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News 06.07.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 06.07.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 06.07.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 06.07.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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VERONA, ITALY — “Move fast and break things,” the digital dictum of today’s Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, could have been penned by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and his fellow Italian Futurists. Their famous manifesto in 1909 glorified the velocity of all things industrially muscular, from cars to airplanes, that disrupted the time and space of stodgy old traditional societies. Like today’s radical technologists, they too envisioned a new transhumanism that would fuse man and machine.

I was struck by this parallel when visiting an exhibit of futurist art at the Palazzo Maffei last week in Verona. In their enthusiasm to smash the past, what the futurists didn’t see was how the broken social pieces would seek shelter from the storm by re-forming through identity politics that ended up in the fascist movements that fomented world war. That is something to ponder in our own fraught time of fragmentation.

As in Marinetti’s day, prodigious leaps in technology, science and productive capacity today herald a future humanity has only dreamt of in the past. Yet these great transformations seem to have triggered in their wake a great reaction among the multitude they have bypassed or threatened to uproot.

As Nicolas Berggruen and I wrote in our 2019 book, “Renovating Democracy: Governing in the Age of Globalization and Digital Capitalism,” the truth is not only that both realities exist simultaneously, but that one is a condition of the other.

The fearful and fearsome reaction against growing inequality, social dislocation and loss of common identity in the midst of today’s vast wealth creation, unprecedented mobility and ubiquitous connectivity is a mutiny, really, against globalization so audacious and technological change so rapid that it can barely be absorbed by our incremental nature. In this accelerated era, future shock can feel like repeated blows in the living present to individuals, families and communities alike. In this one world, it sometimes seems, a race is on between the newly empowered and the recently dispossessed.

Read the rest of this article at: Noema

News 06.07.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 06.07.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

It can be hell finding one’s way across an extensive boggy moor—the partially dry, rough ground and the absence of any landmarks let the eye rove helplessly into the monotype distance. Everything undulates, the rise and fall share the same muted palette, and the senses dull. But a swamp is different: in it, in addition to water, there are trees and shrubs, just as reeds and rushes are the hallmarks of a marsh. Although water and squelch are everywhere in a swamp, there are landmarks—downed trees or jagged stumps, a tenanted heron nest, occasional islands of high-ground hardwood stands, called “hammocks” in the South. Yet the swamp traveller goes not in a straight line but slouches from quaking island to thick tussock to slippery, half-submerged log. Even with G.P.S. technology, big swamps are places to get lost, and in the past many people with a reason to melt out of sight—Native Americans threatened out of their territory, runaway slaves, Civil War army deserters, moonshiners, and bloody-handed murderers—have hidden in them. For a few seconds, I once considered hiding in a swamp myself.

When I was ten years old, my family lived in a rented house in Rhode Island. Saturdays were free time, and I sometimes went to a nearby swamp. A fishermen’s path circled the swamp. Far out in the water stood the unreachable hulk of a dead tree—branchless, tall, white, and with a large hole near the top. I had somewhere read that great blue herons nested in such snags, and that in one swamp a man had brought a ladder, placed it against a tree, and climbed up to look into a heron nest. The heron stabbed him in the eye as he came level with the nest, and the man, his eye and brain pierced, fell dead from the ladder. I wanted to see if there was a heron nest in this local swamp’s dead tree—perhaps even a live heron, perhaps even the remains of a ladder, perhaps even a sun-bleached skull nearby. When I got to the swamp, I saw a small raft and a pole lying on the bank. There was no one around. I pushed the raft out into the tawny water, got on board, and began poling toward the snag. I was halfway there when I heard furious shouts and screams. Looking back, I saw the two worst boys at my school jumping up and down on the bank and hurling futile clods of mud. I had stolen their raft. After a quick look for a hiding place, I changed direction and took an oblique route to the farthest shore, where I pole-vaulted onto firm land, found the path, and rushed away from the scene of the crime. It was some time before I noticed that I was still carrying the raft pole, and I leaned it helpfully against a tree before continuing home.

Many modern Americans do not like swamps, herons or no herons, and experience discomfort, irritation, bewilderment, and frustration when coaxed or forced into one, except for a few, like my mother, for whom entering a swamp was like plunging into a complex world of rare novelties. My mother’s hero was Henry David Thoreau, the enigmatic New England surveyor-naturalist-essayist. Thoreau has been called the patron saint of swamps, because in them he found the deepest kind of beauty and interest. He wrote of his fondness for swamps throughout his life, most feelingly in his essay “Walking”: “Yes, though you may think me perverse, if it were proposed to me to dwell in the neighborhood of the most beautiful garden that ever human art contrived, or else of a Dismal Swamp, I should certainly decide for the swamp.” He went so far as to describe his dream house as one with windows fronting on a swamp where he could see “the high blueberry, panicled andromeda, lambkill, azalea, and rhodora—all standing in the quaking sphagnum.”

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

When Winona Ryder was a kid, she daydreamed about movies—not starring in them, but watching and filming them. Her parents, who are both writers and editors, moved to a commune on the Northern California coast when she was seven, and though there were no TVs, her mother would put up a sheet up on the side of a barn to show old movies. “I was in heaven,” Ryder says. After her family moved a few years later to Petaluma, a city in the San Francisco Bay Area, she would try to view the world through the camera’s lens. “There’s this bridge there. It looks so small now,”Ryder says. “But I used to put the strap of my book bag across my forehead. I’d sort of walk and force myself to see things in black and white, like a movie.”

“I created this whole kind of fantasy world,” she explains.“There was an old theater I loved, and I used to fantasize about living there. Like, ripping out the seats and having a bed and a bathtub and a bike and watching movies all the time.”

It’s telling that even Ryder’s childhood daydreams were the products of an expansive, freewheeling imagination. Her knowledge of film, music, books, and pop culture in general is sprawling.

“It’s just kind of epic how wild her mind is and how it goes to all these different corners,” marvels David Harbour, who plays former police chief Jim Hopper, Ryder’s would-be love interest on Stranger Things, the nostalgic sci-fi series set in the ’80s that returned to Netflix for its fourth season on May 27. Harbour says that Ryder sometimes points out minor historical mistakes that series creators Matt and Ross Duffer and the writers have made while they’re shooting. “She’d tell them, ‘This song actually came out in ’85, and you have it in ’83.’ She knew all of these minute, tiny details they didn’t even know, and they had to change things in the script based on that.”

Read the rest of this article at: Harper’s Bazaar

News 06.07.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 06.07.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The looters arrived late in the afternoon at Koh Ker, a ruined 10th century city in northern Cambodia. They made their way through scrubby jungle to Prasat Krachap, a compact stone temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva and his son Skanda. They walked carefully. The countryside was strewn with land mines, and on another expedition some of the looters had watched a wandering cow be blown up.

The leader of the band, a muscular man named Toek Tik, had selected Prasat Krachap carefully. As a boy, he’d been forced by the Khmer Rouge to serve as a child soldier. He escaped in the mid-1970s, disappearing into the forested slopes of a nearby mountain. While on the run he built up an intimate knowledge of ancient sites, sometimes using temples as shelters. This one, he thought, was particularly promising.

It was the autumn of 1997, near the end of 30 years of civil conflict in Cambodia. The men with Toek Tik were all marked by the violence. Some had fought, like him, with the Khmer Rouge, the genocidal communist party that had held the country from 1975 to 1979. Many were enmeshed in the subsequent contests for political control, which pitted what remained of the Khmer Rouge against more moderate socialists and forces allied with the Cambodian royal family.

The looters began digging in Prasat Krachap’s central shrine, attentive to the jolt of a shovel hitting stone instead of dirt. Eventually the contours of several humanlike figures emerged. The men kept digging through the night, exposing enough of the objects to haul them out using pieces of wood as levers. One of the sculptures, about three and a half feet tall, depicted Shiva, his lips in a hint of a smile, sitting cross-legged across from Skanda, who was rendered as a small boy extending his hands upward to clasp his father’s. Another statue of about the same height showed Skanda in his adult role as a god of war, sitting astride Paravani, a thick-bodied peacock, carved in such detail that each feather was distinct. Toek Tik and his men were probably the first people in centuries to lay eyes on these works.

They loaded the artifacts onto oxcarts, straining to lift the heavy stone. After days of travel on rutted country roads, they would transfer them to an antiquities broker near the Thai border. Each looter would receive about 15,000 Thai baht, a little over $400. From the border, The Peacock and Skanda and Shiva, as the two statues became known, made their way into the hands of a Bangkok-based British businessman named Douglas Latchford. Not long after receiving The Peacock, Latchford sold it to a collector for $1.5 million. Skanda and Shiva became part of his own trove of statues.

Read the rest of this article at: Bloomberg

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News 06.07.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The emperor of no fucks wore a maroon T-shirt over his mesomorphic frame. He had a light beard and a short ponytail, and he was wearing can headphones and clutching a microphone as he sat in front of a glass wall looking out on a line of wind-rustled trees in his sunny backyard. It was 11 in the morning here in Los Angeles on a Sunday in late May, but Mark Manson’s students had logged on from time zones around the world (Berlin, Capetown, the United Arab Emirates, Winnipeg, India) for the latest webinar from his Subtle Art School (“More life lived, fewer fucks given”), itself a brand extension of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, one of the top-ten-selling books of the past decade.

The focus of today’s lesson was “Changing Beliefs,” and for two hours, Manson fielded questions and responded with the research-based realism that had made him a kind of Tony Robbins for millennials. When asked, “What was the belief you struggled the most to change?” Manson was self-deprecating, talking about how he’d had “a lot of fucked-up beliefs around commitment and marriage” and how “it took most of my 20s to unwind that.” At times, he was a confident guru, speaking in aphorisms such as “Instinct is unconscious emotion.” As he chewed over his answers, his brow crunched and his eyes tilted toward the ceiling in thought. After a woman named Roxana talked of her guilt about her family, which didn’t accept some of the ways she had changed, Manson wasn’t unsympathetic, but neither was he sentimental or pandering. “The bad news is this is always gonna hurt. That’s hard; it’s really, really hard,” he said. When a woman spoke of her grief over a stillborn child, Manson cautioned her against “applying a Band-Aid to a shotgun wound,” adding that “my content is optimized” for “high-quality problems” rather than the “life-defining pain” of this woman’s trauma. He cited research by the likes of psychologist John Gottman. As Manson talked, comments scrolled through the chat window: “I just had an ‘aha’ moment. Thank you,” “A franchise of Subtle Art Club Houses? Frequented by a tribe of people with healthy boundaries.”

Manson seemed to be following the familiar self-help-titan path. Besides the school, which launched in January, he had published Everything Is Fucked, a best-selling follow-up to his megaselling first book. (Along the way, he found time to co-author Will Smith’s memoir, Will.) He had recently released a The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck journal and a The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck NFT collection. A The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck documentary was in the works. But when your creed is not giving a fuck, practicing what you preach means learning not to give a fuck about the multi-million-dollar empire you’ve built — the one that brought you a real-estate-porn Tribeca loft and the adulation of celebrities. As Manson told his webinar students, “I’m in a situation in my career at the moment where I’m in one of these paradox-of-choice situations,” and the only way to make a decision was to choose the thing with the best, or least bad, trade-offs. “Coming at things from the least-bad point of view allows you to develop conviction in them.”

Read the rest of this article at: New York

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