Russian Orthodox extremists have demonstrated, made death threats, and even committed arson to protest Matilda, a romantic period film about a ballerina with whom the young Nicholas II had an affair before he married. (The last tsar, now considered a saint and martyr, would of course never have done such a thing.) So director Alexei Uchitel announced that he’s expanding it into a four-part miniseries.
“Scientists have struggled to find universals that permanently link our species. Although we come to the table with biological predispositions, a million years of bending, breaking and blending have diversified our species’ preferences. We are the products not only of biological evolution but also of cultural evolution. Although the idea of universal beauty is appealing, it doesn’t capture the multiplicity of creation across place and time. Beauty is not genetically preordained.”
“At Vanity Fair and then at The New Yorker, she expanded readerships. Her editorial appetites were fierce; she raked in news and new writers and cash. Some people found her style unsettling, and her victories did little to alter that judgment. Brown’s legacy remains controversial not because her success is in question but because, for some, too much was lost in her kind of success.”
As anyone who’s studied French knows, there’s no neuter: every noun and adjective is either masculine or feminine, most words for occupations have different forms for men and women, and if there are both, “the masculine prevails over the feminine” (as the rule has it). Now a group of teachers and a publishing house grammar guide are arguing for an end to this rule and its corollaries. Naturally, the Académie Française is not having it.
In this essay the composer talks about why he and librettist Nicholas Wright worked from Winston Graham’s novel rather than the Hitchcock film, how he set a psychiatrist’s session and a fox hunt for the stage, and how to deploy English National Opera’s chorus. (Favorite line, about “the Marnettes”: “The effect should be as if her inner monologue is actually a warped recording of the Tallis Scholars singing a single chord from an obscure Tudor motet.”)
Like old-style imperialists, economists assume that other people resemble themselves, regardless of their culture, class or background. Thus, they assume that other people will respond in ways that economists consider rational. They subscribe to the fallacy of an abstract “economic man” — “precultural” person. But, the authors write, people are not organisms first created “and then dipped in some culture, like Achilles in the River Styx. They are cultural from the outset.”
In 1985, Woman-Ochre was stolen from the University of Arizona Museum of Art during opening hours. Thirty-two years later, the $165-million masterpiece wasn’t discovered tucked away in the mansion of a mafioso or for sale on the black market; it was found hanging demurely behind the bedroom door of an elderly couple in rural New Mexico.
It’s not just the news that’s fake anymore but all sorts of media and consumer goods can now be knocked off thanks to AI. From audio tracks and video clips to financial transactions and counterfeit products — even your own handwriting can be mimicked with startling levels of accuracy. But what if we could leverage the same computer systems that created these fakes to reveal them just as easily?
“The truth about AI, according to experts such as Ray Kurzweil, is that there’s no part of our lives that won’t be directly affected by it. As individuals we probably won’t notice the changes in real-time, but our dependence on machine learning will increase at exponential rates. The law of accelerating returns is behind the artificial intelligence revolution — and Ray Kurzweil’s predictions.”
“The museum and its development team will re-examine an expansion option on the north and northwest side of the campus connected to the 1905 Building to determine whether this could meet the museum’s needs, while also minimizing impacts on the Albright-Knox’s historic buildings,” according to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, in a statement Friday afternoon.
Now, we’re all going to reread literally every Dickens novel, not to mention J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books and, of course, Mary Poppins: “In addition to a vast array of sexual clues and cues, John Bowen has found Dickensian brollies masquerading as ‘weapons and shields . . . birds, cabbages and leaves.’ And whether they’re in the right place or the wrong place (like the umbrella in Quilp’s eulogy), there is some intangible but undeniable facet of umbrellaness that has captured the human imagination for centuries.”
The editor – who was suspended from DC on Saturday after this story dropped – was reported by several women. “Among the women who reported Berganza to human resources, none still work for DC. None are even working at mainstream comics publishers anymore; they’ve largely put superheroes behind them.”
Jennifer Tseng, whose The Passion of Woo and Isolde just won a poetry prize, on the urgency of writing under the current U.S. president: “This is an ongoing dilemma for me as a writer. How can I take pleasure in the beauty of language without obscuring meaning; can I allow myself to be dazzled by words without losing consciousness? How do I cultivate ambiguity and possibility without endorsing neutrality? Can I let my work be led by complexity without losing sight of simple, urgent messages?”
Ugh: “A proclivity for reprehensible acts is built right into the mythos of the artistic genius — a designation rarely extended to women. This is what the historian Martin Jay calls ‘the aesthetic alibi’: The art excuses the crime. Mr. Jay writes that in the 19th century, artistic genius ‘was often construed as unbound by nonaesthetic considerations — cognitive, ethical, or whatever.’ And often the ethical lapses afforded to artists have concerned the mistreatment of women.”
The court said that letting the sale go on would pose more of a risk than stopping it … for now. “The sale had been opposed by two groups of plaintiffs, including Rockwell’s sons, as well as the office of the Massachusetts attorney general, which said that it would violate various trusts and restrictions related to how the works must be handled. The attorney general, Maura Healey, who had been seeking additional time to examine the museum’s plan, asked the court on Friday for an injunction halting the sale.”
Britain’s MacMillan “also effectively reinvented the 19th-century narrative ballet for an audience ready for tales of passion, drama and violence rather than those involving myths, swans and chivalry. He was — like Jerome Robbins and Antony Tudor in the United States — a bringer of neurosis, psychological drama and real-life grit to the rarefied world of ballet.”
Well, we know why, but we don’t know why the show did what it did in the first place: “The production, whose lead producer is Scott Rudin, refused to provide tickets for one of the Tony nominators, Jose Antonio Vargas, and as a result, Tony officials pulled 1984’s eligibility. (Broadway sources, speaking on background because they weren’t authorized to comment, said the Tony Awards were also rebuffed in efforts to buy the tickets for Vargas.)”
Judd Apatow: “How are we going to decide who we shouldn’t work with? But in the most extreme cases, it seems pretty clear. We shouldn’t be making TV shows with Bill Cosby. We shouldn’t be putting on new shows with Bill O’Reilly. We shouldn’t be starring in movies produced by Harvey Weinstein. There are cases which are also complicated, and everybody has their own set of ethics about it, and those debates will continue. But there are very clear cases where people are getting hurt, and their lives are being ruined by people.”