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:
Carl: Psychoanalyst-essayist Adam Phillips, one of my favourite writers, talks to human-rights activist Sameer Padania: “This is where an information culture counts against us. People need to be educated into believing that evocation is more important than information. If we could bear listening to people, without trying to understand what they’re saying, we would get more from them. Effectively, psychoanalysis listens for the incoherencies that are saying more, or something other, than the coherences. It’s got something to do with the musicality of people’s voices and intonations; it’s a form of listening that’s less hypnotized and distracted by their coherences.”
Your call: Is Kate Bush’s new album, as my friend Ann argues here, “just what the best of Bush’s work has done since she burst on the scene, Spandex bat wings flapping, at the dawn of the New Wave era. It melds extravagant tales to unconventional song structures, and spirits the listener away into Bush’s distinctive hyperreality”? Or is it, as my friend Patrick has found, “feeble, empty, mindlessly repetitive, adolescently self-indulgent and, more than anything else, boring. … How does a great chef come to offer the world cold hot dogs in his own restaurant with a straight face?”
Tom McCarthy, author of The Remainder and C, eulogizes the communications theorist Friedrich Kittler, author of Gramophone, Film, Typewriter, while lovingly lampooning his acolytes, actually known as the Kittlerjugend. Tribute and travesty at once, it’s a ticklish balancing act, but McCarthy finesses it.
What would Kittler have to say about this? Christianity, remixed as crypto-postmodernist poetry. (Thanks to Sasha Chapin for the diversion.)
Chris: Rich Juzwiak judged a child beauty pageant and the resulting essay is amazing, venturing into this demimonde of flattery, rhinestones and outlandish performance with the perspective of a temporary insider. He ends up demystifying the pageant circuit’s notoriously strange image somewhat, but one can only do so much: “The weirdest celebrity emulation was Sofia Coppola, as brought to us by a child in the 11-13 group named Courtney. Her dress looked like an old-time director’s slate, bordered in thick, diagonal black and white stripes and featuring a blank template on the chest (‘Movie: ________’). Clearly, someone had found this and thought, ‘Who’s a reasonably young, attractive, brunette, gawky director? Oh right. You’re Sofia Coppola.’ She danced around with an actual slate to a disco version of ‘Hooray for Hollywood,’ much as I presume Sofia Coppola does on her days off.”
Jessica of the K-pop group SNSD does not fuck with cucumbers.