“Soldiers and sailors have been stitching masterpieces of the sewing crafts for hundreds of years. It was a longstanding tradition that during lulls in fighting, while prisoners of war or over extended hospital visits, they would hand-stitch quilts, wool work seascapes and embroider their own uniforms.” And some of the pieces they made are quite elaborate.
“In a cultural age that’s decidedly pro-positivity, the pressure to suppress or camouflage negative feelings is real. However, psychological studies have shown that acceptance of those negative emotions is the more reliable route to regaining and maintaining peace of mind. … Acceptance of one’s dark emotions is now backed by a body of evidence connecting the habit to better emotional resilience, and fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety.”
“The amounts Access Copyright collects have dropped by 80 per cent since 2013 as the universities have used the new law to craft their own definitions of what they can copy for free. Society might be considered to have already paid the tenured scholars whose titles might be registered with Access Copyright, but for independent non-fiction writers who were making their careers producing Canadian material for the educational market or short-story writers whose titles had been placed on course curriculum, the 80-per-cent reduction constitutes large losses. As these writers and their publishers are squeezed, they will stop producing new books.”
“At first glance, today’s video gamers and scientists might appear to be worlds apart. But starting with Tennis for Two, video games have quietly and consistently been within the purview of academic study. Each generation of gamers has seen new titles created at various research institutions in order to explore programming, human-computer interaction, and algorithms. Lesser-known chapters of history reveal these two worlds are not as far apart as you might think.”
Gen. Gamal Abdel-Nasser, who overthrew King Farouk and established the Republic of Egypt, “often used art as a means to convey political messages and decisions to citizens, raise their morale and entrench their sense of belonging to the state.” (Among his collaborators: Umm Kulthum, then and now the Arab world’s most revered singer.) The country’s current president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, is using a similar approach.
Tech giants are now in the same position as great powers in the past – the bankers of the Italian Renaissance, the skyscraper-builders of the 20th century, the Emperor Augustus, Victorian railway companies – whereby, whether they want to or not, their size and wealth find expression in spectacular architecture.
The essay, in Brian Dillon’s account, is both erotic and absent, lapidary and profuse, and is at its best when always concerned with its own realisation of its inherent sense of failure. Before this discussion of etymology, though, comes a bravura cadenza of topics, placed to make us realise the essay is never about what it claims to be at all.
But is this enough, in a time of political upheaval (consider Venezuela, for instance, home of El Sistema)? “The mold is definitely breaking, but it is anyone’s guess how 100 young musicians playing for maybe 1,000 listeners can change the world. Isn’t it enough that they have changed their lives, and that they can go on to change others’ lives? And that the audience, which consisted mostly of their mentors and artistic movers and shakers, can use the knowledge of this success to change many more lives?”
“Around 2,000 people leave each year. If we go on this way, in a few years’ time Venice will only be populated by tourists. This would be a social, anthropological and historical disaster.” Whether irritated by selfie sticks, noisy wheelie suitcases or people snacking on one of the 391 bridges, Venetians’ contempt towards the 28 million visitors who flood the city each year has reached alarming levels.
It’s because of what Austen left out, and other women (and men) addressed in their own fiction from the time. “As I’ve realized the scope of 19th-century texts that took up the question of transatlantic slavery and the movements to abolish it, I haven’t read Austen the same way. I can appreciate her skill but feel an urgent need to teach and write about these other stories. With Austen as, often, the primary literary lens into her time period, it can be all too easy to forget how deeply invested English culture was not only in curtailing women’s choices, but also in enslaving millions of people.”
Maybe? “This weekend, with $389 million from the domestic market, ‘Wonder Woman’ can add a new accomplishment to its arsenal — the highest-grossing movie of the summer. It’s also the second largest earner of 2017 behind another film centered on a female protagonist, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ ($504 million domestic).”
Yikes, BBC, do better (and faster): “Earlier this week, under new government rules, the BBC was required to publish a list of presenters making over £150,000, or about $200,000. The disclosure showed a glaring pay gap at the company. … In one example, John Humphrys, a male host on the flagship news show Radio 4 Today, earns between £600,000-£649,999. His female co-host, Sarah Montague, earns under £150,000.”
After – or during – a nearby festival celebrating the railway, “Eight teak carriages on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway in Pickering had windows smashed overnight, with furniture and fixings also ruined. … Fire extinguishers were also set off throughout the carriages, soaking the furniture and wall fittings.”
Rowan Moore is not happy with it. The Stirling “has a magnificent record of not recognising the projects that define their time, of favouring everyone’s second choice and nobody’s first choice, with the result that you could write a convincing history of modern British architecture based on the projects that haven’t won.” And this year? It missed again.
Why? Because you’ll be happier. Way, way happier. Push notifications are for brands, not for users: “Allowing an app to send you push notifications is like allowing a store clerk to grab you by the ear and drag you into their store. You’re letting someone insert a commercial into your life anytime they want. Time to turn it off.”
The tech giants “have, plainly, colossal resources, with the ability to do almost anything they like. They can have new materials invented, or make old ones perform as never before. They can build the biggest and most expensive workplaces yet seen. They can change cities. They have already redefined ‘architecture’ in the sense that the word can now refer to the structures of software and hardware. Now the old-fashioned version of architecture finds itself an adjunct of the new sort. “