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The Birth of Adulthood in American Culture

Three fictional madmen—two sociopaths and a narcissist—die on television. It's a strange worldview that would take this as a sign of "The Death of Adulthood in American Culture", but that is the premise of the lead essay in the New York Times Magazine’s culture issue, by film reviewer A.O. Scott. READ MORE

"Sketch" Is a Lie

The SketchFactor app, which is intended to provide users with warnings as to the location of "sketchy" neighborhoods, was launched last Friday to near-universal howls of protest. The most common complaint was one of racism. Among dozens: "White duo behind app to avoid 'sketchy' neighborhoods is shocked to hear it's racist," said The Raw Story; "Smiling Young White People Make App for Avoiding Black Neighborhoods," wrote Sam Biddle in Valleywag. READ MORE

Seriously, Fuck You, "Kindle Unlimited"

Last week, Amazon informed us that for ten dollars per month, Kindle users can have unlimited access to over six hundred thousand books in its library. But it shouldn't cost a thing to borrow a book, Amazon, you foul, horrible, profiteering enemies of civilization. READ MORE

Man Vs. Word

In 1969, a psychologist named G. Harry McLaughlin published the results of a number of experiments he’d made on speed readers in the Journal of Reading. His fastest subject was Miss L., "a university graduate with an IQ of 140" who had taken a speed reading course and claimed to have achieved speeds of sixteen thousand words per minute "with complete comprehension." He hooked her up to the electro-oculograph, a device that measures eye movements, and let her rip. READ MORE

Are You Useful to Anyone?

Pitchfork Reviews Reviews was a Tumblr that launched in 2010. It, as one might expect, reviewed Pitchfork album reviews in a piercingly strange and touching voice—flat, declarative, obsessive, a bit breathless—that made it wildly compelling. But Pitchfork Reviews Reviews was only partly about Pitchfork reviews. The true subject of the blog was the anonymous young man who wrote it—his insecurities, his fears, and his triumphs of experience and understanding as he made his way through the various milieus of New York. It was weirdly elegant, tender and funny because of the author's willingness to share uncomfortable details about his own life. READ MORE

Marc Andreessen and the Inevitability of Catastrophic Ideas

Greed is right, greed works... Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA. Thank you very much. — Michael Douglas in the character of Gordon Gekko, in Wall Street READ MORE

The Dead Cannot Consent

The End of the Tour is a movie currently in production based on David Lipsky's 2010 book, Although of Course you End Up Becoming Yourself: a Road Trip with David Foster Wallace. In 1996, shortly after Wallace’s sudden burst into literary superstardom with the publication of Infinite Jest, Rolling Stone had sent Lipsky to conduct an interview with with him. The magazine spiked the interview, and years later, after Wallace's suicide, Lipsky incorporated the material into his book—to my mind, the best about David Foster Wallace that anyone has yet written. READ MORE

The Faulkner Truthers

"I am the best in America, by God," William Faulkner wrote to his editor in 1939, and history has only confirmed that he was not deceived as to the quality of his gift. Faulkner's position in the American literary pantheon is such that his life has been dissected from every possible angle, inside the academy and out—even James Franco had a go at the Old Man, as some Faulkner devotees like to call him. But nobody has yet succeeded in tracing the exact path by which his genius developed. READ MORE

How "Adventure Time" Came To Be

Adventure Time is a smash hit cartoon aimed primarily at kids age six to eleven. It’s also a deeply serious work of moral philosophy, a rip-roaring comic masterpiece, and a meditation on gender politics and love in the modern world. It is rich with moments of tenderness and confusion, and real terror and grief even; moments sometimes more resonant and elementally powerful than you experience in a good novel, though much of Adventure Time’s emotional force is visually evoked—conveyed through a language of seeing and feeling rather than words. READ MORE

Writing In Public

Hamilton Nolan's stern post on Gawker, "Twitter is Public," spoke the thoughts of many a journalist yesterday. Those who write for a living (and are therefore themselves occasionally trussed, spit and taken for a spin on the rotisserie of public opinion) can't help but goggle in disbelief that the concept of "public" can be misunderstood. Journalists think about this all the time because the right to report and publicize has often been under attack, such as when the police try to stop someone recording or filming in the street, or when a celebrity or politician objects to the publication of public information, or when the government or police just feel like it. That is very shocking. And when people seem to believe that their published utterances on Twitter are protected by mysterious privacy rights, maybe something like those protecting the communications between psychoanalysts and their clients, that is shocking in much the same way. They're not protected at all! (Ask Justine Sacco, or any of these people.) And it's desperately important that they're not, because that's exactly how all of us ordinary people in a free society have a chance—have the right—to learn and know about and discuss what is really going on in the world, in our politics and businesses, in our churches and schools. READ MORE