"If you don't know your own value, somebody will tell you your value, and it'll be less than you're worth." In a brutal and unforgiving vocation, forty-nine year old Bernard Hopkins is the oldest fighter in the history of professional boxing to win and defend a world title. Hopkins has developed his own particular worldview over the course of a rough life and he doesn't mind sharing some of his opinions, one of which, as Carlo Rotella notes, is "He's not shy about pointing out that both private and public interests invest heavily in the social failure of black men." Why has Hopkins lasted over twenty-five years in his fight career and what do his opponents in the ring fear most? It's his mind. (NYT)
Like blasted pecs or a little rhinestone flag pin, esoteric taste in music is an indicator of values. Under the heel of the major-label system in the early ’90s, indie taste meant more than liking weird bands. To care about obscure bands was to reject the perceived conformity of popular culture, to demand a more nuanced reading of the human experience than Amy Grant’s “Baby Baby” and therefore to assert a certain kind of life. That assertion was central to my identity as a young adult, and I found that people who shared it were more likely to agree with me on seemingly unrelated issues. Like all aesthetics, taste in music is a worldview.
The New York Times Magazine's latest issue, The Lives They Lived, is a tribute to cultural icons that have died in 2012. Adam Yauch, a.k.a MCA of the Beastie Boys, is featured on the cover. [more inside]