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August 2014

Friday Ephemera

One day you will need that gallon of tabasco. // “Swedish town on alert over toilet invader.” He doesn’t flush. // Finger hands. // Spider fangs. (h/t, MeFi) // Miracle breakthrough in butter-spreading technology. // MSG redeemed. // Cooking with Miles Davis. // Includes cauliflower. // Eel Pie Island, where rockers rocked and hippies gathered. (h/t, Coudal.) // His dad used a leaf blower to make him a hovercraft. // Selfie of note. // Road sign of note. // Extruded topographies. // Otter likes kibble. // By cutting paper. // Clothed models, nude photographer. // A giant carpet made of begonias. // At last, a drive-thru brothel. // This woman’s work. // “The wasps built the nest by chewing through the pillows and into the mattress.” 

It Will Only Encourage Him

Patrons are reminded that this rickety barge is kept afloat, just about, by the kindness of strangers. If you’ve been remotely entertained over the years – say, by things like this, or this, or these - and would like to help this dubious endeavour remain buoyant a while longer, there’s an orange button below with which to monetise any love. Debit and credit cards are of course accepted. Think of it as a magazine subscription. A way to keep abreast of the performing arts, which enrich our lives so much, along with the latest political insights of our left-leaning betters. Additionally, any Amazon shopping done via the search widget top right, or for Amazon US via this link, results in a small fee for your host at no extra cost to you.

For newcomers wishing to know more about what’s been going on here for the last seven years, and the deep cultural nourishment it brings to the world, the reheated series and greatest hits are good places to start.

Again, thanks for the support, the comments, and the company.

Update, via the comments. Those wishing to make regular contributions can use the options below. 


He’s a Fan of Laurie Penny, You Know

You could argue that New York City after the Occupy movement experienced a positive change in social atmosphere, a democratisation of artistic space, and a revival of its radical mojo.

So says Paul Mason, a fifty-something former Trotskyite and Workers’ Power enthusiast, who, despite his advancing years, is still aroused by mob thuggery and driven to high drama by the state of Twitter. Mr Mason is imagining his ideal city, his own urban utopia:  

I will describe the city I would like to live in. First, it is near the sea, or another body of water warm enough to swim in. Second, it has entire neighbourhoods designed around hipster economics. Though currently maligned, hipsters are crucial signifiers of a successful city economy. Their presence shows it is possible to live on your wits even as neoliberalism stagnates. Such neighbourhoods… are home both to hipsters and ethnically diverse poor communities, who refrain from fighting each other.

I suspect a classic sentence may be lurking in there somewhere. 

The bold envisioning continues,

It has to have theatres. Not just big ones. 

And, naturally,

political unrest.

It being a “measure of aspiration,” something for our Guardianista to write about, gushingly, and practically fellate. And who wouldn’t want their neighbourhood enlivened by rioting and the odd burning car? 

Continue reading "He’s a Fan of Laurie Penny, You Know" »

Elsewhere (134)

Gay Patriot ponders the twilight of The Patriarchy

It’s interesting that the feminists chose Chicago for their “Smash the Patriarchy” message, because nowhere has the Patriarchy been more successfully smashed than in the inner cities. Households led by fathers have become exceedingly rare, single women raise families without husbands, and very few people participate in capitalist enterprises; the inner cities have become radical feminist utopia. How’s that working out for them?

Eric S Raymond does some impolite maths

That 2% [of the U.S. population, i.e., black males aged 15-24] is responsible for almost 52% of U.S. homicides. Or, to put it differently, by these figures a young black or “mixed” male is roughly 26 times more likely to be a homicidal threat than a random person outside that category – older or younger blacks, whites, Hispanics, females, whatever… 26 times more likely. That’s a lot. It means that even given very forgiving assumptions about differential rates of conviction and other factors, we probably still have a difference in propensity to homicide (and other violent crimes for which its rates are an index, including rape, armed robbery, and hot burglary) of around 20:1. Any cop who treated members of a group with a factor 20 greater threat level than population baseline “equally” would be crazy. 

A long discussion ensues.

And Robert Stacy McCain probes the deep feminist philosophy of Ms Emma Watson

Emma Watson is the actress most famous for her part in the Harry Potter movies. More recently, she has become “Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women,” a job that evidently requires her to say silly feminist stuff on Twitter, e.g.: “Gender equality not only liberates women but also men from prescribed gender stereotypes.” Ri-iiight. Because what guys really need is to be liberated from “prescribed gender stereotypes.” All the hot babes like Emma Watson are crazy for guys who don’t fit “prescribed gender stereotypes,” right? So you will probably be surprised to learn that Emma Watson is dating a bald scrawny impoverished poet  the biggest jock at an elite university:

The 23-year-old former Harry Potter film star has recently begun dating a fellow Oxford University student named Matthew Janney… Janney, 21, is not only a student at the prestigious institution, he is also a star rugby player for their varsity team. Despite his prized athletic skills, Janney has also been recognised for something else: his looks. According to the report, the college student was named “Oxford’s most eligible bachelor” and “best looking player” by the university’s rugby team’s official Twitter account.

In other words, an Alpha male, the epitome of “prescribed gender stereotypes” from which Emma Watson says we need to be liberated.

As usual, feel free to share your own links and snippets in the comments.

Friday Ephemera

A somewhat improbable event. // Are you sitting comfortably, children? Then I’ll begin. // A list of slightly curious London bus stop names. // Water bottle of note. // When panoramic smartphone shots don’t quite work. // Hungry worm. // Goofy maggot. // Small cars and more. // Storm in the Mountains, 1870. // Early 20th century acoustic mirrors. // How much precious material has been extracted? // Softbody Tetris, you know it makes sense. // EyeVerify. // Levitating Bluetooth speaker, $179. // Looting. // Iceland, from above. // Neighbourhood. // The rooftops of Paris. // Packed lunches of note. // The wing mirror project, an ongoing series. // Why parents rarely want their children to be artists, parts 10 and 11

Please Don’t Dump Your Garbage on the Roadside

Or, They’re Teaching You. Can’t You Tell?

Yes, it’s once again time to wade through the aesthetic slaughterhouse that is performance art. This time, I’m treating you to edited highlights of a ninety-minute “durational performance” by Katy Albert and Sophia Hamilton, aka Mothergirl. This Chicago duo tells us that their work “exhibits a strategically refracted or misrepresented view of current political and philosophical discourse, creating a space where viewers are challenged to think critically about their own relationships with feminism, consumerism, and representational visuality.” But of course. Given their talent, or at least their self-regard, how could it not?

In the video below, filmed in 2013 near an onramp in the city of Chicago and titled Don’t Sleep, There’s a War Going On, we see the ladies beating themselves around the head and face with large feather pillows. Thereby enlightening passers-by, obviously. The duo describes the piece as “a physical act of frustration - an ambiguous response to the implicit guilt of inaction and the weight of overwhelming knowledge.” If the point of the performance somehow escapes you, due to your philistine tendencies, the ladies provide clues to its deep meaning, and by extension their own brilliance: “The lack of clarity serves two purposes: to show the expansiveness of war and to allow [the] audience to access the image first and the meaning second.”

Now cower in the shadow of their artistic enormity: 

Continue reading "Please Don’t Dump Your Garbage on the Roadside" »

Reheated (40)

For newcomers, more items from the archives.

The Humble Among Us

Novelist Brigid Delaney wants a nicer flat in order to write about those non-creative people. You, taxpayer, come hither.

As a member of our creative caste, Ms Delaney wants to capture the buzz and thrum of city life. She wants to inspire “recognition” and above all “empathy.” It’s just that she’d prefer not to empathise too much with those non-creative people. Say, by working for a living and paying her own bills. And who will write about those ordinary people and their non-artistic lives if we don’t encourage Ms Delaney and her peers to live way above their means, at our expense, in places they can’t afford? Places they can’t afford because what they create isn’t as vital to the public as they might wish.

Pearl-Clutching Pornographers

Campus feminists combat “male-centricity” by making unerotic pornography and rubbing eggs on their breasts.

As some readers may be intrigued by the notion of all-female feminist pornography, here’s a brief description: “It begins with a group of girls sitting around a library table taking their shirts off. As the film progresses, the girls engage in activities including kissing, rubbing eggs on their bodies and twerking around a chicken carcass.” The finished political opus, titled Initiation, also features the somewhat lacklustre use of a riding crop and extended scenes of floor-wiping. 

Militantly Nude

A San Francisco “nude-in” reveals more than intended.

Some may register a whiff of disingenuousness in exhibitionists accusing their critics of being repressive and stuffy. Exhibitionists may be eager to dispense with clothing in incongruous locations – say, a traffic island in the middle of a busy intersection - but they desperately need an audience, preferably one that’s embarrassed and unwilling. San Francisco is remarkably well-equipped in terms of nude-friendly clubs and amenities, including a nude beach and nearby nudist colonies. What’s revealing is that such venues weren’t deemed sufficient for our wrinkly radicals. And while I doubt many readers here are prone to fainting at the sight of withered genitals and subsiding buttocks, they may conceivably object to being made an accomplice to someone else’s psychodrama. As one young lady points out, “Unwanted exposure to scrotum is never okay.”

And I’m told it’s possible, if not wise, to while away an hour in the greatest hits, now updated. 

Elsewhere (133)

Dennis Saffran on beer pong, WrongThought™ and academia’s latest racial inquisition: 

The black student had jokingly named his beer pong team “Team Nigga” and would shout the name whenever the team scored. At some point, the white student - reprising a running joke on the football team, in which black students would greet white teammates with the phrase “White power!” - said, “Can I get a white power?” The black student replied, “White power!” The noise from the party awakened a student in another room in the residence hall… She reported this exchange to the Campus Living office, and an inquisition began.

The two students were charged with inflicting “physical or mental harm” and “discrimination or harassment,” as well as with disorderly conduct… Within days after the hearing, the two were found guilty of all charges, placed on probation, and ordered on threat of suspension to undergo “bias reduction training.” The ruling stated, without any support, that their “language had contributed to the creation of a hostile and discriminatory environment.” Rarely does the modern left’s humourlessness, authoritarianism, and subversion of its own goals come together as starkly as in this case.

Christopher Snowdon on the public health hustle and the mentality it attracts: 

This story didn’t get much play in the mainstream media but it tells you everything you need to know about the public health racket, from the headline down: “‘We will push for a law if we don’t get support,’ warns health group.” Yeah, that’s the spirit. If people don’t agree with you, force them.

And via Hal, Robyn Urback on the intolerant psychodramas of the Proletarian Feminist Front and their comrades-in-shouting: 

By the protesters’ later account, however, their rebellion was akin to confronting and conquering proponents of “misogynist” messaging. (The event was actually about the struggles men and fathers face in family court, but that doesn’t really matter). On the Revolutionary Student Movement website, a blog post subsequently bragged that, “Revolutionaries shut down [a] Men’s Rights Activists event at the University of Toronto.” The protesters’ post reads like a passage from George Orwell’s Animal Farm, written in the style of a supervillain manifesto.

What occurs to me about these delusional tools - besides their mental conformity, their vanity, and their belief that the campus belongs to them and is theirs to disrupt – is that their places could have been taken by students who don’t strive to silence facts and ideas, and who actually want to learn something. Perhaps even a skill that’s of value to others and will thereby earn them a living. There must be thousands of much smarter, more honest people – people who don’t imagine themselves as Maoist “revolutionaries” - who would eagerly use the opportunity that these obnoxious little parasites are squandering.

As usual, feel free to share your own links and snippets in the comments. It’s what these posts are for.

Friday Ephemera

100 ways to attack the groin. // Village People gyrate sans backing track. // Autonomous bins and other features of future living. // His levitating wiener. // Squishy robots with “tunable stiffness structures.” // Cardboard steampunk machines. // Parasites. // A project for the weekend. // Tractor beam made of water. // Underwater vortices. // You have to wonder how this happened. // Wait, I put it in my mouth and… what? // How high? This high. // “He had a tooth growing in his nose.” // Free noir films. Orson, Bogie and Johnny Cash. // A tortoise penis is a thing to behold. // A giant turtle made of scrap. // Calculating the Doctor’s face. // And finally, the formula for pretty much every episode of Murder, She Wrote

Spider-Man’s Unwell Cousin

Because I know you love it, here’s more “guerrilla art” on a bridge. Or more specifically, an “infiltration in public space.” This time the venue is Pier 66 at the 2011 Fountain New York Art Fair, where Canadian performance artist Martine Viale thrills and captivates passers-by, armed only with a carrier bag of bobbins and a head wrapped in yarn. The powerful climax is rather special. 

A triumph, I think you’ll agree. 

Continue reading "Spider-Man’s Unwell Cousin" »