An addiction to outrage seems to afflict writers across the political spectrum. Opponents are castigated for being insufficiently scandalized by the atrocity of the hour, and authors of offending posts are roundly demonized and ridiculed. Silver linings are rarely sought in bad news, common ground with adversaries seldom found.
Delighted to see discussion of Zero Dark Thirty in this essay. I was so bummed out by the conversation around the movie last winter.
Outrage | The Point Magazine
There was a time when just about anything — dumb commercial entertainment, ugly clothes, the weird dishes your grandmother used to serve — could be appreciated and appropriated in quotation marks. Strained pulp is not quite that — its celebration of the formerly marginal and disreputable is serious and sincere. The condescension is not overt but is latent in the desire to correct and improve the recipes retrieved from the past, to finish vernacular artifacts with a highbrow glaze. We’re going to make ’em — movies, cocktails, regional dishes, zombie novels, garage-rock anthems — just the way they used to, but a little bit better. This strikes me as a form of snobbery. But then again, maybe I’m the snob.
The Strange Ascent of ‘Strained Pulp’ – NYTimes.com
Only on special “it’s such a nice day!” kind of days do people want to go outside. But what’s a nice day? Well, it’s a day when the temperature outside approximates the results of indoor climate control technology.
The Case Against Eating Lunch Outside
Basically, it’s not that people born after 1980 are narcissists, it’s that young people are narcissists, and they get over themselves as they get older. It’s like doing a study of toddlers and declaring those born since 2010 are Generation Sociopath: Kids These Days Will Pull Your Hair, Pee On Walls, Throw Full Bowls of Cereal Without Even Thinking of the Consequences.
Every Every Every Generation Has Been the Me Me Me Generation – The Atlantic Wire
I got married and I had a family and my entire day was not free for social interaction. And eating is annoying and difficult to arrange, [and it’s] hard to choose places. And meeting someone for coffee suddenly seemed like a wonderful, compact, accessible and portable social interaction. You don’t even really need a place. But you feel like you’re doing something. That is what coffee is. And that is one of the geniuses of the new coffee culture.
Shortly before reading this, I invited a friend to meet for coffee and not talking:
ELAINE: Come on, let’s go do something. I don’t want to just sit around here.
ELAINE: Want to go get something to eat?
JERRY: Where do you want to go?
ELAINE: I don’t care, I’m not hungry.
JERRY: We could go to one of those cappuccino places. They let you just sit there.
ELAINE: What are we gonna do there? Talk?
JERRY: We can talk.
ELAINE: I’ll go if I don’t have to talk.
So Jerry Seinfeld Called Us To Talk About Coffee : The Salt : NPR
I stay in. Hooked. Is this leisure – this browsing, randomly linking my way through these small patches of virtual real-estate – or do I somehow imagine that I am performing some more dynamic function? The content of the Web aspires to absolute variety. One might find anything there. It is like rummaging in the forefront of the collective global mind. Somewhere, surely, there is a site that contains … everything we have lost?
Oldie but a goodie. William Gibson in 1996.
Today, in its clumsy, larval, curiously innocent way, it offers us the opportunity to waste time, to wander aimlessly, to daydream about the countless other lives, the other people, on the far sides of however many monitors in that postgeographical meta-country we increasingly call home. It will probably evolve into something considerably less random, and less fun — we seem to have a knack for that — but in the meantime, in its gloriously unsorted Global Ham Television Postcard Universes phase, surfing the Web is a procrastinator’s dream. And people who see you doing it might even imagine you’re working.
The Net Is a Waste of Time – New York Times
A Borg Complex is exhibited by writers and pundits who explicitly assert or implicitly assume that resistance to technology is futile.
Borg Complex: A Primer | The Frailest Thing
People ridiculed George W. Bush when he called them “the internets” but he had it right. Technically, the internet is one huge interconnected network. Linguistically and socially, it is many networks, and they are very distinct. For example: There are 40 million Brazilians on Twitter. Do you follow any Brazilians?* This is a significant fraction of a service that many of us consider our internet front porch—and yet, unless you speak Portuguese, it’s invisible. It might as well be a different service entirely.
Making culture for the internets—all of them — The Sea of Fog — Medium
Without the foil, we would have to face our own poverties, our own barbarism, our own shelteredness, our own actual lack of sophistication.
The problem with a stereotype is usually not that it is completely inaccurate, but that it identifies a feature as relevant or important for irrelevant reasons and, in so doing, makes it difficult for the person or entity to break out of the stereotype and beyond it in observers’ eyes, which makes an authentic relationship with the stereotyped person or entity impossible.
Filed under: rednecks, stereotypes
America’s favorite joke is anything but funny – Salon.com
I always love reading Anil’s perspective.
The Web We Lost – Anil Dash
The hillbilly figure allows middle-class white people to offload the venality and sin of the nation onto some other constituency, people who live somewhere—anywhere—else. The hillbilly’s backwardness highlights the progress more upstanding Americans in the cities or the suburbs have made. These fools haven’t crawled out of the muck, the story goes, because they don’t want to.
Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and the history of the hillbilly in America. – Slate Magazine
When lots of people are doing something and valuing it as a part of their lives, it cannot be changed by fiat, no matter how good the arguments on paper are for doing it.
Don’t Bring Policy to a Culture Fight | Easily Distracted
Notebook on Cities & Culture S2: San Francisco and Portland by Colin Marshall — Kickstarter. Get your wallets open. I was a proud backer of the first season, and now this one as well. And check out THIS shit:
For $1000 or more, you’ll be the guest in one of season two’s episodes. I’ll come to you (within North America only, at least for this season) and we’ll record a conversation about the culture you create and the city you create it in. I’ll also thank you by name in all of season two’s episodes. This sounds like a joke, and I partially made it an option so the other options would look cheaper by comparison, but in the unlikely event of a $1000 pledge, I will totally do it.
Colin’s a great, great interviewer. Whoever snapped up that offer was wise.
It’s almost intimidating to have someone be that attentive to you.
Offline: day one of life without internet | The Verge