Monday, October 25, 2021

ArtsJournal: Arts, Culture, Ideas

IDEAS

How Did Arts And Culture Respond To Trump?

The internet is healing, I would say now, but we should all know better: a garbage vortex of such scale doesn’t just disappear, but drifts on, accumulating more and more trash, slowly choking everything around it. - The Drift

The Purpose Of Playing

The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once described play as ‘ecoming and dissolution, building and destruction without moral implication, in eternal innocence’ – as an act to be found ‘in the world only in the play of the artist and child’. - Aeon

A Group Of D&D Teenagers, With The Help Of The Kennedy Center, Give An Artistic Boost To The Home Of The Simpsons

In Springfield, Oregon, if you see people wandering around with choose your own adventure-style art books in their hands, don't be surprised: "Three writers, an executive editor and an illustrator worked side-by-side with local businesses and organizers at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., to create the 51-page illustrated epic journey along Main Street in Springfield." - The Eugene Register-Guard

The Best Time To Correct False, Er, Fake News Is Not In Advance

Warning people off doesn't work: "We hear a lot about inoculating people against fake news or 'prebunking' it, but new research shows that the best time to fact-check a false headline — and have subjects remember the fact-check a week later — is after the subject has already read the headline." - Nieman Lab

OK, Sure, Disease Is Not A Metaphor, But COVID-19’s Impact Sure Feels Fire-Like

Philip Kennicott: "Inflammation isn’t just an actual symptom of the disease. It seems to be part of its etiology, its moral and social origins and effects. Covid makes bad things worse; it inflames things." - Washington Post

If Britain Takes Its Vaccination Strategy From ‘Contagion,’ A Movie, So What?

A lot of science fiction and fantasy predicts the future - so why not a well-researched movie about a pandemic? (It's worth noting that Britain's vaccine response has been one of the fastest in the world.) - Irish Times

EU Green New Deal Includes Building A New Bauhaus

In September the EU launched "an ambitious and historic initiative to fund innovative scientific and artistic endeavours to abate climate change and allow Europe to meet its goal of zero net carbon emissions by 2050. The Commission intends to bring the European Green Deal to life by creating ‘a collaborative design and creative space, where architects, artists, students, scientists, engineers and designers work together (…) to combine sustainability with good design’ within and beyond Europe’s borders. Drawing on the heritage and language of modernism, this initiative has been coined the New European Bauhaus. - Eurozine

Attacks On The Merits

The idea that the world is corrupt and unfair was the subject of medieval morality plays and sermons. They taught a vast population to reconcile itself to misery and subjugation by promising rewards in the afterlife. But in a democracy, everyone is moderately free and potentially subject to rewards in this life, though few receive the rewards they think they deserve. Thus, the perspective of the medieval morality play—that the world is hopelessly corrupt—gets deployed to rationalize injured merit. - American Scholar

Want To Understand People Better? Scientists Look To Dogs

In a recent study of 217 Border collies that ranged in age from 6 months to 15, the team, together with the Clever Dog Lab in Austria, found similarities with humans in the dogs’ personality traits as they age. - Nautilus

The Pandemic Has Brought Out The Medieval In Us

"Was there a connection between the sudden relevance of medieval anecdotes and an apparent increase in blackletter fonts on leftist social media? If plague humor was in, so too were ornate, eye-catching fonts derived from a Gothic style. And as platforms such as Instagram evolved last summer—becoming more text-heavy, politicized, and less about the passive consumption of lifestyle imagery—text-based infographics featuring blackletter became central tools for sharing information, arguments, and calls to action." - The Baffler

How Do We Mitigate The Chaos Of Social Media?

"I think we’re witnessing, in real time, society grappling with the emergence of social media as a very powerful force. Experts who have been studying this stuff have been warning for months, if not years, that these types of disturbances could happen as a result of online platforms. And this isn’t the first time that we’ve seen social media activity manifest in a real-world threat to democracies or disruption of an economy. But the scale, publicity, and extremity of these recent events feels new in the U.S." - Harvard Business Review

25 Years Ago A Luddite And A Techno-Utopian Bet On Whether Technology Would Destroy The World…

“History is full of civilizations that have collapsed, followed by people who have had other ways of living,” Kirkpatrick Sale said. “My optimism is based on the certainty that civilization will collapse.” - Wired

We Live In A Dystopian Time. Is That Why Dystopian Novels Have Gone Away?

"We inhabit a dystopian reality, which may account for the dearth of dystopian fiction. Yet the novels of Zamyatin, Huxley and Orwell continue to cast a powerful spell. All of them end in defeat for the protagonists, but in each case a possibility of revolt remains." - New Statesman

Scientists Are Trying To Determine The Basis Of Beauty

There is no shortage of theories about what makes an object aesthetically pleasing. Ideas about proportion, harmony, symmetry, order, complexity and balance have all been studied by psychologists in great depth. The theories go as far back as 1876—in the early days of experimental psychology—when German psychologist Gustav Fechner provided evidence that people prefer rectangles with sides in proportion to the golden ratio (if you’re curious, that ratio is about 1.6:1). - Scientific American

A Leading Classics Scholar Condemns Classics As A Field

Dan-el Padilla Peralta's "vision of classics’ complicity in systemic injustice is uncompromising, even by the standards of some of his allies. He has condemned the field as “equal parts vampire and cannibal” — a dangerous force that has been used to murder, enslave and subjugate. “He’s on record as saying that he’s not sure the discipline deserves a future,” Denis Feeney, a Latinist at Princeton, told me. - The New York Times

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