The Tiered World

“As do other shamanistic peoples throughout the world, the San [or “bushmen”] believe in a realm above and another below the surface of the world on which they live… Concepts of a tiered universe are, of course, not restricted to shamanistic religions. Heaven above, Hell below, and the level of anxious humanity in-between appear in one form or another across the globe. Why should this be so?

Found Writings from 4chan’s /lit/

What did it feel like to be alive and culturally enmeshed in the 2010s? What were our values, our hopes, our insecurities and terrors? April 25: And I thought, “This is the saddest thought I think I’ve ever had.”  November 22: “…the second we touch down on Mars, people are going to realise how unfulfilling it is. Oh…… Continue reading Found Writings from 4chan’s /lit/

Google Music Playlists, 2017

Suburban Ennui: Surrounded by strip malls and cookie cutter houses, the ‘burbs can be a real drag. Embrace the malaise with a mix of melancholy, ambient, and washed out fuzz. Celestial Instrumentals: We are all made from stardust. Ponder that wondrous fact while spacing out to these dreamy post-rock and ambient instrumentals, perfect for watching…… Continue reading Google Music Playlists, 2017

Seventies Interior Design

In the seventies, carpets were a way to signal a certain level of middle and upper-middle-class affluence. As such, they could be found almost everywhere. Today, stained wood stands as a similar socioeconomic indicator, at least in coastal American culture. There is the angle by which this is purely contrarian signaling — the upper-class picks a style (e.g. carpeting);…… Continue reading Seventies Interior Design

Clarifying the Heterotopic

Heteropia is a word which originates with Michel Foucault, derived from the Greek héteros (“other”) and tópos (“place”). Its meaning is most concretely delineated in his essay “Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias” (from the French “Des Espace Autres,” March 1967), though the phrasing “concretely delineated”may be overly generous. Foucault’s own definition of the heterotopic varies from lecture to lecture, and the aforementioned…… Continue reading Clarifying the Heterotopic

Intro to Cargocult

In the Second World War, Allied troops airdropped massive amounts of food, weaponry, and supplies onto the Melanesian islands as part of their island-hopping campaign in the Pacific. To the islanders, isolated from industrialization, the wealth and abundance of these drops were interpreted within a mystical, quasi-religious framework. When the war ended, and the airlifts dwindled…… Continue reading Intro to Cargocult

Memory of Lovers

One of my favorite pieces of Mark Richardson’s writing is his 2012 essay “I Wanna Live: Two Songs About Freedom” for the now-dead column Resonant Frequency. In it, he waxes eloquent on the two-chord song, especially Bowie’s “Heroes,” Cat Power’s “Nothin But Time,” and LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends”: [There] is something especially powerful about music with this harmonic…… Continue reading Memory of Lovers

A Few Types of Literary Compression

“And I said to Mabel, I said, ‘computational aesthetics, super-short. Jürgen Schmidhuber’s Theory Jürgen Schmidhuber, an AI theorist and theoretical computer scientist, has proposed a computational account of aesthetic judgments. In his view, a stimulus is judged to be beautiful or attractive by a subject T to the extent that the stimulus is compressible for…… Continue reading A Few Types of Literary Compression

“If It Sounds Bad It Is Bad”

One of the critical ideas I’ve found most interesting of late is a seeming contradiction: Just because it sounds like bad music doesn’t mean it is bad music. “Just because it reads like a bad novel doesn’t mean it’s a bad novel” is also sort of true, but a bit more complicated. The tenability of…… Continue reading “If It Sounds Bad It Is Bad”

How To Leave Town

“I don’t think it’s possible to make art that makes sense to people if you don’t spend some time doing normal things,” Car Seat Headrest’s Will Toledo wrote earlier this week in response to an anonymous Tumblr fan question (echoing David Foster Wallace’s now-infamous quote to David Lipsky about treasuring his “normal-guyness”). To both Wallace and Toledo’s work, establishing…… Continue reading How To Leave Town

Oh Boy: Christopher Owens, Headspace, and Artistic Irony

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about two songs in my record collection. T.B. Blues One is Jimmie Rodgers’ “T.B. Blues,” considered by some musicologists (e.g. Hugh Barker and Yuval Taylor) to be one of the first popular autobiographical songs. Rodgers made a career out of singing songs about other people—miners, gamblers, gunslingers, jailbirds. But…… Continue reading Oh Boy: Christopher Owens, Headspace, and Artistic Irony