“Everything we know about war we know with ‘a man’s voice.’ We are all captives of ‘men’s’ notions and ‘men’s’ sense of war. ‘Men’s’ words. Women are silent. No one but me ever questioned my grandmother. My mother. Even those who were at the front say nothing. If they suddenly begin to remember, they don’t talk about the ‘women’s’ war, but about the ‘men’s.'”
The wife-carrying race is only the beginning: there’s swamp soccer, competitive hobby horse, cell-phone tossing, and the Mosquito Killing World Championship. Among others. Why? “Finns offer various deep-seated factors, including an enthusiastically outdoorsy populace (that goes slightly stir-crazy during the region’s oppressively dark winter months), widespread public access to recreational spaces, and a continuing relaxation of the traditionally reserved national character. (Also, alcohol.)”
“The same drive to succeed that make so many ballet students great may also predispose them to depression. And yet, as a dance writer, when I call up so many of the great training institutions in this country to ask for an interview with the psychologist they refer their dancers to, they can’t produce one.”
The average percentage of online ticketing transactions that included donations was 15% last year, while only 3% who booked tickets over the counter or on the phone added a donation to their transactions. Of these, concert hall attenders were the most likely to donate online (19%) but among the least likely to donate by phone or in person (1%).
“The use of words without fixed or clear meanings is a major part of what makes academic writing so terrible. People often complain that academic writing is “obscure” or overly convoluted and complex. But there’s nothing inherently wrong with either complexity or obscurity in themselves; research papers in the sciences have to be complex and technical, and introducing people to obscure and unfamiliar words or concepts can be a key part of developing human knowledge. The problem largely comes when words are vague and unclear, admitting of many possible interpretations.”
Under its fake radicalism, Banksy’s Girl with Balloon is the kind of sentimental tosh our great grandparents too would have voted as Britain’s best-loved. Its kitsch pathos resembles one of the most popular Victorian images, John Everett Millais’ painting Bubbles, a picture of a child blowing bubbles used as an advert for Pear’s Soap. Today we laugh at it and sneer at them for liking such soppy stuff. Imagine how future generations will mock us for sanctifying Banksy, the Boaty McBoatface of modern art.
Vuong says that it’s far more common to be from a poor background than a middle-class one, but the literary world doesn’t seem to know it. “The fact of the matter is that displacement, immigration and war are some of the most common factors of human history, so I always insist with a little mischievousness that I’m writing something very normal, very common. In fact, perhaps the middle class story is the exotic.”
“The splintering of traditional media, the hostility of contemporary politics, the ways in which modern technology pulls us together while at the same time driving us apart – if you look, you’ll find traces of it in McLuhan’s work, which explored subjects ranging from pop culture to mass media to the ways in which technology would affect our ways of communication, decades before cellphones or the Internet. He was an avatar of the future, ironic considering his own, pessimistic view of things”
It is this notion of competition that has preoccupied the case for the arts for much of the past ten years, leading to a greater focus on impact and evidence of outcomes than ever before. And while the resulting improvements in measurement and evaluation are in many regards enhancing the offer the sector makes, it is an argument we can never win and which in fact misses the point.
“A few decades ago, the advent of the word processor made it easier than ever to revise on the fly; it also made it easy to dwell on one sentence ad infinitum, gilding the lily where once one would’ve advanced to the next thought. The glut of data is another mixed blessing—past a certain point, writers would do better in a state of blissful ignorance.”
On SoundCloud, genres thrive on amorphism, defined more by a song’s uncompromising sentiment—rage, anxiety, body-rolling euphoria—than the pulse of the beat or musical composition. (A casual listener might be inclined to label “Please B Okay” as simply house music.) This has given the Berlin-based platform a unique advantage not just in breaking unknown talent but in becoming a breeding ground for experimental sounds.
John Supko: “As Bill [Seaman] and I saw it, human creativity can be defined as making connections – governed by unpredictable, subjective forces – between seemingly unrelated bits of information. Music is particularly well suited to serve as a model for the creative process. Human composers have multiple components of information – melody, harmony, rhythm – at their fingertips. … These elements tend to implicate each other and emerge together from the composer’s imagination. Bill and I wanted to emulate this organic emergence of interrelated elements in the computer.”
“Wise Children, the company, didn’t exist until nine days before the deadline for registering a National Portfolio Organisation application [with Arts Council England]. … It may be that the company’s success provides a resounding and gratifying riposte to a ridiculous cock-up at Shakespeare’s Globe … But you have to ask: would other bold artists, who hadn’t been blessed with the oxygen of publicity, be successful with a similarly astronomical application?”
“The Brooklyn Academy of Music, in what it says is its first formal relationship with a residency partner, will join forces with the budding Lumberyard Contemporary Performing Arts organization in upstate New York to commission and nurture three new dance works.”
This week it was announced that Patinkin would make a now-rare appearance on Broadway, starring for three weeks in Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812. To accommodate Patinkin’s schedule, the producers cut short the contract of the actor currently playing Pierre, Hamilton alumnus Okieriete Onaodowan (“Oak”). Some fellow minority actors are denouncing the cast change on social media.
“Thomas P. Campbell, who last month ended his tumultuous tenure as chief executive of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, has been chosen as the second recipient of the Getty Rothschild Fellowship … The fellowship supports scholarship in art history, collecting and conservation, offering art historians, museum professionals or conservators up to eight months of research and study at the Getty in Los Angeles and Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, England.”
“Below are highlights from Kakutani’s tenure at the Times – her reviews of major novels and autobiographies, her obituaries and appreciations, her profiles and essays. Together they represent a vigorously led life of the mind, a crash course in contemporary literature and a tour through the zeitgeist of the turn of the millennium.”
The six, including former President Park Geun-hye’s chief of staff and culture minister, were convicted of perjury, abuse of power, and related charges for having drawn up a list of cultural figures and denied them state funding and access to programs because they were seen as political opponents of Park.
“For a very long time, the criteria for excellence in the arts have been owned by a particular body of experts who generally have a condescending view of the quality of art developed in community-based and social change programs and projects. These credentialed “experts” hold to a definition of quality largely based in an “art for art’s sake” paradigm. However, this definition loses the connection with the vast majority of people who live in the country, as well as the vast range of arts that is produced here and the range of reasons for which people make art. Art is for many sakes, including but not limited to art’s sake (whatever that restriction means in practice).”
On a longlist thronged with literary titans, whose combined trophy cabinet would include the Pulitzer, the Costa, the Baileys, the Folio, the Impac and the Goldsmiths prizes, Roy – the only author to have won the Booker before – is listed for her novel about an Indian transgender woman, which judges called a “rich and vital book”.