“Most people see the benefits of empathy as too obvious to require justification. This is a mistake.” Continuing the post-Sontag genre of “Against [Whatever]”, Paul Bloom hosts a forum featuring, among others, Sam Harris, Peter Singer, Marianne LaFrance, Barbara H. Fried, and Simon Baron-Cohen.
“When scientists have studied procrastination, they’ve typically focused on how people are miserable at weighing costs and benefits across time. … In the last few years, however, scientists have begun to think that procrastination might have less to do with time than emotion.” As one researcher says, “To tell the chronic procrastinator to just do it would be like saying to a clinically depressed person, cheer up.”
That seems to be what the government hopes, since it has commissioned a 104-episode series about a ten-year-old Uighur princess who works with her Han and Kazakh friends to free her captive father. Problem is, the folk character on which she’s based is seen very differently by Uighurs (who call her Iparhan) and Han Chinese (who know her as “the Fragrant Concubine”).
“‘Just think, says Sir Lancelot, of his nuptials to a young man named Herbert in Monty Python’s Spamalot, In a thousand years time, this will still be controversial. The administration of the South Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Junior/Senior High School seems determined to prove the gallant knight prescient.”
“At the end of the year, state-owned Chinese mining company China Metallurgical Group will take control of an ancient Buddhist city in Afghanistan, Mes Aynak. Southeast of Kabul, the ancient, abandoned city is home to sculptures, art, and jewelry dating back to the time of Alexander the Great – as well as 5.5 million tonnes of copper ore, one of the world’s largest deposits.”
“The Internet does make it easier to gather – aggregate, as the jargon goes – information, but not necessarily to make sense of it. An overabundance of raw information devoid of context and interpretation can actually be detrimental to knowledge. Knowledge springs from the act – the art – of interpreting, digesting, and integrating new information with our existing understanding of the world.”
The conductor announced on his Facebook page that, “with a heavy heart”, he has decided to step down from the orchestra’s music directorship after the 2015-16 season. He gave no reason other than his desire to devote time to his new post at Tokyo’s NHK Symphony (beginning in fall 2015) as well as his ongoing work with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. (in French)
The UC-Berkeley professor and former MacArthur Fellow, “who served as poet laureate of the United States in the mid-1990s, and won a National Book Award in 2007 and a Pulitzer Prize in 2008, has now also won the Wallace Stevens Award, a $100,000 cash stipend given by the Academy of American Poets, an organization founded in 1934 to foster an appreciation for American poetry.”
“Over six decades, Sam Hunter could usually be found at the center of some of the most exciting times for art in New York and beyond. He was an art historian (an authority on 20th-century art), a museum director, a curator, an art critic and an art adviser to museums, corporations and private collectors” – not to mention author or co-author of some 50 books.
Will the Internet Ever Get Less Nasty?
AJBlog: CultureCrash | Published 2014-08-26
New Recommendation: Tom Harrell
AJBlog: RiffTides | Published 2014-08-26
Birthplace of Another Sonata
AJBlog: PostClassic | Published 2014-08-26
Lookback: an imaginary dinner with Satchmo, George Balanchine, and H.L. Mencken
AJBlog: About Last Night | Published 2014-08-26
Hadid may not withdraw her suit since, Reuters says, she sought damages and the closing of the venerable NYRB. Why did she ever file it? The retraction should not have been hard to get; a suit simply extends the damage to her reputation, which, in spite of Filler’s serious error, was principally done by her own flippancy, abetted by the Internet’s facility in sating our lust for “how the mighty have fallen” stories.
“Book collectors and dealers in Hong Kong and Europe have been quietly doing a thriving business in catalogues for exhibitions and auctions of Chinese arts and antiques. While China has always had a black market for imported art publications that cost a few dollars each, in-demand catalogues command prices in the thousands of dollars.”