"In reconsidering the metrosexual, we must first distinguish between the metrosexual’s imagined and actual properties. Like hipsterism, metrosexuality is an insult more readily slung than substantiated. According to canon, David Beckham is the ur-metro. Although Beckham initially goes unmentioned in the word’s first printing (in 1994), the word’s progenitor, Mark Simpson, introduced American readers to metrosexuality through the British football star in 2002, when he called Beckham a "screaming, shrieking, flaming, freaking metrosexual…famous for wearing sarongs and pink nail polish and panties…and posing naked and oiled up on the cover of Esquire.
" " - Johannah King-Slutzky for The Awl on the 'Metrosexual' situation a decade later
Up, up and g'day: Superdoreen is Miss Galaxy 1982
A fascinating peek into Australian history and culture through a tiny sliver of artwork. [more inside]
was an American late-night, half-hour political talk show hosted by Bill Maher that ran from 1993 to 2002, first on Comedy Central and then on ABC. Four guests (usually including at least one comedian) would debate topics across the political spectrum in what Maher once described as “The McLaughlin Group on acid.” Of the 1300+ episodes produced, 190 can be viewed on YouTube. [more inside]
The Root's ?uestlove on the invisibilizing of Black culture...
"...you can point to this as proof of hip-hop’s success. The concept travels. But where has it traveled? The danger is that it has drifted into oblivion. The music originally evolved to paint portraits of real people and handle real problems at close range — social contract, anyone? — but these days, hip-hop mainly rearranges symbolic freight on the black starliner. Containers on the container ship are taken from here to there — and never mind the fact that they may be empty containers. Keep on pushin’ and all that, but what are you pushing against?" [more inside]
Bonfire of the Humanities.
"Nobody goes to Timbuktu, right? Patrick Symmes did, to discover what happened when jihadi rebels set out to burn one of the world’s finest collections
of ancient manuscripts
. Bouncing around by truck, boat, and boots, he got an intimate look at West Africa’s most mythic locale." [Via] [more inside]
Each week, the Internet Archive's tumblr account
is completely transformed by a digital resident
along a theme of their choosing. [more inside]
Over the course of nearly 20 centuries, millions of East Africans crossed the Indian Ocean and its several seas and adjoining bodies of water in their journey to distant lands, from Arabia and Iraq to India and Sri Lanka.
Called Kaffir, Siddi, Habshi, or Zanji, these men, women and children from Sudan in the north to Mozambique in the south Africanized the Indian Ocean world and helped shape the societies they entered and made their own.
Free or enslaved, soldiers, servants, sailors, merchants, mystics, musicians, commanders, nurses, or founders of dynasties, they contributed their cultures, talents, skills and labor to their new world, as millions of their descendants continue to do. Yet, their heroic odyssey remains little known.
The African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean World traces a truly unique and fascinating story of struggles and achievements across a variety of societies, cultures, religions, languages and times.
Along with its famous World Heritage Site
rolls, UNESCO maintains lists of more intangible
cultural treasures. In 2013 alone, they recognized the vertical calligraphy of Mongolia
, the communal name pools of western Uganda
, the 8000-year-old viticulture traditions of Georgia
, the skeletal melodies of Vietnam
, the forty-fold feast of the Holy Forty Martyrs
, the making of kimchi
, the use of the abacus
, the annual rebinding of the Q’eswachaka bridge
, the carol epics of Romania
, and the shrimp-fishing horsemen of Belgium
. These are only a few of the hundreds inscribed
. [more inside]
A Philosophy of Tickling. As Nietzsche put it, in an ironic jab at eudaimonism: “What is the best life? To be tickled to death.”
Warning! The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased, entry for the United States of America
In 1971, the newly-created US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired a bunch of freelance photographers to collectively document environmental issues around the country. They were given free rein to shoot whatever they wanted, and the project, named Documerica
, lasted through 1977. After 40 years, the EPA is now encouraging photographers to take current versions of the original Documerica photos and are showcasing them on flickr at State of the Environment
. There are location challenges
, and a set has been created with some of the submissions, making side-by-side comparisons
. [more inside]
The Memory of the Netherlands is an image library making available the online collections of museums, archives and libraries. The library provides access to images from the collections of more than one hundred institutions and includes photographs, sculptures, paintings, bronzes, pottery, modern art, drawings, stamps, posters and newspaper clippings. In addition there are also video and sound recordings to see and listen to. The Memory of the Netherlands offers an historic overview of images from exceptional collections, organized by subject to provide easy access
Search 833928 objects from 133 collections from 100 institutions
Mining books to map emotions through a century.
Emotion words aren't consistently used through time, it seems. Things got scary in the 80's.
) in many ways embodied all that was solid and stoic
in the Canadian character
. Think of the two adjectives most appropriately applied to it - "tough" and "squat"
- and what it also brings to mind are the great goalies of that era, those stalwart unbreakable warriors who worked between the pipes." - Ian Coutts Brew North. [more inside]
The five scholars explored the question, “What is the meaning of food?” and debated its role in ethnic and religious tensions. They also examined the possibility that “food, which is something that all of us share, albeit in different ways, can be used to bring people together instead of differentiating between us.” According to Goldstein, one of the most important ideas to come out of the group was that food is a social process rather than a commodity and thus is central to multicultural understanding: “[Food] has to do with how we live and it’s not just an object that we ingest.”
Food: History & Culture in the West
[PDF], was a 2010 UC Berkley Symposium exploring multiple links between food and culture: [more inside]
The Value of Culture
is a five part BBC radio series by Melvyn Bragg (which can be downloaded as a podcast
) which explores the modern concept of 'culture' from its roots in mid-19th Century Britain, specifically Matthew Arnold's Culture and Anarchy
and Edward Burnett Tylor's Primitive Culture
), and exploring the discourse and uses of the concept until the present day. There are five episodes, each a little over forty minutes long, focusing in turn on Arnold and the roots of the concept of culture
, Tylor and the anthropological conception of culture
, C. P. Snow and the 'Two Cultures' debate
, mass culture and culture studies
, and then ending with a debate on the value of culture today
The Secret Lives of Readers Books reveal themselves. Whether they exist as print or pixels, they can be read and examined and made to spill their secrets. Readers are far more elusive. They leave traces—a note in the margin, a stain on the binding—but those hints of human handling tell us only so much. The experience of reading vanishes with the reader.
How do we recover the reading experiences of the past? Lately scholars have stepped up the hunt for evidence of how people over time have interacted with books, newspapers, and other printed material.
, the city states of the Malay Peninsula
often paid tribute to regional kingdoms such as those of China
. Closer relations with China were established in the early
15th century during the reign of Parameswara
, founder of Melaka, when Admiral
Zheng He (Cheng Ho) sailed through the Straits of Malacca
. Impressed by the tribute
, the Yongle Emperor
of China is said to have
presented Princess Hang Li Po*
as a gift to Mansur Shah, then Sultan
(+/-1459 AD). Tradition claims
the courtiers and servants who accompanied
the princess settled in Bukit Cina
, intermarried with the
locals and grew into a community
known as the Peranakan
. Colloquially known as Baba-Nyonya, the Peranakan or Straits Chinese
, they retained many of
their ethnic and religious
customs, but assimilated
the language and clothing
of the Malays
. They developed
a unique culture
and distinct foods
. Nyonya cuisine
is one of the most
highly rated in the South East Asian region, considered
some of the most difficult
to master but very easy
has some interesting stories and characters. Here's two to get you started:
Robert de Montesquiou - "Tall, black-haired, rouged, Kaiser-moustached, he cackled and screamed in weird attitudes, giggling in high soprano, hiding his little black teeth behind an exquisitely gloved hand – the poseur absolute. He was said to have slept with Sarah Bernhardt and vomited for a week afterwards."
Lord Berners - "As a child, having heard that if you throw a dog into water it will learn how to swim, he threw his mother's canine companion out of the window on the grounds that if one applies the same logic it should learn how to fly. (The dog was unharmed, and he was "thrashed" by his mother.)"
"The word reclaim came up more than once to describe the rising tide. It is a revealing word, more narrative than simply descriptive: it hints at some larger backstory, some plot twist in a longer saga about our claims and the water’s counterclaims to the earth.… This story was already ancient when it was adapted for the biblical text—which is to say, it records a very old fear. Like all old fears, it has the uncanny feel of a vivid memory. It may be a memory of an actual flood in an actual Sumerian city, Shurrupal, ca 2800 B.C.E. In fact, it may be even older than that."
A treasure trove of Brazil
the conflict between Natives and farmers
Music inspired by the bandit Lampião
(with a metafilter hat tip); Scary Lullabies
e muito mais
. The five stages of The Course of Empire
, a fascinating quintet of paintings by 19th century artist and Hudson River School
pioneer Thomas Cole
. In it, an imaginary settlement by the sea becomes the stage for all the dreams and nightmares of civilized life, a rural woodland grown in time into a glorious metropolis... only to be ransacked by corruption, war, and a terrible storm, at last reduced to a forgotten ruin. At times deceptively simple, each landscape teems with references to cultural and philosophical markers that dominated the era's debate about the future of America. Interactive analysis
of the series on a zoomable canvas is available via the excellent Explore Thomas Cole
project, which also offers a guided tour
and complete gallery
of the dozens of other richly detailed and beautifully luminous works by this master of American landscape art
In the Shadow of Wounded Knee.
Along the southwestern border of South Dakota is one of the most poverty-stricken places in the United States—the Pine Ridge Reservation, home of the Oglala Lakota people. After 150 years of broken promises, they are still nurturing their tribal customs, language and beliefs. Via [more inside]
Ephemeral New York
'chronicles an ever-changing, constantly reinvented city through photos, newspaper archives, and other scraps and artifacts that have been edged into New York’s collective remainder bin.' [more inside]
In February, PBS and AOL launched Makers
, a video archive containing personal stories and anecdotes told in the first person by women, many of whom have sparked groundbreaking changes in American culture. [more inside]
Who Draws The Borders Of Culture?
(NYTimes) Cultural border, as opposed to national borders, are funny things. One country can contain many
(Coke vs. Soda. Vs. Pop, previously
). Cultural borders often appear as food and drink choices, like sweet tea
, forms of alcohol
, or BBQ sauce
. [more inside]
The Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
uses the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection as the starting point for a deeply informative, chronologically arranged exploration of world art history, with maps, timelines, art images, thematic essays, and more.
Wiki Loves Monuments
: "World's largest photo contest" seeks to create a visual record of world monuments and historic sites on the Wikimedia Commons
. The USA version
focuses on sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Canadian version here
. If you don't see your country among the 30 participating so far, you can volunteer
The history of the Sikh Diaspora in USA and Canada
goes back to Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 1897. Emerging as a casteless alternative
to the ongoing Hindu Muslim wars
in India, the Sikhs
have always been known
as a martial tribe, their prowess and courage
respected by the British
and others alike. Colloquially addressed respectfully as Sardarji, the men take Singh (lion)
as their middle name while the women bear the name
Kaur (princess). This custom further confirmed the equality of both genders as was the tradition set
by the founder of Sikhism
, Guru Nanak.
The first Sikh Organization
was The Pacific Coast Khalsa
Diwan Society organized in the spring of 1912. [more inside]
is a Professor of Mathematics, and of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut. For the last nine years, he's been taking the mathematical techniques that once allowed him to track predator–prey cycles in forest ecosystems, and using them to model human history -- a pattern identification process he calls Cliodynamics
. The goal of cliodynamics (or cliometrics) is to turn history into a predictive, analytic science.
By analysing some of the broad social forces that shape transformative events in US society: historical records on economic activity, demographic trends and outbursts of violence, he has come to the conclusion that a new wave of internal strife is already on its way, and should peak around 2020
. [more inside]
"Confessions of an Ex-Mormon:
A personal history of America’s most misunderstood religion." by Walter Kirn
, author of Up in the Air
and Lost in the Meritocracy
290 cultural Icons in their own words
- a nicely curated collection of audio & video clips of great artists, writers & thinkers ... Einstein, Eliot, Beckett, Nabakov, Malcom X, Muddy Waters, Georgia O'Keefe, Zora Neale Hurston & 282 more