The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘tattoos’

Solve Your Problems with Symmetry, and Other News

July 15, 2015 | by

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The Shaker Meetinghouse in New Lebanon, Columbia County, New York.

  • Philosophers are always telling us what to do and why to do it—telling us, in essence, how to rescue ourselves from childhood, how to grow up. For Vivian Gornick, their advice is lacking in what a college counselor might call real-world experience: “The Hebrew philosopher Hillel urged that we do unto others as we would have others do unto us. Kant urged, similarly, that we not make instrumental use of one another. With all the good will in the world—and remarkable numbers of people have it—we have not been able to make these noble recommendations carry the day. Not because we are lazy or venal or incompetent but because most of us live in a state of inner conflict that makes purity of behavior an impossibility. Every day of our lives we transgress against our own longing to act well: our tempers are ungovernable, our humiliations unforgettable, our fantasies ever present … ”
  • Today in ill-advised marketing campaigns: the Australian publisher of the new Lisbeth Salander novel has taken branding to a disturbingly literal level in its quest to find “a female fan prepared to ‘donate’ her back for three months. This would have involved being adorned with her very own Dragon Tattoo for advertising purposes.” The so-called tatvertising campaign sought to find someone who could “handle the pain, just like Lisbeth Salander.” The publisher has since canceled the promotion, but there’s nothing stopping true fans from pursuing masochism to please their corporate masters.
  • Does the art market depress you? The answer should be a resounding yes—no one likes plundering plutocrats. But here’s a thought: you can probably just ignore the whole sordid commercial aspect of the thing. “Sensing that people will one day look back on this era as a freakish episode in cultural history, why not get a head start on viewing it that way? Detach and marvel. Meanwhile, art goes on making meaning for those who are rich only in the desire and leisure to engage with it … To expect the running-scared super-rich to behave benevolently, in regards to art, is plainly foolish.”
  • So you’re conceiving a building in which the sexes are segregated—congratulations! The Shakers have just the kind of architectural design you need. The key is extreme symmetry, “in which one side meticulously mirrors the other, door for door, stair for stair, each fitting answering another … The control implicit in the design goes further. Men and women worked in different trades, so rarely encountered one another in the workplace … The Shakers perfected what they called a ‘living building’: a settlement that served their purposes while also reinforcing their separation from non-believing outsiders.”
  • Critical thinking remains an integral part of an education in the liberal arts—and a vague, endlessly broad term, with no real applicability. What is it? How do we use it? For the answers to these and other unanswerable questions, all you have to do is go to college. But even there the term is on watch now. “One of my colleagues adamantly rejected the inclusion of an allegedly trendy catchphrase (‘experiential learning’) as part of our mission statement, and insisted that we use ‘critical thinking’ instead. My colleague was ostensibly rejecting the professionalization of college education, in favor of the more properly academic priority of intellect. This preference, however, struck me as curious, as it revealed that ‘critical thinking’—whatever cluster of ideas or intellectual ideals hide behind the phrase—had become something for which we felt nostalgia.”

Chinua Achebe Dies, and Other News

March 22, 2013 | by

Chinua-Achebe-RIP-Paris-Review

 

 

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Letter from Berlin: In the Cut

February 12, 2013 | by

Fabian,

Fabian

One morning my first summer in Berlin, I woke up alone in a park with a piece of sweaty plastic wrap around my forearm. I still had the tattoo. I still didn’t have my keys.

Fabian had given me the tattoo lying in his bed the night before. We met in a club thirty-six hours earlier, on Sunday afternoon, after I tried to pick up his roommate, a brooding Austrian boy with shoulder-length blond hair who was sitting alone away from the dance floor. He had a homemade tattoo of a sword on his wrist. His roommate had made it, he said, and did I want to meet him? They both turned out to be straight, and we spent the rest of the day dancing together and sharing our drinks and our cigarettes and whatever else we had.

Another Sunday afternoon dancing at the same club, a Portuguese friend stopped me and asked, “Americans come here for the freedom, right?” Another Sunday there, a Scottish boy asked me if I moved to Berlin “just to have fun.” Usually in these situations I say, “I guess so.” Nobody with pupils that size could have patience for a real answer. Read More »

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San Francisco vs. New York, and Other News

November 8, 2012 | by

  • The bestseller lists from two beloved bookstores show what San Franciscans and New Yorkers, respectively, are reading. (Spoiler: everyone loves Junot Díaz.)
  • But which book about Lincoln? Experts help you narrow it down.
  • Print is dead, and nine other conversations the folks at Book Riot would just as soon, in a perfect world, never have again.
  • Tats inspired by children’s books. Yes, The Giving Tree and Le Petit Prince are represented, but so are Ramona and Harriet Welsh! And you have to love the simplicity of this Narnia ink.
  • The New York Public Library donated the food that would have been served at their annual fundraising gala to people affected by Hurricane Sandy.
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    Mimes, Tattoos, and Whales

    October 18, 2012 | by

  • The Mime Alphabet Book and other odd titles.
  • Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies: Man Booker Prize winners and now BBC miniseries and stage plays, too.
  • This children’s librarian has perhaps the ultimate children’s librarian tattoo.
  • A slide show of Robert Frost’s Vermont home.
  • Moby-Dick gets the Google treatment.
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    Beat Letters, Literary Ink

    September 18, 2012 | by

  • Check out this letter from Jack Kerouac to his editor, in which the Beat presses for publication of On the Road.
  • Librarians with literary tattoos!
  • While we’re at it, writers in underpants. (No exclamation mark.)
  • Books You’ve Never Heard of By Authors You Have. (Spoiler: you may have actually heard of a few of them, but you get the idea.)
  • An audio version [of Gravity’s Rainbow] does exist, though it came from the time of cassettes, not MP3s. The book was recorded in 1986 by George Guidall … it runs to 34 hours.”
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