A few things that grabbed my mention:
Henryk Górecki: Symphony No 3 review – minimalism made human: Beth Gibbons is wonderful, but she adds something very different from, say, Dawn Upshaw. Most reviews are (quite surprisingly) very positive. Oklahoma Was Never Really O.K.. Ouch. 'To Sleep With Anger' Finds New Life With Criterion. Walter Benjamin in Ibiza: Benjamin is, it would seem, having a renaissance. Or at least is being talked about a bit. The People Who Hated the Web Even Before Facebook.
The Religion of Workism Is Making Americans Miserable: "What is workism? It is the belief that work is not only necessary to economic production, but also the centerpiece of one’s identity and life’s purpose; and the belief that any policy to promote human welfare must always encourage more work."
The British Banksters: "More than 3,500 bankers in the UK are paid more than €1m (£850,000) a year, according to pay and bonus details published by the European Banking Authority."
Here are the Winners of Apple's 'Shot on iPhone' Photo Contest. Some humblingly good ones there.
Privately made records enjoy a cult following among collectors, but few are as legendary as Donnie and Joe Emerson’s 1979 LP Dreamin’ Wild.
(BTW: they are on Spotify).
What troubles me the most these days is the detachment of anger from reality. Comfortable people in prosperous and peaceful societies, living longer and healthier lives than ever before in history, put on yellow jackets and riot, demand to leave the European Union, campaign against vaccinations that have eliminated some of the worst diseases that have plagued humankind, rage against medicine and bio-technology, embrace convenient fictions to explain away inconvenient facts, and think that even the most commonplace things are phoney. And when you ask them why, the answer will be at best fallacious and at worst uncritically thoughtless.
I love how simple questions can reveal deep truths about how the universe works. Take “why is the night sky dark?” It’s a question a small child might ask but stumped the likes of Newton, Halley, and Kepler and wasn’t really resolved until Einstein’s theory of general relativity and the Big Bang theory rolled around. Here’s the paradox: if we live in a static infinite universe, shouldn’t the sky be unbearably bright?
In the late 1950s, fingerstylist John Fahey birthed an alter-ego named Blind Joe Death, a mythic bluesman who personified what music critic Greil Marcus has dubbed old, weird America. In shaping his eccentric personal mythology, Fahey once claimed to have built a guitar from a baby’s coffin. He christened his own music American primitive, though it was neither purely American (he incorporated Indian ragas, as well as classical, jazz, and Latin rhythms, into the form) nor primitive (he could neither read nor write music, yet his odd tunes were complex).
"Derrida means nothing without his Parisian institutional setting, but once that setting comes into focus, he continues to mean nothing, though now in a different way: he means nothing, individually, because the tricks he was encouraged to perform that so dazzled the crowds at Johns Hopkins and Irvine were taught to many others just like him, who would all of course insist on their own uniqueness, would claim they were always outsiders to the true French intellectual elite, but only because you cannot enter the tightest nucleus of this elite if you do not claim to be an outsider to it, all the while, all of them, yielding up only minor variations on the same recipes."
Melissa Harrison has interesting things to say, not the least about photography (of which she is herself a practitioner):
Having said all that, there’s a lot of technically accomplished landscape and nature photography out there that leaves me utterly cold. A rocky stream on a long exposure, or a shoreline sunset with a violet filter, a moody, black and white shot of some pylons… that kind of stuff may be popular on photography websites but it usually has no feeling to it, no guiding aesthetic other than competent use of the camera’s settings. I have no time for that. Give me Tacita Dean’s dreamlike landscapes or Jane Bown’s affecting rural reportage any day.
And here are the two examples she gives:
I have felt for years that identity politics is, basically, a retrograde thing and not at all "progressive" (even though you could easily believe that the opposite was the case). Other people agree with me. Neoliberalism changed the world for the worse has always been a pet peeve of mine, and we can add causing the Bay Area’s housing shortage and the dystopia that could be your future to the endless list of things that are wrong with it. Borges on God’s nonexistence and the meaning of life, Natural selection still at work in people, and The last man who knew everything are all readworthy aryicles, to my mind.
Capitalism creates pointless jobs. I knew that. I also knew that private equity funds fail as investment, but not that private equity bankrupted seven major grocery chains. Francis Fukuyama is perhaps stating the obvious - but it still needs saying. Onwards to corporate folly and the capitalist origins of the Myers-Briggs personality test (see also).