News 10.26.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 10.26.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 10.26.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 10.26.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The sky above North London burned blue the morning that Maurice Wilson steered his plane onto the grass runway at Stag Lane airfield. It was May 21, 1933. Wilson, a thirty-five-year-old English war veteran, was at the beginning of a mad quest. He proposed to fly from London to the Himalayas, land on one of the plateaus near Mt. Everest, and then, climbing alone, become the first person to reach the summit of the world’s highest mountain. Wilson’s aircraft was a de Havilland Gipsy Moth—a biplane with two open cockpits—which he had renamed Ever-Wrest. He sat in the rear cockpit, wearing a flying jacket and goggles. Climbing equipment and supplies were stuffed in the front. A small group of photographers, reporters, and friends had gathered to see him off.

Many people had told Wilson that his plan was foolish, and likely to lead to his death. In the nineteen-twenties, three well-provisioned British expeditions, each involving several fine climbers and dozens of local porters, had travelled to Everest; none of these parties had reached the peak, and several people had died making summit attempts. Wilson was fit, and could walk long distances, but he had never ascended a high mountain, nor had he ever used crampons or an ice ax. His alpine experience consisted of hikes around Wales and the Lake District. His knowledge of the Himalayas consisted of reading books and newspaper articles.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

News 10.26.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 10.26.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

When the Australian television producer Rhonda Byrne published The Secret in 2006, book critics responded, for the most part, by laughing at it. This wasn’t necessarily unwarranted; Byrne’s assertion that positive things will happen to you if only you think enough positive thoughts is crammed with unscientific New Ageisms that feel like truth no matter how untrue they actually are.

Her central ideas fall apart with the tiniest prodding: People don’t die of cancer because they fail to manifest enough positive thoughts to ward off the disease, for instance. Besides, it was Byrne who had the last laugh: The Secret has sold 30 million copies since then, and is among the most successful self-help books of all time.

It doesn’t take much critical thought to understand why The Secret and books like it — The Power of Positive Thinking, The Science of Getting Rich, Think and Grow Rich — are so popular: They offer a portrait of the world that is extraordinarily alluring, one where the only obstacle to achieving every dream we might have is to focus very hard on it, as though pretending like we’re already gorgeous, successful, deliriously happy human beings will make it real.

Which is why, more than a decade after The Secret, a new generation is discovering its central thesis, except this time on social media. On TikTok, teenagers share stories about how “scripting,” or repeatedly writing down a wish, caused a crush to finally text them back. On YouTube, vloggers lead tutorials on how to properly manifest your dream future. On Instagram, someone will write that $20,000 will soon land in your hands, and all you have to do is comment “YES.” On Twitter, stans will, ironically or not, attempt to manifest the release of a new Lorde album.

Read the rest of this article at: Vox

You will surely have heard by now of Jeffrey Toobin. Last week the CNN legal analyst and New Yorker writer was participating in an “election simulation” via Zoom, with other staffers from the magazine and employees of WNYC. Masha Gessen played Donald Trump; Toobin played the courts. At some point, believing his computer’s camera was turned off (or “muted” as he would later say, a confusion that seems to bespeak sincerity), Toobin engaged in a sexual act. He was swiftly suspended from his position at the magazine, and from his role as news analyst at CNN.

I do not wish to say anything more about Toobin. As always with such incidents, it is far more interesting to stop and dwell on what they reveal about our current technological and cultural moment. The social media mobs relished this juicy scandal. The shitposters turned it into a source of easy jokes (election simulation/erection stimulation), while other more purportedly high-minded commentators saw it as yet another opportunity for the display of their own towering high-mindedness and righteousness. This was, they said, standard-fare workplace sexual harrassment—perhaps even assault. The possibility of interjecting more humane interpretations was forestalled by accusations that to do so would be to lapse into “himpathy.”

Read the rest of this article at: Tablet

News 10.26.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 10.26.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Creativity doesn’t have a deep history. The Oxford English Dictionary records just a single usage of the word in the 17th century, and it’s religious: ‘In Creation, we have God and his Creativity.’ Then, scarcely anything until the 1920s – quasi-religious invocations by the philosopher A N Whitehead. So creativity, considered as a power belonging to an individual – divine or mortal – doesn’t go back forever. Neither does the adjective ‘creative’ – being inventive, imaginative, having original ideas – though this word appears much more frequently than the noun in the early modern period. God is the Creator and, in the 17th and 18th centuries, the creative power, like the rarely used ‘creativity’, was understood as divine. The notion of a secular creative ability in the imaginative arts scarcely appears until the Romantic Era, as when the poet William Wordsworth addressed the painter and critic Benjamin Haydon: ‘Creative Art … Demands the service of a mind and heart.’

This all changes in the mid-20th century, and especially after the end of the Second World War, when a secularised notion of creativity explodes into prominence. The Google Ngram chart bends sharply upwards from the 1950s and continues its ascent to the present day. But as late as 1970, practically oriented writers, accepting that creativity was valuable and in need of encouragement, nevertheless reflected on the newness of the concept, noting its absence from some standard dictionaries even a few decades before.

Before the Second World War and its immediate aftermath, the history of creativity might seem to lack its object – the word was not much in circulation. The point needn’t be pedantic. You might say that what we came to mean by the capacity of creativity was then robustly picked out by other notions, say genius, or originality, or productivity, or even intelligence – or whatever capacity it was believed enabled people to think thoughts considered new and valuable. And in the postwar period, a number of commentators did wonder about the supposed difference between emergent creativity and such other long-recognised mental capacities. The creativity of the mid-20th century was entangled in these pre-existing notions, but the circumstances of its definition and application were new.

Read the rest of this article at: aeon

News 10.26.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Before she disappeared in the spring of last year, Jennifer Farber seemed to have everything she wanted. She had a handsome Greek American husband, Fotis Dulos, whom she married in a big affair at the Metropolitan Club in 2004. She had five young children, all with Greek names, in a nod to Dulos’s country of ancestry. She lived in spectacular comfort in mansions in Connecticut, with enough help that she could’ve continued the writing career she began in the 1990s, and Dulos could do what he wanted, though Farber didn’t always know where he was going and with whom. Money was never an issue: Farber came from a wealthy New York City family, and Dulos was a luxury real estate developer in the 2010s in the tristate area, not exactly a difficult market.

Farber had long coveted this type of all-encompassing domestic lifestyle, even if the surroundings were a bit different than her adolescent dreams. “The New York Times wedding pages held a hypnotic sway over me since I discovered them at age 11,” she wrote in an essay published in Personals, a collection edited by Thomas Beller, in 1998. “Entering the structured, ambitious black-and-white world at the back of the Sunday paper, I was window-shopping for a life.” Farber imagined the day when she’d “live on Park Avenue in the 60s in a ‘perfect eight’ with a fireplace and service entrance, and supervise our New York calendars,” she wrote. As always in New York, the good life came with great real estate. With the right apartment and the right husband, she’d be just like the other women in the paper: “correctly poised super girls, well educated, accomplished, thoroughbred.”

Like many women whose lives are outwardly perfect, though, Farber’s marriage had secrets. Dulos, 51, was an Adonis, a beautiful creature, with extraordinarily fine, delicate features, saucer-size brown eyes, and a fastidious appearance. He hardly resembled Mr. Rochester, but, according to a longtime friend of Farber’s, beneath the veneer, he had a similar personality—a rigid man, moody and gloomy at times, and quick to inform Farber, 50, of her shortcomings. He seemed far from the man he pretended to be, and the series of actions he took in the year since Farber’s disappearance could not have proved that more.

But another secret was that Farber, for all her analysis of the Times’s wedding pages, was deeply ambivalent about the pursuit of a socially appropriate life. This was partially her ironic Generation X attitude, of course; almost everything one wanted, in her demographic cohort, had to also be not wanted. But with Farber, her true needs and desires were even more complicated.

Read the rest of this article at: Vanity Fair

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

Follow us on Instagram @thisisglamorous

Shopping | Spring Things: Pretty, Pretty Pastels