Comics’ Long Struggle With Art Versus Commerce

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“Today, ambitious cartoonists bypass newspapers altogether for more flexible and expressive mediums: graphic novels, comic books, and online comics sites. With few exceptions, syndicated comic strips now seem like artifacts from the last century. The proliferation of anthologies that reprint the entirety of terminated strips speaks to the ongoing museumification of the medium.”

Why Did The FBI Spy On James Baldwin? (And How Did They Get So Much Wrong?)

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“[His] file contains 1,884 pages of documents, collected from 1960 until the early 1970s … [while] the FBI accumulated 276 pages on Richard Wright, 110 pages on Truman Capote, and just nine pages on Henry Miller. … [Yet] what is perhaps most interesting about the Baldwin dossier is that it reads like a long, poorly written novel itself – it is, in every sense, fiction produced by the state.”

Climate Change Fiction – It’s Gaining Readership

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Since the turn of the millennium, cli-fi has evolved from a subgenre of science fiction into a class of its own. Unlike traditional sci-fi, its stories seldom focus on imaginary technologies or faraway planets. Instead the pivotal themes are all about Earth, examining the impact of pollution, rising sea levels, and global warming on human civilization. And the genre’s growing presence in college curriculums, as well as its ability to bridge science with the humanities and activism, is making environmental issues more accessible to young readers—proving literature to be a surprisingly valuable tool in collective efforts to address global warming.”

Sesame Street And A Business Model That No Longer Works

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“Sesame’s migration to cable begs to be understood as a failure in public funding, and it is in part. In a kinder society, PBS would have more funding, and it could rush in to support a struggling flagship. But what changed Sesame Workshop’s financial situation wasn’t a PBS funding cut but the media environment itself. The same economics that have hurt musicians—the transition from physical ownership to digital ownership to streaming—are what threatened Sesame Workshop’s budget and sent it running to HBO. In a world with less media ownership, even widely beloved, publicly funded media need a premium patron.”

Has Art Become Irrelevant To Museums?

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“The art world can survive anything from the public — hostility, ignorance, even fanatical prudishness — but the art world cannot survive an indifferent public.”

Can Anything Save Small Businesses In New York?

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“When I say they’ve destroyed New York’s old stores, bars, restaurants, hangouts, I’m saying the real estate market has destroyed the sacred watering holes and gathering places of the 20th century.”

Why Did Britain’s National Youth Theatre Scrap A Play About Radicalized Teenagers Just Before Opening Night?

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“In letter published on Saturday signatories, who also included Sir David Hare, Young Vic artistic director David Lan and Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti, said the cancellation ‘is a troubling moment for British theatre and freedom of expression.’ ‘We fear that government policy in response to extremism may be creating a culture of caution in the arts,’ they add.”

Amazon: Not A Pleasant Workplace … To Put It Mildly

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“Employees say that the Bezos ideal, a meritocracy in which people and ideas compete and the best win, where co-workers challenge one another ‘even when doing so is uncomfortable or exhausting,’ as the leadership principles note, has turned into a world of frequent combat.”

You Can Never Be Too Old For Ballet

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“Just as gardening is not just a means to fresh air and purposeful exercise (but also produces the delights of a garden), so ballet for old people is no merely useful in strengthening muscles or regaining suppleness. It adds a new character to its practitioners’ hundred other accomplishments. Forget the tutus and pumps; ballet begins inside.”