David Platt, in Standpoint:
Germaine Greer wrote: “It has been my nightmare that Tolkien would turn out to be the most influential writer of the 20th century. The bad dream has materialised.” E.P. Thompson blamed the Cold War mentality on “too much early reading of The Lord of the Rings”. Rosemary Jackson described his works as “conservative vehicles for social and instinctual repression”. This is some claim for a set of novels that does not mention economics, sex or religion.
Tolkien has plenty much to answer for.
Katy Waldman, in Slate:
In the pilot of Girls, Lena Dunham’s Hannah Horvath delivers one of the 2012 fall TV season’s immortal lines. She can’t hang out with her parents, she explains exasperatedly, because “I have work, and then I have a dinner thing, and then I am busy - trying to become who I am.” Memory research supports this notion that our twentysomething years are gardens of self-creation (or ramen noodle cups full of self-creation, if we’re honest). No wonder the decade is so, well, memorable.
James Verini, in Foreign Policy:
When I asked Andreas whether he felt guilty about any of the killings, he said that one did bother him. She was a middle-aged woman, a low-level drug dealer whom the gang supplied. They found out she was “stepping on” the supply, mixing it with talcum powder to increase her profit. So Andreas was sent to kill her. “She was always very nice to me,” he said. He said he shot her eight times in the back, as her six children looked on.
The craziest thing I’ve read all year. And it’s only April.
Ryan Holiday, in The Observer:
It’s no conspiracy. Facebook acknowledged it as recently as last week: messages now reach, on average, just 15 percent of an account’s fans. In a wonderful coincidence, Facebook has rolled out a solution for this problem: Pay them for better access.
Bookmarked this in October 2012.
Kevin Ashton, in Quartz :
The word “meme” comes from evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. Bits of information, memes, propagate from brain to brain through imitation, are subject to selection and can be regarded as living structures, he says, “not just metaphorically but technically,” because new information changes our brains. They are often made deliberately-think catchphrases, slogans, melodies-and makers may try to propagate them as fast and far as possible, or make them go viral.
The article is aptly sub-titled “The Harlem Make”.
Without RSS readers, the long tail would be cut off. The rich would get richer: only the big-name sites get regular readership without RSS, so the smaller sites would only get scraps of occasional Twitter links from the few people who remember to check them regularly, and that number would dwindle.
RSS is dead. Long live the king.
Ryan Holiday, in Betabeat:
That’s very different from Facebook’s model, in which the worse Facebook posts ‘work’ for brands, the more brands will need to pay Facebook. That means that Facebook and I now have divergent interests. Intentionally or not, the less my posts show up, the more I need to spend to cover the difference, especially since brands have invested in and become dependent on Facebook over the years.
Greed rules everything around me.
Zach Lowe, killing it on Grantland:
The Heat have three of the best wing defenders in the league in Shane Battier, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade, and the latter two are among the NBA’s most gifted pure athletes. James can mimic DeRozan’s hyperactive ghost in a way no other player can, Rucker says. “LeBron basically messes up the system and the ghosts,” Rucker says. “He does things that are just unsustainable for most players.”
Yep, LeBron is a freak. Go Knicks!
Nathan Williams talks string parts:
The guy who did the cello parts for us, Phil Peterson, is this acid-head that would stay up at night, record it, and send it back the next day. It was opulent. We were like, “Wait, are we really going to do this? What if it sounds cheesy?” But with Weezer, and even a lot of Nirvana’s stuff, you listen to it now and it’s a little bit cheesy. But it’s still really good.
Something in the way.
Glenn Kelman, on doing the dishes:
And that was it, the best advice I ever got, repeated every night for 70 nights. As a former chess-team captain and late-adolescent D&D player, I desperately needed to hear it. It wasn’t nuanced or intellectual in the way I would have preferred; it was reptilian. But from that moment on, my whole professional future became the slow process of not being such a weenie.
Not that cleaning plates can necessarily make you a man, but more what a kitchen environment can teach you. I’ve always said that if someone would pay me $150k a year to wash plates I’d do it. For a while … but then I might get a little bored with it. My first ever job was scrubbing plates at Jazz Plus on George Street when I was 14 and 8 months. Barely legal. Maybe that’s why I relate.
It’s a dish washing thing.
Sash MacKinnon, on dying:
If there is one lesson I took away from the experience, it is not to “live life to the fullest” or “have no regrets”. It is to feel lucky. Feeling lucky means you are appreciating the things in your life that sometimes go unnoticed. It means you are achieving more than think you deserve. Feeling lucky requires a certain humility we often lose sight of.