Robin James: The Other Secret Twist: On the Political Philosophy of The Good Place (LA Review of Books)
Eleanor recognizes that only in The Bad Place would people be forced to treat others as disposable…so they must be in The Bad Place. And when she makes decisions on the assumption that she isn’t in an ideal world, this throws a wrench in Michael’s plan. He has to reboot that world because Eleanor’s behavior has become incompatible with it. Eventually (in “Team Cockroach” S2E4) Michael joins them, realizing that he needs their help if he himself is to escape the ultimately punitive and carceral regime of which he is a part. That’s what the show spends the rest of season 2 doing: season 2 is about mostly white women and people of color (and one white male accomplice who literally is a mostly(?) reformed demon…plus Janet, who I’ll get to later) collectively practicing philosophy on the assumption that the world they live in is not in fact equal but designed to harm and oppress them.

[...]

Beginning from the assumption that everyone’s on more or less an equal playing field and thus entitled to equal weight in the conversation (and that people generally want to do the right thing, which Mills calls the assumption of “strict compliance”), this is the same “both sides” liberalism that Mills critiques as ideal theory. Despite what Schur tells us the show’s message is, season 2 shows us a very different message, one about the importance of beginning from the assumption that you—especially if you are a white woman, person of color, or non-human person—are in The Bad Place. And you’re there not because of anything you did, but because White Men engineered it that way for their benefit.
television  philosophy  politics  ethics 
3 days ago
Howard Zinn: Don’t Despair about the Supreme Court (The Progressive)
It would be naive to depend on the Supreme Court to defend the rights of poor people, women, people of color, dissenters of all kinds.
activism  america  law  democracy  politics 
7 days ago
Maria Bustillos: How Staying Small Helps New Directions Publish Great Books (The New Yorker)
The size of the company, which is held in trust, is dictated by the terms of Laughlin’s will. There are, and will be, just nine employees, and the number of books the company may publish each year is also fixed. Profits are generally reinvested, and the relatively low salaries paid to staff are balanced out by policies like an annual bonus system—which alone might make up ten or fifteen percent of a year’s earnings—and a retirement savings plan. These constraints were baked into New Directions’ business model in the interest of quality and longevity. “We’re expected to make our own way financially,” Epler told me. “The trust is just how he left it to make it safe, so we couldn’t be bought by a larger corporation.”

As intended, those constraints have factored deeply into the company’s acquisition strategy. Its employees leverage connections, taste, a worldly sensibility, a capacity for risk, and thrift in order to bring revenues to the company and fine new books to a global readership.
literature  business 
10 days ago
Lacey Donohue: Against Their Will, Men Learned Something Yesterday (Hmm Daily)
On men’s reaction to the Kavanaugh hearing.
Yesterday, many women wept and tweeted about weeping, but the men seemed to be taking it even harder, to be shaken by it, broken even.

And they seemed to be broken because, perhaps, for the first time ever, they had to face the reality of what existence is like for all the women in their lives. They had to understand that every bit of progressive advice they’ve given women at bars, over dinner tables, in annual reviews, or under covers didn’t fucking matter. It meant that those firm conversations filled with directives—we all know what they sound like—to just “ask for that raise,” or just “go to HR and tell on your boss,” or “OK, if I’m being honest, what’s wrong with you is that you apologize too much” actually carry no weight.

Because yesterday, the liberal men saw that a woman can take their advice, march into a room, and tell her truth, and she can walk out of the room
sexism 
10 days ago
David Dudley: Against Leaf Blowers
But let’s be honest: We as Americans have set certain landscaping expectations for our office parks, our median strips, and our suburban yards, and it involves blowing. Ours is a nation too vast to be groomed by hand tools. So we must learn to co-exist with these man-machine hybrids, the Blower Guys, as they roam the grasslands, blasting organic debris before them with their mighty nozzles. (A little-discussed complication to the arguments of anti-blower partisans: Like ripping an awesome burnout or firing a machine gun at a roadside gun range in Las Vegas, wielding a pro-grade leaf blower can be a wasteful-but-satisfying projection of power. It’s akin to being some kind of ancient wind deity.)
noise  pollution  landscaping 
11 days ago
Briahna Gray, Camille Baker: The Unbearable Dishonesty of Brett Kavanaugh (The Intercept)
Importantly, having “no recollection” of the night in question, or no “knowledge” of the alleged events is not the same as saying it didn’t happen — especially since Ford never alleged that anyone but Kavanaugh and Judge witnessed the assault. So why would a judge, someone presumably familiar with the implications of what it often means when a witness avers they “do not recall,” so grossly mischaracterize the nature of those statements?
politics  news  assault  rape  fucktheseguysstraighttohellforever 
14 days ago
Robin James: Toned down for what? How 'chill' turned toxic
Like its ancestor cool, chill does double duty as a prestige marker. On the one hand, in the post-#MeToo era, chill masculinity seems infinitely preferable to so-called “toxic masculinity”, which is predatory and self-destructive. But even though Sheeran’s tame romanticism may feel less toxic than the slightly skeevy masculinity of bro-step, chill is less a step towards equality and more an update on gender and race stereotypes.
music  gender  pop 
16 days ago
Kath Barbadoro: I Think About This a Lot: Salman Rushdie Calling a Woman ‘Gorgeous and Hottt’
It doesn’t matter who you are, horniness makes fools of us all. In the right context, the revelation of that vulnerability can be almost sacred in its intimacy. But in a society that unconditionally gratifies powerful men and derides sexual women, it’s easy for that desire to get turned inside out, to become weaponized against its object.
sexism  fame  celebrity 
16 days ago
Tara Brach: Guided Meditations
Guided meditations are offered freely by Tara Brach, Ph.D, psychologist, author and teacher of meditation, emotional healing and spiritual awakening.
meditation  free 
19 days ago
UCLA Health: Guided Meditations
For an introduction to mindfulness meditation that you can practice on your own, stream or download the guided meditations below. Recorded by UCLA MARC's Director of Mindfulness Education, Diana Winston.
meditation  free 
19 days ago
Sam Worley: In the Dismal Swamp (Popula)
Though Donald Trump has made it into a catchphrase, he didn’t come up with the metaphor “drain the swamp.”
history  trump  language  capitalism  imperialism 
21 days ago
Ross Perlin: The race to save a dying language
The discovery of Hawaii Sign Language in 2013 amazed linguists. But as the number of users dwindles, can it survive the twin threats of globalisation and a rift in the community?
language  asl  hawaii 
21 days ago
Alice Bolin: The Ethical Dilemma of Highbrow True Crime (Vulture)
The “true-crime boom” of the mid- to late 2010s is a strange pop-culture phenomenon, given that it is not so much a new type of programming as an acknowledgement of a centuries-long obsession: People love true stories about murder and other brands of brutality and grift, and they have gorged on them particularly since the beginning of modern journalism.
crime  culture 
25 days ago
Scott Patterson and Alexandra Wexler: Despite Cleanup Vows, Smartphones and Electric Cars Still Keep Miners Digging by Hand in Congo (Wall Street Journal)
Supply chains at Apple, VW and others still include the owner of a mine where workers produce cobalt without safety equipment
apple  capitalism  labor 
25 days ago
Becky Ferreira: Climate Change Exacerbates Hurricane Florence as America Becomes World’s Leading Crude Oil Producer
Hurricane Florence will make landfall in the Carolinas on the same day the US Department of Energy announces that the US has likely surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia in crude oil production.
climatechange  oil 
4 weeks ago
Pseudo-nature Photographers
Nature photographer should capture the true essence of wildlife, not forcing the poor animals to hold an umbrella, dance or do kungfu. The nature is beautiful and interesting as it is. We believe in the true beauty of nature, not fabricated, posed photo at the expense of animal rights.
photography  animals 
4 weeks ago
Jesse Dorris: The Prodigy — The Fat of the Land (Pitchfork)
Today, The Fat Of the Land is easy to swallow, even if mix of party-on and patriarchy leaves a strange taste in the mouth. As usual, Kim Deal knows the score. “Firestarter” was, after all, built on women’s work: that charmed and pissed-off “Hey!” throughout belonged to Anne Dudley, one of the virtuosos behind Art of Noise; the song’s raucous guitar line belonged to Deal, whose Breeders track “S.O.S.” birthed it. “Since I own, like, a quarter of [”Firestarter”]…I root for them since they used a song of mine,” she told the A.V. Club in 2009. “It’s like I’m in the biology club and they’re in the football team, you know?” With The Fat Of the Land, they packed the stadiums.
music  culture 
4 weeks ago
Aaron Hanlon: Postmodernism didn’t cause Trump. It explains him. (Washington Post)
Academic theorists weren’t looking to destroy truth, but to diagnose its collapse.
trump  theory  philosophy 
5 weeks ago
Taylor Link: Andrew Sullivan plays himself, proves “racist” tweets by New York Times hire were innocent (Salon)
In a column Sullivan cited a tweet by Sarah Jeong as an example of racism, failing to realize she was parodying him

[...]

When it comes to racism targeted at people of color, Sullivan insists both sides need to be heard. When it comes to "racism" targeted at white people, you better damn expect a 1,200 word screed attacking the speaker.
racism  journalism 
9 weeks ago
Thread by @nomadj1s: "RE Sarah Jeong: I am not a white person & I don’t know how it feels to you when people of color (POC) generalize about white people But…"
Equating generalizations made by POC about white people & those made by white people about POC strike me as disingenuous at best. they’re informed by very different lived experiences (see above) & have very different material implications (see above)
racism  journalism 
10 weeks ago
Trevor Alixopulos: I Make You a Cocktail: Luna Negra (Popula)
A new song, a capital S Song that persists through your life, is magic. It’s not so much like having a new dish or drink and more analogous to discovering a new color or flavor. My sight feels altered permanently, things are recontextualized.
cocktails  culture  music 
10 weeks ago
ClickRepair: Audio Restoration
ClickRepair is a mature, well-tested, application for declicking and decrackling audio in uncompressed audio files. It has been developed over a period of many years. There is an extensive user manual that is part of the download package. ClickRepair will not operate on compressed audio files, such as mp3, and there are no plans to incorporate such a feature.
audio  software 
11 weeks ago
A “Bike Fun Library” is in the works, just in time for Pedalpalooza
This story was written by Portland bike fun enthusiast and Shift volunteer, One Hwang.

[…]

Members of the public could more easily organize their own Pedalpalooza ride if they had access to a bike ride equipment library, where they could borrow for free a flat bed trailer, sound system, disco ball, batteries, and radio transmitter. Furthermore, if they receive training on how to welcome women and other underrepresented groups, they could help create a more inclusive bike community and address factors that discourage these groups from participation.
portland  bicycle 
11 weeks ago
Automatically delete your old tweets with TweetDelete.net
A service that automatically deletes all your tweets older than a specified age. Allows you to mass delete tweets all at once with no fee required.
twitter 
12 weeks ago
Set your Slack status and availability
How being available/away works in Slack.
12 weeks ago
Elizabeth Newton: The Next Big Thing in Music Theory (Popula)
Whether conscious or compulsive, whether musical or otherwise, the counting seems likely to continue. We will go on quantifying everything from our garbage to our daydreams, calculating what can’t be separated, let alone captured and kept. But we are also beginning to acknowledge measurement’s externalized costs. Music reminds us to redirect resources beyond the confines of measure. Not because the measurements don’t matter, but because we have yet to account for the movements between.
music  musictheory  business 
july 2018
Eric Harvey: How Smart Speakers Are Changing the Way We Listen to Music (Pitchfork)
Indeed, many of the most pressing issues of the streaming music economy—artist compensation, statistical transparency, sexism—remain untouched, if not deepened, by the rise of the smart speaker. Moreover, as Amazon, Apple, and Google continue to carve out their spaces in the voice marketplace, music consumers and musicians alike will continue to fight against the companies’ preferred walled-garden approach to exclusivity. And though there’s no real reason to sympathize with Tidal or Spotify, the idea that the smart speaker industry might become the exclusive province of massive firms with enough capital to experiment (and huge captive audiences to use as guinea pigs) is significant reason for pause, no matter how little one is interested in owning the devices. A world in which three of tech’s “frightful five” become the equivalent of the major labels, with exclusive holdings in hardware and software, and plenty of incentive to lock competitors’ products and content out of their systems, is a chilling idea, and not as far-fetched as it might seem.
musicbusiness  amazon  apple  spotify  music 
july 2018
WP Media Folder
This is a good plugin for media management.
Create folder to order image in your WordPress media manager. WP Media Folder also provides a importer, a gallery manager, media replacer and more.
wordpress  _wordpress-plugins 
july 2018
Music Review: C. Spencer Yeh — The RCA Mark II (Tiny Mix Tapes)
The machine cost $250,000; it stood at a forbidding seven feet tall and stretched the width of the room; it could take up to 12 hours to re-calibrate if a mistake were made. The user would control for pitch, timbre, volume, and envelope for each note individually with a typewriter-like hole-punch, creating a paper script to be fed into the machine. Only the machine’s designers and engineers were even vaguely comfortable with it, and only the most intrepid of composers dared use it.
music  history  synth 
july 2018
Thread by @RinChupeco: “Speaking as someone born in the last years of a dictatorship, you Americans are already several steps in one.”
[The Philippines’] Ferdinand Marcos' greatest trick was convincing people all protesters were communist animals, so when they went missing, few cared. Even after bodies were discovered.

These white people & journalists talking about being civil? These were the rich people, the Fil-Chinese, the mestizos in the Philippines who knew they won't be affected by many of Marcos' policies, and therefore could ignore them even as the killings started.

Marcos was also adept at convincing regular Filipinos that "as long as you don't commit crimes I won't come for you. I'm only getting rid of the 'filth'." He lied, of course. He jailed his most vocal opponents, people whose businesses he wanted to confiscate for his use.
politics  dictatorship  government  democracy  trump 
june 2018
David R. MacIver: On Not Quite Fitting
Centering gender and sexual politics and discussion on the people most strongly affected is absolutely the right thing to do, but I think it’s still useful to be aware that this spectrum exists and literally everybody is somewhere on it (that’s why it’s a spectrum).

This is important for a number of different reasons.

The first is simply that I’m pretty sure that it’s true. It’s good to believe true things. The world makes more sense that way. This model of how people are behaving is (as far as I can tell) extremely consistent with both the data and many many quiet conversations I’ve had with friends about their experiences.

The second is that I think it is extremely helpful to people to understand this about themselves, especially if they are in a boundary area. Stressing about the question “Am I bisexual or am I just faking it?” seems to be an almost universal bisexual experience, and that’s not surprising given this dynamic! When most of what you hear is from people whose sexual identity is burned into their very soul, “I don’t know what’s going on but sometimes I feel like it might be nice to be able to kiss boys??” feels fake in comparison.

It’s also useful from a political point of view. There is strength in numbers, and understanding that the range of experiences includes a much more broad base of people who would experiment if given the option significantly increases our numbers. I’d much rather describe my sexuality as “Look over there!” followed by dropping a smoke bomb and escaping in the confusion, and my decision to identify as bisexual instead is in no small part a political one. I suspect there are quite a lot of others out there who could usefully do the same.

[...]

When most of what you hear is from people whose sexual identity is burned into their very soul, “I don’t know what’s going on but sometimes I feel like it might be nice to be able to kiss boys??” feels fake in comparison.
sexuality  identity 
june 2018
Alex Zielinski: ICE Continues to Deny Immigrants Their Legal Rights in Oregon Prison (Portland Mercury)
"They've been defeated. They have fled terror in their home country only to be welcomed to this country with more terror," Garcia said. "What the government is doing is accomplishing what the cartels never could, which is separating these men from their families."

Philabaum says prison staff have also kept faith leaders from visiting men who've requested their presence. According to ICE's own "detention standards," immigrant detainees must be granted at least some weekend visiting hours from family members, faith leaders, or legal counsel. Those standards also grant detainees free calls to legal counsel, along with a list of free legal aid programs they can call. The detained men have been denied all of these rights.

[...]

"It's important to remember, the law never required these men be detained. The law never required these men be separated from their families," said Philabaum. "And the law definitely never required they be placed in a federal correctional institution."
immigration  humanrights 
june 2018
Portfolio by Renee Gladman (BOMB Magazine)
Renee Gladman is the author of ten works of prose and poetry, most recently *Calamities*, a collection of essay-fictions. Her first monograph of drawings, *Prose Architectures*, was published by Wave Books in 2017. She lives in New England with the poet-ceremonialist Danielle Vogel.
book  drawing  art 
june 2018
Lewis Gordon: The Rise of the Ambient Video Game (The Outline)
‘The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’ and its contemporaries are sensory soothing software several decades in the making.
videogames 
june 2018
Conbini Creations: Super Easy Matcha Ice Cream
I made this green tea ice cream on June 10, 2018 and it turned out really well!
food  recipes 
june 2018
Jeremy Larson: Eminem — The Marshall Mathers LP (Pitchfork)
American culture allowed Eminem to freely negate any kind of identity he wanted to, as was his inherent privilege. But, as the critic Hilton Als wrote in his 2003 essay “White Noise,” it didn’t matter to Eminem. “Mathers never claimed whiteness and its privileges as his birthright because he didn’t feel white and privileged,” Als wrote. It’s interesting, though, that Eminem never negated his masculinity or heterosexuality, two identities that were and, more or less, remain intrinsic to the success of male rappers. His privilege meant that he could shed his racial signifiers and become a ghost, a psychopath, a loving father, a bigot, a clown. So why do fans believe any of this? Why, when they listened to Eminem rip his vocal cords open and disconnect from reality and mimic slitting the throat of his wife while he screams at her to “bleed, bitch bleed” do they take him so seriously?
music 
june 2018
Annalee Flower Horne: How “Good Intent” Undermines Diversity and Inclusion (The Bias)
The harm is that telling people to “assume good intent” is a sign that if they come to you with a concern, you will minimize their feelings, police their reactions, and question their perceptions. It tells marginalized people that you don’t see codes of conduct as tools to address systemic discrimination, but as tools to manage personal conflicts without taking power differences into account. Telling people to “assume good intent” sends a message about whose feelings you plan to center when an issue arises in your community.

[...]

If you want to build a culture of “assuming good intent,” start by assuming good intent in marginalized people.

Assume that they already tried being nice. Assume that their feelings are valid. Assume that, after a lifetime of practice, they are responding to harmful behavior in the way that is safest for them. Prioritize that safety over the momentary discomfort people feel when they realize they’ve done something hurtful.

Culture-setting documents like your code of conduct and corporate values should be designed around protecting marginalized people from harmful behavior. Leave out “assume good intent.” Instead, create a culture that recognizes and pushes back against the ways that marginalized people are dehumanized. Expect people to demonstrate their good intent by treating people with respect.
inclusion  diversity 
june 2018
Will Evans and Alyssa Jeong Perry: Tesla says its factory is safer. But it left injuries off the books (Reveal)
Undercounting injuries is a symptom of a larger problem: Tesla has put electric car manufacturing above safety concerns, former safety experts say.
capitalism 
june 2018
Thread by @eveewing: " LORDT. two black economists i really respect, @SandyDarity and @DarrickHamilton, just published a KILLER report debunking what they call 10 commonly-held myths about the racial wealth gap and how to close it. I'm gonna tweet the hig
Myth 2: The racial homeownership gap is the “driver” of the racial wealth gap.

"Among households that own a home, white households have nearly $140,000 more in net worth than comparable black households. While the wealth ratio between whites & blacks may narrow somewhat among those who own a home, a 6-figure wealth differential remains."

Primarily, Sandy & Darrick seem to take issue with the causal implications here. "By definition, homeownership/home equity is a component of wealth. Hence, the statement that 'homeownership drives wealth' is equivalent to saying that 'wealth drives wealth.'"

"The idea that homeownership creates wealth simply may put the relationship backward. Rather than homeownership creating wealth, having family wealth in the first place leads to homeownership, particularly high equity homeownership."

[...]

TL;DR - WE NEED REPARATIONS
race  economy 
june 2018
Liz Pelly: The Problem with Muzak (The Baffler)
Brand playlists are advertisements, even if Spotify strives to imbue them with so-called editorial integrity. Such uncompensated advertorial playlists are harmful in that they offer artists no option to opt-out, but also because they undercut what can sometimes be a valuable source of revenue for artists. If brands can align themselves with artists without having to pay specifically for individual tracks or artist appearances, what do we think they’ll do? Can we at least give people the option to sell out if they want?
spotify  musicbusiness 
june 2018
Henry Farrell: Neo-Marxism
In juxtaposition, Sullivan’s and Coates’ pieces provide a miniature history of how a certain variety of self-congratulatory openness to inquiry is in actual fact a barbed thicket of power relations. What Sullivan depicts as a “different time” when “neither of us denied each other’s good faith or human worth,” is, in Coates’ understanding, a time where he was required to “take seriously” the argument that “black people are genetically disposed to be dumber than white people” as a price of entry into the rarified heights of conversation at the Atlantic. The “civility” and “generosity of spirit” that supported “human to human” conversation is juxtaposed to Coates’ “teachers” who didn’t see him “completely as a human being.” What was open and free spirited debate in Sullivan’s depiction, was to Coates a loaded and poisonous dialogue where he could only participate if he shut up about what he actually believed.
race  speech  opinion 
june 2018
Doreen St. Félix: How Alexandra Bell Is Disrupting Racism in Journalism (The New Yorker)
The series had its clandestine début, in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant, on New Year’s Eve in 2016. Bell critiqued the Times’s coverage of the death of Mike Brown, in 2014, in which the paper ran side-by-side profiles of the victim and his killer, Darren Wilson, under the joint headline “Two Lives at a Crossroads in Ferguson.” Bell and many other readers felt that the framing of equivalence, and of tragic coincidence, diminished what had happened that August afternoon. Bell erected a diptych of her own, with Wilson’s profile whittled down to read, simply, “Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown.” The second panel bore the new headline “A Teenager with Promise,” I noted last year, when I interviewed Bell.
art  race  journalism 
june 2018
Finn Cohen: In Defense of Trance (Pitchfork)
The melodramatic style of dance music was born alongside the European Union’s utopian vision. But how does it fit into the Continent’s current wave of political and social upheaval?

[...]

The boutique hotel in Ibiza called Ushuaïa is located on a stretch of the beach that is less a tribute to the Mediterranean island’s storied dance history and more a feudal system of investment properties. Competing bass kicks from the poolside bars of adjacent hotels ping-pong between buildings, creating syncopations of privilege. Packs of day drinkers lounge a few yards away from African immigrants in knockoff Yankees caps, standing just far enough away in the sand to avoid being seen as interlopers. There are waist-high red ceramic cats holding serving trays in the entrance to the lobby, and chairs that look like well-toned butts. And up on the rooftop bar, Armin van Buuren is ushering in the sunset with a short DJ set.
music  history 
june 2018
The Life of Bolaji Badejo
The man who played the alien in ‘Alien.’
history  movies 
june 2018
Hannah Giorgis: The Trumpian Dissonance of Kanye West's ‘Violent Crimes’ (The Atlantic)
It is not Nori and Chicago’s essential personhood that prompts West to nurture them, but their relationship to him: one in which he is both role model and custodian, dream giver and disciplinarian. West cherishes the attendant control. Even in his attempt to share a realization that affects how he will now treat a sizable portion of the population, West once again centers himself.

[...]

West pays particular attention to the contours his daughters’ bodies may develop in the future, referencing his wife’s famously enhanced curves in the process. He threatens hypothetical future boyfriends, then imagines a scenario in which a battered daughter comes racing back to him. The lines are disturbing, reminiscent of how Donald Trump speaks about his eldest daughter, whom he has called “hot” and whose sex life he often alludes to. On an album full of references to a president whom West has received no shortage of criticism for defending, “Violent Crimes” stands out for the perverse intimacy with which it links West to Trump. The two men’s arrogance may be staggering, but the ease with which they discuss—and seek to control—women’s bodies is just as striking. Both men draw from deep reservoirs of entitlement; when trained on girls and women, that potent mixture of shielding and possession can grow much more pernicious.
music  feminism 
june 2018
Rawiya Kameir: Kanye West, wyd?!?! (The Fader)
Across ye’s seven tracks, Kanye digs his heels in — no apologies, no regrets or introspection, just barely coherent thoughts and barely complete songs. In fact, its single most original idea, and the only one I hope seeps into the culture is its brevity, though even that is wielded unsuccessfully.
music 
june 2018
Meaghan Garvey: Kanye West — Ye (Pitchfork)
As West sells it, ‘ye’ is an album devoted to the stand-off between visceral self-loathing and baroque levels of narcissism, further complicated by mental illness and a recent opiate addiction. Listening to ‘Killing You,’ it’s unclear whether West’s violent thoughts are directed at his wife or towards himself, or if he even means it at all: maybe a homicidal fantasy is just another badass way to start an album, an inverted “Ultralight Beam.” It is the work of a broken man, whatever the case. But to meet West on his terms here feels impossible. In his world, self-expression justifies itself, and speaking your most twisted thoughts out loud is an act of bravery, one that makes ‘I Thought About Killing You’ not just a fine thing to write and share, but a work made from a place of love. Art, then, is a way of existing beyond reproach, an excuse for everything.
music  art 
june 2018
Matt Alt: The United States of Japan (New Yorker)
Japan made itself rich in its industrial era by selling things like cars, TVs, and VCRs, but it made itself loved in those Lost Decades by selling fantasies. Hello Kitty, comics, anime, and Nintendo games were the first wave—“the big can-opener,” as the game designer Keiichi Yano put it. Now those childhood dreams haven given way to a more sophisticated vision of a Japanese life style, exemplified in the detached cool of Haruki Murakami novels, the defiantly girly pink feminism of kawaii culture, the stripped-down simplicity of Uniqlo, the “unbranded” products of Muji, and the Japanese “life-changing magic” of Marie Kondo. That these Japanese products are so popular, not only in America but in developed nations around the world, may indicate that we’re all groping for meaning in the same post-industrial haze.
japan  culture  america  history  capitalism 
june 2018
How Black Panther Asks Us to Examine Who We Are To One Another
Rahawa Haile considers how, by sliding between the real and unreal, Black Panther frees us to imagine the possibilities — and the limitations — of an Africa that does not yet exist.

---

How then does one criticize what is unquestionably the best Marvel movie to date by every conceivable metric known to film criticism? How best to explain that Black Panther can be a celebration of blackness, yes; a silencing of whiteness, yes; a meshing of African cultures and signifiers — all this! — while also feeling like an exercise in sustained forgetting? That the convenience of having a fake country within a real continent is the way we can take inspiration from the latter without dwelling on its losses, or the causes of them. Black Panther is an American film through and through, one heavily invested in white America’s political absence from its African narrative.

When Killmonger goads a museum curator early on in the film, calling out a history of looting, it is condemnation that falls squarely on Britain’s shoulders. Rarely must the audience think about the C.I.A.’s very real history in Africa. The fact that viewers were steered, at any point, into rooting for Martin Freeman, a British actor playing an American C.I.A. operative who attempts to purchase stolen resources from a white South African arms dealer, means that even a cinematic turducken of imperialist history gets a pass.

[...]

The convenience of having a fake country within a real continent is the way we can take inspiration from Africa without dwelling on its losses.
film  africa  colonialism  movies 
june 2018
Mark Fisher: Phonograph blues
The spectres are textural. The surface noise of the sample unsettles the illusion of presence in at least two ways: first, temporally, by alerting us to the fact that what we are listening to is a phonographic revenant, and second, ontologically, by introducing the technical frame, the unheard material pre-condition of the recording, on the level of content. We're now so accustomed to this violation of ontological hierarchy that it goes unnoticed. But in his Wire piece, Simon refers to the shock he experienced when he first heard records constructed entirely out of samples. I vividly recall the first time I went into studio and heard vocal samples played through a mixing desk; I really do remember saying, 'It's like hearing ghosts...'
culture  music  philosophy 
june 2018
Ed Kilgore: Seniors Are More Conservative Because the Poor Die Off (NY Mag)
A new study suggests that one reason seniors are more conservative politically than younger cohorts of Americans is that poorer people don’t live as long and suffer from health conditions that inhibit voting and other forms of political activity.
politics  america  poverty 
june 2018
Atoosa Moinzadeh: Iranian Icon Googoosh on Being Banned from Singing and Breaking the Rules (Pitchfork)
The singer and actress reflects on her two decades of silence and looks ahead to the new generation discovering her legacy.
music  politics  iran 
june 2018
Thread by @BATHSmusic: Easter eggs in ‘Romaplasm’
i put out a Baths record called Romaplasm last year that i’m still real proud of!! i had to kill like 30 mins and i thought it’d be fun to mention some of the easter eggs (?) in it that people may have missed 😬✨
music 
may 2018
The Glass Armonica: Benjamin Franklin's Magical Musical Invention
In 1761 Benjamin Franklin was in London representing the Pennsylvania Legislature to Parliament. Franklin was very interested in music: he was a capable amateur musician, attended concerts regularly, and even wrote a string quartet! One of the concerts Franklin attended was by Deleval, a colleague of his in the Royal Academy, who performed on a set of water tuned wineglasses patterned after Pockridge's instrument. Franklin was enchanted, and determined to invent and build 'a more convenient' arrangement.

Franklin's new invention premiered in early 1762, played by Marianne Davies—a well known musician in London who learned to play Franklin's new invention. Initially Franklin named it the 'glassychord', but soon settled on 'armonica' as the name for his new invention—after the Italian word for harmony "armonia". Apparently Franklin built a second instrument for Ms. Davies, as she toured Europe with hers, while Franklin returned to Philadelphia with his own.
music  history 
may 2018
Lili Loofbourow: Tina Fey Doesn’t Need David Letterman’s Approval (Slate)
Tina Fey and Rachel Bloom are changing the way female comics engaged with male gatekeepers.

[...]

That might be what’s most remarkable about these interviews: Despite their candor, these female comics aren’t cold or unavailable or uninteresting. They’re almost actively carving out a “third way”: not playing along and not charging toward confrontation. That doesn’t mean they withhold the kinds of intimate disclosures that make conversations like these worthwhile: Fey breaks down talking about her father, and Bloom is frank about her fears of becoming a parent. But both firmly decline to participate in the standard insider dynamic. The takeaway, for those tuning in, is that these conversations aren’t about showcasing the camaraderie of those onstage or behind the mic. Rather than affirm her links to Letterman against an audience that doesn’t “get” her sketch, Fey talks to them—and shows she’s listening, and that her frame of reference is bigger than the usual club of two.

comedy 
may 2018
Jillian Mapes: Why Spotify’s New Policy on Hateful Conduct Is a Flawed Step Forward (Pitchfork)
Here in late capitalism, our only real power is as consumers, en masse. We need organizing forces like #MuteRKelly. But can a company that is still making money off the person they are protesting ever really play that role?
music  sexualassault  musicbusiness  metoo 
may 2018
End the White House Correspondents’ Dinner
Which brings us to journalists’ general silence when Trump and his lackeys say cruel things about Muslims, Mexicans, and immigrants. Journalists believe they must remain mum, lest they appear biased. God forbid one has a bias against racism; that must be an enormous handicap in performing journalism in a nation that is projected to not have a racial or ethnic majority within the next four decades. The same night that Wolf made her true statements at the correspondents’ dinner, Trump supporters at a Trump event booed the mention of “Hispanics,” literally condemning an entire ethnicity — for the second time in a single week.

I suppose reporters do what they must to get the stories they can. But I’d encourage them to avoid signaling to the American people that you either don’t realize or don’t care that we are being lied to every day, that we can’t trust you to recognize authoritarianism and fascism when you see it, that you are so far removed from the life of “citizen” in your pursuit of information of these elites that when they’re separating us into Childless Unmarrieds and Women Deserving of Respect, you’re not going to sit by quietly, unable to speak out, lest you show “bias” that inhibits your ability to claim an EXCLUSIVE! SCOOP! handed to you by officials who have decided they’re okay with that information getting out.
uspol  whcd 
may 2018
Albert Burneko: You Can't Bully These Motherfuckers (The Concourse)
Bullying happens along a gradient of existing power and reiterates it. That’s the difference between bullying and a fair fight: The bully is bigger and stronger and safer, and wields those advantages over someone smaller and weaker and more vulnerable. Michelle Wolf got off some zingers at Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s expense at an ultra-exclusive social event entirely filled by people whose livelihoods Sanders holds in her hands. Beyond that, as a basic function of her job, Sanders enjoys access to the water main of American political consciousness unmatched by pretty much any living person not named Donald Trump—a privilege she uses only and entirely for the purpose of pumping poison into it, aided by a healthy plurality of the people in that room but not by Michelle Wolf. I doubt there is a forum in existence in which Wolf could do anything that would qualify as “bullying” the press secretary of the President of the United States, but even if there is, the fucking White House Correspondents’ Dinner isn’t it.
speech  politics  uspol 
may 2018
Jeremy Larson: Wolf Parade — I'll Believe in Anything
What is an emotional man (I know, even writing that feels hideous) that isn’t consigned to the lower echelon of masculinity such as the “weepy horny beard guy” or the too-eager hyperactive type. How does one fight the stigma of being emotional without succumbing to the very stigma itself. How does one live righteously while suppressing a majority of feelings every day. I’m not sure. I buckle under a wave of stoicism exerted by a history of fathers every day.
emotion  masculinity  music  nostalgia 
may 2018
The Heart of Whiteness: Ijeoma Oluo Interviews Rachel Dolezal, the White Woman Who Identifies as Black (The Stranger)
I ask her some easy questions, but she answers them with increasing irritation. When we have been together for three hours, I feel it's time to ask The Question.

It's the same question that other black interviewers have asked her. A question she seems to deeply dislike—so much so that she complains about the question in her book. But even in the book, it's not a question she actually answers: How is her racial fluidity anything more than a function of her privilege as a white person?

If Dolezal's identity only helps other people born white become black while still shielding them from the majority of the oppression of visible blackness, and does nothing to help those born black become white—how is this not just more white privilege?
culture  race 
april 2018
Justin Charity: Rachel Dolezal’s Grotesque Idea of Identity (The Ringer)
But, crucially, Dolezal does explain what she thinks blackness entails, and what she thinks it means to be black. She talks about civil rights activism and black authors. She talks about hair. She does hair. She brags that none of her black clients dropped her in light of the scandal. Dolezal proudly mismanages her own haggard braids, which she clearly regards as a crucial set piece in her grotesque production of blackness. Dolezal talks about blackness as if it were reducible to two qualities, and only two qualities: scholarship and aesthetics. It cannot occur to her that blackness—a social construction, indeed—is a comprehensive and involuntary realm of experience. White power invented it, and white power enforces it, but, paradoxically, black people own blackness. Throughout the documentary, several black women tell Dolezal as much. Dolezal disputes their authority in the vaguest terms, but nonetheless assuredly. She has decided that she is black, so she’s black. Dolezal
race  fame  politics 
april 2018
Sheldon Pierce: With Kendrick Lamar’s Pulitzer Win, The World May Finally Be Catching Up to Rap (Pitchfork)
“Anyone perusing the list of past winners cannot help noticing that many if not most of the country’s greatest musical minds are conspicuously missing,” composer John Adams told the New York Times in 2003, the year he won the prize for “On the Transmigration of Souls,” a commissioned reflection on the 9/11 attacks. Adams listed off many of the notable musicians who never earned a Pulitzer, from “Monk (Meredith or Thelonious)” to Philip Glass to Laurie Anderson. “Most if not all of these genuinely creative spirits have been passed over year after year, often in favor of academy composers who have won a disproportionate number of prizes.” The sentiment was clear: prize jurors prefer the safe and scholarly to the unpredictable and world-shifting.
hiphop  rap  music  race 
april 2018
Carbon
A neat way to create clean screenshots of code.
Create and share beautiful images of your source code. Start typing or drop a file into the text area to get started.
programming  code  utility 
april 2018
What to Do When You See Unaccompanied Black Children in Public Spaces. (Beyond Baby Mamas)
Single parents across race and class lines struggle to secure safe and affordable childcare on short notice, and often those parents are faced with hard decisions. They can take the children to work or to a job interview with them and risk violating company policy (and, by extension, their chances of maintaining or securing a position with the company). They can leave the children at home, if they’re old enough, in “latchkey” situations. They can leave them with a childcare provider they don’t know and haven’t had time to vet. Or they can cancel their obligation, risking much-needed income. No decision is without its consequences, but black mothers find themselves making these decisions (and facing legal and penal consequences) disproportionately. These institutional consequences compound the economic stress and hardship one-income households already face.
children  parenting  race 
april 2018
Michael Cohen and the End Stage of the Trump Presidency
Ehhhhhhh I’m *real* skeptical of the ‘this is it’ thing ‘cause we‘ve heard it a thousand times now. But I want to save this for posterity.
The raid on the offices of President Trump’s personal lawyer makes clear that Trump’s battle with the special counsel, Robert Mueller, is entering its final chapter.
politics  trump 
april 2018
Dani Beckett: 100 Easy Ways to Make Women's Lives More Bearable (Broadly)
Mainly, just listen to women. Listen to us and believe us. It’s the only place to start if you actually want all women to have a “Happy International Women’s Day.”
feminism 
april 2018
Austin Powell: Inside the booming black market for Spotify playlists (Daily Dot)
A new type of Payola is taking place on Spotify, with artists using third-party services to get added to influential playlists, and the company is inadvertently paying for it.
music  spotify  money  musicindustry 
april 2018
Paul Ford: Bitcoin Is Ridiculous. Blockchain Is Dangerous. (Bloomberg)
The true believers won’t stop until they’ve remade the world. Some of it will be thrilling. Some of it will keep us up at night.

[...]

What Silicon Valley loves most isn’t the products, or the platforms underneath them, but markets. “Figure out the business model later” was the call of the early commercial internet. The way you monetize vast swaths of humanity is by creating products that people use a lot—perhaps a search engine such as Google or a social network like Facebook. You build big transactional web platforms beneath them that provide amazing things, like search results or news feeds ranked by relevance, and then beneath all that you build marketplaces for advertising—a true moneymaking machine. If you happen to create an honest-to-god marketplace, you can get unbelievably rich.
capitalism  tech  money 
april 2018
Paul Ford: Silicon Valley Has Failed to Protect Our Data. Here’s How to Fix It (Bloomberg)
It’s time for a digital protection agency. It’s clear ethics don’t scale, and it’s not just Facebook’s problem.
analytics  ethics  facebook  politics  privacy 
april 2018
Will Lynch: Edit Etiquette (Resident Advisor)
Are there rules when it comes to edits? Should there be? RA's Will Lynch explores all sides of a thorny issue that shows no sign of going away.

[...]

Is it really enough to tweak a platinum-selling record and put your name on it? It doesn't help that many edits, not least those in the Wolf + Lamb camp, replace the original artist's name with that of the editing artist ("Soul Clap - Extravaganza" instead of "Jamie Foxx - Extravaganza (Soul Clap Edit)"). Granted, this is only meant to keep snooping lawyers from stumbling upon an illegal edit through Google, and when the edit is of a widely known pop song, the assumption is that listeners will recognize the original. But is that valid?
music  ethics  appropriation 
april 2018
Simon Reynolds: Why Boards of Canada’s Music Has the Right to Children Is the Greatest Psychedelic Album of the ’90s (Pitchfork)
Unlocking the mysteries behind the Scottish electronic duo’s hallucinatory classic, which turns 20 this month.
music 
april 2018
Thread by @RVAwonk on the danger of conspiracy theories
Functioning societies depend on shared, socially-mediated sources of knowledge. It's the glue that holds societies together. Conspiracy theories ask us to give up more & more of our trust in each other, and in our knowledge-generating mechanisms.

Conspiracy theories come at a cost.

They ask us to give up on our trust in knowledge, in knowledge-producing institutions, and in each other.

And so ultimately, they ask us to give up on the fabric of society altogether.
politics  america  trump 
april 2018
Thread by @drvox on This American Life episode discussing the women sexually assaulted by Don Hazen #metoo
Not all of the damage he did was dramatic; not every life was ruined. But in every case, he left behind a new increment of self-doubt and regret, a story arc sent somewhat askew. None of the women in his wake were granted closure or redemption.

Listening to them tell their own stories -- Hazen was not the first or only manipulative man they had encountered -- made me think about how, for women, these little incidents just pile up, and pile up, and pile up, creating an extra weight they must lug everywhere.

If we valued women as individual human beings, autonomous and freestanding, with their own talents and stories, due the basic respect all humans are due -- not as caricatures & archetypes in men's heroic journeys -- we would see this accumulation as an ancient and ongoing tragedy, an enormous squandering of human potential stretched out over generations and generations, still underway as we speak. We would be horrified.

That we still think of these stories as men's stories, think of men as the protagonists, worry over men's jobs and reputations, shows that we do not. We say we do, but we do not.
metoo  sexualassault  story 
april 2018
Erene Stergiopoulos: How Long Can You Take Antidepressants? (VICE)
Experts recommend people stay on antidepressants for four to nine months after remission, but some keep taking them for years.
medicine  depression  mentalillness 
april 2018
Jake Bittle: Postal-Service Workers Are Shouldering the Burden for Amazon (The Nation)
The tech giant’s rise has pushed mail clerks and carriers to the breaking point.
amazon  mail  usps 
march 2018
Peter Sokolowski: Reverse Logic (Merriam-Webster Unabridged)
So as work on the Third was winding down he took another step to address a kind of question that only a computer could easily answer: he set the typing staff the new task of creating a 3”x5” slip for virtually every word that appeared in boldface in the dictionary typed backward, each letter followed by a space (and spelled normally, without the extra spaces, below its backward spelling).
dictionary 
march 2018
John Metta: I, Racist
What follows is the text of a “sermon” that I gave as a “congregational reflection” to an all White audience at the Bethel Congregational United Church of Christ on Sunday, June 28th. The sermon was begun with a reading of The Good Samaritan story, and this wonderful quote from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah. Credit for this speech goes to Chaédria LaBouvier, who’s “Why We Left“ inspired me to speak out about racism; to Robin DiAngelo, who’s “White Fragility“ gave me an understanding of the topic; and to Reni Eddo-Lodge who said “Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race“ long before I had the courage to start doing it again.
racism  america 
march 2018
@drvox thread on conservative columnists at NYT
NYT needs "a voice from the right," but not a voice from the ACTUAL right (which is oriented around white resentment, not any discernible governing philosophy). They need a voice from the Conservatism of the Mind, the noble, principles-base conservatism they imagine.

[These conservative columnists] are just playing their role in a very old parlor game, where Serious Conservatives tell liberals they are bad and wrong (that's what "intellectual diversity" means to elite center-lefties) and liberals proceed to engage in self-loathing hand-wringing about it.

In the name of "exposing readers to diverse viewpoints," NYT is, in practice, obscuring the true nature of today's right. Virtually the entire political elite & most NYT readers are in denial about what the right has become & that denial is increasingly dangerous.
politics  opinion  conservatism 
march 2018
Luke Dittrich: The Brain That Couldn’t Remember (NYT)
The untold story of the fight over the legacy of “H.M.” — the patient who revolutionized the science of memory.
science  brain  memory 
march 2018
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