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In the News 06.11.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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In the News 06.11.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 06.11.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 06.11.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Richard Avedon and James Baldwin’s Joint Examination of American Identity

I am about thirteen years old and my body and mind are carried along by the energy that thinking engenders in me—the nearly phosphorescent ideas and possibilities I find in books, looking at pictures, and whenever I visit a museum. Some of the photo books I covet the most can’t be checked out from the Brooklyn Public Library, so, day after day, I duck out of my junior high school, in Crown Heights, and, walking past the Brooklyn Museum, then through the Botanic Garden, I go to look at them in the stacks.

I do and do not know the world Richard Avedon and James Baldwin put together in their 1964 collaboration, “Nothing Personal,” which brought together four aspects of American life and culture—civil rights, the rise of black nationalism, our mental-health system, and the old Hollywood guard giving way to rock and roll—in a collection of Avedon’s photographs accompanied by Baldwin’s text. But I look at the images and read the book’s elegiac, crystal-clear essay in those library stacks because it’s the first time I see and realize that current events can be art, that being humane is an art. As to current events: my father reads newspapers. Flat facts. He is suspicious of interpretation—the very spine of Avedon and Baldwin’s book, which I admired, in part, because it took what Daddy loved or held on to in a confusing world—facts—and said that it was all open to interpretation precisely because it was a confusing world: art was a different and in many ways more profound evocation of the truth of the times rather than Daddy saying, Here’s what the news says. You can’t be a black man in the city. There are rats in Borough Hall. I was just there. Daddy’s stories are meant to instill fear—to cut one off from the rest of the world so you’d live in Daddy’s world, with his panic and distance.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

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The Web Began Dying in 2014, Here’s How

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In 2010, LCD Soundsystem were in the process of booking a tour in support of their third album, This Is Happening. It was to end with a show at Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden; evidence of how the band’s career had unexpectedly flourished. Five years on from their debut album, their fusion of dance music, electronic and post-punk, combined with acerbic lyrics, had turned them into one of the US’s most acclaimed and influential bands. They had been garlanded with critical praise, and were recipients of multiple Grammy nominations and album-of-the-year awards. They were authors of All My Friends, a song that frontman James Murphy claims to have felt “embarrassed by, I thought it was too poppy, almost cloying”, but which Pitchfork later said was the second-greatest song of the entire 00s.

Not an inconsiderable achievement, especially if you believe Murphy’s line that he only began making music in his own right because his relationship with the Rapture, the band he was producing, had collapsed, leaving him with nothing to do. He says he was so mortified by the thought of getting on to a stage and singing that it took “a bottle of whisky to do a show”. “Singing’s my nightmare,” he says, blithely. “I was a singing guitar player as a kid and I found it really embarrassing, so I stopped singing and became a drummer. I mean, who does that? I don’t want to be the singing guitar player who writes all the music – I want to play drums and become an engineer.”

Read the rest of this article at: The Next Web

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A Restaurant Ruined My Life

Seven years ago, I was an analyst for Telefilm Canada, earning a paycheque by sitting in a grey cube and shuffling box office stats. At the end of each day, I would rush home to my wife, two daughters and truest passion: making dinner. The sights and smells of my kitchen were balms to my soul.

Cooking would have remained a hobby if I hadn’t stumbled across old footage of Michelin chef Marco Pierre White preparing a stuffed pig’s trotter on YouTube. It was an audacious dish and maybe even a bit sinister. It looked a little like a stubby, sun-baked human hand on a platter. I loved how the deft skill of an unlikely genius and a few choice ingredients transformed a cheap cut of meat into a beautiful plate. The dish was transcendent to me, and in a rough kind of way, so was its creator. White smoked. White sneered. White swore. He was handsome. I could envision him swaggering around his Hampshire restaurant, the Yew Tree Inn, dropping exquisite plates of food in front of wealthy customers with all the bombast of a star footballer. As he got older and no longer cooked in the kitchen, he was known to hang about the bar and drink cider with customers, at times with a .22 rifle close by in case he had the sudden urge to go rabbit hunting. To me, Marco Pierre White was inspirational. I wanted to be him. And I wanted my own Yew Tree.

Read the rest of this article at: Toronto Life

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You Should Ignore Film Ratings on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes

Picking a film to watch is an emotional rollercoaster. First, you have to deal with the crushing knowledge that none of your streaming services of choice actually have the film you want to watch. Then you narrow the field down to three films that you never really intended to watch but are the only half-decent options available.

At this point, paralysed by the thought of making the wrong decisions in life, you will Google the ratings of these films to find out if they’re worth your time. Three hours later – unable to make a decision because of the conflicting information – you realise that it’s too late to start watching a film now anyway and settle down to watch old episodes of Parks and Rec.

But why do the big film-ranking sites come up with such radically different options? Is The Wizard of Oz really best film of all time, or is it The Shawshank Redemption? Why does Metacritic think that Ratatouille is the twenty-third best film in the history of cinema?

To answer all these questions, let’s take a look at how the three biggest film-ranking sites come up with their ratings, and why you should ignore them all.

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

No One Knows What Britain Is Anymore

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BRUSSELS — Many Britons see their country as a brave galleon, banners waving, cannons firing, trumpets blaring. That is how the country’s voluble foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, likes to describe it.

But Britain is now but a modest-size ship on the global ocean. Having voted to leave the European Union, it is unmoored, heading to nowhere, while on deck, fire has broken out and the captain — poor Theresa May — is lashed to the mast, without the authority to decide whether to turn to port or to starboard, let alone do what one imagines she knows would be best, which is to turn around and head back to shore.

I’ve lived and worked for nine years in Britain, first during the Thatcher years and then again for the last four politically chaotic ones. While much poorer in the 1980s, Britain mattered internationally. Now, with Brexit, it seems to be embracing an introverted irrelevance.

The ambitious Mr. Johnson was crucial to the victory of Brexit in the June 2016 referendum. But for many, the blusterings of Boris have lost their charm. The “great ship” he loves to cite is a nationalist fantasy, a remnant of Britain’s persistent post-imperial confusion about its proper place in the world, hanging on to expensive symbols like a nuclear deterrent while its once glorious navy is often incapable of patrolling its own coastline.

Britain — renowned for its pragmatism, its common sense, its political stability and its unabashed devotion to small business (“a nation of shopkeepers”) — has become nearly unrecognizable to its European allies.

“People need to look again at Britain,” said Daniel Brössler, a correspondent for the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung. “It’s no longer the country they understood it to be their whole lives.”

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M. // Top images: @bisous.hannah; @prettylittlefawn; @bisous.hannah

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