Exploring the impact mediascapes - the mobile phone and wireless networks - will have on the ways we inhabit localities.
posted by yoga
on Sep 15, 2004 -
The Toronto International Film Festival
begins Thursday. The 2004 program
is one of the best they've had in years (certainly the best since the 90s). Planning on attending? If so, you may appreciate TIFF Reviews
- "the online meeting place for fans of TIFF 2004". Since TIFF is the the largest film festival in the world, most attendees (myself included
) find it very difficult to pick their films. Once the fest starts, members of the TIFF Reviews forum are encouraged to leave reviews of what they've been watching in the hopes that it'll help other people plan their 10 days in the dark.
posted by dobbs
on Sep 4, 2004 -
Personal ads in the Arab world
"Resident of the UAE, 28 years old, high-school diploma, looking for a veiled wife, a citizen of UAE or any other Gulf county. Will be allowed to continue working after marriage." ~
"Syrian, 36 years old, holds a government position, is interested to meet a tall, fair-skinned and green-eyed virgin, Lebanese or Moroccan."
posted by onlyconnect
on Aug 29, 2004 -
An Ugly Buildings Hit List
seems to be developing in Scotland. The president of the Royal Institute of British Architects is calling for the demolition of the ugliest buildings in Scotland. The Architects have their list, and the press is asking the public to chime in as well
posted by mmahaffie
on Aug 23, 2004 -
Sapir/Whorf raises its head again in study of the Piraha tribe.
I can't stop thinking about this article
which appeared in the Globe and Mail Friday.
A study appearing today in the journal Science reports that the hunter-gatherers seem to be the only group of humans known to have no concept of numbering and counting.
Not only that, but adult Piraha apparently can't learn to count or understand the concept of numbers or numerals, even when they asked anthropologists to teach them and have been given basic math lessons for months at a time ... the Piraha are the only people known to have no distinct words for colours.
They have no written language, and no collective memory going back more than two generations. They don't sleep for more than two hours at a time during the night or day.
Even when food is available, they frequently starve themselves and their children, Prof. Everett reports.
They communicate almost as much by singing, whistling and humming as by normal speech.
They frequently change their names, because they believe spirits regularly take them over and intrinsically change who they are.
They have no creation myths, tell no fictional stories and have no art.
Can any of our anthropologists or linguists comment? I had thought that narrative was the common link in all human cultures....
posted by jokeefe
on Aug 21, 2004 -
Corporate culture is nothing more than the "crystallization of the stupidity of a group of people at a given moment", says Corinne Maier, the author of the slacker manifesto, "Bonjour Paresse"
. Better read this before clocking in Monday. (NYT)
posted by semmi
on Aug 15, 2004 -
, on "Death and life in the Ethnosphere
- The Naked Geography Of Hope" : "In Haiti, a Vodoun priestess responds to the rhythm of drums and, taken by the spirit, handles burning embers with impunity. In the Amazon, a Waorani hunter detects the scent of animal urine at forty paces and identifies the species that deposited it....On an escarpment in the high Arctic, Inuit elders fuse myth with landscape, interpreting the past in the shadow of clouds cast upon ice.....Just to know that such cultures exist is to remember that the human imagination is vast, fluid, infinite in its capacity for social and spiritual invention."
The death of the Ethnosphere was Margaret Meade's great concern up to her death, says Harvard ethnobotanist Wade Davis of Serpent and the Rainbow
fame and student of Richard Evans Schultes
, founder of Ethnobotany
: "The surprising results
obtained from treating psychoactive plants allowed their users to communicate more directly with the unseen world which they believed to exist." Davis coined the concept of the "Ethnosphere" and has worked for it's preservation through Cultural Survival
posted by troutfishing
on Aug 5, 2004 -
Seed Magazine. Seed is a popular science magazine for our times aimed at smart, young, and curious men and women who are passionate about science and its fast-changing place in our culture.
posted by srboisvert
on Jul 20, 2004 -
Wal-Mart Locator 2004
- For years Wal-Mart has allowed RV owners to camp for free in their parking lots (sometimes to the dismay
of campground owners). But the Bay Area wants to pull the plug
on the practice for fear of the stores becoming impromptu homeless encampments.
posted by falconred
on Jul 19, 2004 -
A View from the Eye of the Storm.
An Arab intellectual in Europe ponders on the Muslim world and comes to some interesting conclusions. Israel is a sideshow. Iran is the most dangerous country in the world.. in the long run the only way for us (the West) to win the war of terror is to force the problem nations to reform both politically and culturally.via Steven Den Beste weblog
posted by stbalbach
on Jun 25, 2004 -
Female genital mutilation
is a blight on women's lives in many parts of Africa. Today's NY Times
has a story
"Genital Cutting Shows Signs of Losing Favor in Africa" by Mark Lacey, that gives grounds for optimism:
Slowly, genital cutting is
losing favor. Parliaments are passing laws forbidding the practice, which causes widespread death and disfigurement. Girls are fleeing their homes to keep their vaginas intact. And the women who have been carrying
out the cutting, and who have been revered by their communities for doing so, are beginning to lay down their knives.
(If you don't want to register with the NYT, here
the Mathaba.net copy.)
posted by languagehat
on Jun 8, 2004 -
Nick Hornby discusses pop music in this NY Times essay:
"Maybe this split is inevitable in any medium where there is real money to be made: it has certainly happened in film, for example, and even literature was a form of pop culture, once upon a time. It takes big business a couple of decades to work out how best to exploit a cultural form; once that has happened, 'that high-low fork in the road' is unavoidable, and the middle way begins to look impossibly daunting. It now requires more bravery than one would ever have thought necessary to try and march straight on, to choose neither the high road nor the low. Who has the nerve to pick up where Dickens or John Ford left off?
In other words, who wants to make art that is committed and authentic and intelligent, but that sets out to include, rather than exclude? To do so would run the risk of seeming not only sincere and uncool - a stranger to all notions of postmodernism - but arrogant and vaultingly ambitious as well."
posted by grumblebee
on May 26, 2004 -
Anatomy of a Refugee Camp.
A Flash presentation of how refugee camps are set up, and very educational for those of us in the world lucky enough to have never seen one.
, the designer's website]
posted by jb
on May 23, 2004 -
Blah Blah Blogging
:: "The following is a meticulously detailed recap of a news segment that appeared on the Chicago FOX news affiliate on Wednesday, May 5th, 2004."
-- Intelligent blogger agrees to appear in puff piece about blogging for FOX news. These are the results.
posted by anastasiav
on May 12, 2004 -
"The people of Dogville are proud, hypocritical and never more dangerous than when they are convinced of the righteousness of their actions" (NYT link)
"The movie is, of course, an attack on America
—its innocence, its conformity, its savagery—though von Trier is interested not in the life of this country (he’s never been here) but in the ways he can exploit European disdain for it." (The New Yorker). Lars Von Trier's
new movie, Dogville
, is under attack from critics who consider it anti-American. Von Trier, of course, has never been to the US but he counters that he knows more about U.S. culture through modern media than, say, the makers of "Casablanca' knew about Morocco.
Kafka hadn't been to Amerika either
Should non US-ian artists leave America alone if they've never been there? Von Trier says that "in my own country, I'm considered anti-Danish
- again, that's more about politics than issues of nationality."
posted by matteo
on Mar 22, 2004 -
-- A web site republishing the best blog posts on art, technology and culture from around the web. Brought to you by Eyebeam,
a multimedia atelier here in NYC, and run by a rotating cast of reBloggers.
posted by amberglow
on Feb 29, 2004 -
: a comprehensive description and analysis of the country or region's historical setting, geography, society, economy, political system, and foreign policy.
posted by hama7
on Feb 8, 2004 -
Art In Ruins
chronicles the economic and cultural transformation of Providence, Rhode Island through the eyes of artists, architects, and urban planners.
posted by PrinceValium
on Feb 7, 2004 -
"A sworn virgin is called such because she swears—takes a vow under the law of the Kanun
—to become a man. From the day she takes this vow (which is sometimes at a very early age), she becomes a man: she dresses like one, acts like one, walks like one, works like one, talks like one, and her family and community treat her as one. She is referred to as he. He will never marry and will remain celibate all of his life." If you find this stuff intriguing, by all means read Alice Munro's great short story "The Albanian Virgin" (from Open Secrets
, 1994); you might also want to check out A Dictionary of Albanian Religion, Mythology, and Folk Culture
, where there's much more cultural weirdness, and Edith Durham's classic High Albania
), from which I first learned of these mannish gals. Oh, and there's a movie
posted by languagehat
on Jan 30, 2004 -
Take This Honour And Shove It Up Your Arse:
Some, like JG Ballard
and Benjamin Zephaniah
, want the UK Honours System abolished; others want it reformed
want it left as it is. The recent leaking
of a distinguished list of refuseniks, coming just after Sir Mick Jagger got his ya-yas out
in Buckingham Palace, reminds us of Groucho Marx's
famous comment that he'd never join a club that would take members like him. It's certainly an archaic and complicated system
but, it seems to me, no more open to abuse than other countries' systems. And, arguably, no less ridiculous or hypocritical either. But is it (symbolically, culturally, whatever) useful enough nowadays, simple political expediency apart, to be worth hanging on to?
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Dec 22, 2003 -
The BBC is asking visitors of its news site to vote from a shortlist of the ten most embarrassing political moments
. Visitors can watch a short film
[real media] which shows all ten nominated moments (forgive the home-video moments style background muzak). There's some variety here: Tony Blair and Neil Kinnock in moments exhibiting a baffling degree of misguidedness, George W Bush and Kenneth Clarke in tight spots (figuratively and literally), while Charles Kennedy and John Prescott probably coming out of their situations looking better than they did beforehand. For me the most cringe-inducing clip is that of John Redwood, the then newly appointed Secretary of State for Wales, attempting to mime the Welsh national anthem. Genuinely difficult to watch.
posted by nthdegx
on Dec 5, 2003 -
The Japanese SAQ
provides some much-needed and often fascinating answers for seldom-asked questions about Japanese culture like, "Why do those porcelain Tanuki
statues outside of restaurants have such outrageously large testicles?"
posted by MrBaliHai
on Dec 5, 2003 -