"There are two kinds of women: those who knit and those who unravel. I am a great unraveler. I can undo years of careful stitching in fifteen gluttonous minutes. It isn't even a decision, really. Once I see the loose thread, I am undone. It's over before I have even asked myself the question: Do I actually want to destroy this?" [more inside]
Ten years ago today saw the English launch of a quirky Japanese puzzler, a sleeper hit that would go down as one of the most endearing, original, and gleefully weird gaming stories of the 2000s: Katamari Damacy. Its fever-dream plot has the record-scratching, Freddie Mercury-esque King of All Cosmos destroy the stars in a drunken fugue, and you, the diminutive Prince, must restore them with the Katamari -- a magical sticky ball that snowballs through cluttered environments, rolling up paperclips, flowerpots, cows, buses, houses, skyscrapers, and continents into new constellations. It also boasts one of the most infectiously joyous soundtracks of all time -- an eccentric, richly produced, and incredibly catchy blend of funk, salsa, bossa nova, experimental electronica, J-Pop, swing, lounge, bamboo flute, hair metal, buoyant parade music, soaring children's choirs, Macintalk fanfares, and the finest theme song this side of Super Mario Bros. Called a consumerist critique by sculptor-turned-developer Keita Takahashi (who after one sequel moved on to Glitch, the supremely odd Noby Noby Boy, and playground design), the series has inspired much celebration and thought [2, 3] on its way from budget bin to MoMA exhibit. Look inside for essays, artwork, comics, lyrics, more music, hopes, dreams... my, the internet really is full of things. [more inside]
Samantha Peterson slams her case for having a fat body in this world. No metaphor necessary. (SLHP)
tholman.com is the playground and folio of interactive developer Tim Holman, where he has posted 15 different projects, both interactive (fizzy cam [info/demo]; ZenPen; Texter; and Image Nodes) and passive (Meet the Ipsums, more than 30 text generators, from corporate to batman; the useless web; dripping paint). [more inside]
The Canine in Converstaion: Dogs in Metaphor and Idiom Illustrated. A Compendium of Words and Phrases Referring to Dogs
J.R. Moehringer's essay discusses the end of football, the immortality of football, head injuries, and why what the sport means to America and to him.
The Mind is a Metaphor. A database of thousands of metaphors organized by category, like 18th century, Liquid, or Jacobite. It's maintained by University of Virginia English Professor Brad Pasanek.
Just wait till we're alone together. Then I will tell you something new, something cold, something sleepy, something of cease and peace and the long bright curve of space. Go upstairs to your room. I will be waiting for you... As a rare October blizzard drifts a blanket of white across the Northeast just before Halloween, what better time to settle in and read (or watch) Conrad Aiken's most famous short story, "Silent Snow, Secret Snow." About a small boy who increasingly slips into an ominous fantasy of isolation and endless snow, it could be viewed as a metaphor about autism, Asperger's syndrome, and even schizophrenia before such conditions even had names. In addition to the 1934 short story, the tale has also been adapted as a creepy 1966 black-and-white short film (also at the Internet Archive) and as a Night Gallery episode (1, 2) narrated by Orson Welles. Or for a more academic take, see the essay "The Delicious Progress" examining Aiken's use of white as a symbol of psychological regression.
"Writing about metaphor is dancing with your conceptual clothes off, the innards of your language exposed by equipment more powerful than anything operated by the TSA. Still, one would be a rabbit not to do it in a world where metaphor is now top dog, at least among revived rhetorical devices with philosophical appeal." [What's a Metaphor For?]
Daniel Soar on the militarisation of metaphor: Spies aren’t known for their cultural sensitivity. So it was a surprise when news broke last month that IARPA, a US government agency that funds ‘high-risk/high-payoff research’ into areas of interest to the ‘intelligence community’, had put out a call for contributions to its Metaphor Program, a five-year project to discover what a foreign culture’s metaphors can reveal about its beliefs.
Democrats help radical conservatives by accepting the deficit frame and arguing about what to cut. Even arguing against specific "cuts" is working within the conservative frame. What is the alternative? Pointing out what conservatives really want. Point out that there is plenty of money in America, and in Wisconsin. It is at the top. George Lakoff, professor of linguistics at UC, Berkeley, analyzes the metaphors conservatives use to frame issues and exposes what they really want. (Previously), (previously), (more previously), etc.
Life of a woman. Bare, simple line drawings. Many open to interpretation.
Vulgar Army: Octoprop to Octopop is "an informal study into the representation of the Octopus in propaganda and political cartoons, and influence on, or co-option of, popular culture." [more inside]
Sparks of Life. "That the electric 'spark of life' figured prominently in debates over the nature of life in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries is well known. Less well known is the fact that prior to this period, gunpowder was often identified with the substances that were necessary to life, if not as a vitalistic spirit, then as an essential element in the animation of the body. The idea of a spark of life went back to ancient times, likening living beings to the glowing embers of a fire. In the Old Testament, for example, the wise woman of Tekoah begs for the life of her son, pleading 'they will stamp out my last live ember.' But from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, this vital flame was often equated with gunpowder. There was fire in the blood: not electric, but pyrotechnic fire."
They started out as spritely saplings, but something went horribly wrong.... The lucky ones merely got a little funny, the others became tormented, monstrous. Creepy Trees.
Pax Corleone Americana? "Can any of the candidates vying to become the next president of the United States match Michael’s cool, dispassionate courage in the face of epochal change? Will they avoid living in the comforting embrace of the past, from which both Tom and Sonny ultimately could not escape? Or will they emulate Michael’s flexibility—to preserve America’s position in a dangerous world?" The Godfather as metaphor.
How do you see time? Florentine graphic designer Camilla Torna is collecting hand-drawn personal visions of "time." It started as a personal collection from friends and students in the 1990s. In 2006 it was on-line with a submission form. Submissions are can be sorted by theme words, style or age of artist. Ages range from those in their first decade of life to those in their 70s. (Via Information Aesthetics)
The marine flatworm Pseudobiceros hancockanus engages in penis fencing [video]. SFW, I guess, unless your boss is a super uptight nudibranch or something.
Former Senator and current Presidential candidate Mike Gravel (D-AK) wants you to rock the vote ... or something.
"As he has before, Bush told the story about how his first presidential decision was to pick a rug for the Oval Office..." In a speech before Ohio High Schoolers and business leaders in a Republican district outside of Dayton, the President made some interesting commentary on marriage, chicken-plucking, polling, his own legacy, comparisons between Iraq and Vietnam, and of course, the rug. Apparently, he loves the rug like Ronald Reagan loved Jelly Beans, talking about it all the time, even on the whitehouse.gov's video tour. Shortly after a President takes office, they make their own imprint on the character of the Oval Office by redecorating, a task usually taken by the First Lady. The rug, designed by Laura Bush is sunshine yellow, as the President stated he wanted the room to convey a sense of optimism, "because you can't make decisions unless you're optimistic that the decisions you make will lead to a better tomorrow." Hopefully the rug doesn't become a bookended anecdote to another Presidential "rising" sun.
NASCAR as an example of a meritocracy with equal opportunity for all. While frequently maligned for it's relatively primitive technology (excluding safety ), the total lack of mechanical resemblance (other than appearance) of the "stock" cars to the brand they represent, soap-opera-slash-professional wrestling story lines, and being ripe political target for both the right and the left as well as marketers, it is a strong cultural force. The entrance of Toyota (likely to surpass GM as #2 US automaker in the near-future) into NASCAR (with the hopes of "winning on Sunday and selling on Monday" in the heartland) and the cheating scandal currently unravelling highlight an important concept woven into NASCAR's culture. [more]
War as metaphor, again. The linguist George Lakoff writes a sequel to his seminal piece on the first Gulf war. The Nation as Person, The Just War, War as Business (and Politics), War as Fairy Tale: will these ways of thinking ever be re-framed in the interests of peace and common humanity? Not if any dissent from the accepted line continues to be silenced. Source: Too Much News