March 18, 2018
A look back at sad rap: hip-hop has never been too cool for despair
In January 2018, The New Yorker ran the article Lil Xan and the Year in Sad Rap, in which Carrie Battan provides a snapshot of a recent trend where "a cohort of young musicians embraced a depressive sound and became stars." Except the article misses the (slightly) longer history of this sub-genre, focusing on the recent past where Lil Uzi Vert's XO Tour Llif3 is a pinnacle of modern melancholy machismo, but missing 16 year old Yung Lean and his tongue-in-cheek cable broadcast "sadboy" aesthetic earlier in the current sad rap trend, back in 2013. And that's not the beginning, just another starting point. [more inside]
Strangely graceful creatures and spirits
The Original Little Mermaid: Amber Sparks writes on Kay Nielsen, Disney and the sanitization of the modern fairy tale. previously.
Home Design Horror: A New Genre
"And while it is true, as Yudkin (previously) divulges, that his sugar theory aroused opposition from those who believed saturated fat was the culprit in heart disease, the image of him as a shunned prophet, preaching in the wilderness and hounded by agents of industry, leaves out the extent to which his research was disbelieved mainly because the evidence supporting it did not hold up to scrutiny. High-profile attempts to replicate Yudkin’s signature finding that heart attack sufferers tended to be heavy sugar users flat-out failed. Present-day Yudkin disciples have also looked past the extent to which his research was richly supported by the food industry." [more inside]
It was awkward like F minor the first time I saw you naked
Lauren Ruth Ward: the raspy, queer soul singer we deserve or what happens when you mix Florence Welch And Janis Joplin. [more inside]
“LOL...aaaand goku & naruto are real ones 🙌🏾”
It’s Time To Stop Acting Like Nobody Watches Anime [Kotaku] “Despite the genre’s overwhelming popularity, people act as if anime is still a niche interest. When celebrities like Kim Kardashian or Michael B. Jordan say that they’re fans, or Britney Spears posts pictures of her son’s Dragon Ball Z fanart on Instagram, fellow anime-enjoyers are shocked. Anime has actually been mainstream for a couple of decades now.” [more inside]
Black cancer matters
Five-year relative survival is lower for blacks than whites for most cancers at each stage of diagnosis. A 2017 documentary looks at cancer rates in a Georgia Pacific (Koch Brothers) company town, and posits that the economic consequences of racial discrimination increase cancer risk. [more inside]
These same visions
Self-referred as a hybrid form of Krautrock, neo-psychedelia and art punk, Suuns' 2013 release Images Du Futur, featured 20/20 and Edies's Dream. Their latest Felt, according to Pitchfork, "sees the four-piece loosen up and let slip the forces begging for release since their debut". The first three songs for a taste: Watch You, Watch Me, Look No Further and X-ALT.
Cabbage Juice is the New Snake Oil
Jillian Epperly’s recipe for a fermented cabbage slurry that makes “waterfalls” of diarrhea made her the head of what she called a “poop cult.” Thousands embraced her dangerous pseudoscience before a grassroots movement began working to shut her down when Facebook wouldn’t. A fascinating and horrifying account of how dangerous misinformation can entrench itself in the minds of some, who then adamantly resist all debunking or warnings from better-informed, concerned outsiders.
The Guardian reports on the purchase of Powder Mountain, Utah and its transformation into "a utopian club for the millennial elite." According to its founders, "all entrepreneurs in their 30s," Powder Mountain "is becoming a mecca for altruistically minded members of the global elite." The goal of the project is to "be a beacon of inspiration and a light in the world." [more inside]
IDEA Instructions Common algorithms in the form of IKEA instructions.
“...and of course, a choker.”
When my student asked, “Which one is Gen X?” I wanted to respond, “The one your classmates are dressed as. Floral dresses with baggy sweaters, beanies, and work boots? That was us.” I didn’t say that. Because we wore those clothes precisely to avoid becoming an easily legible demographic. Reflections on the 90’s fashion revival, from Racked.
Six Degrees Of Surveillance
In the latest Facebook data breach, Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm founded by Alexander Nix, which specializes in public influence campaigns, was commissioned by Stephen Bannon (who was in turn bankrolled by Robert Mercer) to collect and analyze data on Facebook users. CA adapted an online survey tool developed by academic Aleksandr Kogan. If a Facebook user opted in to the survey, for a small reward, the tool scraped not that user's profile, but the profiles of everybody that user was connected with. As former CA employee and whistleblower Christopher Wylie puts it, the process "scaled well." For relatively small outlay, CA were able to collect the profiles of 50-60+ million Facebook users for Bannon, to then be used for targeted political advertising. [more inside]
There is a pain - so utter -/It swallows substance up -
This Longest Shortest Time episode explores the history of twilight sleep in labor and delivery. Host Andrea Silenzi discusses why women advocated for twilight sleep and what happened to change their minds with author Randi Hutter Epstein. [Heads up: traumatic birth stuff.] [more inside]
New media representations of women in electronic music
How many more must die for this war to end?
Marielle Franco was a queer black human rights activist from Maré favela and a groundbreaking politician — she received more than 46.00 votes, the fifth-most, to become a councilwoman in Rio de Janeiro, the only black female representative and one of seven women on the 51-seat council. Last Wednesday night, after leaving an event called “Young Black Women Who Are Changing Power Structures” she and her driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes were shot and killed. [more inside]
Take your time to treat your friends and neighbors honestly
Simon & Garfunkel's fourth album, Bookends [YT playlist ~30m], was a descendant of their involvement with the film The Graduate and was also their their response to The Beatles' Sgt. Peppers Album. Side A: Bookends Theme, Save The Life Of My Child, America, Overs, Voices Of Old People, Old Friends/Bookends Theme [more inside]
“Akha” starts with the letter “A”
The English Wikipedia entry for human gets at least 5,000 views a day. Wired examines how its current main illustration, a photo of a couple from the Akha community in Thailand, came to replace the Pioneer plaque as a representation of all human beings. On-wiki discussions about the perfect illustration are extensive and ongoing.
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