Monday, October 24 2016

Can Transparency Motivate Gamers?

Transparency means that I can always find enjoyment in improving my personal high score when I play a game, whether or not I win or lose.

Friday, October 21 2016

Pondering Life Post-Capitalism in ‘Four Futures’

Can markets be separated from capitalism? From money? From the disenfranchising effects of equating social power with money?

Wednesday, October 19 2016

No Piano, Please!

Four recent releases demonstrate the stylistic range and power of jazz that isn't hemmed in by chords.

The Unfathomable Confessions of Bruce Springsteen

Springsteen's autobiography, Born to Run, is on a mission to deliver us into the paradox of holy terror.

Tuesday, October 18 2016

Harry Belafonte and the Art of Activism

Harry Belafonte's life and work looms large over this moment, when artists of color are exercising their activist voices.

Monday, October 17 2016

Why Are So Many White Americans So Fearful These Days?

Published just as many white American conservatives embrace a xenophobic demagogue as their savior, Hochschild’s emotive and empathic study provides guidance for how the US came to this crisis point.

Tuesday, October 11 2016

Hymns and Confessions: A Conversation With Casey Crescenzo of The Dear Hunter

Crescenzo is proud yet humble, blunt, and occasionally enigmatic in discussing Act V, as well as the past and future of The Dear Hunter in general.

Friday, October 7 2016

The Absolution of Paul Theroux’s ‘Saint Jack’ in a World Lacking Irony

The narrative of Paul Theroux's (and later Peter Bogdanovich's) Saint Jack offers a palliative to the high-priced hedonism taking place in an American-owned compound in Singapore.

Wednesday, October 5 2016

What Are You Laughing At?

LGBT+ comedians are enjoying enough success to offset the barrage of gay jokes that seek to demean. They have Paul Lynde and Jack "Moms" Mabley to thank.

Tuesday, October 4 2016

Things Strange: The Dungeon Master of ‘Stranger Things’

Stranger Things crafts something wholly individual out of the chrysalis of the past, turning the comfort of nostalgia against itself.

Friday, September 30 2016

A Melancholic Way of Knowing

Melancholy, in its deepest truth, is not bereft of hope but rather relies upon it.

Thursday, September 29 2016

The Mexican Journey That Made One of the 20th Century’s Finest Writers

Sybille Bedford's account of her remarkable year in Mexico is the perfect introduction to one of the 20th century's most remarkable writers.

Monday, September 26 2016

Mourning in America: Remembering ‘Twin Peaks’

Frustrating expectations was part of Twin Peaks modus operandi.

Thursday, September 22 2016

Make It Quick: The Art of the One-liner

Some may dismiss the one-liner as an easy gag, but a good one requires real skill. Luckily, there are comedians out there who have mastered the art.

On Very Visceral Mysteries: ‘The Woman in Cabin 10’

Much of what happens to the protagonists here and in the comparable The Girl on the Train evades their control.

Wednesday, September 21 2016

Tuesday, September 20 2016

‘Inside’ the Lie of Ambiguity

Inside is too literal to be expressionistic, but too vague to be a narrative. It's so ambiguous that it fails to be anything.

Thursday, September 15 2016

Domestic Infelicity: ‘Way Out’ Is Lost and Found on YouTube

Roald Dahl's short-lived anthology feels like a merging of Rod Serling's horror and sci-fi with Alfred Hitchcock's obsession with unhappy marriages.

Wednesday, September 14 2016

Let the Critics Out of the Closet

Anonymity turns restaurant critics into some kind of stealthy ninja with a distant or even adversarial stance, and this benefits no one.

Tuesday, September 13 2016

The Long, Hot Summer of 2016: How We Got Over

Simone Manuel’s winning a gold medal in this particular Olympic swimming event in this particular summer gave the especially besieged among us a chance to take a break from the siege.

//Mixed media

Authenticity Issues and the New Intimacies

// Marginal Utility

"The social-media companies have largely succeeded in persuading users of their platforms' neutrality. What we fail to see is that these new identities are no less contingent and dictated to us then the ones circumscribed by tradition; only now the constraints are imposed by for-profit companies in explicit service of gain.

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