What happens when hopeless romantic, who jumps into relationships very quickly, tries to date a total commitmentphobe? Stay riveted, folks! X. Trapnel asks, "How much do we hate these people?" (which is super well-timed because I'm at a wedding this weekend, and probably won't be online much before Tuesday.)
But anyway: "Very much."
Again. Seems plausible.
John Holbo v. Belle Waring at Crooked Timber.
Why isn't 'the civil rights struggle' kind of like 'feminism': a thing you are allowed to hate on publicly? Let's narrow it to a point. From Kasim Reed, mayor of Atlanta: "Once you decide that vestiges of racism are wrong and inappropriate, there has to be a legal framework for how those changes come to life."
John and I have this discussion a lot, actually. He says, "you can't be an actual, plausible candidate for any office in the US and also be willing to say 'I'm racist. I'm plain ol' prejudiced against black people.'" I see his point. But I'm always inclined to say, "honey, you grew up in Eugene, Oregon and I think you may never have met a black person until you were old enough to remember your family having a guest whom you considered unusual." I was born in Savannah, Georgia (though I also spent a lot of time living in D.C. and in NY. Well, and California, as an adult.). My family is a bunch of lefties. But a whole lot of the white people in Georgia and South Carolina are racist. Like, getting up onto all of them. They will say stuff that is so racist you are like, "did I even hear that?"
When did introverts and extroverts start having a persecution complex competition with each other?
History of scary clowns. Who amongst us is not a scary clown?
How Copyright Made Midcentury Books Disappear. I'm sure we've discussed this in one of our endlessly fascinating copyright discussions, but it's possible I don't read those closely.
Becoming a writer in a second language. "This is why to abandon your native tongue and to adopt another is to dismantle yourself, piece by piece, and then to put yourself together again, in a different form."
This might be my favorite movie review ever. Don't go see Canyons.
Via Oudie, Elsewhere
Nick S writes: A couple weeks ago I was listening to a variety of the AV Club "Undercover" videos. For those of you who aren't familiar with them, they generate a list of classic pop songs (often slightly cheesy) and ask contemporary bands to pick one to cover.
I'd listened to a couple of them before but watching a bunch of them together is interesting because it does get you thinking about what goes into a good cover. I haven't worked out a description that I'm comfortable with, but I thought I'd share a couple.
My favorite is the Calexico cover of "Danger Zone." Part of what makes it striking is that they admit that they picked the song without knowing it very well and then realized it's not a good song. It's clear that part of their motivation in coming up with their version is, "oh shit, if we can't find a cool way to do this we're going to look like idiots." Proving that the principle of, "An insecure commenter is a good commenter" generalizes beyond unfogged.
By contrast a number of people explain their choice of songs by explaining that the one they chose is actually a well constructed pop song, underneath the layer of cheese. One example of that is the cover of "Blue Jeans" by Jukebox The Ghost. At first it seems just slightly out of his performance range, but by the end I was really impressed -- he really sells the heck out of the song.
It's also worth watching at least one of the cover versions that doesn't work as well. For me the cover of "Rikki Don't Lose That Number." It's hardly terrible -- lots of people praise it in the comments, but I feel like it doesn't add anything to the song and it's just clearly not as interesting or good as the original.
By contrast, and proving how subjective these judgements are, I ended up really liking this cover of "Modern Love." I expected to dislike it because David Bowie's voice and style are so distinctive that it's difficult to cover his songs. What's more, I wouldn't have liked that version if I hadn't watched it after seeing a bunch of these videos. But I found myself appreciating the fact that (a) they don't even try to immitate the original and (b) it seems motivated by genuine respect and love for the original. It's slightly bizarre, but in a really good way I think.
Taken as a group, I'd say there's a balancing act involved in covering a familiar song between finding a way to take ownership of it, and produce a distinctive version, while still paying respect to the original. Those present some very different ways of responding to that tension.
I'll be very curious to know what either Heebie-Gebie or Stanley make of them, since both of them are more in touch with mainstream pop music (particularly H-G) and Stanley's experience playing cover songs.
Heebie's take: still getting there! I'm on Blue Jeans.
I think I'll just reproduce the email in its entirety, from Jezebel, even though that's bad netiquette. Enjoy:
Sent: Fri, 09 Dec 2011 13:35:13 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Great Job Opportunity - PLEASE READ
As some of you may already know, I have been interested in the world of finance for some time. After a series of summer internships, however, I have somehow found myself without a full-time job offer for the upcoming year. Fuckin' Obama's fault for strangling this economy.
Luckily, due to the tough job market, my dad has agreed to let me access my trust fund early (mid 7-figures) to start a relatively small hedge fund, ___ Ventures, after graduation. I'm emailing you guys today to let you know that, for the rest rest of the year, I will be recruiting 2 full-time employees and 1 intern to help me get this off the ground.
With my financial expertise, help from my powerful father and connections, and a skilled team, I have no doubt that this fund will rise quickly to prominence. We'll all get filthy rich and, inevitably, bag hot slampieces. If possible, I'd love to give all 3 of these positions to my brothers.
Although you would technically be working for me, I like to think of it more as a team effort. I know that my education and background qualifies me to lead a venture of this sort, and I would really appreciate your support. Below are the job descriptions. If interested, please email me a resume, cover letter, and paragraph describing why you would be excited to work with me.
Position 1: Lead Investment Analyst
-Because I will spend most of my time networking, raising money, and handshaking with industry bigwigs, I need someone with a strong quant background to take care of the majority of actual analysis.
-Finance experience preferred but not required
-Compensation: Low six figures with benefits
Postion 2: Office Manager/Secretary
-Although this may not sound like the most prestigious role within a fund, someone needs to hand the day-to-day operations and while I and my Lead Investment Analyst conduct strategies to make us all rich. This person would also be in charge of hiring hot secretaries for us to ogle (and possibly slam) during the workday.
-Detail oriented person needed
-Compensation: $70,000 base with benefits (like working close with a slampiece)
Position 3: Intern/Pledge
-This position is available to all sophomores and juniors. Think of it like pledging my hedge fund (so xxx and xxx need not apply)
-I will judge this position primarily based on how hard you pledged and how I rate your slampiece pulling ability
-Compensation: $25/hr with a good opportunity for full-time employment post graduation.
I'm really excited to get this going, and I hope some of you will be joining me. Let me know if you have any questions at all.
Sifu writes: Whatever you think of his fiction (SPOILER: DAMN I LOVE IT), this paris review interview with Wiliam Gibson is really amazing. For instance:
"When the sixties cranked up, I felt already familiar with what was happening. Moving to the woods always creeped me out so I just stayed in cities and watched the whole thing congeal.
GIBSON: Like bacon fat in the bottom of the pan. It was ghastly--the nuked psychic ruins of 1967.
INTERVIEWER: And how were you passing the time?
GIBSON: I was one of those annoying people who know they are going to do something in the arts, but never do anything about it. But then, in 1967 and 1968, if you were a part of the secular millenarian movement, even on the fringes, you basically didn't do anything, you just got up in the morning and walked around, and figured out what you had to do to make that happen again the next day--where you were going to sleep and what could be done to pay the rent. Soon, the hippie rapture would happen and it would all be okay. In the meantime you just hung out. While I suspected that wasn't really sustainable, I couldn't think of anything else to do."
Oh, shut up. I hate this sort of thing. Kids just don't play like they used to! Waah, they used to have hours to kill, and now they have all these toys. I sneer at toys.
Instead of spending their time in autonomous shifting make-believe, children were supplied with ever more specific toys for play and predetermined scripts. Essentially, instead of playing pirate with a tree branch they played Star Wars with a toy light saber. Chudacoff calls this the commercialization and co-optation of child's play -- a trend which begins to shrink the size of children's imaginative space.
Have these people ever been around a child? Oh yes, today's children would never think to use a branch as a sword, so stunted are they.
So what's the repercussion of all this?
We know that children's capacity for self-regulation has diminished. A recent study replicated a study of self-regulation first done in the late 1940s, in which psychological researchers asked kids ages 3, 5 and 7 to do a number of exercises. One of those exercises included standing perfectly still without moving. The 3-year-olds couldn't stand still at all, the 5-year-olds could do it for about three minutes, and the 7-year-olds could stand pretty much as long as the researchers asked. In 2001, researchers repeated this experiment. But, psychologist Elena Bodrova at Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning says, the results were very different.
"Today's 5-year-olds were acting at the level of 3-year-olds 60 years ago, and today's 7-year-olds were barely approaching the level of a 5-year-old 60 years ago," Bodrova explains. "So the results were very sad."
Bullshit. Yes, maybe today's kids are terrible at 1940s indicators of self-regulation. I don't very often make my kids be perfectly still, the way you might have had to at church or something. But since 1940s kids are terrible at having their imagination co-opted and their imaginative spirit drained, I think we can call it even.
Let's meet up on August fourth, SF Bay! Walt Someguy will be in town, as will Bave (though Bave is just getting in that day).
I propose that we do something in the East Bay to make it easier for Von Wafer to attend.
Update: Persons who do not wish the meetup to be at 6:30 at Comal in downtown Berkeley, speak up.
Update 2: too late to speak up! Bump!