In the News 06.27.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


In the News 06.27.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 06.27.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Living Alone and Liking It

My second apartment in New York will go down as one of the great loves of my life. Not because it is perfect, by any means, but because of how much effort and dedication I’ve put into my relationship with it.

After I decided it was The One, I learned to spackle, prime, and sand so that I could spend a long weekend wearing a cheap dust mask on a borrowed ladder, painting it my favorite shade of charcoal gray; I outfitted it from end to end with multiple vectors of Bluetooth and wireless speaker systems; I ordered and assembled furniture in sleek black and playful yellow to sleep and eat and sit on; I hung tasteful black-and-white framed photo prints on the walls.

And when I got a raise, I mounted an LED TV whose size in inches I have to admit I have uttered aloud on a few occasions opposite my sofa. In return, my apartment has become the steadfastly welcoming presence in my life that I cannot wait to come home to.

One night, I sighed happily to a friend, “It’s all coming together. It’s like my own real-life, grown-up…” and the phrase that nearly came out of my mouth was “bachelor pad.”

Read the rest of this article at: Curbed

The Political George Orwell


George Orwell was serious about politics.

That might seem obvious, given the pervasively political valence of “Orwellian” discourse and the politically charged touchstones of Orwell’s famous novels, the Bolshevik revolution in Animal Farm and totalitarian thought control in Nineteen Eighty-Four. But the degree to which Orwell was steeped in the crosscurrents of radical politics has been routinely underestimated. So much has been said about Orwell’s legendarily plain speech and his free-thinking worldview that he now figures, for many, as an icon of non-doctrinaire and even anti-doctrinaire thought.

George Orwell, whose most celebrated novel features a thirty-page tract by a fiery Trotsky-like ideologue on “the theory and practice of oligarchical collectivism,” is often treated as a quixotic naïf whose socialism was moral rather than theoretical, intuitive rather than intellectual. The truth is more complex.

Orwell was an iconoclast, but within the socialist tradition, not outside it. His satires of ideological excesses rang true because he knew those excesses intimately — ideologically, culturally, and theoretically.

As we now know, thanks to his Complete Works published between 1986 and 1998, Orwell was very much at home in the arcana of left politics. In 1945, when he rebuked pro-Soviet writers for exaggerating Stalin’s role in the Russian revolution, he drew his evidence from an unexpected source: the man who had served as Stalin’s Foreign Minister from 1930 to 1939 and who had returned to the foreign ministry after serving as Russia’s ambassador to the United States during World War 2.

“I have before me,” Orwell wrote, “what must be a very rare pamphlet, written by Maxim Litvinoff in 1918 and outlining the recent events in the Russian Revolution. It makes no mention of Stalin, but gives high praise to Trotsky, and also to Zinoviev.”

Read the rest of this article at: Jacobin

Tuscany Tote in Midnight

Shop the Tuscany Tote in Midnight
at Belgrave Crescent &

The First Family Of Counterfeit Hunting

The flower arrangement was large and gaudy. “Sorry for your loss,” read the note accompanying the blooms. Rob Holmes squinted in surprise at the sender’s name: Ray West. Ray West didn’t exist. He was one of the online personas Rob adopted to hunt counterfeiters. And Rob hadn’t lost anyone. The note was a threat.

It was 2009 and the Russian mob had Rob in their sights. The company he runs with his younger brother Jason was on the trail of a huge counterfeit operation, an investigation that would eventually lead to the downfall of a Russian “spam gang,” a sophisticated group of mobsters responsible for a slew of websites advertising fake watches, handbags and accessories, as well as a third of the world’s spam emails.

The flowers, which Rob later discovered had been bought with his own hacked credit card, were an unmistakable warning. But the investigator was hardly spooked; he appreciated the theater. “It was pretty cool and dramatic,” he recalls, “like something from ‘The Godfather.’”

Read the rest of this article at: Narratively


Into The Wild
With Kanye West

JACKSON, Wyo. — One afternoon early last year, Kanye West walked into the living room of his California home and found Tony Robbins — the Hulk-sized, concrete-grinned motivational speaker — waiting for him.

It had been just a few months since the rapper, producer, fashion designer and cultural fire starter had gone through one of the most taxing periods of his public life: His wife was robbed at gunpoint, and a series of erratic concert appearances followed, culminating in a nine-day stint in the U.C.L.A. Medical Center. He was in a state of shambles, and it showed.

“He could look at me and you know, I don’t know why he mentioned suicide, but he could tell that I was very low,” Kanye recalled in early June over breakfast at the rustic modernist home here that he’s been renting and making music in. “Really medicated, shoulders slumped down, and my confidence was gone, which is a lot of the root of my superpower, because if you truly have self-confidence, no one can say anything to you.”

Mr. Robbins, who is known for his boisterous seminars that feature hot-coal walking, had been summoned by Kanye’s wife, Kim Kardashian West, to stage something like an intervention.

And so Mr. Robbins looked Kanye in the eyes and started issuing instructions. Made him stand up, get into a warrior pose and scream.

“I was so self-conscious about the nanny and the housekeeper that I didn’t want them to hear me screaming in the living room,” Kanye said. “I think that that’s such a metaphor of something for the existence of so-called well-off people that they’re not really well-off — they won’t even scream in their own house.”

He was reluctant. But he screamed.

The fix wasn’t instantaneous. “I still felt self-conscious,” Kanye said. “I didn’t have my confidence back.” But it was a start.

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

Van Gogh’s Japanese Idyll


In the exhibition’s understated subplot, the visitor gleans how van Gogh viewed Japan less as a real country than as an ideal for fashioning a new self-image, through which he transmuted nearly every place, object, or person that he rendered during the eventful final years he spent wandering the French countryside. Having never visited Japan, he had, at best, a superficial knowledge of its culture and its people. This ignorance freed him to imagine Japan as a utopian space where religious feeling, immersion in the natural world, and the making of art formed a single, interdependent state of being. If there is a surprise ending to this story, it is how unmaintainable that vision of creative life turned out to be.

Like any successful exhibition about a figure as familiar as van Gogh, Inspiration from Japan must tacitly debunk the clichés and stereotypes that surround the artist’s biography. In particular van Gogh’s life has fed a narrative about art as a self-destructive undertaking, exemplified by his famous self-mutilation and subsequent suicide. Taken together, this emphasis has concretized a popular 20th century image of the artist as a misunderstood, highly strung, wretched misfit. This unfortunate fiction has a lethal effect on the power and relevance of art; its sinister implication is that the making of art is inherently pathological. Once that equation is accepted as conventional wisdom, a shallow mercantile culture allows itself to pay little more than lip service to art as forms of investigation, inquiry, and knowledge.

Despite its occasional flaws, Inspiration from Japan demonstrates how van Gogh’s varied work mostly defies the long-standing banalities that have cropped up around his image as reiterated by some biographies and sentimental biopics. Vocation, a calling, is the subject here, alongside hard work and trial-and-error. Though religious feeling and thought were central to his temperament, the exhibition shows how his pilgrimage was level-headed and exacting.

Read the rest of this article at: Hyperallergic

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.

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