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Posts tagged “culture”

  1. Don’t forget: disasters and crises bring out the best in people
    thecorrespondent.com

    Some welcome positivity from Rutger Bregman:

    For every antisocial jerk out there, there are thousands of doctors, cleaners and nurses working around the clock on our behalf. For every panicky hoarder shoving entire supermarket shelves into their cart, there are 10,000 people doing their best to prevent the virus from spreading further. In actual fact, we’re now seeing reports from China and Italy about how the crisis is bringing people closer together.

  2. Shopping Sucks Now
    vice.com

    Casey Johnston tries to come to terms with a problem that I, too, suffer from — if you’re trying to buy the right thing, there’s no longer any limit to the amount of work you can put into research:

    For a long time, our problem was there were not enough things to choose from. Then with big box stores, followed by the internet, there were too many things to choose from. Now there are still too many things to choose from, but also a seemingly infinite number of ways to choose, or seemingly infinite steps to figuring out how to choose. The longer I spend trying to choose, the higher the premium becomes on choosing correctly, which means I go on not choosing something I need pretty badly, coping with the lack of it or an awful hacked-together solution (in the case of gloves, it’s “trying to pull my sleeves over my hands but they are too short for this”) for way, way too long, and sometimes forever.

    The degree to which you feel this problem definitely depends on your income, or at least, being in the privileged position of not having to make do with the only thing you can afford. But for people with even a limited ability to make an investment purchase, if it’s worth it, there’s even more pressure to get it right. Knowing you wasted a big chunk of money on a cheaper, worse thing that falls apart when you could have spent a little more money on a thing that is good and lasts feels like failure. You’ve then wasted your money, wasted your time, you’ve contributed to global warming, and now you have to start the entire thing over again and hope you don’t somehow end up making the exact same mistake.

  3. How Bong Joon Ho Designed the House in “Parasite”
    indiewire.com

    Chris O’Falt interviews Bong Joon Ho and production designer Lee Ha Jun about Parasite’s brilliant set design:

    According to Bong, the challenge he gave his “Snowpiercer” production designer was not only to create a believably “visually beautiful” set, but a stage that served the precise needs of his camera, compositions, and characters, while embodying his film’s rich themes. In an interview with IndieWire, Bong described the home as “its own universe inside this film.” He added that he took pleasure in hearing that the famous directors on this year’s Cannes jury — which included Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu, Yorgos Lanthimos, and Kelly Reichardt — were all convinced that the movie took place in a real home. In truth, Bong asked his production designer to create an “open set,” built on an outdoor lot.

  4. How NYT Cooking Became the Best Comment Section on the Internet
    theringer.com

    Zach Gage tweeted:

    i wish all internet comments were like the comments on nyt recipe pages

    Turns out a big part of why they’re so nice has to do with nomenclature:

    This might be because Cooking’s comments aren’t comments at all—they’re notes, a distinction Times food editor Sam Sifton emphasizes several times over the course of our conversation. “We made the conscious decision not to call them comments,” Sifton tells me. “The call to action was to leave a note on the recipe that helps make it better. That’s very different from ‘Leave a comment on a recipe.’ And the comment might be ‘I hate you.’ ‘You’re an asshole.’ ‘This is bad.’ And that’s helpful to no one. I see that on other recipes, and I’m glad that we don’t have those comments, because we don’t have comments. We have notes.”

    While it’s delightful to think that that could be enough, human moderation is also involved:

    On the internet, moderation is something of a dying art, often outsourced, automated, or even discontinued altogether by resource-strained news outlets. At Cooking, however, every single note is approved or rejected by an actual human being.

  5. Tech and Liberty
    stratechery.com

    Ben Thompson defends Facebook’s recent decision to let politicians lie in ads, arguing that free speech should be considered in terms of culture, not law.

    Here are his concluding remarks:

    Facebook, obviously, is not the government, and thank goodness: the fact that Zuckerberg answers to no one is deeply concerning to me. To be fair, in the case of political ads, this was arguably a benefit: I think he is making the right decision in the face of massive resistance. In the long run, though, it is very problematic that such a powerful player in our democracy has no accountability. Liberty is not simply about laws, or culture, it is also about structure, and it is right to be concerned about the centralized nature of companies like Facebook.

    To that end, the fact that this debate is even occurring is evidence of the problem: those opposed to Facebook’s decision about ads wish the company would wield its power in their favor; my question is whether such power should even exist in the first place. Facebook can close Munroe’s door on anyone, and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

    Ben makes a good case, but I have conflicting feelings about it. These last few moves by Twitter and Facebook have left me hopelessly lost in this debate. When does a lie become fraud?

  6. This essay is just Harry Potter for people who think comparing things to Harry Potter is stupid
    theoutline.com

    Rosa Lyster:

    “Fight club is just the matrix for incels.” “Big Thief is just Fleetwood Mac for sad bois.” “The Handmaids Tale is just Harry Potter for middle aged liberals.” “Otessa Moshfegh is just Mary Gaitskill for girls who talk too much about how they sometimes miss their periods due to being so waifish and slender.” “Bob Dylan is just Joni Mitchell for men who beat their wives.” “American Psycho is just the Joker movie for older white perverts.” “ABBA is just Fleetwood Mac for middle-aged suburban housewives whose drug of choice was cocaine instead of marijuana.” “Billie Eilish is just Avril Lavigne for girls who have too many cups in their bedroom.” This is fun to do, and definitely hilarious for people who love zingers, but it also sucks, and replaces the flash of real insight with the far cheaper thrill of recognizing things. It turns a constellation of possible meanings through which we might better know each other and ourselves into a vast Extended Universe.

    Damn, that’s pointed.

  7. Are China’s Tantrums Signs of Strength or Weakness?
    theatlantic.com

    Zeynep Tufekci wonders about China’s motivations around the Hong Kong situation:

    So why is China demanding significant censorship from Western companies—as in the case of this app—in the absence of a real threat? One thing to note is that while the original events being censored are minor to the point of trivial, the backlash creates a huge amount of publicity. You might be tempted to think that China has a Streisand-effect problem, in which trying to censor an event creates even more publicity. But that assumes the Chinese government doesn’t understand the Streisand effect, and that can’t be right, because if one government understands attention dynamics online, it’s China’s.

    Significant amounts of scholarship show that the Chinese government has been very good at burying important news by distracting from it with other, flashy but unrelated news. This shows a subtle and powerful understanding of the Streisand effect: Instead of censoring, China diverts attention.

  8. Why Don’t I Read All My Books?
    lithub.com

    Karen Olsson thinks about the importance of the many books she owns but will never read:

    Perhaps in some cases it has actually meant more to me to possess a book than to read it, because as long as its contents remain unknown to me, it retains its mystery. The unread book is a provocation, a promise of something that might dissipate if I slogged my way through the text. I’ve read a little of Cave, City, and Eagle’s Nest: An Interpretive Journey Through the Mapa de Cuauhtinchan No. 2, a sumptuous art book about a 16th-century pictorial manuscript from Mexico […]. I keep this book around even though I don’t wish to make anything of it in a literal sense—I don’t want to write fiction or nonfiction or a nutty screenplay about a mesoamerican document, but I wish for it to somehow whisper in my ear while I write something not at all about the map, for its enigmatic presence to leave some ineffable trace.

    I love this idea, and I must admit that I suffer from the same affliction. Design books, self-help books, nonfiction books… I want them to somehow transmit that “ineffable trace” to me just by virtue of sitting on my desk, mostly unread; no matter how many cookbooks I buy, it seems I always end up going to Serious Eats when I need a recipe.

    I’m trying to read more by divorcing the physicality of owning a book from the process of reading it, so I bought an eReader. Now I get paper versions of the books I want to own, and digital versions of the ones I want to read. Totally normal, I know.

  9. The Real Dark Web
    sonniesedge.net

    Charlie Owen:

    The vast majority of respondents are still using Sass and vanilla CSS? Wow! This made me pause and think. Because I feel there’s an analogy here between that unseen dark matter, and the huge crowd of web developers who are using such “boring” technology stacks.

    These developers are quietly building their sites and apps, day in, day out. But they are rendered invisible as they are not making use of the cutting-edge technologies that the 1% of the bleeding edge love to talk about.

    They are the 99% of the web universe that is quietly getting on, not blogging about their technology stack, not publishing amazing new tooling. Simply building things.

    Sass and not much else? It me. Though I am using some state-of-the-art tech like the fancy underlines made possible by CSS Text Decoration Module Level 4 😎

  10. Self-Care for Men
    newyorker.com

    Megan Amram:

    Men and women have completely different needs in the skin department. While a woman’s skin is soft like a dying flower and barely strong enough to keep her insides in, a man’s skin is thick like the door to a safe. We men need makeup that covers our hungry-boy blemishes and larger-than-average pores. There’s a reason they call those sewer things manhole covers—it’s because they’re thick like a man and big enough to cover a man’s holes (“pores”)!

  11. Chinese vertical dramas made for phone viewing show the future of mobile video
    thenextweb.com

    Henry Sung:

    What’s remarkable about vertical drama is that it’s not just any scripted content cropped for a vertical aspect ratio. These shows are specifically imagined for the mobile screen from the ground up. This is evident in three features they all share.

    I am fascinated by vertical video — it feels like a completely different medium. To me, horizontal video always represents a very deliberate choice to “make a video.” Vertical video is much more spontaneous, like a long photo that lives on your phone.

    Seeing the vertical format used for more serious scripted stuff is still uncanny, but I suspect there’s a lot to explore there.

  12. Ebert’s Walk of Fame remarks
    rogerebert.com

    Thanks Todd Vaziri for tweeting about this great Roger Ebert quote that I had forgotten about:

    Movies are the most powerful empathy machine in all the arts. When I go to a great movie I can live somebody else’s life for a while. I can walk in somebody else’s shoes. I can see what it feels like to be a member of a different gender, a different race, a different economic class, to live in a different time, to have a different belief.