Monthly Archives: December 2011

Snow Will Always Win

Like last year, B2TW won’t be stirring during the holidays, but Carl, Chris and Margaux will return with another set of untimely, unranked, unabridged posts looking over our shoulders at 2010. See you on January 2!

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Tea With Chris: Oblivion Scattereth

Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Friday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week:

Chris: “The ruins of Wonderland.”

Owen Pallett started a Tumblr devoted to Toronto show posters (2000-09), and it’s already fascinating – not only for suggesting what the local musical topography looked like a decade ago to us babies, but for its explicit rejection of nostalgia. Who wants to live in a museum?

New John Ashbery poem, 11 perfect lines, the last one almost a wink:

Oblivion scattereth her poppy, and besides
it’s time to go inside now,
feed the aggressive pets, forgive our trespasses
for trespassing against us.

Margaux: This sort of feels good, this video “#nov30 WHY I AM STRIKING”. “I’m going to try to do this, actually, without swearing and shouting.” (he doesn’t succeed)

Speaking of which, fuck you my Canada! for being the first to pull out of Kyoto.

I kind of like our lack of manners in the  age of WikiLeaks, but I like this article Good Manners in the Age of WikiLeaks from Slavoj Žižek too. “The only surprising thing about the WikiLeaks revelations is that they contain no surprises. Didn’t we learn exactly what we expected to learn? The real disturbance was at the level of appearances; we can no longer pretend we don’t know what everyone knows we know.”

A magical Spanish man named Eduardo Sousa has maybe provided one solution the nightmarish foie gras problem – as part of a slightly more Peta-friendly This American Life “Poultry Slam” broadcast.

This would be a nice service for adults too, What children’s drawings would look like if it were painted realistically.

This seems easy and useful – ethical fashion options.

“They’re making everyone do socialism to each other” – a wonderfully unrigorous rant on Ayn Rand and a Lulu Lemon misstep.

Carl: For my sins, I’ve been reading a shitload of year-end music lists. For my virtues, I have gotten to see this: A blog in praise of older women’s “advanced style”.

A man with a great many sins and virtues, Christopher Hitchens, died today. My closest personal connection to him was sometimes in the early 1990s being in the same room in which his Nation column was being edited, over the phone, by the fantastic and patience-of-a-saint-having JoAnn Wypijewski. So his death makes me think of her.

Also died this week: George Whitman, the 98-year-old proprietor of Shakespeare & Company bookstore in Paris (the successor to Sylvia Beach’s famous institution). Whitman would let writers and artists live in the (filthy) upstairs of the store if they would either work there a day a week, write a one-page autobiography, or pledge to read a book a day. The illustrator Molly Crabapple joined that tradition at 17: She made this picture today in tribute.

And on top of that, RIP to Russell Hoban, who managed in his life to write both this and this, among many other things. That’s a life.

If I were in New York this weekend I would go to this conference, “Occupy Onwards,” at the New School on Sunday.

But first, if I were American, I would do something about this Internet censorship bill in Congress: David Rees entertainingly helps explain why shit is fucked up and scary

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Friday Pictures – Alessandra Sanguinetti

 

The Blue Dress/  from the series The Adventures of Guille and Belinda and the Enigmatic Meaning of Their Dreams

 

 

Ophelias / from the series The Adventures of Guille and Belinda and the Enigmatic Meaning of Their Dreams

 

 

The Black Cloud / from the series The Adventures of Guille and Belinda and the Enigmatic Meaning of Their Dreams

 

 

Summer Bath / from the series The Adventures of Guille and Belinda and the Enigmatic Meaning of Their Dreams

 

 

Ray of Light / From the series The Life that Came

 

 

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Little Boxes #72: Spikes & Chains

(from “Violence City” in Chameleon #2, by Johnny Negron, 2011)

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Tea With Chris: The Reprisalizer

Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Friday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week:

Chris: In a previous TWC I made a nomination for the greatest tweet ever, the pinnacle of the medium. This one isn’t quite its equal, but it does have a certain beautiful simplicity.

Matthew Holness, best known for the brilliantly awful BBC3 series Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, apparently has a film forthcoming: “YOUTH WAS GATHERING IN WESTGATE. CROAKY-VOICED LOAFERS, BLOCKING RIGHTS-OF-WAY AND ANNOYING WAR VETERANS.”

Lest any high-concept meta-jokes go uncracked, someone recorded a hardcore 7″ from the perspective of McGruff the Crime Dog. As Bill Kennedy observed on Facebook, this lyric could be an unwitting tribute to the project’s spiritual Ian MacKaye: “Just because something is safe to use one way / Doesn’t mean it’s safe to use another way.”

Carl: “#Moccupy“: Occupy Wall Street occupies Law and Order: SVU set version of OWS. Police raid it and can’t tell which are real barricades and which are fictional (now they know how we all feel). Protesters chant, “NYPD doesn’t respect Law and Order.” There is almost nothing I could say about this without ruining it, except: Slow. Clap.

I don’t usually do this, but, even though I was the editor on it, my highest recommendation of the week truly is the two long narratives and accompanying lovely photography and other material in this project about an effort to change the lives of “untouchable” girls (yes, caste still exists) in northeast India, by one of The Globe and Mail’s two or three most invaluable talents, my friend Stephanie Nolen.

In lighter feminist reading: You may well disagree with everything X’s Exene Cervenka says in this interview but you’re likely to be highly entertained by her right to say it.

In still-lighter, and hardly-at-all feminist, entertainment: This video the cast and crew of The X-Files apparently made as a birthday present is like a Rosetta Stone of ’90s culture, with an absurd number of ridiculously enjoyable celebrity cameos. It is only slightly undermined by the fact that, as later events were to make clear, its central premise is flawed: It seems highly likely that if you’d told him “love me,” you would have gotten nothing but an affirmative from David Duchovny.

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Friday Pictures – Song Kun

 

It’s My Life 05-08-31

 

Girl Reading a Letter on a Hainan Airlines’ flight

 

New Yorker

 

 

 

Dark

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Little Boxes #71: The Only Thing Worse

(from Wet T-Shirt #1, by Betty Liang, 2011)

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Tea With Chris: Oh Baby

Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Friday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week:

Chris: I would happily watch all zombie-related culture from the past 30 years disappear, but Zora Neale Hurston talking about them? The best.

No, wait, maybe 2:14 of this music video is the best:

Never mind.

Margaux: A refreshingly big picture artist interview that covers class, “the Real” and the boring old art world: Rosemary Heather interviews Ken Lum

Ken Lum, Mirror Maze with 12 Signs of Depression, 2002

Carl: Mark O’Connell published a lovely essay in The Millions about his agnostic adoration of the story of the Fall from the Book of Genesis this week. There are good bits about spider limericks and blowjobs and childhood fears but my favourite passage is this: “I was touched by how the story captures the way in which our alienation from our own nature seems, paradoxically, to be a basic condition of that nature. It expresses, in its simple yet enigmatic way, our enduring sense that it wasn’t meant to be this way, that we must have gone wrong somewhere too far back for anyone to remember. That we lost our innocence somehow, or threw it away, or allowed ourselves to be cheated out of it. That all this — mortality, sickness, misery, evil, boredom, war, drudgery — must surely be some mistake.” Know that feeling?

Speaking of childhood and innocence lost and well-known tales, I also really enjoyed Joshua Ostroff’s piece about his obsession with The Wizard of Oz and his relish in passing it along to his own kid.

I was thrilled and moved by Seth Colter Walls’ sensitive account on The Awl today of what transpired outside Lincoln Center in New York last night – a thematically appropriate encounter between Occupy Wall Street, NYC cops, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Philip Glass and Glass’s opera Satyagraha, which is about Tolstoy, Gandhi, MLK and the tradition of non-violent resistance in general.

I would respectfully disagree with Walls, however, in his Adorno-esque attempt to paint suspicion of cultural elitism at the opera (and like levels of “high” culture) as a propaganda conspiracy by the “titans of corporate pop culture” — certainly there have been movies and TV shows that perpetuate the stereotypes, but I’m afraid they only pander to an already existing popular sentiment. The argument has been mounted much more so by populists right and left (and some more sophisticated left thinkers too). While some of it is simple-minded and anti-intellectual, for sure, at the same time it’s also for good reason.

The fact that there are cheaper seats and that institutions like the Met have made great initiatives to open the work up to a broader public doesn’t mean that there isn’t an accessibility problem in opera, ballet, etc. – accessibility doesn’t amount only to ticket prices, and only someone very comfortable in those environs would imagine otherwise. I’m a middle-class cultural professional and I still feel like a self-conscious plebian, ignorant slob when I go to an opera house. It is intimidating on multiple social levels.

That doesn’t make it automatically politically retrograde, but it’s a factor to be taken into account. Still, that’s only a small part of Walls’ argument. And on his page you get to watch Lou Reed use the human microphone.

Meanwhile, over in Famous Monsters of Realityland territory, the Republicans are working overtime to come up with ways to spin Occupy Wall Street, which veteran strategist Frank Luntz says has him ” frightened to death.” Really? That’s great!

It makes me want to talk about love as a political force with Lauren Berlant and Michael Hardt, although I haven’t gotten around to reading their dialogue yet. Meanwhile, who wants to go to this food court with me?

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Friday Pictures – Lisa Sanditz

 

Ameristar

 

Beyond the Borgata

 

Best Buy

 

The New Mall in Shoe City

 

Underwear City

 

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