May 1, 2014 / From the Editor, Uncategorized
Each Friday we compile a list of interesting links and articles our editors find from …
November 21, 2014
Each Friday we compile a list of interesting links and articles our editors find from across the web. Here’s what’s catching our eye this week.
How to avoid screwing up Thanksgiving:
Cooking dinner on Thanksgiving is pressure enough without a calamity derailing the affair. Here are a few Turkey Day disasters, and how you can avoid them.
Mary Magdalene may be the most infamous woman in the New Testament, but perhaps wrongfully so:
How would the real Mary Magdalene have reacted to her posthumous reputation? Not very kindly, one suspects. Our only historical source, the New Testament, does not even hint that she was a prostitute, and she’s unlikely to have been placated by Christians telling her: ‘It’s OK, we think you were areformed whore.’ No one in the Bible has been so elaborately misrepresented. In addition to not being an ex-prostitute, Mary of Magdala was not Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, who anoints the feet of Jesus with ‘about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume’ and then wipes it up with her hair. Nor was she the ‘woman taken in adultery’, the one told to go and sin no more. Nor was she the wife of Jesus. That is a fantasy of early Christian heretics that has been seized on by modern conspiracy theorists who imagine Jesus and Mary travelling to the south of France and founding the Illuminati before being spirited away in a black helicopter. It made Dan Brown very rich.
The Hunger Games has roots in classical literature:
The latest installment in “The Hunger Games” film franchise opens on Nov. 21 and promises to be another blockbuster. What accounts for the movies’ success? The obvious answer, of course, is the combination of the irresistible Jennifer Lawrence and Hollywood special effects with a rollicking good story. But we shouldn’t ignore the deeper themes of the tale, which are not only classic but classical, reaching back to Greece and Rome and the very foundations of Western culture.
Was Vincent Van Gough actually murdered? These guys think so:
For many decades, suicide was the unquestioned final chapter of Vincent van Gogh’s legend. But in their 2011 book, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographers Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith offered a far more plausible scenario—that Van Gogh was killed—only to find themselves under attack. Now, with the help of a leading forensic expert, the authors take their case a step further.
Aaron Sorkin is retiring from TV screenwriting, at least for a while:
Everything I’ve ever written, I want to go back and write again, better,” confesses Aaron Sorkin. And I’d wager that most of us who write for a living feel the same. Most of us, however, don’t have an Academy Award (forThe Social Network) and four Emmys (for The West Wing). But even a shelf groaning with gongs, it seems, is no defence against self-doubt. “There have been times – and not just on The Newsroom, but on The West Wing, Sports Night, Studio 60 … – where it was hard to look the cast and crew in the eye,” he says, ruefully, “when I put a script on the table that I knew just wasn’t good enough.”
A professor teaching a class called “Wasting Time on the Internet” is trying to push students onto something more:
The Surrealists’ ideal state for making art was the twilight between wakefulness and sleep, when they would dredge up images from the murky subconscious and throw them onto the page or canvas. Proposing sleepwalking as an optimal widespread societal condition, André Breton once asked, “When will we have sleeping logicians, sleeping philosophers?” It seems that the Surrealist vision of a dream culture has been fully realized in today’s technologies. We are awash in a new, electronic collective unconscious; strapped to several devices, we’re half awake, half asleep. We speak on the phone while surfing the Web, partially hearing what’s being said to us while simultaneously answering e-mails and checking status updates. We’ve become very good at being distracted. From a creative point of view, this is reason to celebrate. The vast amount of the Web’s language is perfect raw material for literature. Disjunctive, compressed, decontextualized, and, most important, cut-and-pastable, it’s easily reassembled into works of art.
This week in Baseball, “How Giancarlo Stanton Contracts Would Have Gone”:
In case you were wondering, yes, you’re already used to this. The biggest contract in the history of North American sports is being handed out by perhaps the most famously cheap organization in the history of North American sports, and with a press conference scheduled, that means we’ve got something official: the Marlins are giving 13 years and $325 million to Giancarlo Stanton. Potentially. It’s complicated. But the contract’s agreed to, which is amazing, and almost as amazing as the fact that many of us have already moved on from the news given it was almost done late last week. This is the day to discuss Russell Martin or Jason Heywardor Shelby Miller. We already processed the Stanton stuff, but it feels like we should make a conscious effort to process a little more. This is a big deal. It’s also a big deal.
When I was 13, my father gave me a tricycle. Not a small one, for children, but a large, adult tricycle made by Pashley, the British company known for the Mailstar bikes used until recently by many postmen and women in the U.K. The tricycle was a good idea; my bones break easily and I am accident prone. As adults often pointed out, the tricycle was a beautiful machine — red and shiny, with small 20-inch wheels and a large basket at the back. But I did not immediately take to my new vehicle, which I found unwieldy and hard to steer, and which I placed in a category of object — along with tilting tables, canes with molded handles and built-up shoes — that, in making life easier, also made it more strange. It wasn’t until I got to Cambridge for university that I grew into my tricycle, using it to transport my books and groceries, and learned to appreciate even its dignified heft, which caused college porters to open ancient gates and crowds of tourists to part.
How the future hopes to remove all the dangers of sex:
Sex is central to human life and has been from the very start, but the act and its aftermath aren’t exactly perfect. Despite the technological advancements that have taken place over the course of the last century, people who don’t want STIs or children still have to jump through a number of hoops to get to the good stuff. So in this week’s Big Future, we look at how those hoops might one day improve — or disappear altogether.
Meet the French Jennifer Lawrence, a French voiceover actress:
The day I’m interviewing French Jennifer Lawrence, she is having a simpler day than actual Jennifer Lawrence. Today, actual Jennifer Lawrence has woken up to another day of people loudly, publicly debating whether they should look at stolen naked pictures of her that have been made available on the internet. French Jennifer Lawrence, on the other hand, woke up, put on a sweater, and came to work at Dubbing Brothers, where she assumes the French-speaking voice of almost every J-Law role that comes through France’s large and spectacularly meticulous dubbing industry.
David A. Garner