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Basically

This week, TIME named its Person of the Year. But what’s lost there is redeemed by Viola Davis, who won her womanly place on the CAD $10 bill. Unregulated live-work art spaces came under fire when 36 people died. The speed of light sloooowwwed. Bob Dylan became the first singer-songwriter to win the Nobel Prize in lit. Mick Jagger welcomed baby eight at 73. A therapy pig at SFO pacified the weary traveller. And any doubts around the theory of evolution were quashed once and for all: chimps recognize each other by their butts too.
 

Verbatim

At LitHub, Ellena Savage on money and poverty, and their complex, tangled, romanticised place in the life of the outsider voice, be they Hemingway or you.

The ‘niceties’ are culturally defined. What is nice for me is not nice for you. Still, I like my luxury perfumes. Still, Aldi vegetables make me want to die. The hunger is bigger than the object of its lust. It is difficult to thoroughly imagine contentedness with money, with the love of one person, with the soft drool of a Dachshund, with even the reddest, most mammalian orgasm. It is difficult to imagine being content for more than twenty seconds with vomitus parmesan crumbled over the tautest spaghetti, though this comes a little closer to it. Imagine being content, though—what would that feel like? To put in a final day’s work and dust yourself off. No. This perpetuity is alive but also, it is harrowing. Acker, again: “It’s all boring and I want to work in this world and I want to matter.”

Things

Behind the scenes at Standing Rock, the volunteer systems that kept everybody well fed through several seasons of protest were a thing of goddamn wonder.

"We are a violent species. It’s the great curse of our species.... I think it perfectly understandable that we’re fascinated by it, but violence in art doesn’t hurt anyone... When I create a monster character, the covers of the book are like the bars of a cage. He can’t harm you, but you can look at him." …This and more in a juicy interview with Martin Amis.

Jacobin has an alternate take on the Italian referendum that serves as a useful reminder that it’s not always about fake news, so much as the way you, and the media, choose to look at it.

This week’s episode of Love and Radio is great, pure and simple. Britt Wray interviews bioartist Adam Zaretsky on the manipulation of DNA, the fringes of genetic modification, and eroticism in bioethics. The episode takes an unexpected turn when Britt asks Adam to recount an experience they shared a few years ago. Amen, sister.

In this critique of lazy sharing of built stories we don’t understand, Owen Hatherley argues that  swooning over Yugoslavia’s brutalist, magical, inexplicable spomeniks on Tumblr and cheap concrete clickbait sites neglects and devalues a complex history of architectural hope and resistance.

Freedom machines: JG Ballard, the driverless car and the end of the central myth of America.

Oakland was a horrible tragedy, but as The Creative Independent argue, while mourning, keep up the fight, everywhere, for the shambolic DIY artist space – everything depends on them.

"While she spent years immersed in introspective experimentation, [Pauline] Oliveros’s 'Sonic Meditations' shouldn’t be mistaken for escapism or disengagement. The composer described listening as a necessary pause before thoughtful action: 'Listening is directing attention to what is heard, gathering meaning, interpreting and deciding on action.’"

We hope that you’re enjoying your free trial of this newsletter. Based on our latest market research, we are exploring the possibility of implementing an annual subscription fee of up to $10,000. How else are we to immunize ourselves against the infection of neoliberal interests? The Baffler charges that Vox is uniquely (optimally) susceptible to such corruption. Vox’s brand of “explanatory journalism” has offered corporate partners a chummy mouthpiece with an authoritatively mysterious sheen—a characteristic quality of digital unicorns. Vox may be bemused by your apparent lack of understanding, but we’re right there with you, embracing fuzziness.

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