Ivan Aivazovsky (1817–1900) - "In 1840, Aivazovsky traveled to Rome, where he became friendly with Nikolai Gogol. He also received high praise from the Roman critics, newspapers, and even Pope Gregory XVI. The pope purchased Aivazovsky's 'Chaos' and hung it in the Vatican... [more inside]
Six months after we first discussed Zappo's planned move to a Holocracy, how is it going? When the deadline arrived on the last day of April, 14 percent of the company, 210 people, took the [severance] offer. Twenty of them were managers, I was told, out of a total of 246. It was a difficult day. Tear-stained faces replaced the typical smiles on the Zappos campus. [more inside]
Robert Crumb talks to The Observer about misogyny, sex, fame, cartooning and getting older in a sprawling interview.
Vankadarath Saritha, Delhi's first female bus driver - "Women have been to space so why can't we drive a bus?"
His daughter died as a result of a car "accident". He and others argue that they should be called "crashes". An academic exercise, or the latest battle in changing the way people think about car culture?
Why are little kids in Japan so independent? - 'If we had a nonviolent society, kids could walk around on their own, unafraid, like they do in Japan'. (via)
It was not until 1971, 65 years after Finland became the first European country to grant women the vote, that Switzerland became the last, not only in Europe but in much of the world.
[T]here are immediate practical benefits to trolling. The way we’ve designed the Internet has made the old cliché “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” actually come true. It’s now possible to monetize any kind of attention, good or bad—and if your gift happens to be generating the bad kind of attention, then it’s well within reach to make trolling into a full-time career.
Arthur Chu writes about “The Big Business of Internet Bigotry” for The Daily Beast.
Arthur Chu writes about “The Big Business of Internet Bigotry” for The Daily Beast.
"What’s hardest to explain, especially to those who’ve grown up within one unshakeable cultural universe, is that none of us are faking it."
Everyone you know will be able to rate you on the terrifying ‘Yelp for people’ — whether you want them to or not
We demand that women live in fear and behave impeccably to avoid 'asking for it.' "In an extract from her book, Asking for It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture — and What We Can Do About It, author Kate Harding explains how women order their lives around the fear of rape – and of being blamed for not preventing it." [more inside]
Notes Towards a Theory of Hair: Novelist Siri Hustvedt Reflects on the Cultural Meaning of Coiffure [New Republic]
“Even this simple act of plaiting my child’s hair gives rise to questions about meaning. Why do more girl children wear their hair long in our culture than boy children? Why is hairstyle a sign of sexual difference? I have to admit that unless a boy child of mine had begged me for braids, I probably would have followed convention and kept his hair short, even though I think such rules are arbitrary and constricting. And finally, why would I have been mortified to send Sophie off to school with her tresses in high-flying, ratted knots?”
Not one of these hippies looks dirty, or stoned, or tuned out; and they all apparently were a lot happier then I was led to believe. Or maybe this is not representative. Neat pictures though.
Walt Disney - "An unprecedented look at the life and legacy of one of America's most enduring and influential storytellers -- Walt Disney."
The modern market allows us to personalize that style. Casual is the sweet spot between looking like every middle class American and being an individual in the massive wash of options. This idea of the freedom to dress in a way that is meaningful to us as people, and to express various types of identity.
Sweden Simulator; a browser-based virtual-reality simulation of many of the common experiences of Swedish life. [more inside]
Fear by Marilynne Robinson [New York Review of Books]
“There is something I have felt the need to say, that I have spoken about in various settings, extemporaneously, because my thoughts on the subject have not been entirely formed, and because it is painful to me to have to express them. However, my thesis is always the same, and it is very simply stated, though it has two parts: first, contemporary America is full of fear. And second, fear is not a Christian habit of mind. As children we learn to say, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.” We learn that, after his resurrection, Jesus told his disciples, “Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” Christ is a gracious, abiding presence in all reality, and in him history will finally be resolved.”
A profile on Michel Houellebecq. [The Guardian] [Books]
“It’s not my role to be responsible. I don’t feel responsible,” he says. “The role of a novel is to entertain readers, and fear is one of the most entertaining things there is.” To him, the fear in Submission comes in the dark violence at the novel’s start, before the moderate Islamist party comes to power. Was he deliberately playing on a mood of fear in France? “Yes, I plead guilty,” he says. For Houellebecq, the job of a novelist is foremost to hold a mirror up to contemporary society.[more inside]
“Before the trip, Nigeria was a dim set of associations in my mind: my parent’s stories of their childhood, highlife cassette tapes, dated images from Google searches, negative news headlines, the taste of rice and stew. Going back gave me vivid experiences to call part of my life, to draw from when I talk about the country, my identity, what kinds of people I come from, and the roots of why I do what I do.”
The Tropes vs Women in Video Games project aims to examine the plot devices and patterns most often associated with female characters in gaming from a systemic, big picture perspective. - Tropes vs Women: Women as Reward. Tropes versus Women creator Anita Sarkeesian on the backlash to the series (Warning: GamerGate), Previously, previously.
The Quiet Demise of the Army’s Plan to Understand Afghanistan and Iraq. "In the heyday of counterinsurgency, the United States military’s Human Terrain Teams were a bold idea. In the drone-war era, they became an anachronism." [Previously 1, 2] [more inside]
Daniel Dennett, known for having previously explained thinking, religion, and consciousness, recently spoke at the Royal Institution where he did a most excellent job of explaining memes [1-hour video].
In the United States, only 22 states require that sex education should be taught in their schools. Of those, only 13 insist upon medical accuracy. There is no federal standard. As a result, classroom lessons that teach purity culture – the idea that virginity is a state of moral accomplishment – are pervasive. John Oliver's Last Week Tonight covers Sex Education in America. (NSFW) The end of the segment features a modern sex education video created by LWT, narrated by several celebrities (including Laverne Cox, Nick Offerman, Jonathan Banks, Kristen Schaal and Aisha Tyler) that touches on topics outdated lessons may be ignoring. [more inside]
First We Feast: An Illustrated History of Hamburgers in America. "The rise, fall, and resurgence of America's greatest cultural export." [more inside]
You Must Remember This: Charles Manson's Hollywood - Karina Longworth's podcast on the hidden history of Hollywood (previously, previously) takes an an in depth look at the darker side of the 60s. [more inside]
‘I’m No Longer Afraid’: 35 Women Tell Their Stories About Being Assaulted by Bill Cosby, and the Culture That Wouldn’t Listen (trigger warning: sexual assault) SL longform New York Magazine. [archive.org saved version here]
The Twitter account Diana_Vreeland pays tribute to the celebrated fashion editor/social maven by coming up with colorful suggestions for how to live your life.
Lavanya Ramanathan in the Washington Post on why we need to do away with the "ethnic food" label "It's not the phrase itself, really. It's the way it's applied: selectively, to cuisines that seem the most foreign, often cooked by people with the brownest skin."
For a time this summer, it seemed all anyone could talk about was the N.A.A.C.P. chapter president whose parents had “outed” her as white. The tornado of public attention has since moved on, but Rachel Dolezal still has to live with her choices—and still refuses to back down.
In the last decade, some cities have created unusual municipal projects using personal and institutional technologies and Open Data, to keep things running smoothly. In Chicago, there’s a text-based pothole tracker. Pittsburg, Chicago, NYC and other cities have snowplow trackers during winter storms. Boston asked people to adopt-a-hydrant and shovel them out after snowstorms. In Honolulu, you can adopt a tsunami siren. In 2013, the city of Melbourne assigned email addresses to 70,000 trees as part of their Urban Forest Project, so citizens could report problems. Instead, people wrote thousands of love letters to their favorite trees, and in many cases, the "trees" wrote back. [more inside]
On Monday, at the 2015 American Library Association Annual Conference, actress and author Sonia Manzano announced her retirement from the cast of Sesame Street, where she has played the role of Maria for more than 40 years. [more inside]
Yesterday, "Surf and Turf" Joey DaSilva slid, slipped, and skipped to the end of a 45-foot-long telephone pole suspended over the water and covered with grease and slop. By grabbing the flag at the end, he became the 2015 Saturday champion of the annual Greasy Pole contest, making him one of the elite crew eligible to compete again on Fiesta Sunday for the rest of his life. It's one of the highlights of the unique St. Peter's Fiesta, an annual festival sponsored by the Italian-American fishing community of Gloucester, MA. The festival is a five-day celebration including a procession of St. Peter's effigy accompanied by bands and Sicilian chants, a Sunday mass on a large outdoor altar, seine boat races, a carnival, food, and drinking - lots of drinking. The annual festival is a defining force in Gloucester's tight-knit community, even as the fishing industry that generated it continues a long decline. [more inside]
New U.S. government research indicates that female military veterans commit suicide at nearly six times the rate of other women and at rates nearly equal to that of male veterans -- a finding that surprised researchers because women are generally are far less likely than men to commit suicide. The findings raise questions about the backgrounds and experiences of women who serve in the United States' armed forces. [more inside]
Lahore Landing, an interactive documentary. "It all started when Taahira went to Karachi for a journalism internship ... Over Skype calls, she shared with us her experience – from underground indie rock concerts to alfresco BBQ nights. It surprised us. It seemed that all the media shared about life in Pakistan was a world of violence and terrorism when it was a lot more than that." [more inside]
Something about this country – the divisions, the class system, the general sense of distrust and dissatisfaction – seems to breed youth subcultures like no other place on Earth. The strange, stylish clans that this island incubates have been exported across the world, influencing everything from high street fashion to high art. From teddy boys to 2 Tone rudeboys, soulboys to Slipknot fans, grunge bands to grime crews, mods to mod revivalists, the history of these groups shows us a version of modern Britain that goes way beyond Diana and Blair.[more inside]
Answer the following questions in any language(s), formats, or paradigmatic expressions with which you are comfortable. Videographers are available for those most comfortable in physical languages. If you need further support to fully actualize your responses, do not hesitate to ask the Proctor for any materials or mediums you require. When you have finished, virtually or physically attach all answers to this questionnaire."Application for the Delegation of First Contact: Questionnaire Part B," a short story by Kathrin Köhler. Additionally: Köhler on the inspirations and influences for this piece.
How Mountain Dew Came to Perpetuate a Deep-Seated Appalachian Stereotype As Mountain Dew taps into tropes of corn-syrup-free authenticity and nostalgia for "backwoods" "renegades" and "rebels" with its throwback drink Dewshine, a daughter of Appalachia considers how the beverage reflects cultural stereotypes. [more inside]
The Asians Art Museum is a parody site bringing a cirtical lens to orientalist tropes in art museums, prompted particularly by rhetorical choices of the San Francisco Art Museum's 2009 Lords of the Samurai exhibition [audio]. It highlights the tendency for museums showing Asian art to present their shows as a"a harmless trip to a fantasyland of romanticized premodern Otherness, a place where dreams of Manifest Destiny never have to die?" [more inside]
Some Paths to the True Knowledge[*] - "Attention conservation notice: A 5000+ word attempt to provide real ancestors and support for an imaginary ideology I don't actually accept, drawing on fields in which I am in no way an expert. Contains long quotations from even-longer-dead writers, reckless extrapolation from arcane scientific theories, and an unwarranted tone of patiently explaining harsh, basic truths. Altogether, academic in one of the worst senses. Also, spoilers for several of MacLeod's novels, notably but not just The Cassini Division. Written for, and cross-posted to, Crooked Timber's seminar on MacLeod, where I will not be reading the comments."
[Note: *starred* links contain images of scantily clad women, making them possibly NSFW] If you've caught some of the *shorter "Crazy China" articles* circulating around recently, you've heard that the Chinese government is trying to crack down on stripping at funerals in rural communities. While you generally won't find stripping mentioned in descriptions of Chinese funeral traditions, other sources like *CNN* and *NPR* try to add context to this news. NPR notes that this **also occurs in Taiwan (Nat. Geo. video)**, but the article doesn't delve further. Luckily, we have the *research from University of South Carolina anthropologist Marc L. Moskowitz* to elaborate, capturing the more varied and complex reality of Taiwanese Electric Flower Cars and *the culture of dancing for the dead.* There's also a great Q&A recorded at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), which addresses questions of class division, safety of the women, gender equality, and other related topics. [more inside]
In Japan, people applying to work at Nintendo are given an amazing company guide (2015), bursting with color, that they remake every year. 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 ( via Simon Carless [Twitter], thnx)
Yet to tell the diffusion of Indian influence at this period as two separate processes partially obscures a still more extraordinary story. For it is now increasingly clear that between the fourth and twelfth centuries the influence of India in both Southeast and Central Asia, and to some degree also China, was comparable to the influence of Greece in Aegean Turkey and Rome, and then in the rest of Europe in the early centuries BC. From the empire of the Gupta dynasty in the north and that of the Pallava dynasty in the south, India during this period radiated its philosophies, political ideas, and architectural forms out over an entire continent not by conquest but by sheer cultural sophistication.
The Met's soon-to-open exhibit, titled "China: Through the Looking Glass," tackles the impact of Chinese aesthetics on Western fashion, and how Chinese culture has inspired fashionable imagination for hundreds of years. Juxtaposing high fashion with Chinese art, film, clothing, and artifacts, the exhibit looks to explore why Western culture is as enraptured with the East as it is. [more inside]
"What does it mean to be British? Read five outspoken collectives' views on identity in UK culture in this roundtable." - text by Zing Tsjeng for Dazed magazine (part of a series of articles on the state of the nation as the May 7 election approaches in the UK).
Science Needs a New Ritual
And so transcendence can take the form of blindness to differences between people and to our own biases. We assume scientists all think and believe the same things, even beyond the unequivocal data. We are all equal as scientists if we all value the same principles. And what we value comes almost entirely from Enlightenment-era Europe. This is a troubling state of affairs if we claim to strive for all humanity.