Priceless Particles

Jan 24 2015 @ 8:34pm


For her project Stardust, Corinne Schulze photographed the “the bits and pieces of archaeological artifacts” she discovered while working with historical treasures at a New York museum:

One day, Schulze looked down at her studio sweep and those tiny pieces of dust and debris left behind struck her differently. Rather than unfortunate casualties of the job, the debris looked to her like celestial formations. She transferred it to a black background—like the vast canvas of space—and snapped a photo.

“It reminded me of the idea that we’re all made of stardust—Carl Sagan and all that stuff,” she said.

Most of the objects she shot were gathered in the early 20th century, when the collection process was far less careful than it is today. Archaeologists shoveled up the objects, dumped them in a box along with whatever dirt and fragments surrounded it, and closed them up with notes about what was found that still left much to the imagination.

See more of Schulze’s work here.

How To Flirt On The Internet

Jan 24 2015 @ 7:22pm

According to Emily Witt, who investigated the live webcam site Chaturbate, it helps if you’re a woman:

At first I avoided the most sexually explicit channels. I preferred to watch women, but not usually at their most pornographic. I watched when they were just doing things, chatting or cutting out paper hearts for Valentine’s Day or listening to the songs of Miley Cyrus. I watched the women because they were more interesting than the men, who invariably positioned themselves in a black computer chair at a desk in ghastly desk-lamp illumination, dick in hand, making the usual motions, unless they reclined in bed and did the same, with little in the way of creativity or gimmicks. It was amazing the diversity of what men wanted performed for them and how little they offered to others, except for a few of the gay guys, who seemed to understand that some form of flirtation might exhilarate the spirit and therefore did yoga routines in bike shorts or lip-synched to pop hits.

Witt goes on to consider whether “internet sexual” qualifies as a new orientation. She talks to Chaturbate performers Max and Harper – whose webcam performances have included a penis-in-ice-water endurance test as well as “puppet shows, and threesomes, and a food fight” – about how their ideas of sex have changed:

Read On

Hathos For Herzog

Jan 24 2015 @ 6:44pm

Werner Herzog narrates one of Klaus Kinski’s outbursts on the set of Fitzcarraldo (language is NSFW, especially for German speakers):

Kinski appears to have experienced the “compulsion of revulsion” for the director. Charlie McCann, who recently saw Herzog speak at the New York Public Library, elaborates:

At one point [event director Paul] Holdengräber read a particularly vivid passage from an autobiography by Klaus Kinski, the mercurial actor who starred in several of Herzog’s films:

Read On

Conflict Cuisine

Jan 24 2015 @ 5:49pm

Lionel Beehner considers a correlation:

In my past life as a freelance reporter based in post-conflict countries, I used to think there was a direct relationship between war-torn places and good cuisine. Maybe an inventive menu was a sign of ethnically diverse cultures, which may be synonymous with internecine conflict. Conflict zones, after all, tend to bestride former empires. Or perhaps the horror of war is what lends itself to good food – as a form of culinary escapism.

Read On

The View From Your Window

Jan 24 2015 @ 5:22pm

Phoenix, Arizona, 4.33 pm

On The Sanity Of Artists

Jan 24 2015 @ 4:55pm

Maria Popova digs up a nonfiction gem from Henry Miller, To Paint Is to Love Again, in which he addresses the question:

Certainly the surest way to kill an artist is to supply him with everything he needs. Materially he needs but little. What he never gets enough of is appreciation, encouragement, understanding. I have seen painters give away their most cherished work on the impulse of the moment, sometimes in return for a good meal, sometimes for a bit of love, sometimes for no reason at all — simply because it pleased them to do so. And I have seen these same men refuse to sell a cherished painting no matter what the sum offered. I believe that a true artist always prefers to give his work away rather than sell it. A good artist must also have a streak of insanity in him, if by insanity is meant an exaggerated inability to adapt. The individual who can adapt to this mad world of to-day is either a nobody or a sage. In the one case he is immune to art and in the other he is beyond it.

Mental Health Break

Jan 24 2015 @ 4:20pm

It’s hard to believe all this was 17 years ago:

Papa’s Masculinity

Jan 24 2015 @ 3:31pm

Tyler Malone interviews Adam Long, the director of the Hemingway-Pfeiffer House in Arkansas, where Hemingway once lived, about the subject:

Hemingway is sort of the prototypical machismo American writer, but that uber-masculinity aspect of his persona often gets played up. He seems to me a much more complicated man than the mythical bull-fight-loving tough guy allows. Do you agree? And if so, in what ways do you see a different side of Hemingway? And how can highlighting those alternate aspects of his personality help to open up his novels in different ways?

I agree that Ernest is more complex than his one-dish_hemdimensional macho performance. Certainly, Ernest was obsessed with masculinity, as were many men in his time and place. Because of this performance, he seems to have worked to ensure that his public persona was quintessentially macho. This probably becomes more and more true as his celebrity grows.

Beneath this, though, I think there is a much more complex person. Looking at his texts, I think that, at times, you see his narrators regret their own chauvinism. It seems to me that many of his narrators are speaking about past events, like one might in a confessional. I think seeing the difference in age in the first-person narrators and the events they narrate is important in seeing growth (or at least regret) in some of the Hemingway heroes.

Previous Dish on the author here, here, and here.

(Image of Hemingway with Col. Charles T. Lanham in Germany 1944 via Wikimedia Commons)

Tweet Of The Day

Jan 24 2015 @ 3:09pm

The Meaning Of ’90s Sitcoms, Ctd

Jan 24 2015 @ 2:27pm

Last weekend we plumbed it, with a particular focus on Friends. Now that the show can be streamed on Netflix, Ruth Graham has been re-watching it – and finding that of all the characters, Chandler is “the most agonizingly obsolete,” not least when it comes to his homophobia:

Chandler, identified in Season 1 as having a “quality” of gayness about him, is endlessly paranoid about being perceived as insufficiently masculine. He’s freaked out by hugs, and by Joey having a pink pillow on his couch. (“If you let this go, you’re going to be sitting around with your fingers soaking in stuff!) In retrospect, the entire show’s treatment of LGBTQ issues is awful, a fault pointedly illustrated by the exhaustive clip-compilation “Homophobic Friends.”

But Chandler’s treatment of his gay father, a Vegas drag queen played by Kathleen Turner, is especially appalling, and it’s not clear the show knows it. It’s one thing for Chandler to recall being embarrassed as a kid, but he is actively resentful and mocking of his loving, involved father right up until his own wedding (to which his father is initially not invited!). Even a line like “Hi, Dad” is delivered with vicious sarcasm. Monica eventually cajoles him into a grudging reconciliation, which the show treats as an acceptably warm conclusion. But his continuing discomfort now reads as jarringly out-of-place for a supposedly hip New York 30-something—let alone a supposedly good person, period.