• Nowhere in this piece will you read anything like “Brutalist buildings are functional, humane architecture” for those who must live & work inside them.

    Brutalist buildings aren’t unlovable. You’re looking at them wrong. | Washington Post

  • Taxonomy of Verse

    In different ways, music, painting, and poetry each split into two: a cerebral, avant-garde version devoted to extending the modernist experiment; and a popular version that appealed to mass audiences without knowledge of the art’s traditions and conventions. The “serious” artists made a Tantalean bargain with the academy, which gave them a secure living and a measure of prestige while cutting them off from what any artist wants most—an actual audience. The popular artists won a level of fame and fortune that would have been unimaginable in the past, but what they do is not really art—or, better, not the same art.

    If poetry is to remain relevant, distinguishing “art” from “pop” helps no one. Rather, it seems all poems inhabit ranges: good/bad, evocative/trite, innovative/conventional, euphonic/atonal, literal/allusive…and poems (and poets) can be measured against one another along these continua.

    On “getting” poetry | New Criterion

  • Can they, in perhaps their last act, vindicate the past half-century of centrist expertise of which they are such prominent exponents?

    Excellent profile of these economic technocrats and the power they wield.

    Janet Yellen and Mario Draghi Have One Last Job | Foreign Policy

  • As deep waters warm and this seasonal circulation gets disrupted … it could reorganize food webs, increase non-native invasive species, and … could potentially lead to more toxic algal blooms in the Great Lakes.

    Even the Great Lakes’ deepest waters are now warming | Grist

  • If elected [to two more six-year terms], [Putin] would remain president until 2036, surpassing Josef Stalin as the longest-serving leader of Russia since Peter the Great.

    Russia’s first Emperor died 296 years ago.

    Putin Signs Law Paving Way to Rule Until 2036 | Moscow Times

  • It will be very rewarding to me to take care of him, because he tried to take good care of me in prison.

    I was relieved by how respectful this was of the subjects & the viewer.

    My Brother’s Keeper | Guardian Documentaries

  • WiGOP’s pandemic response:

    Legislature: [does nothing]
    Toadies: [shrilly] The Democratic governor is overstepping his bounds trying to contain the pandemic!
    Court: You can’t do that, Governor.


    Wisconsin Supreme Court Strikes Down Statewide Mask Mandate | WPR

  • Crime reporters, by the nature of their job, are more like weather reporters. They relate the events that have occurred, as told to them by the police, without scrutinizing the systems.

    The Press and the Police | Hedgehog Review

  • The Dime-A-Dozen Bankruptcy of Tech Billionaire Serial Entrepreneurs

    Last year — barely 12 months into the experiment — [CEO Evan] Williams had already grown uncomfortable with the cost of the team he had just built. Paid subscriptions, which had been on the rise, flatlined in 2020. Publication budgets were cut — and then cut again, and again. Editors who were lured to Medium on the promise of being able to build out full-fledged publications were suddenly begging for enough money to pay for a handful of freelance stories a week.

    The rest of their “publications” would comprise posts written on spec by an army of self-serve freelancers who uploaded their work to the platform in hopes it would be selected by an editor for promotion. This program, called “Amplify,” has become a core pillar of Williams’ vision for the future. Instead of paying full-time salaries and benefits to staff, Williams can use Amplify to get the content he wants at a fraction of the cost.

    Amplify’s writers are paid a small and essentially random fraction of subscription revenue, based on how many people read their story. In theory their financial upside is unlimited, but in practice the program pays almost no one a living wage.

    It seems like all these “innovative” tech billionaire serial entrepreneurs only know how to make money one way.

    The Mess at Medium | The Verge

  • These are the words of the only baseball player to have his number retired by every major league team: “The right of every American to first-class citizenship is the most important issue of our time.”

    Why MLB should consider moving the 2021 All-Star game from Atlanta | LA Times

  • In the words of one starry-eyed journalist, “The library of the future will be one which any man can carry under his arm.” Not a bad prediction for 1878.

    Bottled Authors: The predigital dream of the audiobook | Cabinet

  • Public sainthood is a repudiation of humanity, and if you spend your life fighting for humanity—and knowing how ugly the fight can get, and how you can get blood on our hands—you would be annoyed at being treated like a saint, too.

    Dissidents Aren’t Saints | Foreign Policy

  • It is still common for people to talk of “guilty” cultural pleasures—TV, dance music—about which no one has felt guilty in decades, and to apologize for them with an enthusiasm that looks a lot like pride.

    The Strange Undeath of Middlebrow | Hedgehog Review

  • How did such an ambitious project by one of America’s most innovative architects turn into a punch line?

    And to think the University could have had a building designed by Taliesin Associated Architects instead…

    How the Humanities Building Went Wrong | On Wisconsin

  • It’s hard to think of any similarly productive, commercial novelist today who speaks so vigorously against religious and political pieties.

    Those couple adjectives act as pretty strong qualifiers, but point taken.

    Graham Greene Against the World | The New Republic

  • [Recognising exile agency] means accepting that they will sometimes speak in a political idiom that doesn’t resonate with us, and that the methods they sometimes employ are politically inconvenient or even incomprehensible.

    Exiles on Main Street | Aeon

  • [A] striking feature of our current political landscape is that we disagree not just over values (which is healthy in a democracy), and not just over facts (which is inevitable), but over our very standards for determining what the facts are.

    The Value of Truth | Boston Review

  • “We call this a century project[.] … To get it to look even somewhat like it did before the blight is going to take centuries. It’s for the next generation—it’s planting a tree you’ll never enjoy the shade of.”

    The Demise and Potential Revival of the American Chestnut | Sierra

  • …Packard and Montgomery had taken pains to author their stories without any assumptions about the reader’s gender, and in Cave of Time neither the text nor artwork betrays this conceit[.]

    Marketing ended that progressive approach.

    1979: The Cave of Time | 50 Years of Text Games

  • My top-of-my head nominations:

    • John Dos Passos’ U.S.A.
    • Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War
    • John Layman’s Chew
    • Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49

    Ars’ plea: Someone make this into a series | Ars Technica

  • More on bears. Continued human encroachment on wild spaces clashes with conservation & wildlife management.

    [W]hat happened next was violent. And painful. And gruesome. An interaction beset by blood and an anguished cry.

    Close Encounters of the Worst Kind | Sports Illustrated

  • “Once we hit that saturation point where the first tier has all gotten their vaccines, the narrative will shift to blame. It’ll be ‘Why haven’t you taken care of this yet?’”

    How Inequity Gets Built Into America’s Vaccination System | ProPublica

  • The full-circle irony of all this is that coyotes and bobcats are annihilating prey, which themselves are wildlife killers.


    • Urban wildlife ecology is fascinating.
    • Keep your housepets inside.

    The Cats and Dogs Who Eat Cats and Dogs | Terrain

  • “[Tubman] is a woman who spent her life destroying slavery[.] It’s a reminder about the relationship between history, capitalism and capital in this country. If we put her on the [$20] bill uncritically, that’s a grave disservice to her legacy.”

    Fitting the Bill | L&S News

  • Nearly six decades later, no one has been brought to justice for executing Lewis, thought to be the last elected official murdered in Chicago. Officially, the case is still open, but Ben Lewis has faded from public memory.

    The Murder Chicago Didn’t Want to Solve | ProPublica

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