Benjamin about his art from his first visit to a comic convention in New York. [more inside]
In this series of ISIS orientation films, Dr. Krieger will be answering frequently asked questions from new team members. Season five of Archer premieres Monday, January 13th on FX. [more inside]
This is my window. Or my windows—the view from my living room, where I sit and write. Might not seem very inspiring. I wish I could offer green mossy lava, roaring waves, a glacier mountain top. I do have other spaces—in an abandoned powerstation, a favorite fisherman’s cafe by the harbor, a summer house on the arctic circle—but this is my honest view, what I really see most of the days. This house was built in the 1960s when people were fed up with lava and mountains; they were migrating to the growing suburbs to create a new view for themselves. The young couple who dug the foundation with their own hands dreamed of a proper garden on this barren, rocky strip of land. They dreamed of trees, flowers, shelter from the cold northern breeze. What is special depends on where you are, and here, the trees are actually special. They were planted fifty years ago like summer flowers, not expected to live or grow more than a meter. The rhododendron was considered a miracle, not something that could survive a winter. It looks tropical, with Hawaiian-looking pink flowers; Skúli, the man who built the house and sold it to me half a century later, took special pride in it. I am not a great gardener. We are thinking of buying an apple tree, though they don’t really thrive in this climate. I would plant it like a flower, not really expect it to grow, and hope for a miracle. —Andri Snær Magnason [more inside]
On Halloween night 1992, a skinny, gravel-voiced man in a blue dress and horn-rim glasses took the stage at a tiny Atlanta dive bar/strip club along with his band, The Opal Foxx Quartet (which was not a four-piece; around a dozen people crowded the dark, low-ceilinged space). This would be their final show, and it's a barn-burner. [more inside]
Artist and film-maker, Hito Steyerl, asks us to stand shoulder to shoulder with our digital equivalents. Digital images are Things (like you and me) - a plethora of compressed, corrupted representations pushed and pulled through increasingly policed and capitalised information networks. If 80% of all internet traffic* is SPAM - a liberated excess withdrawn** from accepted channels of communication - perhaps it is in The Poor Image we find our closest kin? [more inside]
Dr. Benjamin Hooks, Whose Moral Leadership Bridged Populations, Dies at 85. Dr. Hooks was the first African-American judge in the South since Reconstruction, the first African-American appointed to the board of the FCC, and executive director of the NAACP from 1977 to 1992. [more inside]
Benjamin Gump - I was just thinking this, after watching the first half of BB..."Both movies were written by Eric Roth, a man who now owes me seventeen dollars." [more inside]
The War on Franklin (Orig. from the NYTimes). It's only fitting as we approach the tercentennial of the birth of the First American, Benjamin Franklin, that there is an ongoing debate as to whether we should "sacrifice essential liberties for a little temporary safety" and if we deserve either. To be sure, Franklin is likely the seminal Colonial American, who's philosophy, inventions, self-determination, self-improvement, entrepeneurship, and witicisms underpin most elements of modern American society, politics, and culture, as well as having edited our founding document, the Declaration of Independence. But Franklin the man was also self-involved, a neglectful spouse and parent, and (likely) a serial philanderer, as well as having never held elected office. (History erases many of the sins of the Foundering Fathers). Surely increasing criticism of both the man and his relavency is soon to follow. Perhaps we can all strive to emulate Franklin's greatest skill - the art of compromise.