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Inception Tells Avatar to Suck It

Christopher Nolan’s epic masterpiece Inception is just about as narcissistic as movies can get. I mean really: it’s 2 ½ hours long and you have to stay put the whole time or you’ll miss a crucial plot twist. Also: nobody knows what it’s about.

“Unable to Process Neutral Statements as Neutral” Hamster

In a 2012 study of over ten thousand Unablehams 94% identified the sentence “I went to Wal-Mart, bought a black shirt and two bananas, paid with my HSBC debit card” as directly conveying one of the following: “America’s consumerist economy is destructive and amoral” (54%), “generation…

No More Oil Spill?

The New York Times and other major news networks, state BP and the Federal Government are once again at odds. BP claims that everything has been going great since they dropped a containment cap on the gushing well head on Thursday.

Mahmound Darwish: If I Were Another?

There is undeniable pleasure in reading Mahmoud Darwish in that it feels like we are looking back on our present day from several thousand years in the future. But this effect also produces a kind of cultural-historical vertigo in which today’s world (which many in the West like to think of as belonging to an ever newer, better, improved era of history, an era blessed and, no doubt, sanitized by the perfect scientific godlessness of Progress (the non-ideological ideology par excellence)) is really no different than any other point in our deeply intertwined world history.

Oh, Oklahoma

Coburn’s chief of staff and longtime conservative activist Michael Schwartz spoke last year as part of a conference session titled “The New Masculinity.” According to Schwartz, pornography has the power to make young people gay. Schwartz claims a gay man, his friend, who was dying of AIDS, remarked that “all pornography is homosexual pornography, because all pornography turns your sexual drive inwards.”

Virginia Woolf: Fourteen Quotes

In her fiction she sought, as she put it, to capture “this loose shifting material of life,” and in order to do that, she experimented boldly. In her non-fiction, she challenged received assumptions: in A Room, she revised English literary history by including women writers, and encouraged her readers to write their own stories; in Three Guineas (1931), she wrote a stinging polemic linking male sexuality and the war culture.

The Twitter Accounts of Bret Easton Ellis and Barack Obama

Seems like Bret Easton Ellis woke up alone, moaned, got out of bed, made a small portion of scrambled eggs, took a mini bottle of spring water from his refrigerator and sat down with it and his scrambled eggs at his table in front of his already-opened MacBook, looked at Esquire’s and The New Yorker’s websites, went to Twitter and typed, “The song I’ve listened to most in the last five days: ‘Heartbreak Warfare’ by John Mayer.”

Edward Lucie-Smith: The Glory of Angels

Edward Lucie-Smith’s The Glory of Angels is a sumptuous feast for the eye and spirit, a volume carefully researched, knowingly written, and elegantly illustrated, no illuminated. It’s an oversized (11” x 14”) production, a coffee-table book so beautiful that care must be taken that neither coffee nor any other beverage be spilled upon it.

Why ‘Breathless’? A Retrospective On Jean-Luc Godard’s Masterpiece

I thought that it was kind of a cliché to be so into it – some of the other students who had seen it even told me that – but I realized that even if that was so, Breathless was still resonating with young audiences, and there was something about it that distinguished it from other landmark films. So why Breathless? Why is it one of the key films in cinematic history? Why is it so fascinating for critics but equally so for average intellectually-minded audiences? What mark has it left?

Ten Great French Films (Arranged Chronologically)

Jules et Jim is a candidate for the French New Wave film, and maybe the French film of all time. Perhaps the only generational epic (the clichéd tale of a generation-spanning friendship torn apart by love and war blah blah blah) that is able to maintain humbleness, idiosyncrasy, and intimacy, Jules et Jim is responsible for generations of off-beat yet sincere movies.

These Things Are Really Weird

Why is there probably some living ‘thing’ producing a sound louder than the loudest known biological sound? In the ocean? This is terribly frightening. This makes me even more afraid of large bodies of water.

Review of Ten “Blogging Platforms”

Not sure at all what’s happening with LiveJournal currently or in the past eight to twelve years. Seems possible that something like “Mountain Dew bought it” or “it was abandoned but people are still using it” has happened. Seems to lack a meme-able CEO or high-level executive to a degree that I honestly “suspect,” to some degree, with some sarcasm, that it’s owned by a socialistic collective of 39,291 anonymous teenagers across North and Central America—14,219 in or around Mexico City….

Gay Boi: The Hottest Accessory For Summer 2010

Don’t cha wish your boyfriend was gay like me? Don’t cha wish your boyfriend was fierce like me? Don’t cha? According to July’s Teen Vogue, gay dudes are this season’s Must Have Accessory. Hurry – everybody put down your ‘It’ bag and go get u a gay before we’re all sold out.

You Could Call It Singing: James Schuyler’s Other Flowers

Schuyler went many rounds with mental instability, variously diagnosed as schizophrenia and depression, from the 1950s on… While his suffering figured in his writing, it was not its creative wellspring; the poems are not visionary, and do not aim to blur the line between sanity and madness. Yet he is often written about as a somewhat saintly figure, especially in later years, a holy fool with an effortless connection to his art.

LeBron James’ Decision

LeBron James made the “decision.” James, dressed in a pink and white checkered shirt and Hemmingway beard, towered over grand inquisitor Jim Grey like a lumber jack. The small children in the audience were all silent. Some have later called this moment the low point of Western Civilization. The stage was set for a public execution.

Gawker and Dov Charney

Lately, or for forever, I guess, Gawker and its tribe of commenters has had a sort of obsession with Founder and CEO of American Apparel Dov Charney—most recently seen in them covering the shit out of AA’s exciting dress code ‘scandal.’ Gawker etc. mostly blames the hipster retailer for having a “looksist” dress/ grooming/ hiring/ firing policy, for not manufacturing ‘plus-sized’ clothing, and for Charney acting perverted.

Martin Amis’ Money

Martin Amis is known for many things. His father, Kingsley. His penchant for attracting the media. His friendships. And it seems, at times, his writing. And while I’m one of those detractors that think his best work was published two decades ago, it doesn’t mean those books of yore are any less relevant today than they were those many years ago.

Alix Cleo Roubaud: Alix’s Journal

Reading Alix Cleo Roubaud’s journal is like standing in a pitch-dark room and flicking on the light for a split second. The flash of illumination reveals only an impression of the furniture but forbids a thorough appreciation. The photographer recorded her thoughts, aspirations, and, most especially, her fears (she attempted suicide multiple times…)

Vendela Vida: The Lovers

What do I want of summer books? In general, I want affirmative books: books that affirm genre conventions, books that affirm common sense, books that affirm my instincts about how to live. There are also practical considerations to keep in mind. I want books that I won’t feel guilty about dripping ice cream on or dirtying with sand and saltwater (or grimy subway hands).

Kevin Dunn: No Great Lost; Songs 1979-1985

I’ve never quite understood how the term “art-damaged” became a rock-critical commonplace, but if I had to explain it, I might play my interlocutor Kevin Dunn’s “Nadine.” The 1979 seven-inch makes creased, crushed junk-sculpture out of a 1963 Chuck Berry song, with Dunn’s treated guitar and Tom Grey’s synths holding a blowtorch to the familiar boogie-barrelhouse interplay…

Eighteen Great Kurt Vonnegut Quotes

Kurt Vonnegut’s message was beautiful. He treated all of his characters equally and not one of his novels had a villain. He believed that society minored the hierarchy created by authors in epic make believe stories. He sought to remedy that. His black humor and dedication to honesty present the read with two options: to laugh or cry.

Beryl Bainbridge: 1932 – 2010

She lived a hard life – smoking incessantly and downing plenty of her favorite scotch. She was a party girl, the delight of other guests with her madcap behavior and outlandish stories. In her Victorian manse in Camden Town, a life-sized stuffed water buffalo greeted visitors in the foyer. In her bedroom, an imposing, life-sized male mannequin with a Hitler moustache dominated one corner…

That Oil Mess Issue

What to do, What to do? BP should turn the Gulf and the Mississippi River into “organic gas stations.” Just let people pull up to the beach and riverfront with their cars, go-carts, what have you – and let em’ fill up! They could spin it as a green initiative, an innovative undertaking

Three Movies I Liked

The next scene shows people saying things like “did you wear a bag over your head?” and other people saying “no, I did not.” The girl says something like “well, somebody wearing Kevin’s clothes came into my room last night wearing a bag over their head, and they saw me naked.” Then the trailer said the movie was called Baghead. I was laughing almost uncontrollably…

The Melodrama of Miley Cyrus

But, in a world that craves and covets pretty babies like Miley, is it indeed so very wrong for little girls in the limelight to exploit their big-girl sex-appeal for pay? Is it fair for their kiddie-careers to be so picked-on and politicized?

Antonella Arismendi – “Kling Summer”

Antonella Arismendi is a self-taught fashion photographer and art director based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In her latest shoot, for the Spanish brand Kling, Arismendi captures the beauty of summer with a tinge of nostalgia and hint of something almost otherworldly.

Phillip Morris: “My Life, My Death, My Choice”

Phillip Morris graced San Francisco with a new piece of colossal art (aka: a billboard) on Howard at Van Ness. The minimalist ad, created in conjunction with the West Hollywood, CA based creative agency the Billboard Liberation Front, simply states “My Life, My Death, My Choice.”

All Work and No Rest Makes Everyone Dull

Rest is free, and according to brain specialists like Devanchi, it’s also good for you. So drink up as much as you can. At the very least, taking a few minutes every day to reflect peacefully can remind us we still have our own thoughts, our own goals unrelated to work, and that we do have control over our lives, even when times are shitty.

Jay Z vs. Katy Perry, East vs. West

When you put “Gurls” and “Empire” next door to each other, you get the age-old stereotypes about the East coast versus the West coast. Everybody thinks New Yorkers are arrogant, fast, impatient, elitist, wear black, whereas L.A. people are virtually busting at the seams with Botox, candy, implants, and sex. Pick your poison!

Singular Music: The Necks Live (The Barbican: 06.26.10)

There should be no doubt of the level of musicianship on display, but The Necks’ genius is in removing themselves mentally from the process of the music’s creation. By being tremendously gifted at playing their instruments but not allowing ideas of ‘musicality’ to interfere with the directions the sound will take, they are able to create something truly unique.

What is Good for Fiona Apple is Bad for Fiona Apple’s Fans

If a track released earlier this month is any indication, it’s entirely unlikely that 32-year old Fiona Apple will ever give us another full-length album. “So Sleepy,” recorded as part of a project for Dave Eggers’ literacy nonprofit (826), was written by children in a songwriting workshop. “I’m a gummy bear/ I stand up on the chair/ Then I start to dance / to dance/ to dance / dance…”

Adrien Field: Social Climber

Adrien Field was born in Moorestown, NJ and moved to New York City in the mid-2000s to attend Gallatin School of Individualized Study at NYU where he contemplated concentrating in “Social Climbing” before he dropped out. He runs, a popular fashion and life style blog, and is a contributor to the print and web edition of Vibe Magazine, the urban quarterly founded by Quincy Jones.

Norman Mailer: “An Agreeable Proposal”

The hours I’d spent working as a waiter through the years had driven me to nearly detest their every moment. I had become consumed by a growing dislike of strangers and an even deeper revulsion at taking their food orders. I was weary with pretending to care if they liked their dinner or not. This surprise invitation from Mr. Mailer might, I thought, turn out to be a significant avenue away from it all.

Lazy Tuesday: A Timeline of Thoughts and Events

On the subway, trying to decide whether or not to go. Decide to go because I have nothing else to do, why not? But ultimately really decide to go because I figure I could write something on it. Then change my mind thinking I don’t really have the wherewithal to write anything on it. Decide to just write the article right now on my Blackberry. I’m on the E, going uptown to my bank, going to cash some checks.

Maile Chapman: Your Presence is Requested at Suvanto

Maile Chapman’s Your Presence is Requested at Suvanto contains all the ingredients for a splendid gothic mystery. It features a cast of strange and secretive characters, a setting of chilly natural beauty (the story takes place in rural Finland) and an air of implicit violence. It is too bad, then, that the book snuffs out every whiff of suspense hinted at in its premise, offering instead a plodding narrative punctuated by missed opportunities.

Introducing Apichatpong Weerasethakul

A story of unrequited love is suggested by a few conversations, but is never resolved or even clarified. A friendship with homosexual undertones between a dentist and a monk is alluded to as well. In the end, the narrative is almost insignificant, and it is more about the state Weerasethakul’s images and sounds incite in the viewer. His films resist easy readability and conventional plot structures, and they engage a spectatorial response that I’ve never quite felt before with any other film.

Katherine Mansfield’s Wild Ride

Mansfield fled to London again two years later, and would spend the rest of her life in Europe. As Joyce has suggested, a place is best written about once you’ve left it, and New Zealand and its environs remained a focus of her work, a way to come to grips with a heritage –– analyze it, critique it, memorialize it –– without having to perpetuate it.

Introducing the Sand Paper Press

Like Provincetown and Carmel, Key West has long been known as an artists’ retreat, a spectacularly beautiful geography haunted by abiding spirits. Associated with writers like Hemingway, Bishop, Dillard, and Stone, Key West flourishes today, a vibrant, diverse community of writers, painters, and artists of all sorts. It is also home to Sand Paper Press, an independent publishing venture founded in 2003, part of a continuing tradition of small presses passionately focused on the verbal arts, particularly poetry.

The United States of Tara: Bitch / Lover / Child / Mother

The show is carried by the actress Toni Collette, who plays “Tara,” a Kansas City mother and wife with a serious case of Dissociative Identity Disorder. That said, she is also “T,” a sex-minded teenage troublemaker; “Buck,” a lecherous Vietnam-vet; “Alice,” a prim and proper model of Stepfordesque matriarchy; “Gimme,” an Id-indulgent wild-thing; “Shoshana Schoenbaum,” a stuck-in-the-Seventies self-analyzing psychoanalyst; and “Chicken,” a reverie to the five-year-old Tara of yore.

Eizo X-Ray Pinup Calendar

The Eizo Nanao Group, a Japanese company in the sexy business of making medical imaging equipment, has released a pinup calendar as part of a new marketing effort crafted by the German ad firm Butter. It’s quite revealing, to say the least. When will the porn producers catch on?

Portland is a Place of the Escaped

I had been told that I could live in Portland without a car. That was largely false. Yes, I survived biking to work and back, a total of five miles ever yday. But I didn’t thrive. To live in America and not drive is to diminish your participation in the common culture. And this is no small sacrifice. You miss it. You miss the freedom a car provides. You feel as though the rest of the population has capabilities you lack.

A Conversation On Jake Lodwick’s “Past Capacity”

“I decided to pick up where the last season left off, with a “rhyming speech” about getting my shit together, and how even though I’ve corrected some of my bugs, other, more personal ones remain — and that I fully intend to overcome them… I am very eager to see how my art transforms as I fall into a productive groove as the series continues. I am eager to lose myself in my work.” – Jake Lodwick

Sam Brown: Interface Designer

Sam Brown was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and moved to Sydney, Australia to finish his early education at a Technology High School, then continued studying Multimedia Design at the Computer Graphics College Sydney and the Private SAE Institute before spending a year working at a boutique design house. Now, under the name Massive Blue, Brown runs an accomplished web design and development company from his hometown of Edinburgh, which serves clients from around the world.

Are the Internet Really Making Us More Stupidist?

Sadly, there’s not one person alive today who can tell us about the day the wheel was invented, but if that early discovery was anything like subsequent human inventions, you can be sure there was at least one person warning about the negative impact such a contraption would have on our early ancestors.Speaking out against technology may be a pastime for oddballs, but it is important to remember that moving forward isn’t always the same as progressing.

The Evolution of Mortal Kombat

Rebirth also seems a conscious effort to reinvigorate the franchise by intriguing lapsed audiences, most notably those who, like me, were introduced to the series as children…The whole thing is shot in a downbeat, neo-noir-ish, horror-thriller style, immediately setting it apart from the hyped-up, candy-colored, jittering madness of the earlier games and films. The general consensus from Internet prognosticators, once they figured out what the hell it was, was approval. I’m not so sure it works.

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