What is art, really? Is it dependent on context? Do you need an art history degree to appreciate it? Was Jackson Pollock an artist or a scam artist? Are Grand Tour portraits considered art merely because of their age? These questions have been objectively unanswerable - until now
. Through the power of the internet, and the experience of Hot or Not, we can measure the democratic answer to these questions.
posted by Pants!
on Dec 29, 2011 -
The special duty of a Jewish Christmas baby
by Sheila Heti Most of the people one deals with say, “Oh! You're a Christmas baby! You must get ripped off when it comes to presents, right?” Their eyes light up.
It's a hard question to answer. The honest answer is, “I'm a Jew, I don't celebrate Christmas,” but saying this always seems chastising, and the person who asked then feels embarrassed (as they should) and I feel embarrassed that this is my accidental role in the world: reminding everyone that Jews exist. The times I say, gruffly, “I don't know. I'm Jewish,” they usually say, “Oh, I'm sorry!” But this always sounds to me not like, “I'm sorry I assumed you were Christian,” but rather, “I'm sorry that you're Jewish.” Given all this, I usually reply simply, “Yeah, it's awful. I get ripped off every year.” [previously from Sheila Heti]
posted by KokuRyu
on Dec 25, 2011 -
A decade on, the Coen brothers' woefully underrated O Brother, Where Art Thou? [alt]
is remembered for a lot of things
: its sun-drenched, sepia-rich cinematography
(a pioneer of digital color grading
), its whimsical humor
, fluid vernacular
, and many subtle references
to Homer's Odyssey
. But one part of its legacy truly stands out: the music
Assembled by T-Bone Burnett
, the soundtrack is a cornucopia of American folk music, exhibiting everything from cheery ballads
and angelic hymns
to wistful blues
and chain-gang anthems
. Woven into the plot of the film through radio and live performances, the songs lent the story a heartfelt, homespun feel
that echoed its cultural heritage, a paean and uchronia of the Old South
Though the multiplatinum album was recently reissued
, the movie's medley is best heard via famed documentarian D. A. Pennebaker
's Down from the Mountain
, an extraordinary
concert film focused on a night of live music by the soundtrack's stars (among them Gillian Welch
, Emmylou Harris
, Chris Thomas King
, bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley
) and wryly hosted by John Hartford
, an accomplished fiddler
, riverboat captain
, and raconteur
whose struggle with terminal cancer made this his last major performance. The film is free in its entirety on Hulu
-- click inside for individual clips, song links, and breakdowns of the set list
's fascinating history. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Dec 22, 2011 -
How Computers Work.
Recently recovered & scanned in by the good folks at BoingBoing, this was an early textbook explaining the fundamental concepts & inner workings of modern computing systems. I believe a slightly different edition of this book was my own introduction to computers when I was in 6th grade or so, which explains a lot about my approach to using them.
posted by scalefree
on Dec 22, 2011 -
An "Exciting Guide to Probability Distributions" from the University of Oxford: part 1
, part 2
. (Two links to PDFs)
posted by JoeXIII007
on Dec 15, 2011 -
"Imagine a world where casual and hardcore gamers can enjoy games together? So instead of hardcore gamers pretending to like wii sports just so they can spend xmas with their family they actually prefer it as opposed to just going off and playing the best hardcore games such as Skyrim or Fable3." From the often hilarious fake Twitter account for "Peter Molyneux 2" comes cascore
. Finally, bowling and survival horror come together. [more inside]
posted by jbickers
on Nov 14, 2011 -
"For the last two weeks, people have been like, "talk about sluts on Halloween!" And at first I didn't even really want to make this video because you, my friend, are talking to a slut on Halloween. But because people kept bombarding my social media platforms with requests for me to do a video on sluts on Halloween, I'm gonna do a video on sluts on Halloween. But I'll tell you one thing right now: you're not gonna like it." [more inside]
posted by juliplease
on Oct 28, 2011 -
(nsfw language, her avatar is a lingerie pic, plus it's a single-link vlog post)
Because it's Fall, f*ckfaces.
Realizing that McSweeney's is disfavored on MeFi, and that many will have seen this before, I offer this nonetheless. Because it's that time of the year, and goddamit, it's funny.
posted by mikeand1
on Oct 20, 2011 -
David Malki!, of the "illustrated jocularity" Wondermark
, has released Wondermark Kinetic
. It's a series of ad-libbed, paper-puppeteered videos in an approximation of his usual, surreal style. (If you're unfamiliar with what that style is, he conveniently keeps a list of his own favorite strips
.) I particularly like how a story slowly emerges from the rough start of this one
. [more inside]
posted by gilrain
on Sep 30, 2011 -
He's a leather-clad ninja librarian moving from town to town, helping folk in trouble. She's a beautiful communist femme fatale with someone else's memories. They fight crime!
posted by The Whelk
on Sep 2, 2011 -
It was a beautiful day in Ponyville. The sun was shining; the birds were singing. Ponies big and small cantered throughout the town, whickering and neighing merrily as they went about their business.
Suddenly, there was a huge explosion!
“Oh my god, that was a huge explosion!” yelled Twilight Sparkle, staring in shock and horror at the massive fireball rising from the center of town. Hundreds of ponies ran screaming from the burning wreckage of the Town Hall. Some were covered in soot, and limped as they streamed past her, desperate to escape the burning hell behind them.
“Yo Twi’, you see dat shiz?” said Spike, her jive-talking baby dragon sidekick. He stood on her back, one claw wrapped in her mane while the other casually removed a set of shutter-style plastic sunglasses. You know, like the ones Kanye West is always wearing.
Michael Bay presents My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
. (It's fanfiction, but readable without knowledge of the show or fondness for pastel-colored horses.) [more inside]
posted by JHarris
on Aug 29, 2011 -
Dr. Rob Dobrienski is a Manhattan therapist who blogs with honesty and humor on shrinktalk.net
about his practice and topics interesting to both laypersons with an interest in psychology and therapy as well as therapists in current practice. [more inside]
posted by sweetkid
on Jul 31, 2011 -
Two and a half years ago, we explored the early history of Cartoon Network
... but it wasn't the only player in the youth television game.
As a matter of fact, Fred Seibert
-- the man responsible for the most inventive projects discussed in that post -- first stretched his creative legs at the network's truly
venerable forerunner: Nickelodeon
Founded as Pinwheel, a six-hour block on Warner Cable's innovative QUBE
system, this humble channel struggled for years before Seibert's innovative branding work transformed it into a national icon and capstone of a media empire.
Much has changed since then, from the mascots and game shows to the versatile orange "splat."
But starting tonight in response to popular demand, the network is looking back
with a summer programming block dedicated to the greatest hits of the 1990s
, including Hey Arnold!, Rocko's Modern Life, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, The Ren & Stimpy Show, Double Dare, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Legends of the Hidden Temple
, and All That
To celebrate, look inside for the complete story of the early days of the network that incensed the religious right, brought doo-wop to television, and slimed a million fans -- the golden age of Nickelodeon. (warning: monster post inside) [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Jul 25, 2011 -
After Kad & Olivier sign off and the Satisfaction production logo fades, viewing audiences are oftentimes treated to a cold open of an empty talk show set... one that quickly becomes the impromptu dance floor for a shameless Frenchman making an absolute giddy fool of himself while lip-syncing pop songs alongside a menagerie of... wait, *what*?!
That's right. The Late Late Show
's Craig Ferguson appears to have a not-so-secret French admirer
-- one who's not above ripping off both his opening titles and his signature dance sequences
(including the iconic animal puppets
by The Jackson 5, "Flashdance"
by Irene Cara, "On the Floor"
by Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull, "Waka Waka"
by Shakira, "Men in Black"
by Will Smith, "Let's All Chant"
by the Michael Zager Band, "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go"
by Wham!, "It's Raining Men"
by The Weather Girls, and "Vive Le Vent (Jingle Bells)"
by Tino Rossi.
Luckily, Ferguson's sense of showmanship is more prodigious than litigious
-- he responded to Arthur's "homáge
" by booking a pair of translatlantic crossover shows, with Arthur visiting LA that week and Ferguson flying out to Paris just last month. Video of both shows (plus lots more) inside! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Jul 11, 2011 -