This Thing Looks Like That Thing

Man Resembles Other, More Famous Man

Remember that summer when the news was all about shark attacks and stuff? And then 9/11 happened? I'm scared now.


16th-Century Friend Books as Social Networking, or, At Least, Status-Gathering

The Van Harinxma thoe Slooten family's "friend books" (really, autograph books) have been on display at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, in the Hague, and much is being made of the 16th and 17th century custom of alba amicorum in terms of our current devotion to Facebook. The April issue of World of Interiors writes: "The fashion for these albums began after the Reformation in German universities, where they were called Stammbücher… [Note: the Reformation, history buffs will note, did not happen in German universities. Sorry! Pedantic!] Students would ask classmates and teachers to sign their personal copy of the Bible as a souvenir of their academic career; from [...]


'Final Destination' v. Real Life: A Deathly Comparison

If we’ve learned anything from Hollywood, it’s that there’s a million ways to bite the dust, and nearly all of them are unpleasant. No film utilizes the fear of the precariousness of everyday life quite like the gore-horror franchise Final Destination, even if it is a prisoner of its own formula. Beginning as each film does with fairly "everyday" accidents—bridge collapses, racetrack explosions, roller coaster accidents—and proceeding to the outlandish, just how far does Final Destination go in order to punish those who cheat death? The answer: pretty far, yes, but almost never into the realm of impossibility. (Although yes, to date, no one has died of Lasik surgery. [...]


Anders Breivik, The American Tea Party, Norway and "Sharia Creep"

The attacks were "a despicable act directed at everyone in Norway," said Siv Jensen, the leader of the Norwegian Progress Party. While her assessment of the 76 dead and nearly 100 injured may be philosophically true, it's technically false. The bombing and mass shooting late last week was in fact directed at a very specific group of Norwegians. These "summer camp" teens weren't shot for taking canoe lessons; they were shot for being political activists, or children of such. (This was something made very clear by Tea Party leader Glenn Beck, when he functionally ended his corporate career days later by comparing the dead to Hitler Youth).

After years [...]