August 1, 2017

The PEN is mightier

PEN America launches the PEN America Digital Archive, capturing more than 50 years of cultural programming at the intersection of literature and freedom of expression advocacy. The free, online archive makes available to the public long-inaccessible records of literary milestones featuring the world’s foremost writers, intellectuals, and artists. Explore the archive by advanced search, the archive index (by subject heading or participant), or view one of the curated features.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:26 PM PST - 3 comments

Мумий Тролль (Mumiy Troll)

Mumiy Troll is a Russian rock group, founded in 1983 in Vladivostok by vocalist and songwriter Ilya Lagutenko. The literal name of the band, 'The mummies' troll', is a pun on Moomin Troll, the series of Finnish children's books by Tove Jansson.(previously) The band members call themselves “Far Eastern, evergreen romantics” . [more inside]
posted by ambulocetus at 8:50 PM PST - 4 comments

...danced in the wind like an arachnid doing the Hokey Pokey.

Kat Russo of Loveland, Colorado, is the 35th grand-prize winner of the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, which challenges writers to concoct the worst opening sentence of a hypothetical novel. (Or, to look at it another way, the best sentence in the genre of "bad opening sentences.") The full list of winners, runners-up, and dishonorable mentions. [more inside]
posted by Shmuel510 at 8:13 PM PST - 25 comments

sociopaths, clueless, and losers

The Gervais Principle, Or The Office According to “The Office”, Venkatesh Rao [previously, and since complete]
The Gervais Principle is this: Sociopaths, in their own best interests, knowingly promote over-performing losers into middle-management, groom under-performing losers into sociopaths, and leave the average bare-minimum-effort losers to fend for themselves. The Gervais principle differs from the Peter Principle, which it superficially resembles. The Peter Principle states that all people are promoted to the level of their incompetence. It is based on the assumption that future promotions are based on past performance. The Peter Principle is wrong for the simple reason that executives aren’t that stupid, and because there isn’t that much room in an upward-narrowing pyramid. They know what it takes for a promotion candidate to perform at the to level. So if they are promoting people beyond their competence anyway, under conditions of opportunity scarcity, there must be a good reason. ... The Gervais principle predicts the exact opposite: that the most competent ones will be promoted to middle management. Michael Scott was a star salesman before he become a Clueless middle manager. The least competent employees (but not all of them — only certain enlightened incompetents) will be promoted not to middle management, but fast-tracked through to senior management. To the Sociopath level.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:09 PM PST - 44 comments

baby food biopolitics bmi

Food Fatness Fitness is a multidisciplinary scholarly blog on the "power, politics, and practices of food and eating" by a diverse group of researchers and academics. [more inside]
posted by spamandkimchi at 4:02 PM PST - 2 comments

“Stories can dehumanise, demonise and erase.”

Why the Lack of Indian and African Faces in Dunkirk Matters by Sunny Singh [The Guardian] “Knowingly or not, Nolan walks in the footsteps of both film directors and politicians who have chosen to whitewash the past. But why is it so important for Nolan, and for many others, that the film expunge all non-white presence on the beach and the ships? Why is it psychologically necessary that the heroic British troops be rescued only by white sailors? What would change if brave men fighting at Dunkirk wore turbans instead of helmets? What would alter if some of the soldiers offered namaaz on the sands before rising to face the advancing enemy for that one last time? Why is it so important that the covering fire be provided by white French troops rather than North African and Middle Eastern ones?” [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 4:00 PM PST - 60 comments

Masculinity Crises

Jezebel and The Daily Beast respond to David Brooks' New York Times opinion piece, Before Manliness Lost its Virtue
posted by Dressed to Kill at 2:41 PM PST - 114 comments

A paean to carbs and fat

Ode to the Buttered Roll, That New York Lifeline. New Yorkers (but no one else, apparently?) love their buttered rolls for breakfast. "I loved and relied on them when I was very broke and young and coffee still only came from a cart or a deli,” the chef Gabrielle Hamilton said. “I was always annoyed that they didn’t spread the butter evenly, so you had to eat a dry outer ring until you got to the center, where you got a gross mouthful of too much butter — if it even was butter. Still, it was a lifeline.” [more inside]
posted by holborne at 12:33 PM PST - 190 comments

You're already at the top of my piss list!

Last night on the Late Show, Matthew McConaughey revealed that he was a great fan of Steven Colbert's work on the 90s Comedy Central sketch comedy show Exit 57, which Steven said "was watched by a baker's dozen people." McConaughey did a couple of bits from sketches from memory, then the two reprised the show's Newspaper Weatherman sketch. [more inside]
posted by JHarris at 9:07 AM PST - 32 comments

Welcome to La Machine, eh

Compagnie La Machine is a French street theater company based in Nantes (previously, previouslier, also previouslier) famous for building and operating large-scale mechanical creatures. In their North American debut, they brought a 45-ton mythical dragon-horse and a 40 ton giant spider to battle in the streets of Ottawa as part of Canada's sesquicentennial celebrations. It was, to put it mildly, a roaring success. [more inside]
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:55 AM PST - 36 comments

Our fake history

"Have you ever heard that old story about how Napoleon shot the nose off the sphinx, or that Shakespeare was an illiterate fraud, or that Queen Elizabeth was actually a man? This show explores those tall-tales and tries to figure out what’s fact, what’s fiction, and what is such a good story it simply must be told." In this amazing and well-produced podcast, Sebastian Major sets the record straight. But wait! There are more historical myths that need debunking, so there's more inside [more inside]
posted by Pyrogenesis at 1:29 AM PST - 61 comments

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