News 29.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 29.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 29.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 29.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 29.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In 2007, in one of the first episodes of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Guy Fieri visited Patrick’s Roadhouse, a railway station turned restaurant in Santa Monica, California. The diner’s chef, Silvio Moreira, walked Fieri through the preparation of one of Patrick’s most notable dishes, the Rockefeller—a burger topped with mushrooms, sour cream, jack cheese, and … caviar. Fieri, looking playfully trepidatious, lifted the burger with both hands, said a fake prayer, and did what he would proceed to do thousands of times on the show: He took an enormous bite. And then he fell silent. “Wooow,” he commented, finally, shooting Moreira a what-have-you-done-to-me look.

“Different, huh?” Moreira said, grinning. “Yeah,” Fieri replied. The show’s camera discreetly cut away to the next scene.

The exchange would become a precedent on the long-running Food Network show fans know as Triple D: Fieri will simply not say anything negative about the food he eats on the air. Instead, his show elevates enthusiasm into an art form. Whether he is sampling burgers or enchiladas or barbecue or pizza or pho (or the pig’s head at Vida Cantina in Portsmouth, New Hampshire; or the grasshopper tacos at Taquiza in Miami Beach; or dinner-plate-size cinnamon rolls at Mountain Shadows in Colorado Springs, Colorado), his reaction to whatever he eats will be praise. Fieri is a host who is, definitionally, a guest. He visits restaurants to learn about them, and to learn from them. He insists that he’s not a food critic. Instead, “I’m a food highlighter. I’m bringing the greatest hits.”

I’ve been watching a lot of Triple D lately, in part because it’s one of those shows that always seems to be on, but also because it is a warm hug in television form. Pop culture may be rediscovering the truism that sincerity sells, but Triple D has been serving up communal kindness for years. I love the show’s low-stakes, no-frills premise: a tour of some of the best diners—and food trucks, and seafood shacks, and taco stands—around the country. I love the dad-jokey banter Fieri gets into with cooks as they make their restaurant’s favorite dishes together on camera. (“Some people play the violin; you play the mandolin!” Fieri tells the chef of an Outer Banks seafood restaurant as he slices cucumbers that will become fried pickles.)

Mostly, though, I love that Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives isn’t actually about the food. It’s a travel show, an exploration of individual places, as seen through some of the restaurants that nourish the people who live there. Diners have long doubled as symbols of thrift, of simplicity, of community. Triple D takes the symbolism one step further. It explores what the art critic Lucy Lippard called “the lure of the local,” the notion that locations on the map have depth as well as width, functioning not just as places in the world but also as ways of giving the world its meaning. In a moment when many Americans are renegotiating their relationship with their local community, Triple D is a wistful kind of paradox: It is a national show that celebrates local life. The series spotlights the quirks—the accidents of geography and history and culture—that make one area of the country just a little bit different from every other.

Read the rest of this article at: Atlantic

The Balmoral in Chestnut

Shop the Balmoral in Chestnut
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Elsewhere in the maze, there were long stretches without any junctions. Oskar van Deventer, a Dutch telecom engineer and a renowned designer of mechanical puzzles, told me, “This is something you will recognize in all Adrian Fisher mazes: that it has some long corridors with no decision to be made.” This provides the choice-fatigued aspirant with a brief, blissful break, but, of course, as I discovered when I hit one and thought I must finally be on the right track, it also serves Fisher’s wily purposes. “A long journey with no choices reinforces the feeling that either you’re going to solve it—or you’re getting very lost,” Fisher explained.

Escot’s bridges are similarly misleading: I approached my first with a sense of relief, only to discover that they offer just enough vertical perspective to make you think you can plan your route but too little to actually figure out the whole maze. “It’s sort of, like, Let me give you a hint that’s not as much of a hint as you think it is,” Rothstein said. “It tantalizes.”

Fisher had even employed the classic Runcie trick: a turn toward the periphery in order to reach the center. Hugo Spiers, a cognitive neuroscientist at University College London, told me he has found that humans are seemingly helpless to resist the magnetic attraction of a goal. “They kind of hedge-scan when they know they’re near the goal,” he said. “They look over to it, like they’re longing to get to it.” That single-minded focus makes it all too easy to discount paths that lead backward, away from the goal. At Escot, the bridges, as well as several paths that run immediately around the edge of the goal without providing access to it, offer tempting views of the maze’s central tower, while the path to reach the center requires aspirants to maintain their distance, travelling under rather than over the bridges.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

News 29.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 29.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

On the second day of Canada Reads 2020, actor Kaniehtiio Horn opened up to her fellow panellists about the negative feelings she experienced while reading one of the battle’s contenders: Jesse Thistle’s memoir From the Ashes: My Story of Being Métis, Homeless, and Finding My Way. When host Ali Hassan asked Horn how successful the book was at building empathy, Horn confessed that she had a problem with From the Ashes. The memoir, which follows Thistle’s itinerant and sometimes bleak coming-of-age story as a disconnected Métis youth, was the top-selling Canadian nonfiction book of 2020. But Horn announced that she didn’t want to read Thistle’s “trauma porn.” “I think it appeals to a non-Indigenous audience. As an Indigenous person, it was triggering,” she said. “Indigenous people know this story. . . . I either know people who’ve lived it or I lived it.” Her remark contributed to the panellists booting From the Ashes from the competition.

In recent years, trauma porn has emerged as an insidious charge against a certain type of art that deals with abjection or pain—the kind, its critics say, that continues the violence it portrays for the audiences that perpetuate it. In the spring of 2020, storyteller and theorist Kim Senklip Harvey published the meditative and thoughtful blog post “No Indigenous Trauma Porn,” where she defines “colonial trauma porn traps” by how these works make her feel immediately afterward: “Do I feel nourished by it and activated to participate in the emancipatory Indigenous revolution or does this work trigger trauma and propel people into draining conditioned imperial responses, like feelings of anxiety, depression, hopelessness and hurt.” For Harvey, the trauma porn star’s compulsions arise from the shallow motivations of “subservience to colonialism,” “unaddressed trauma,” and “egoic creative practice.”

Similar calls to stop creating trauma porn have circled around valid concerns that these artworks are consumed at the expense of the communities they depict rather than being works created deliberately for those communities. Works considered trauma porn are not culturally challenging, this thinking goes, and are made only to appease that idealized “Canadian reader”—typically a white, bespectacled, middle-class woman who reads with her book club weekly, shops indie, and listens to the CBC’s Front Burner with her morning sip.

Read the rest of this article at: The Walrus

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News 29.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The journey from Naples to the ruins of Pompeii takes about half an hour on the Circumvesuviana, a train that rattles through a ribbon of land between the base of Mt. Vesuvius, on one side, and the Gulf of Naples, on the other. The area is built up, but when I travelled the route earlier this fall I could catch glimpses of the glittering sea behind apartment buildings. Occasionally, the mountainous coast across the bay came into sight, in the direction of the old Roman port of Misenum—where, in 79 A.D., the naval commander and prolific author Pliny the Elder watched Vesuvius erupt. Pliny, who led a rescue effort by sea, was killed by one of the volcano’s surges of gas and rock; his nephew, Pliny the Younger, provided the only surviving eyewitness account of the disaster. My view sometimes opened up in the opposite direction, toward the volcano, to reveal farmland or a stand of umbrella pines, their tall trunks giving way to billowing needle-covered branches. Pliny the Younger compared the shape of these trees to the volcanic eruption, with its column of smoke rising to a puffy cloud of ash that hovered, and then collapsed, burying a good part of what is now the Circumvesuviana’s route.

I got off at the stop called Pompeii Scavi—“the ruins of Pompeii”—and headed toward the modern gates that surround the ancient city. Before Pompeii was drowned in ash, it had a circumference of about two miles, enclosing an area of some hundred and seventy acres—a fifth the size of Central Park. Its population is estimated to have been about eleven thousand, roughly the same number as live in Battery Park City. After the ruins were rediscovered, in the mid-eighteenth century, formal excavations continued throughout the nineteenth century and into the twentieth, with successive directors of the site exposing mansions, temples, baths, and, eventually, entire streets paved with volcanic rock. About a third of the ancient city has yet to be excavated, however; the consensus among scholars is that this remainder should be left for future archeologists, and their presumably more sophisticated technologies.

At some ancient Roman sites, such as nearby Herculaneum, unexcavated areas have been topped with contemporary buildings. But at Pompeii, once you walk inside the gates, you can almost block out the modern world: the ancient city is full of spectacular vistas, with the straight lines of its gridded streets leading to Vesuvius in the distance. And, every so often, a visitor comes across a street or an alleyway that dead-ends at a twenty-foot-high escarpment covered with scrubby grass. This is the boundary between Pompeii’s revealed past and its still buried one.

I had come to Pompeii to explore one such boundary, at the abrupt terminus of the Vicolo delle Nozze d’Argento—the Street of the Silver Wedding—in a corner of what archeologists have designated as Regio V, the city’s fifth region. For many years, the formal excavations stopped here, just past one of Pompeii’s grandest mansions: the House of the Silver Wedding, which was uncovered in the late nineteenth century and named, in 1893, in honor of the twenty-fifth wedding anniversary of the Italian monarch, Umberto I, and his wife, Margherita of Savoy. The spacious house, which is believed to have belonged to a Pompeiian bigwig named Lucius Albucius Celsus, included a salon fitted with a barrel-vaulted ceiling supported by columns of trompe-l’oeil porphyry, and an atrium, decorated with frescoes, that scholars regard as the finest of its kind in the city.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

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