“And her final goodbye with Don—her proffered handshake, the moment when it seemed he might reject the overture, and then his tender, strangely chivalric kiss—had me weepy. Goodnight, office. Goodnight, room. Goodnight, Peggy, jumping over the moon.”—Slate covers Mad Men: "The Other Woman"
“Lately, though, perhaps because at age 41 I’d begun feeling less like the captain of my life and more like its deckhand, I’d started wondering if there was someone out there who embodies not your worst self, but your freest one—a person who encapsulates everything you’ve ever dreamed of becoming. Let’s call him your Cooler Self.”—Eric Puchner Finds the Cooler Version of Himself
“In the digital age, websites and other online publications will expand the scope and influence of book reviews and might encourage more creative criticism. Hyperlinks will allow web reviewers to educate readers about and connect them to literature and culture….One literary journal, the Los Angeles Review of Books, was created as a response to the disappearance of book reviews from print newspaper editions. The LARB publishes lengthy book reviews, some of which fall under the category of creative criticism while others are more like cultural critiques. The LARB can’t be the only web journal attempting to publish book reviews of the kind Orwell called for. Let’s hope the future brings many more.”—Could the Internet Save Book Reviews?
“Scott [The Sartorialist] Schuman’s aesthetic began, at least in part, as an outsider’s fantasy of intimacy with the world of fashion. Especially in the early pictures—the smaller, less luminous ones he took with his old camera—it’s as if he’s trying to impose himself on that world symbolically by shooting its leading lights in the same casual way he shot ordinary people. Like he’s trying to blur the line separating the insiders from the out. It was the perfect approach: Nobodies logging on from their own private Indianas got the illusion of access to the fashion-show tents or an imaginary trip to imaginary Paris. Somebodies got a magic mirror that both subtly affirmed their fairest-of-them-all status and broadcast it to the world.”—Up From the Streets
“Today there are 39,440 parking meters positioned along L.A. streets, each one earning on average about a thousand dollars a year…. “Westwood had an unbelievably high parking requirement—ten spaces for every 1,000 square feet of restaurant. Old Pasadena had none. Westwood had dangerous alleys, crumbing sidewalks. If you want to know why Old Pasadena succeeded Westwood, parking was a big part of the story.”—Between the Lines
“[Adam] Fleischman concludes that what he loves about an In-N-Out Double-Double isn’t the fresh ingredients or the to-order preparation. A hamburger, he realizes, is America’s preferred umami intake device. It is also consumed by the billions each year. “That was the aha moment for me,” says Fleischman. “I saw Umami’s financial potential right away.”—Empire of the Bun
“So what makes the current crop of mass-market canned coffee so bad? In a word, heat. Because pre-made coffee must be able to sit unrefrigerated on a store shelf, it has to be sterilized, which in the case of canned coffee involves heating the ingredients to 250 degrees for about 15 minutes. Heating coffee for that long not only kills microorganisms, but also causes the naturally present acids to break down, making the coffee bitter.”—Cans With a Kick
Flickr is still pretty wonderful. But it’s lovely in the same way a box of old photos you’ve stashed under the bed is. It’s an archive of nostalgia that you love dearly, on the rare occasion you stumble across it. You pull them out, and hold them up to the light, and remember a time when you were younger, and the Web was a more optimistic place, and it really was almost certainly the best online photo management and sharing application in the world.
And then you close the box.
And you click over to Facebook, to see what’s new.
“Ravers were different from house heads—younger, whiter, greater in number. “Rave brought a whole new crowd of people into the music scene—at first, mainly white kids from nearby suburbs,” says Torres. “By ‘92, ‘93, it started [to include] kids from Milwaukee and Saint Louis and all around. I decided to do full-scale events with [all] house music.” Soon after, they and a slew of younger DJs began to get bookings all around the midwest, then the rest of the country.”—How Chicago house got its groove back
“The first rap hit was The Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” in 1979. Record labels initially dismissed the music as a gimmick, a misjudgment to rank with Decca Records’ refusal to sign the Beatles. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s account of Bronx ghetto life, “The Message”, took rap into the realm of social commentary, while the related activities of graffiti and break-dancing created a new subculture: hip-hop. By the end of the 1980s, when Public Enemy blazed a trail out of New York with their knockout beats and political sermons, rap had become an international phenomenon.”—Word on the Suite: Superabundant, super-confident, flashy — hip-hop is channelling the spirit of rock music’s golden age
“Our moods swing between happy and sad a hundred times a day. If a friend is sad, we won’t rest until we’ve done or said something that will make him laugh out loud. In fact, jokes are such a common daily exchange that we don’t even need an excuse. Right in the middle of a serious meeting someone may say, “There was a Torkeh who went to a meeting …” and not only no one seems surprised at the odd interruption, they all laugh at the joke and soon others jump in with one of their own. Heaven forbid there should be a true jokester in the group for soon the whole meeting may turn into a comedy club.”—Zoreh Ghahremani, “No Gray Zone: The expression “take it or leave it” means nothing to an Iranian”
“To paraphrase something food artist Jennifer Rubell once said, we all have a finite number of meals left on this Earth, so we’d better make them count. Why, then, do people happily pay oodles of money to eat at middling (and sometimes downright vile) restaurants? It’s their prerogative, of course, but the problem is these misguided souls will occasionally foist their bad taste on people who actually enjoy food, and put us in situations that require we waste one of those precious finite meals. This is unacceptable, and for the most part, it is okay to completely disassociate with these people forever.”—Trimming the Fat: In Defense of Dumping Food-Averse Friends
“For years, you’ve been enjoying my blog posts, pictures of what I’m eating, voice-of-a-generation observations about the world, and the occasional link to a really funny video—all at no cost. However, economic pressures have forced me to make the decision that I must begin charging for the valuable content I provide. Effective immediately, you will be required to upgrade to a paid subscription to view pages from JeremysWebSite.com.”—McSweeney’s: Sorry Everyone, My Personal Website Is Now Behind a Paywall
“What is so terrifying about feelings? What is so dreadful about admitting that people have them? People have been having feelings for as long as people have been people, and we’ve developed, as a whole, a lot of really unproductive methods of coping with them and addressing them. One of the least effective of those methods is pretending they aren’t happening. Women forced to suppress their emotions, to play nice, to not admit that something is hurting or angering them, have to smolder in silence until they explode. And when they explode, they do so rather spectacularly because they had no outlet.”—s.e.smith, “What’s So Bad About Feelings Anyway?”
“Send your mind on to the year 2065. A mere century from now set yourself down with a group of children entering an audio-animatronic museum. Inside, you find the primal sea from which we swam and crawled up on the land. In that sea, the lizard beasts that tore the air with strange cries for a million on a million years. Robot animals feasting and being feasted upon as robot apeman waits in the wings for the nightmare blood to cease flowing.”—Ray Bradbury, “The Machine Tooled Happyland” (1965)
“At the same time the US maintains a bootstrapping myth, suggesting that people who try hard will succeed, people who comply with the myth are punished for it; people of colour who work extremely hard and fight to get into college are told they didn’t get there on their own merits, but rather as a result of affirmative action policies. Their accomplishments are treated with disdain, while they’re called ‘invaders’ who are taking away spaces from white students. While these attitudes are common for nonwhite people and people of colour in college and university to encounter, they take on an extra sting when looking at Asian-Americans, because behind it, there is this whiff of ‘yellow peril’ adapted for the modern age.”—s.e.smith, “The Yellow Peril and College Admissions”
“Friends began with a casting miracle—the uncanny chemistry of six up-and-coming actors—combined with a legendary director, and a pair of writers who nailed the young, single, urban life as never before on TV.”—The Oral History of Friends
“Back when people still had to pay for music, money served to limit and define consumption. You could only afford so many records, so you bought what you could, listened to the radio or watched MTV, and ignored everything else. Those select few who did manage to hear everything—record store clerks, DJs, nerds with personal warehouses—could use this rare knowledge to terrorize their social or sexual betters, as in the pre-internet-era film High Fidelity. Napster made all of that obsolete. Today, almost every person I know has more music on his computer than he could ever know what to do with.”—n+1: 5.4
“These shows are rooted in the idea that home ownership is something everyone should aspire to, and is also something that many people have achieved. You need home improvement tips because you own a home, and thus need to make sure it is beautiful and stylish. These shows do not profile renters or tout the advantages of renting; in fact, they often imply that renting makes you substandard. It’s okay as a temporary measure, but isn’t really the done thing. People shouldn’t aspire to remain renters for life.”—s.e. smith, “Class and Home Shows”
“From 1980 on, the price of attending a four-year college has risen by 128 percent. While the price has spiked, the quality has tanked. Students at college in 2003 did two-thirds the homework that students in 1961 did. In a survey published in 2011, 45 percent of students showed no improvement in “critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing” after two years of college. You did not read that incorrectly: That’s no improvement. None.”—The War Against Youth
“Men in general think badly: in disjuncture from their personal lives, claiming objectivity where the most irrational passions seethe, losing, as Virginia Woolf observed, their senses in the pursuit of professionalism… To think like a woman means thinking critically, refusing to accept the givens, making connections between facts and ideas which men have left unconnected. It means remembering that every mind resides in a body…”—Adrienne Rich: “Every Mind Resides In A Body”