Here are the Winners of Apple's 'Shot on iPhone' Photo Contest. Some humblingly good ones there.
Privately made records enjoy a cult following among collectors, but few are as legendary as Donnie and Joe Emerson’s 1979 LP Dreamin’ Wild.
(BTW: they are on Spotify).
What troubles me the most these days is the detachment of anger from reality. Comfortable people in prosperous and peaceful societies, living longer and healthier lives than ever before in history, put on yellow jackets and riot, demand to leave the European Union, campaign against vaccinations that have eliminated some of the worst diseases that have plagued humankind, rage against medicine and bio-technology, embrace convenient fictions to explain away inconvenient facts, and think that even the most commonplace things are phoney. And when you ask them why, the answer will be at best fallacious and at worst uncritically thoughtless.
I love how simple questions can reveal deep truths about how the universe works. Take “why is the night sky dark?” It’s a question a small child might ask but stumped the likes of Newton, Halley, and Kepler and wasn’t really resolved until Einstein’s theory of general relativity and the Big Bang theory rolled around. Here’s the paradox: if we live in a static infinite universe, shouldn’t the sky be unbearably bright?
In the late 1950s, fingerstylist John Fahey birthed an alter-ego named Blind Joe Death, a mythic bluesman who personified what music critic Greil Marcus has dubbed old, weird America. In shaping his eccentric personal mythology, Fahey once claimed to have built a guitar from a baby’s coffin. He christened his own music American primitive, though it was neither purely American (he incorporated Indian ragas, as well as classical, jazz, and Latin rhythms, into the form) nor primitive (he could neither read nor write music, yet his odd tunes were complex).
"Derrida means nothing without his Parisian institutional setting, but once that setting comes into focus, he continues to mean nothing, though now in a different way: he means nothing, individually, because the tricks he was encouraged to perform that so dazzled the crowds at Johns Hopkins and Irvine were taught to many others just like him, who would all of course insist on their own uniqueness, would claim they were always outsiders to the true French intellectual elite, but only because you cannot enter the tightest nucleus of this elite if you do not claim to be an outsider to it, all the while, all of them, yielding up only minor variations on the same recipes."
Melissa Harrison has interesting things to say, not the least about photography (of which she is herself a practitioner):
Having said all that, there’s a lot of technically accomplished landscape and nature photography out there that leaves me utterly cold. A rocky stream on a long exposure, or a shoreline sunset with a violet filter, a moody, black and white shot of some pylons… that kind of stuff may be popular on photography websites but it usually has no feeling to it, no guiding aesthetic other than competent use of the camera’s settings. I have no time for that. Give me Tacita Dean’s dreamlike landscapes or Jane Bown’s affecting rural reportage any day.
And here are the two examples she gives:
I have felt for years that identity politics is, basically, a retrograde thing and not at all "progressive" (even though you could easily believe that the opposite was the case). Other people agree with me. Neoliberalism changed the world for the worse has always been a pet peeve of mine, and we can add causing the Bay Area’s housing shortage and the dystopia that could be your future to the endless list of things that are wrong with it. Borges on God’s nonexistence and the meaning of life, Natural selection still at work in people, and The last man who knew everything are all readworthy aryicles, to my mind.
Capitalism creates pointless jobs. I knew that. I also knew that private equity funds fail as investment, but not that private equity bankrupted seven major grocery chains. Francis Fukuyama is perhaps stating the obvious - but it still needs saying. Onwards to corporate folly and the capitalist origins of the Myers-Briggs personality test (see also).
"The socialist argument against capitalism isn’t that it makes us poor. It’s that it makes us unfree."
Carlo Rovelli talks about time and "now". An article that says that Brexit is a consequence of low upward mobility has interesting observations -- not only for Brexit, but perhaps for Trumpism and the general right-wing uprising all around us. Why were people thinner in the 1970s? Or, rather, what has changed? And the answer is sugar. Alfred Brendel’s essays about Beethoven, Schubert, and many others are deeply relevant to performers and amateur listeners alike.. Vietnamese people "learn" how to make pho from American recipes and hilarity ensues. The Atlantic is a gift that keeps giving: The Threat Democratic Socialism Poses to Minorities and Why Is Jordan Peterson So Popular? must have both been pulled out of somebody's behind. If Leftism is not in decline (as one article says) is should be because it may be shedding identity politics. Come on already: which one is it? But perhaps we can look to other explanations for the resurgence: Oxford Professor Phalippou: Since 2006, Private Equity Has Produced Only S&P 500 Returns While Reaping $400+ Billion in Fees.
I play Haydn after a black day
and feel a simple warmth in my hands.
The keys are willing. Soft hammers strike.
The resonance green, lively, and calm.
The music says freedom exists
and someone doesn’t pay the emperor tax.
I push down my hands in my Haydnpockets
and imitate a person looking on the world calmly.
I hoist the Haydnflag—it signifies:
“We don’t give in. But want peace.”
The music is a glasshouse on the slope
where the stones fly, the stones roll.
And the stones roll right through
but each pane stays whole.