paulgreer + essays   35

Know thyself… by writing your first novel
Write from your stomach, not your head or heart. When you have an idea, wait. The longer you do, the more fully formed your story will come out.
The necessity of writing comes before its beauty. Imagine listening to Chopin. Then imagine playing it; the approach is completely different. Think about where you place your fingers, not about its beauty.
Twist your plot like a screw, don’t hammer it like a nail. Events have to be spread out evenly along the narrative so that the story is sustained and developed over the whole narrative.
If a character wants to become rich, rob them first. You need to put obstacles in your characters’ way. Characters must pay some kind of price for what they desire and that cost is our investment in their story.
Dialogue is more like two monologues that only sometimes connect. Your characters should talk ‘at odds’ with each other, addressing their own issues instead of each other’s.
essays  link  writing 
9 weeks ago by paulgreer
How Labour’s Dreadful Antisemitism Debate Has to Change | Novara Media
The standard of debate around Labour’s antisemitism saga has been dire from the start, and both Corbyn’s critics and his supporters on the left have been to blame.
politics  essays  link 
11 weeks ago by paulgreer
Where Is Barack Obama?
Barack Obama was six months into his post–White House life when Donald Trump found a new way to grab his attention. It was a Tuesday morning deep in the mid-Atlantic summer, and, feeling a world away from the Pennsylvania Avenue grind, the former president was reading the New York Times on his iPad.
politics  essays  link 
june 2018 by paulgreer
The NSA’s Hidden Spy Hubs in Eight U.S. Cities
THE SECRETS ARE hidden behind fortified walls in cities across the United States, inside towering, windowless skyscrapers and fortress-like concrete structures that were built to withstand earthquakes and even nuclear attack. Thousands of people pass by the buildings each day and rarely give them a second glance, because their function is not publicly known. They are an integral part of one of the world’s largest telecommunications networks – and they are also linked to a controversial National Security Agency surveillance program.
politics  link  essays 
june 2018 by paulgreer
When we go into government, we all go into government together // New Socialist
The Conservatives – wedded to the continuation of austerity despite the belated recognition by some of its failings and contradictions – lost their majority in an election supposed to solidify it.
politics  essays  link 
june 2018 by paulgreer
Financial Globalisation Has Been a Disaster. Brexit Gives Us a Chance to Resist It
Any attempt to build a socialist government in the UK requires opposing global financial capital, the interests of which are protected by international institutions such as the EU. Brexit provides the left with an opportunity to build a definancialised economy, disentangled from the international financial system that caused the crash of 2008, and free to direct capital away from useless speculation into productive investment.
politics  essays 
june 2018 by paulgreer
The Lost “Third Way”: The Radicalism of Yugoslav Art Before the War - Balkanist
The 1989 Jugoslovanski dokumenti exhibition sought to put Sarajevo on the map by curating a bold exhibit on contemporary Yugoslav art. Ambitious yet also grassroots, it was meant to embody what Croatian artist Željko Kipke would describe as the “trans-avant-garde” druga linija (“the other line”).
Art  essays  link 
june 2018 by paulgreer
A Candid Interview from 1986 with Seminal Photographer Nan Goldin | AnOther
A new Aperture-published book reproduces fascinating interviews from the magazine’s history. Here, read Nan Goldin on The Ballad of Sexual Dependency
Photography  essays  link 
june 2018 by paulgreer
Clash of the Titans: Noam Chomsky & Michel Foucault Debate Human Nature & Power on Dutch TV, 1971 | Open Culture
Today, we're revisiting the clash of two intellectual titans, Noam Chomsky and Michel Foucault. In 1971, at the height of the Vietnam War, the American linguist and the French theorist/historian of ideas appeared on Dutch TV to debate a fundamental question: Is there such a thing as innate human nature? Or are we shaped by experiences and the power of cultural and social institutions around us? The thinkers answered these questions rather differently, giving viewers a fairly succinct introduction to their basic theories of language, knowledge, power and beyond.
essays  brainfood 
may 2018 by paulgreer
You can draw, and probably better than I can
In the early 1980s I met a laughter therapist named Annette Goodheart who told me I could draw. She was at the conference in Boulder to speak on laughter therapy, a subject she took very seriously indeed, and lectured about how we could be healthier in mind and spirit if we laughed more. This was of no help, because I already laughed a great deal, for example at my own jokes.

Annette was also on a panel with a title something like, "Yes, you can draw." She said everyone can draw until we are told or convince ourselves that we cannot. We start out drawing everything we see until that day comes when it is pointed out that our drawing of a dog, for example, looks nothing like a dog. Then we begin to believe we cannot draw.




In the early 1980s I met a laughter therapist named Annette Goodheart who told me I could draw. She was at the conference in Boulder to speak on laughter therapy, a subject she took very seriously indeed, and lectured about how we could be healthier in mind and spirit if we laughed more. This was of no help, because I already laughed a great deal, for example at my own jokes.

Annette was also on a panel with a title something like, "Yes, you can draw." She said everyone can draw until we are told or convince ourselves that we cannot. We start out drawing everything we see until that day comes when it is pointed out that our drawing of a dog, for example, looks nothing like a dog. Then we begin to believe we cannot draw.
drawing  essays 
may 2018 by paulgreer
The Female Pioneers of the Bauhaus Art Movement: Discover Gertrud Arndt, Marianne Brandt, Anni Albers & Other Forgotten Innovators
You'd be forgiven for assuming that the Bauhaus, the modern art and design movement that emerged from the eponymous German art school in the 1920s and 30s, didn't involve many women. Perhaps the famous near-industrial austerity of its aesthetic, especially at large scales, has stereotypical associations with maleness, but also, Bauhaus' most oft-referenced leading lights — Paul Klee, Walter Gropius, Wassily Kandinsky, László Moholy-Nagy, Oskar Schlemmer — all happened to be men. But if we seek out the women of the Bauhaus, what can we learn?
link  essays  Art 
april 2018 by paulgreer
“I’m Sick of Graphic Novels”: An Interview with Craig Thompson
When Craig Thompson’s Carnet de Voyage was released in 2004 it was a book that was immediately beloved by a lot of readers, and by a lot of artists as well. The book reproduces pages of Thompson’s sketchbook on a trip through Europe and North Africa following the release of Blankets while he was on an extended book tour and vacation. Since the book was initially released, Thompson has published Habibi and Space Dumplins, and now Drawn and Quarterly has published a new hardcover edition of Carnet. The edition includes new pages drawn to give some background about Thompson’s first trip to France as well as a more recent one and gives some information about how the book was made. I’ve loved the book since it was first published and though I’ve interviewed Thompson in the past, I wanted to talk about drawing from life, the practice of keeping a sketchbook, and how it’s unlike making a comic in many ways. Thompson also talked about some of his upcoming projects, his need to have “a real human quality to the line.” and why he wants to serialize his next graphic novel.
comics  essays 
april 2018 by paulgreer
What Sharp Teeth You Have - Lauren McCain
lion roared in the night, blasting waves of guttural bass notes across the floor of the Kalahari valley. I felt the reverberations in my spine. The lion must have been within a quarter mile of my tent, and he sounded massive—probably more than 400 pounds, with canines as long as my index finger. A casual swat of his forepaw could kill me.

I slid the few inches from my bedroll onto the tent floor and pressed my abdomen into the canvas. Fighting sleep like a child, I soaked in the sensation and the sound. I wanted to bank it, bring it home, put a jar of it under my bed. But the roaring lulled me from consciousness, as it had throughout the week.
essays 
april 2018 by paulgreer
Letter to an Aspiring Intellectual by Paul J. Griffiths | Articles | First Things
You’ve asked me how to become an intellectual. You’re young, it seems (only young people ask questions of that kind), and you think you might have an intellectual vocation, but you can’t see what to do about it. What should you do in order to become the kind of person an intellectual is? What kind of life permits doing what intellectuals do? How can you begin to have such a life? This is what you ask, and these are good, if grandiose, questions.
essays 
april 2018 by paulgreer
How Syria Came to This
Seven years of horrific twists and turns in the Syrian Civil War make it hard to remember that it all started with a little graffiti.

In March 2011, four children in the southern city of Der’a scrawled on a wall “It’s your turn, Doctor”—a not so subtle prediction that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a British-trained ophthalmologist and self-styled reformer, would go down in the the manner of the Ben Ali regime in Tunisia, the Mubarak regime in Egypt, and eventually, the Qaddafi regime in Libya. But Syria’s story would turn out differently.
world  essays 
april 2018 by paulgreer
Post-Authenticity and the Real Truths of Meme Culture
Reality’s been having a tough time of it lately. From fake news to fake video to the utter charade of our Instagram personas, ‘authenticity’ seems to be over. When everything is an ironic meme, what are the new vectors for talking truth?
essays  fb  bffr  link 
april 2018 by paulgreer
On Self-Respect: Joan Didion’s 1961 Essay from the Pages of Vogue
Here, in its original layout, is Joan Didion’s seminal essay “Self-respect: Its Source, Its Power,” which was first published in Vogue in 1961, and which was republished as “On Self-Respect” in the author’s 1968 collection, Slouching Towards Bethlehem.​ Didion wrote the essay as the magazine was going to press, to fill the space left after another writer did not produce a piece on the same subject. She wrote it not to a word count or a line count, but to an exact character count.
essays  link 
april 2018 by paulgreer
Fix Your Heart or Die: The Startling Empathy of David Lynch | Bright Wall/Dark Room
A remarkable moment occurs during the fourth episode of the miraculous new season of Twin Peaks. David Lynch, returning to the role of FBI Deputy Director Gordon Cole after a quarter of a century, utters a line that is so perfectly calibrated to this current moment in history that he seems almost to be speaking directly to us watching at home.
essays  process 
april 2018 by paulgreer
Touch and Sight Earth and the Heavens - Bertrand Russell
00:00/11:28
Touch and Sight Earth and the Heavens

[hide/show playlist]
Touch and Sight Earth and the Heavens
What Happens and What Is Observed
The Velocity of Light
Clocks and Foot Rules
Space Time
The Special Theory of Relativity
Intervals in Space Time
Einstein's Theory of Gravitation
Proofs of Einsteins Theory of Gravitation
Mass, Momentum, Energy and Action
The Expanding Universe
Conventions and Natural Laws
The Abolition of Force
essays 
april 2018 by paulgreer
The Coming Insurrection
Whatever angle you look at it from, there's no escape from the present. That's not
the least of its virtues. For those who want absolutely to have hope, it knocks down
every support. Those who claim to have solutions are proven wrong almost
immediately. It's understood that now everything can only go from bad to worse.
"There's no future for the future" is the wisdom behind an era that for all its
appearances of extreme normalcy has come to have about the consciousness level
of the first punks.
theory  essays 
april 2018 by paulgreer
The Congress of Vienna
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the conference convened by the victorious powers of the Napoleonic Wars and the earlier French Revolutionary Wars, which had devastated so much of Europe over the last 25 years. The powers aimed to create a long lasting peace, partly by redrawing the map to restore old boundaries and partly by balancing the powers so that none would risk war again. It has since been seen as a very conservative outcome, reasserting the old monarchical and imperial orders over the growth of liberalism and national independence movements, and yet also largely successful in its goal of preventing war in Europe on such a scale for another 100 years. Delegates to Vienna were entertained at night with lavish balls, and the image above is from a French cartoon showing Russia, Prussia, and Austria dancing to the bidding of Castlereagh, the British delegate.
history  essays 
january 2018 by paulgreer
Moby Dick
Melvyn Bragg and guests Herman Melville's (1819-1891) epic novel, published in London in 1851, the story of Captain Ahab's pursuit of a great white sperm whale that had bitten off his leg. He risks his own life and that of his crew on the Pequod, single-mindedly seeking his revenge, his story narrated by Ishmael who was taking part in a whaling expedition for the first time. This is one of the c1000 ideas which listeners sent in this autumn for our fourth Listener Week, following Kafka's The Trial in 2014, Captain Cook in 2015 and Garibaldi and the Risorgimento in 2016. With Bridget Bennett Professor of American Literature and Culture at the University of Leeds Katie McGettigan Lecturer in American Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London And Graham Thompson Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Nottingham Producer: Simon Tillotson.
essays  books 
january 2018 by paulgreer
Top 10 Smart Alternatives to TED Talks
TED talks are great, but there’s a point where they all seem too similar, or are just taxing to muddle through. If you’d still like to enjoy a smart, engaging talk now and again but you’ve had enough of TED, here are some alternative to boost your brain.
essays 
october 2016 by paulgreer
A Master List of 1,200 Free Courses From Top Universities: 40,000 Hours of Audio/Video Lectures
For the past ten years, we’ve been busy rummaging around the internet and adding courses to an ever-growing list of Free Online Courses, which now features 1,200+ courses from top universities. Let’s give you the quick overview: The list lets you download audio
essays 
october 2016 by paulgreer
Reimagining Our World
Reimagining Our World

How we can fix our broken nations, economies, societies and cultures. In these exclusive interviews we speak to Professor Theodore Zeldin (International Best-Selling Author and Scholar), Rutger Bregman (Author, ‘Utopia for Realists’), Paul Mason (Award Winning British Journalist, Broadcaster and Author), Andy Stern (President Emeritus, Service Employees International Union) and Paul Ladd (Director, UNRISD – the United Nations Institute for Social Development). We discuss the social, economic, political and cultural challenges our world faces, and look at potential solutions to create a better future for humanity.
brainfood  essays 
august 2016 by paulgreer
Notes on No Man’s Sky | Brendan Keogh
1. No Man’s Sky is a small videogame made by a tiny, indie studio that, like most small indie videogames, is clearly trying to achieve a very specific experience for a very specific audience. No Man’s Sky is a massive, triple-a videogame being released by Sony on a disc for a full sixty bucks that, like all triple-a games, has to please everyone who plays triple-a videogames. Both these statements are true, which, if nothing else, mostly highlights how categories like ‘indie’ are constructed more from a perceived sense of performed ‘indie-ness’ rather than any quantifiable factors. How you perceive No Man’s Sky is intricately tied up in whether you think it succeeds at being that particular thing for a particular audience, or whether you think it fails to be the next big triple-a open-world game for all gamers that it was set up to be (in part by marketing and in part by those gamers).
essays  realtime 
august 2016 by paulgreer
Some rather strange history of maths
Scientific American has a guest blog post with the title: Mathematicians Are Overselling the Idea That “Math Is Everywhere, which argues in its subtitle: The mathematics that is most important to society is the province of the exceptional few—and that’s always been true. Now I’m not really interested in the substantial argument of the article but the author, Michael J. Barany, opens his piece with some historical comments that I find to be substantially wrong; a situation made worse by the fact that the author is a historian of mathematics.
essays  maths 
august 2016 by paulgreer
You may think the world is falling apart. Steven Pinker is here to tell you it isn't.
Steven Pinker
News is a misleading way to understand the world. It’s always about events that happened and not about things that didn’t happen. So when there’s a police officer that has not been shot up or city that has not had a violent demonstration, they don’t make the news. As long as violent events don’t fall to zero, there will be always be headlines to click on. The data show — since the Better Angels of Our Nature was published — rates of violence continue to go down.
world  essays 
august 2016 by paulgreer
Frank Lantz: Strange Love or the Relationship Between Game Theory and Game Design
Game theory, the mathematical analysis of conflict and decision making, is a field of study with important applications in economics, politics, law, and biology. But does it have anything to contribute to the creative discipline of game design? This talk will examine game theory from historical, conceptual, and philosophical perspectives to reveal the points of contact between the abstract equations and rational actors of game theory and the mysterious pleasures and elusive meanings of game design as a creative form.
essays  realtime 
august 2016 by paulgreer
Dan Hodges, lost in reality | Idiot Joy Showland
But Dan Hodges and Nick Cohen have never read Philip K Dick.
politics  quotes  essays 
august 2016 by paulgreer
The Catastrophe of Success by Tennasee Williams
This winter marked the third anniversary of the Chicago opening of “The Glass Menagerie,” an event that terminated one part of my life and began another about as different in all external circumstances as could well be imagined. I was snatched out of virtual oblivion and thrust into sudden prominence, and from the precarious tenancy of furnished rooms about the country I was removed to a suite in a first-class Manhattan hotel. My experience was not unique. Success has often come that abruptly into the lives of Americans. The Cinderella story is our favorite national myth, the cornerstone of the film industry if not of the Democracy itself. I have seen it enacted on the screen so often that I was now inclined to yawn at it, not with disbelief but with an attitude of Who Cares! Anyone with such beautiful teeth and hair as the screen protagonist of such a story was bound to have a good time one way or another, and you could bet your bottom dollar and all the tea in China that one would be caught dead or alive at any meeting involving a social conscience.
essays 
july 2016 by paulgreer

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