"More than anything, the paradoxical logic by which Berger unfolds his scenes connects him to Kafka. Too many contemporary writers kowtow to Kafka in mummery: ostentatiously dreamlike settings, Shadows and Fog-ian Eastern European atmosphere or diction. Berger engages with Kafka's influence at a more native and universal level, by grasping the way Kafka reconstructed fictional time and causality to align it with his emotional and philosophical reservations about human life. Berger's tone, like Kafka's, never oversells paranoia or despair, and the results are, actually, never dreamlike. Instead, Berger locates that part of our waking life that unfolds in the manner of Zeno's Paradox, where it is possible only to [...]
“The average person uses 10% of their brain capacity. Imagine what she could do with 100%,” is the tagline for Lucy, the new Scarlett Johansson speculative thriller, but isn't it just as likely that the reason our average brains max out at around one tenth of their dimensions is due to an abundance of caution? Given our transcendent abilities to do damage to ourselves and those around us with that mere sliver of cranial capacity it seems probable on an evolutionary standpoint that the other 90% of our head-stuffing chooses to remain fallow from the firm conviction that exercising even another couple percentage points would result in destruction on [...]
Should you find yourself at some point today overcome by torpor, perhaps due to climatic conditions in your area or simply the prevalence of complaints concerning climatic conditions on social media, this song may provide a brief burst of energy before the fatigue inevitably takes hold once more. Yes, it's going to be hot. The sun will scorch your pasty skin and lethargy will lay its heavy hand upon your sweaty shoulders as it implores you to join it on the couch. But consider: We are barely past June's midpoint here, people. Don't waste all your whining just yet; think of how disappointed you'll be with yourself come August [...]
Awl pal Matthew J.X. Malady weighs in on what the cognoscenti refer to as Balk's Law, or the idea that everything you hate about The Internet is actually everything you hate about people.
"Art star Marina Abramović and London’s Serpentine Gallery have become embroiled in a row over 'nothing'. A prestigious group of curators and art historians have written to the gallery questioning why Abramović’s latest performance piece – due to open 11 June and about which she has repeatedly emphasised the importance of 'nothing' – fails to acknowledge the influence of another contemporary artist who has also made 'nothing' central to her work."
Political analyst John Maginnis, whose The Last Hayride and Cross to Bear are not only two of the greatest books written about Louisiana politics, but are also pretty high on the list of greatest books about Southern politics, and merit appearances on the list of greatest books about American politics in general, has died. Maginnis was 66.
"The 26-year-old keeps his sex list on Evernote in his iPhone, recording all 41 women he’s slept with, including Ashley, who took his virginity, four Katies and two Sarahs. He says he frequently looks back on it to analyze how he’s grown and changed as a person."
"Random House will publish writer and critic Maud Newton’s first book, an examination of her obsession with genealogy and her own colorful family history, along with the science and superstition of ancestry in the culture at large. Newton’s essay, ‘America’s Ancestry Craze,’ is the cover story for the current issue of Harper’s magazine. This interdisciplinary study will draw on memoir, reporting, cultural criticism, scientific and anthropological research to understand the fear and fascination behind genealogy, and why it has become the second most popular hobby in the United States. Newton began blogging about books and culture in 2002; within a few years her site was one of the most widely [...]
Awww, the New York Times thinks it has "a rock-solid new system" for cooking steak at home. That's so cute! Adorable! I am both tickled and amused by this delightful attempt at disrupting the cooking-steak-at-home space. It's just so sweet! Also LISTEN UP NEW YORK TIMES DINING READERS, NEW YORK TIMES DINING WRITERS AND ANYONE ELSE WITHIN THE SOUND OF MY VOICE: This is how you cook a fucking steak. There is no other way, and there will be no further discussion or appeals [...]
"Most political observers gave the sober Duffy good marks for his lieutenant governorshipdom, but he still only has 1,500 followers on Twitter compared to Gov. Cuomo’s 116,000."
"For many members of the LGBT community, the first time they came out, it was to tell the world they were gay. The second time, it was to tell the world they…" —Go ahead, guess.
"A theater review on Tuesday about 'The Spring Fling: First Love' at the Access Theater in Manhattan, using information from the program, reversed the description of two of the six short plays that are presented. 'PWNED' by Mark Sitko is about people playing video games, and 'The Morning After' by Lauren Yee features a couple torturing a man."
"If you’re a person whose perception of the world is shaped by literature, Dublin can feel less like a place that James Joyce wrote about than a place that is about James Joyce’s writing. The city of his fiction exists in ghostly superimposition over the actual city, such as it is, and every street corner, every landmark, every fleetingly glimpsed stranger, can seem haunted by some Joycean revenant. If you’re already thinking about Joyce to begin with, Dublin will continually provide you with reasons to continue doing so. Joyce will not be escaped. He inheres in the city’s bones."
"A study into the popular game rock-paper-scissors has discovered the best strategy to win the game."
There are some performers whose mere presence inspires laughter, and for me that is a list on which Matt Berry appears fairly close to the top. What with him having a birthday today and all I need no better excuse than to share this terrific bit of Berrydom from the second season of "The IT Crowd." The man is just comedy in human form.
I don't miss the '90s one bit, but I guess if I did I'd be glad these guys are around to spread its styles to a generation that is too young to know better. [Via]
"I ought to correct the record: I said 'masturbatory', not 'masturbating'. Glad that’s cleared up."
Wait, you've seen this already? Well WATCH IT AGAIN. [Via]