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Doctor of all things, master of none.

“It is my hope that this essay will initiate such a conversation. As for me, I'm planning to retire. I'm tired of helping you make your students look competent.”
posted by kipmanley on Nov 14, 2010 - 237 comments

They Live

They Live, John Carpenter's 1988 cult classic, is a fairly subversive piece of work. The film, which combines sci-fi, horror and satire -- and includes one of the iconic fight scenes in movie history -- is an allegorical treatise on the evils of capitalism, set in a Los Angeles populated by evil, conspiratorial and wealthy aliens. The film, despite a mixed original reception, has developed a rabid fan-boy following over the last few decades, and now Jonathan Lethem, the author of "Motherless Brooklyn," "The Fortress of Solitude" and, more recently, "Chronic City" has written "They Live," a meticulous, scene-by-scene analysis of its many, many layers.
posted by Joe Beese on Nov 8, 2010 - 128 comments

And it's going, going, GONE!

The Longest Home Run Ever
posted by zarq on Nov 5, 2010 - 41 comments

"If my daughter had dressed as Batman, no one would have thought twice about it. No one."

My Son Is Gay
posted by zarq on Nov 4, 2010 - 234 comments

The only way to get better at it is to keep doing it...

Game designer Raphael "Raph" Koster (Wiki) has republished his essay "The Fundamentals of Game Design." Koster was the lead designer for the progenitorial (and, in its time, wildly successful) MMORPG Ultima Online.
posted by griphus on Oct 12, 2010 - 3 comments

perfection

A disease called "Perfection."
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies on Oct 8, 2010 - 77 comments

being a conscious and ongoing victim of yourself is maybe worse than being someone else’s

How downloading music has literally saved my life: a lightly punctuated personal essay about obesity and compulsion.
posted by rollick on Sep 10, 2010 - 26 comments

"...I never saw anything like this. The animal that came from never had any fur on it.”

I didn’t put much stock in the possibility that a Dominican spiritualist working out of a basement in Union City, New Jersey, would have much to say about a lampshade that might have been made from human skin in a Nazi concentration camp. But there I was.... (via)
posted by The Whelk on Sep 7, 2010 - 74 comments

But do they have any bottlecaps?

"Places like Picher are why Congress passed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980—better known as the Superfund bill." - Wired Magazine on the most toxic town in America, Picher, OK , and the people who still live there
posted by The Whelk on Sep 5, 2010 - 21 comments

A Young Rabbit, Wishing to Escape the Oppressiveness of its Bedroom

In May, Jacob Lambert wrote in The Millions about the subversive messages hidden in classic children's books in the essay Are Picture Books Leading Our Children Astray? His conclusion: "What I previously considered whimsical trifles now reveal themselves as other things entirely: thinly-veiled endorsements of chaos, malfeasance, naïveté." Now Lambert's back, with: Again, I Ask: Are Picture Books Leading Our Children Astray? [more inside]
posted by chavenet on Aug 28, 2010 - 50 comments

The Machiavelli Myth

"Psychologists refer to this as the paradox of power. The very traits that helped leaders accumulate control in the first place all but disappear once they rise to power. Instead of being polite, honest and outgoing, they become impulsive, reckless and rude." Jonah Lehrer for The Wall Street Journal writes about recent findings on power, corruption, and authority and what can be done about it.
posted by The Whelk on Aug 17, 2010 - 28 comments

The Sound of Muzik

Classical Music’s New Golden Age
posted by Gyan on Jul 21, 2010 - 63 comments

"... for interviewers are courteous and gentle-mannered, even when they come to destroy."

"The Interview was not a happy invention.... In the first place, the interviewer is the reverse of an inspiration, because you are afraid of him." An epic rant by Mark Twain, published for the first time this week. [more inside]
posted by ardgedee on Jul 8, 2010 - 31 comments

Images From the World's Most Failed States

Postcards From Hell — For the last half-decade, the Fund for Peace, working with Foreign Policy, has been putting together the Failed States Index (the 2010 version is out), using a battery of indicators to determine how stable—or unstable—a country is. But as the photos here demonstrate, sometimes the best test is the simplest one: You'll only know a failed state when you see it. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Jun 25, 2010 - 16 comments

I do not know what art means but I know what it is.

The Wisdom Of Rats - A personal essay on art and time and everything, by Charles Bowden for Harper's.
posted by The Whelk on Apr 6, 2010 - 12 comments

Indie over outie

Nitsuh Abebe gives a narrative for a decade of indie.
posted by klangklangston on Feb 13, 2010 - 54 comments

Put down the razor blade, let’s go play tennis

Vampire Weekend in the Shadow of 9-11 by Gavin McInnes [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Feb 9, 2010 - 183 comments

a real reality show

The Web Is Not A TV Channel is the latest in a series of admonitions for musical and marketing industry types from music blogger, record company founder and bass player Dave Allen. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Jan 11, 2010 - 9 comments

And the Pursuit of Happiness

Back to the Land — an illustrated essay about giving thanks and food and joy and life and things to ponder and such by Maira Kalman. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Nov 28, 2009 - 16 comments

The Insiders

"I began bringing a camera along to work, photographing my surroundings. And as this project progressed and I slowly learned my craft, I became increasingly fascinated with other photographers who had been in a similar situation, those who had found themselves recording their own jobs: The Insiders [A tiny bit NSFW] ."
posted by chunking express on Nov 24, 2009 - 22 comments

Hi. Whatcha reading?

Schrödinger’s Rapist: or a guy’s guide to approaching strange women without being maced.
posted by kimdog on Oct 8, 2009 - 844 comments

Fear of Cycling

Fear of Cycling, an essay in five parts: introduction, constructing fear of cycling, helmet promotion campaigns, new cycling spaces, making cycling strange.
posted by parudox on Oct 5, 2009 - 204 comments

[Note to all my MeFi friends: your post is one of the latter.]

Tim Kreider, known to MeFi for his cartoons and essays is now regularly contributing to the Happy Days blog at NYT. His latest essay The Referendum has what you'd expect of a cartoonist, mastery of the one and two liner and getting to a relevant point quickly.
posted by a robot made out of meat on Sep 20, 2009 - 25 comments

You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all squalid

An essay on the horrors of the Port Authority Bus Terminal, in the form of a Choose Your Own Adventure® story. [more inside]
posted by mhum on Aug 27, 2009 - 40 comments

Confessions of an Introverted Traveler

Travel writer Sophia Dembling's essay Confessions of an Introverted Traveler on Worldhum received so much feedback that she's followed up with Six Tips for Introverted Travelers. I am now absolved for reading Jasper Fforde on the Champs-Élysées.
posted by kimdog on May 16, 2009 - 37 comments

I Like to Fish

The Last Days of W. Another great photo essay from the folks at Magnum In Motion.
posted by netbros on Apr 1, 2009 - 35 comments

Thomas Pynchon is 71 years old.

"To make off with hubby's fortune, yea, I think I heard of that happenin' once or twice around L.A. And… you want me to do what exactly?" He found the paper bag he'd brought his supper home in and got busy pretending to scribble notes on it, because straight-chick uniform, makeup supposed to look like no makeup or whatever, here came that old well-known hard-on Shasta was always good for sooner or later. Does it ever end, he wondered. Of course it does. It did. Thomas Pynchon's next novel, the 416-page Inherent Vice, is described by Penguin Press as "part noir, part psychedelic romp, all Thomas Pynchon — private eye Doc Sportello comes, occasionally, out of a marijuana haze to watch the end of an era as free love slips away and paranoia creeps in with the L.A. fog." While we wait for its August 4 publication, we can read an essay on the dystopian musical he co-wrote at Cornell or watch a clip of that movie they made of Gravity's Rainbow. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Feb 6, 2009 - 76 comments

Spontaneous rebellion alone is not sufficient.

The Revolutionary Pleasure of Thinking for Yourself
posted by divabat on Jan 3, 2009 - 30 comments

Yes it is!

Is this your paper on single serving sites?
posted by blue_beetle on Dec 13, 2008 - 41 comments

"Just don’t call this blog entry a deconstruction."

It was a dark and stormy campaign... A film theorist's thoughts on the narratives of Barack Obama and John McCain. [more inside]
posted by defenestration on Nov 8, 2008 - 15 comments

Foreclosures by Bruce Gilden.

Foreclosures. A photo essay by Magnum photographer Bruce Gilden. [more inside]
posted by chunking express on Nov 7, 2008 - 35 comments

When Books Could change Your Life

When Books Could Change Your Life: an excellent essay on Children's literature by Tim Kreider, (previously), on the importance of reading as cultural socialization.
posted by Jon_Evil on Sep 25, 2008 - 32 comments

Sokal and beyond

Truth's Caper : essay by Simon Blackburn on Sokal's Hoax.
posted by Gyan on Aug 18, 2008 - 175 comments

Too much love in the home?

The Kindergarchy: An essay on modern parenting.
posted by kimdog on Jul 31, 2008 - 113 comments

And I Feel Fine

The End Of The World As We Know It. If you want to imagine the catastrophe - how you would cope, what would you do to save yourself and your family - where do you turn for advice?... The idea of dying together, all of us, in some ways seems less appalling than the thought of going alone. Via.
posted by amyms on Apr 1, 2008 - 29 comments

Those who appear to be a little too happy will be asked to leave.

How I Want To Be Remembered by Jack Handey. He was fabulously wealthy, but he would pretend to be broke, and often tried to borrow cigarettes and money from people. Little did they know that those who gave him stuff would later be rewarded in his will, with jewels and antigravity helmets. You may know Jack Handey from his Deep Thoughts which first gained fame on as filler between sketches on Saturday Night Live. He is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker (scroll down this page for his other essays).
posted by amyms on Mar 31, 2008 - 57 comments

Essays on writing by various tv and movie writers

An essay by Bill Lawrence, creator of "Scrubs," on why he writes. It's part of a series: "Why We Write." [more inside]
posted by Tehanu on Mar 16, 2008 - 28 comments

"Just go to Gooniizu. I love Gooniizu."

English As A Second Language: "In which our heroine helps a Japanese friend find where the Goonies lived. Sort of." A recent essay from Emily's World, a biweekly column written by Emily Maloney, at The Smart Set.
posted by amyms on Mar 15, 2008 - 13 comments

"The Worst Addiction of Them All"

"The Worst Addiction of Them All", by Kurt Vonnegut, 1983. A classic and prescient essay on addiction to war.
posted by stbalbach on Feb 1, 2008 - 19 comments

racist postcards and white privilege

"Reflections on White Privilege" by Tad Lawrence, dean of faculty, Cambridge School of Weston "That white Americans would send cards such as the ones I will show you for the most ordinary of purposes indicates the frightening extent to which they had internalized, accepted and condoned the presentation of African Americans that were the public face of the cards they sent." [more inside]
posted by exlotuseater on Nov 13, 2007 - 57 comments

The Unqualified Reservations of Mencius Moldbug

Unqualified Reservations is a fascinating ongoing commentary on society and governance in postmodernity. He's currently on about the pwning of Richard Dawkins, after writing about Mediocracy and Official Journalism. It might be best to first read his earlier posts in which he defines the self-invented terminology he's fond of using, like: Formalism, The Iron Polygon, Universalism, Neocameralism, and The Rotary System. [more inside]
posted by blasdelf on Oct 29, 2007 - 44 comments

Errol Morris, talking pictures.

Errol Morris, documentary filmmaker, talking pictures in the N.Y.Times. The comments are not bad either. (previously)
posted by From Bklyn on Jul 20, 2007 - 8 comments

Titillating treasure trove of tit torture tidbits.

Matt Nicholson's Breast Punishment Primer discusses the history of tit torture, the anatomy of breasts and the motivation for torturing one (or two), and various manners in which one might torture a tit. That and tit torture trivia. All links NSFW.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Jun 25, 2007 - 72 comments

Student's essay is "disorderly conduct"

"Some legal experts said the charge against Allen Lee is troubling because it was over an essay that even police admit contained no direct threats against anyone at the school." Newsfilter: A high school senior is arrested for a "disturbing" essay in the wake of the Virginia Tech shooting.
posted by Many bubbles on Apr 26, 2007 - 78 comments

Operation Kaprekar

Mysterious number 6174. An excellent recreational math article.
posted by fatllama on Jan 13, 2007 - 34 comments

Woo-ooo-ooo yeah yeah yeah

No language, just sound: How writer Ned Raggett came to ignore the lyrics.
posted by klangklangston on Sep 6, 2006 - 79 comments

Digital Maoism

Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism. An essay by Jaron Lanier.
posted by mr_crash_davis on Aug 15, 2006 - 70 comments

Queen Street: Thematic Preview

Queen Street: Thematic Preview - "Queen Street is one of Toronto's oldest, longest, and most varied routes. It began in 1793 as a line on a map, running dead straight for ten miles, in modern measure some 16 kilometres. It is the spine, the high street, the main street of many distinct, and quite different, neighbourhoods. The street's fine grain is a cavalcade of urban variety, where the grain is broken by parks, institutions, industry. Queen Street is a promenade of public life, one you can stroll for 16 kilometres. I have, all of it, often camera in hand: I wanted others to see it, to know something of its life. And its gifts — meant to be shared. Here I'll share with you some of what I have seen along, and just off, Queen Street."
posted by heatherann on Aug 3, 2006 - 5 comments

K-O!

Ever Wonder? "[H]oping to push existing boundaries, this paper will put the accumulated knowledge of two animals to the ultimate test, in an attempt to answer the age-old question of who would win in a fight between a penguin and a lemur. Courtesy of MeFi's own Milkman Dan.
posted by rossination on Jul 28, 2006 - 17 comments

Auden and Christianity

Auden and Christianity "The notion that religious faith and serious thought are mutually exclusive categories always struck Auden as risible and unintelligible. But he would have bristled at an effort to separate out his religious beliefs and restate them as systematic propositions, or examine them independently or thematically, rather than see them as players in his rich and various inner symbolic drama."
posted by vronsky on May 26, 2006 - 3 comments

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