I wrote about this excellent two part article on the Chicago River earlier this week and I still highly recommend it for those of you who have not read it. Then, I said that it was important if you were a citizen of one of the Great Lakes states, but I know believe it is important for all citizens of the United States. Water shortages are just a sliver of the problems we will face in the coming decades. 

In case you haven’t seen it: the full, unedited Shirley Sherrod speech

Sean Fennessey on the new albums by Best Coast and Wavves, "California’s pre-eminent surf-fuzz power couple." If you get a chance to read their twitters, I highly recommend it if only for the back and forth lulz. This article mentions as much. It’s strange to examine a relationship (well, an idea of a relationship) seemingly in real time, particularly if it’s between two people who I don’t know. 

On Amazon: “Many would argue that the efflorescence of new publishing that Amazon has encouraged can only be a good thing, that it enriches cultural diversity and expands choice. But that picture is not so clear: a number of studies have shown that when people are offered a narrower range of options, their selections are likely to be more diverse than if they are presented with a number of choices so vast as to be overwhelming. In this situation people often respond by retreating into the security of what they already know.”

Chicago only has two documented fruit trees

This fantastic article from The Core, a publication from the University of Chicago, touches upon many ideas that I’ve always believed were a catalyst in the rise of gentrification: post-suburbia, authenticity, isolation, mass-produced culture. It’s a recommended read for anyone who is interested in learning more about gentrification than from the perspective of artists vs. yuppies. People rarely focus on the perspective of the neighborhood as a ethnic identity pre-urban colonizer (artist) when discussing the ramifications of gentrification. As an example, we largely focus on the loss of the artistic culture that made the neighborhood “desirable” in the first place. In college, my rhetoric thesis focused on Wicker Park during the first wave of gentrification, the mindset of the urban colonizer (why they react negatively to the hollowness of mainstream culture, what certain ethnic neighborhoods provide for them when trying to accrue authenticity in a world that is seemingly without it, their use of ideas in the face of social realities). When I hear talk of Wicker Park and gentrification however, it largely focuses on the loss of the artistic communities of the neighborhood from the 1990s. This is part of the point, I think, but it is not the only point. 

Female pop post-Gaga: “This new feminism is more about the opportunity to make choices than about any specific choice itself. And it’s freeing, this expansion of musical liberation into spaces visual as well as sonic, instinctual as well as intellectual, performed as well as lived.”

This idea of the creation of the legacy of the Beat generation can be applied to any worthwhile counterculture post-World War II: ”It’s really a very simple strategy. You have a small group of friends and you declare them all to be geniuses and you laud all their work and ascribe to them sweet and stormy qualities worthy of the Greek gods. What you’re selling is not just your writing but your personal legends.”

Emily Dickinson, the gardener

This profile of Snooki from Jersey Shore in the New York Times is pretty brutal. What they are saying: This is that thing you hear all of your kids talking about. Don’t worry. It means nothing. Rest assured knowing that pop culture from your youth holds more value than what is being churned out now. That may be the truth, but the one thing that Cathy Horyn seems to barely focus on is that Snooki’s appeal comes from the fact that she is appealing. Her look might be “harsh” but it is appealing aesthetically because it takes ideas of mainstream beauty and stretches them to their extreme. She is different, but in a way that draws almost exclusively from ideas in the mainstream. She’s familiar and foreign at the same time. I’m serious.

"We have become a society that is fixated on process and absorbed by the slippery, complex machinations of the middlemen, brokers and executives who conspire offstage to determine what takes place onstage. Call this outlook “procedural voyeurism” — a redirection of mass attention from the spectacle of the game itself to the circus of the game behind the game.

I don’t understand digital nostalgia. If you can find the original (which I’m sure you can in any quality thrift store), why wouldn’t you just save your money and authenticate the appeal?

I find this lovely.

"The particular usefulness of beauty lies in its positing an eternal, elemental value. It connotes transcendence and veils its own practical advantages, so its privileges and the social hierarchy it stabilizes seem unquestionable. It expresses a fixed distribution of cultural capital with immediacy, as though it were a natural intuition. Our response to beauty is our heart volunteering us for the gentlest form of domination.”

  1. britticisms posted this
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