- Cathedral — Autumn Twilight
- Ginger Wildheart — Begin From Within
- Alabama 3 — U Don’t Danz 2 Tekno Anymore
- Extreme — Leave Me Alone
- School of Seven Bells — Love Play
- Modest Mouse — Perfect Disguise
- Gojira — Ocean Planet
- Anthrax — Intro to Reality
- Robbie Robertson — Akua Tuta
- Spoon — Who Makes Your Money
- Micachu and the Shapes — Lips
- King’s X — Hate You
- Helmet — L.A. Water
- Curve — Perish
- VAST — Blue
- Arcade Fire — Headlights Look Like Diamonds
- Mr. Cooper — Five
- Black Sabbath — Thrill Of It All
- Chemlab — Megahurtz (Mindfield Aurora Mix)
- Michael Giacchino — Arnhem Knights
Monthly Archives: June 2012
Beckenbauer, 66, lamented the “curse” Italy have over Germany at major tournaments – having remarkably still never beaten them in a competitive match – but believes reaching the semi-final was still a good achievement for a young team.
“I think we have too much respect (for Italy). The talk about the curse of Italy seemed to paralyse the players,” he wrote.
Soccer is a strange game, and how much history plays into contest like this is often overlooked. Germany remain unable to beat Italy in a meaningful game at this level, and it goes beyond the level of luck to a matter of psychology. Italy never appeared really challenged in this game, even when they made some nearly disastrous gaffes early on. But Germany did grow flustered, as if they believed not only that they were destined to win the game – but that there was no way they should be losing it so early on.
Often overlooked. Yes, if only someone besides every lazy staff writer covering the sport, every studio analyst on ESPN and the ghost of Oswald Spengler had dared to broach the possibility that a mystical sense of historical destiny was more relevant than the mundane details of the particular match in question. There’s simply no precedent for a better team being upset by an underdog, and with a statistical sample stretching right to the cusp of high single digits, what other conclusion could any reasonable person draw?
I want you all to bookmark this post, in case I need someone to present it as evidence in my defense after I finish my killing spree and wind up sitting in court, drooling, kicking at imaginary soccer balls and gibbering incoherently about the difference between causation and correlation in response to the judge’s questions.
Our reading choices have always been constrained by the natural filter bubble created by our friends, and the pressures of time play as large a role as Google’s search engines. So are there any steps we can take to combat the natural “you loop” in our reading tastes?First, I propose we adopt a thoroughly disruptive stance: “If you enjoyed that, then this is the opposite.” If your sister loves the erotic fantasies of E.L. James, then it’s time for her to take on the metaphysics of “Gods and Monsters”, and give Hari Kunzru a try. I intend to lend my mother Roberto Bolaño’s “2666” and buy my father Marian Keyes’s “The Brightest Star in the Sky”. And when I’ve finished the remaining 700 pages of my Norse epic, I shall ask my Twitter friends: what shouldn’t I read next?And why stop there? How about disloyalty cards, where booksellers give us discounts for clocking up an eclectic range of purchases? Or discomfort zones, with a “books we can’t stand” display, complete with little handwritten condemnations: so much more inviting than yet another card explaining why “Bleak House” is really rather good. Could there be a pop-up sci-fi corner in a romance authors’ convention or critics reviewing novels that are diametrically opposed in subject matter, style and philosophical outlook, and still liking both? As the season for lazy beach-reading approaches, let us make a stand for the joy of being thoroughly surprised.
For centuries, reading has largely been a solitary and private act, an intimate exchange between the reader and the words on the page. But the rise of digital books has prompted a profound shift in the way we read, transforming the activity into something measurable and quasi-public.The major new players in e-book publishing—Amazon, Apple and Google—can easily track how far readers are getting in books, how long they spend reading them and which search terms they use to find books. Book apps for tablets like the iPad, Kindle Fire and Nook record how many times readers open the app and how much time they spend reading. Retailers and some publishers are beginning to sift through the data, gaining unprecedented insight into how people engage with books.
Above all, Rousseau is the explorer of that dark continent, the modern self. It is no surprise that he wrote one of the most magnificent autobiographies of all time, his Confessions. Personal experience starts to take on a significance it never had for Plato or Descartes. What matters now is less objective truth than truth-to-self – a passionate conviction that one’s identity is uniquely precious, and that expressing it as freely and richly as possible is a sacred duty. In this belief, Rousseau is a forerunner not only of the Romantics, but of the liberals, existentialists and spiritual individualists of modern times.
But the internal kind of false portraiture, though rarer, is even more insidious, and its classic exemplar is Jean-Jacques Rousseau. “Rousseau”, says Fernandez, “gives an account of his morality in terms of his desires. He makes the person he was coincide with the person he would like to be by explaining his intentions after the event.” The Confessions are full of incidents that show Rousseau pretending to emotions he never had, and that clearly belonged to an imaginary self, whose secret, by Fernandez’ definition, could never be revealed. Rousseau takes it for granted that this romantic ego really was in control of events and aware of situations at the moment when they happened, that it was, in fact, capable of consciously, and sometimes mysteriously, planning his life.Rousseau must therefore explain, though he cannot explain away, any incident in which he fell short of the ideal picture of himself which he cherished in his imagination. Montaigne never explained his actions in this way; he merely noted them down. The word that he uses to describe this recording process is constater: a verb which implies no suggestion of moral or wishful criticism. Had he been guilty of a meanness like some of Rousseau’s, he would no doubt have noted it down. Indeed he notes down many things that would be to the discredit of an ideal Michel de Montaigne, if he had carried one about with him.
Rousseau was very big on the way civilization as such, with its complexity and imposition of intricate interdependencies and competitive territorial adjacencies, pressures us to adopt false selves based on what Lacan calls the “imaginary” and what Girard analyzes as the psycho-politics of envy and scapegoating.Rousseau’s problem was that he thought that therefore science and the arts were the source of corruption, and he proposed instead a sublation of the self in the social contract based on an amorphous concept of “the general will,” “forcing us to be free,” opening the door, to detractors like Berlin, to totalitarian encroachments on individuality. But then he was a puritan (that is, a Genevan Calvinist by upbringing and re-conversion), and that says it all, as far as the cultural genotype he represents. He was also highly paranoid and narcissistic. I’m reading his Confessions, and what a train wreck the man’s personality was (and in some sense is, for he is a persistent archetype of the modern personality; who among us can claim not to have at least a little Rousseau in him or her?). He is inevitable. Romanticism is practically unthinkable without him. Tolstoy and Proust are his wiser children. Proust at least realized that art was the solution, not the problem. Rousseau, conflicted, self-hating and self-seeking, contained both the person who made his name writing for the theater and, like a good puritan, attacking the very notion of a theater in Geneva because such frivolous entertainments would distract people from their duties as citizens! The hippie fascist is born.
I don’t mean to keep picking on PZ lately, but man, he just keeps serving ’em up:
This is why, even when we’re saddled with a moderate conservative jerk for a president, I have to hold my nose in November and pull the lever for the asshole with a (D) after his name. I don’t like him, I think he betrays our values at every turn, but I like the people of the Democratic party far more than I do the people of the Republican party. I’m not going to vote for Obama, ever; I’m going to vote for that guy at the Minnesota caucus who suggested that we cut the defense budget in half and spend the money on universal health care instead, and I’m going to vote against the guy in the Texas caucuses who thinks our most pressing concern is preventing gay couples from having a happy life.
I recently came into possession of a hardcover copy of Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History and the Last Man. Surprisingly, it still had a great sales rank and resale value, and, true to those numbers, it barely had time to get settled in inventory before someone bought it. People still read that book and take it seriously? I thought it had been nothing but a punchline for years now, go figure. Well, at least Marxists and their neoconservative mirror images have been so thoroughly discredited by now that no intelligent person would subscribe to, uh… oh.
And if you’re one of the people who has been whining about dealing with harassment, suck it — you’re on the wrong side of history.
It seems strange referring to Germany as underdogs, especially in a European competition, yet even with the confidence they have demonstrated so far they are bound to be uncomfortably aware of their record against Italy as they go into the semi.
Yes, I’m sure they are, given that pundits like yourself harp on it incessantly as if it’s actually indicative of anything. We heard it all last week, over and over: Spain has never beaten France in a competitive match! This useless factoid was of the utmost significance, until it wasn’t. Having learned nothing, surprise, the talking heads are now reprising the same focus on the Germany/Italy game, and, oh sweet Jeebus, if Spain and Germany win their respective matches and meet in the final, all we’re going to hear is about how Spain topped Germany in the last two major tournaments, and what does that portend for this game, for expert insight we take you now to our soothsayer standing by live with her runes and tarot cards; Madame LaRue! Madame, as you well know, these two teams blar blar blar please make it stop, please…
In Brave, Merida isn’t interested in the young men trying to win her hand, or in marriage. Which is not to say that she is gay. There’s nothing in the film to suggest that she is; and Markovitz doesn’t assume that because she enjoys outdoorsy activities, she must be gay. But because her character is not defined by her sexuality — unlike, say, Ariel, Jasmine, or Cinderella — she could be a lesbian. The point is: Kids will notice that her happily ever after isn’t dependent on a wedding. And that feels like a step in the right direction.
Okay. Think back with me now to all the fairy tales and Saturday morning cartoons you absorbed as kids, many of them grotesque and reactionary if taken literally. How many of them informed your adult worldview in any meaningful way? What an impoverished mindset it requires to look at a fucking CGI animation and see it as political propaganda for blank slates. However much we have to stretch the definition of art for our purposes here, what a paucity of imagination and integrity it indicates for someone to judge popular art by how faithfully it trumpets the cause du jour.
The point is not that people should or shouldn’t relate characters and themes from books and movies to their own experiences; they always have and will, and skillful creations will resonate with audiences long after current political obsessions have faded. The point is that people who are concerned first and foremost with making Brave into a referendum on feminism, redheadedness or gay rights are myopic prigs, and that it takes incredibly insecure people to demand that their sociopolitical values be validated and affirmed by even popcorn entertainment.
And another one:
These factors combined to produce in German culture a concept that is almost untranslatable into English but is probably the defining factor in understanding much German thought as the nineteenth century turned into the twentieth. The word in German is Innerlichkeit. Insofar as it can be translated, it means a tendency to withdraw from, or be indifferent to, politics, and to look inward, inside the individual. Innerlichkeit meant that artists deliberately avoided power and politics, guided by a belief that to participate, or even to write about it was, again in Gordon Craig’s words, “a derogation of their calling” and that, for the artist, the inner rather than the external world was the real one.