“Because modern horror is usually this masochistic titillation bullshit, a lot of people in interviews will tell me [The Witch] is not a horror film, it’s a psychological suspense thriller with supernatural elements,” he said, putting on a tone of faux-snobbery. “And I’m like, ‘O.K., that’s cool.’ But then fucking Edgar Allan Poe isn’t horror, either. “What’s important to me about horror stories,” he continued, “is to look at what’s actually horrifying about humanity, instead of shining a flashlight on it and running away giggling.”
I’m interested in how animals are connected to the internet and how we might be able to see the world from an animal’s point of view. There’s something very interesting in someone else’s vantage point, which might have a truth to it. For instance, the tagging of cows for automatic milking machines, so that the cows can choose when to milk themselves. Cows went from being milked twice a day to being milked three to six times a day, which is great for the farm’s productivity and results in happier cows, but it’s also faintly disquieting that the technology makes clear to us the desires of cows – making them visible in ways they weren’t before. So what does one do with that knowledge? One of the unintended consequences of big data and the internet of things is that some things will become visible and compel us to confront them.
There was a lot of inherent cultural relativism in the science fiction I discovered then. It gave me the idea that you could question anything, that it was possible to question anything at all. You could question religion, you could question your own culture’s most basic assumptions. That was just unheard of—where else could I have gotten it? You know, to be thirteen years old and get your brain plugged directly into Philip K. Dick’s brain!
That wasn’t the way science fiction advertised itself, of course. The self-advertisement was: Technology! The world of the future! Educational! Learn about science! It didn’t tell you that it would jack your kid into this weird malcontent urban literary universe and serve as the gateway drug to J. G. Ballard.
And nobody knew. The people at the high school didn’t know, your parents didn’t know. Nobody knew that I had discovered this window into all kinds of alien ways of thinking that wouldn’t have been at all acceptable to the people who ran that little world I lived in.
Be wary of tools that solve a problem that didn’t exist before the tool. GPS helped solve a problem that existed for a long time before it came along (how do I get where I want to go?), so did Google (how do I find this piece of information I need?). Snapchat, by contrast, did not. Be wary of tools in this latter category as they tend to exist mainly to create addictive new behaviors that support ad sales.
Alone time is a gift many people don’t feel comfortable asking for, and not having it when needed is a common cause of stage sighing and other put-upon theatrics.
Fantasy, even when it’s rooted in practical details and doesn’t involve any metaphysical impossibilities, is the hardest genre to pull off, for the simple reason that life is interesting. A drama or a comedy that sticks close to experience has the intrinsic virtue of documentary—and, as with documentary itself, less is usually more.
In general, I am suspicious when someone dismisses a view for being “radical” or “extreme.” There is usually sloppy thinking behind that designation. Why not just say what is wrong with the view? How for instance are we supposed to feel about “radical Christianity”? Good or bad? Does it mean Origen or Ted Cruz or something altogether different? Can’t we just debate the question itself?
The same is true in politics. Let’s say someone favors free trade and the First Amendment. Is that “radical”? Or is it mainstream and thus non-radical? Does labeling it radical further the debate on whether or not those are the correct positions?
Making leisure your labor, an elaboration of “working from home,” can be a profound comfort. Collapsing the public and private can mean protection from both realms — stripped of some of the obligations of traditional professionalism, your public life can be more intimate and casual. And when you “be yourself” for a living, your private self can be infused with the armored posturing of a public persona. This elision can also, truly, drive a person crazy.
I had to ask myself, Is this as fast as you can possibly run right now? and when the answer was No, making myself try harder for no other reason than that trying hard matters.
Twitter puts its users in the uncomfortable position of spectating people’s tirades and honest outpourings of hurt while being almost entirely powerless to respond in a meaningful way.
As TV drama becomes more traditionally novelistic, announcing exactly how long a story is going to take and assuring us that the end of a season will be the End, we can breathe a sigh of relief, because we know that at least one thing we’ve invested our emotions in will set an endpoint and stick to it and let us move on to something else.
This speaks to me. I don’t remember the last show I watched past the third season. I’m sure I’m missing out on many wonderful experiences, but… to each their own. Cf. streaming TV as a new genre.
All of Bourne’s enemies, as well as his potential allies, are colleagues of one kind or another, and his very existence is a horrifying reductio ad absurdum of life on the corporate treadmill.
In 1966, a photographer Cunningham knew gave him an Olympus Pen D half-frame camera. “It cost about thirty-five dollars,” Cunningham wrote. “He said, ‘Here, use it like a notebook.’ And that was the real beginning.”
I am not shy, but I am elusive.
A lot of the essay is a more mopey than rings true for me, but I like that description a lot.
Despite all this talk about how we eat everything and like everything, we are not willing to pay for everything at the same rate, and that tells you something.
Just like it says on the label. Awesome that someone took the time to collect these from his excellent Twitter account.
At some point in everyone’s life, you think like a burglar. It’s when you’re trying to sneak out of the house as a teenager, or you’re trying to sneak downstairs to look at Christmas presents, or you’re doing anything where you’re trying not to get caught, sneaking in, out of, or through a building in any way.
People don’t read these books to find out how to be better human beings. People read them to figure out how to become the kind of human being the workplace is looking for.
Cities get the types of crime their design calls for.
Excited for Manaugh’s book to hit my mailbox in a few days.
Fun interview about creating one of my favorite albums. Nice bit:
Out of the 13 months we took to make the album, there was six months of partying. Seriously. We would come into the studio, and Marvin would say, “Let’s go play basketball.” And we would play basketball half the day, on studio time. There was no pressure.