News 03.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 03.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 03.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 03.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Stanley Tucci has been in front of the camera, in one form or another, for some four decades now. He’s always had that certain movie-star élan, always been a master of the charismatic smolder. But it was not until April of last year, at the age of fifty-nine, that he became a proper sex symbol of the digital age. It was a few weeks into the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, and Tucci’s wife, the literary agent Felicity Blunt, filmed a short phone clip in their London home of her husband mixing her a Negroni, the classic Italian cocktail, as he narrated his process step by step. The video is three minutes and seventeen seconds of obscene domestic fantasy: a man stands at a built-in bar stocked with top-shelf liquor and elegant glassware; he banters flirtatiously with his wife; his hands move with the fluidity of a confidence man dealing an ace from the bottom of the deck. Tucci is trim, gently muscled, bespectacled, a little arch, a little icy. In the background, a tidy children’s playroom is just visible, evidence of life beyond the cocktail. The video, posted to Instagram, became a viral sensation.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

News 03.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Balmoral in Chestnut

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It was in Rome ahead of this year’s G-20 summit that aspiring classicist Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, decided to lay down another of his misguided visions of history. “When the Roman Empire fell,” he said while traveling to the Italian capital last week, “it was largely as a result of uncontrolled immigration. The empire could no longer control its borders, people came in from the east, all over the place, and we went into a Dark Ages.”

Ostensibly, this was meant as a warning against the pitfalls of inaction in face of the climate crisis. In fact, this is a well-established far-right trope, rooted in a weaponized narrative of the “fall of Rome” that has little to do with what historians know about it. Johnson is reproducing a xenophobic and dangerous vision of history.

There are many legitimate historical theories that try to explain how the Roman Empire transformed, over the course of a few centuries, into a group of successor polities ranging from the kingdom of the Franks to the Byzantine Empire that saw themselves as heirs of Rome. Others, from the Ottomans to the Romanovs, would envision themselves as such in the future. Historians assign different weight to societal or economic factors and argue over the degree of continuity or decline. The so-called fall of Rome was a complicated, multicausal affair.

Read the rest of this article at: Foreign Affairs

News 03.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 03.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

At some point in the past few years, I looked around at my male friends and realized that they were on drugs.

Not Lexapro or benzodiazepines or Wellbutrin — which everybody was also on — but the kinds of drugs that are taken for age-related complaints. The most common seemed to be Viagra. For a few years in the 2010s, my friend Paul, then barely out of his teens, was buying it over the counter at airport pharmacies in Mexico. He consumed it like an anti-venom for the other drugs he took, to have sex when he was drunk, or high on MDMA. Alex, a TV writer in his early 30s, kept generic Viagra in his wallet for big dates. Without it, he was too nervous to perform with women he’d just met. Lucas took it during group-sex encounters, to fortify himself. Diego, a musician in his late 20s, had started generic Viagra in 2020, when the chemical steroids he used for his workouts unintendedly tanked his testosterone levels, which screwed up his sexual function. He would swallow a pill in the car on the way to his girlfriend’s house, or he’d slip into the bathroom right before they went to bed. As far as he could tell, she never knew.

I was hearing about testosterone therapy, too. Testosterone, to treat a supposed hormone deficiency called “low T,” had risen from a negligible market in 2000 to a multibillion-dollar one in 2020, driven partly by demand from cis males, many of them young. One acquaintance of mine, a trans man who works in health care, wittily described these new practices as “gender for men.” He meant that the act of modifying one’s body chemistry based on sex had previously been associated with women (birth control) and the trans community (estrogen and T).

There was another drug I heard about often: minoxidil, the active ingredient of Rogaine. My friends were not buying Rogaine-branded products, because having a bottle of Rogaine in the shower was not a seductive quality in a young male. Rogaine suggested the kind of guy who, standing in front of the mirror each morning, made a pistol with his finger and shot at his reflection while clicking his tongue. But here was Noah, a contemplative sound engineer in his late 20s, sitting across from me at a bar in East Williamsburg telling me his minoxidil tale. “I was complaining about my hairline, and my iPhone heard me,” he said, “and a couple days later, I’m getting bombarded with these ads.” I studied his hairline. Receding. He was typical of the new minoxidil customer: a man who wouldn’t walk out of a drugstore with a Rogaine bottle but was willing to buy it on an app.

Read the rest of this article at: New York Magazine

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News 03.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

I meet Dave Grohl the day after a mid-September Foo Fighters gig that almost didn’t happen. A lingering fog had left the band’s private jets stranded on the JFK tarmac for almost four hours; Live Nation asked the members to record a video to play inside Syracuse’s St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater, which seats more than 17,000, announcing the show had been canceled. Moments before Grohl made the call, he got the all clear from the pilot. Foo Fighters raced into St. Joe’s flanked by a police escort, opening with the triumphant “Times Like These.” Weather delays are no sweat for the rock lifer, whose path to arena-front-man status wove through Scream, the venerable D.C. punk outfit he left in 1990, to Nirvana, whose meteoric ascent ended abruptly with the death of Kurt Cobain four years later. Foo Fighters, a project that began as a batch of solo demos and ballooned into a brotherhood of punk and emo vets, will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this weekend, making Dave a two-time honoree after Nirvana’s induction in 2014. Between the ceremony and the rollout of his new memoir, The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music, Grohl is in the reflective mood.

It’s the fall of 1991. Nirvana is in the middle of a club tour when Nevermind is released. It sells a few thousand copies in the first few weeks. By the end of the year, it’s selling hundreds of thousands per week. At what point do you notice things have changed?
We were blissfully unaware of a lot of that because we were stuck in a van with a U-Haul trailer pulling up to little clubs and loading our own gear into the gig. I remember the night the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video debuted on MTV on 120 Minutes. Kurt and I used to share a room. We knew it was going to be on the show. That night, we realized we had gone from a band in a van with the U-Haul to a band in a van with the U-Haul on fucking TV. But we were moving so quickly at that point. I don’t think we realized what was happening until months later. The thing we did notice was the amount of people at the shows. We were booking places like the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. It held 200 people. You would pull up to the gig and see there were more than 200 people in the club and more than 200 people outside trying to get in.

It’s so different now. People are really attuned to the numbers.
I don’t think any of us started playing music with a career in mind. You fall in love with the Beatles, and you pick up an old instrument, and it becomes this puzzle or this game. You find like-minded friends who are trapped by the same obsession. You start playing your own shitty songs in the basement. Maybe you do it in front of people and you start to crave this relationship with the audience. The other stuff, if it ever comes, comes much later. It’s a different world now. I do think as I watch my daughters learn to play music, they’re starting from the same place I did. The initial intention is genuine, and that never goes away.

In 1992, you released the Pocketwatch tape, your first solo project, under the pseudonym Late! When did you realize Kurt Cobain was aware of your side projects?
When I first joined the band, I played them some things I had recorded in Virginia in between Scream tours. So they knew I recorded things by myself, but they were these little sonic experiments. I was just smoking weed, and I didn’t have anything else to do. It goes back to the famous old joke: What’s the last thing the drummer said before he got kicked out of the band? “Guys, I have some songs I think we should play!” Recognizing Kurt’s brilliance as a songwriter, I wasn’t going to try to squeeze in there. I was like, I know what my role in this band is. I need to pound my drums and push these songs out into an audience like a steamroller.

Read the rest of this article at: Vulture

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