5 Quick Things: September 2019

Welcome to 5 Quick Things that I saw since last month that I thought were interesting enough to share with you. None of them are particularly timely so feel free to just enjoy 🙂

>Number One<

The Ugly Future

I read this article through about four times in the past month and each time I feel like it makes my brain jump a track. It’s kind of impossible to summarize this article but it ties in a lot of things I’ve been thinking about lately, like what the purpose of humanity is, or how to make the world a better (or at least different) place, and caps off with some of my anxiety about future. It slowly hews away the idea that progress as positive is an illusion and a better future is a bedtime story we tell ourselves to get through.

I think on some level this is a very pessimistic piece but on another it just makes me feel comforted. Looking back through history and being confronted with the realization that we’re not far from ourselves is all well and good until popular mythos denies that reality. That we have reached some shining hill, that we have bounded to a place where we’ve given ourselves the best systems, the best purpose, the real understandings.

Also everyone should read and watch all the texts listed in this article because I like them all and I like thinking about them.

>Number Two<

To Forget, Perchance to Delete

Human memory is a trash fire. Humans actually don’t so much remember things and they remember the last time they remembered them. A constantly corrupting file inside of the human psyche. But do you know who never forgets? Who remembers in crystal clear absolutism even long after you’ve forgotten and long after you’ve deleted something. The internet remembers.

So anyway this book is about how everything you do on the internet is forever and what a weird and complex problem that is. I was lucky enough to be on the dumbest on the internet back before constant archiving was a thing and so all my teenage exploits are gone but that’s not the case today. Moreover than the cost of not forgetting is what this does to the way we share with other people, the way we interact with each other, and of course, the mistakes we do or do not allow to make (and how long we allow people to make them). Since someone just rolled through my tumblr to find any instance of me being a “bad person” because I corrected them on the internet, today seems like a good day to remind people that the Internet’s memory is long and that isn’t always a good thing.

>Number Three<

It’s Getting Hot in Here

Do the Right Thing is 30 years old and it’s still one of the best and most relevant films of our time. It’s always going to be funny-sad to me that it didn’t win best picture but Driving Miss Daisy did which, oof, says so much about America it hurts. Anyway, all that aside this video from Royal Ocean Film Society perfectly illustrates one of the most important features of the film. Not only does the film perfectly depicts rising tension between characters via dialogue, via plot, via character beats but it increases tension via environmental features and visuals and perfectly manages to capture the stress that is exerted by heat.

More murders, more shootings, and more crimes occur during the summer and there are physical and psychological reasons for this and Do The Right Thing has captured the absolute way that internal stress can become external stress in the face of even something as small as the hottest day of the year.

>Number Four<

Damn Fine Cookies

Do you know what’s good? Cookies. Cookies are great. Sugar cookies are really great and better yet, these sugar cookies are so great I made them three times since I found the recipe last month. These cookies are supposed to be a mix that you can keep on hand ahead of time so you don’t buy sugar cookie mix (I know someone must be being sugar cookie mix but I never have in my life so I forgot that was a thing). These cookies of course can be made all at once and they take about 10 minutes to put together and then 10 minutes to bake. It’s a one bowl recipe to boot. Seriously, you owe yourself some sugar cookies! You can thank me later.

>Number Five<

1913 Futurism. Noise-music.

I had a roommate in college you liked Phillip Glass. If you’re unfamiliar, you’re living a better life than me. (I’m kidding plenty of people like Phillip Glass and there is merit to his work even if I am not a person who is a position to appreciate it.)

To be brief: if you asked me what the art of noise is I would have pointed at that. Or at any of the many creations my roommate churned out over the handful of months he lived with us making songs containing “noise.” He recorded trees, the microwave, an alarm clock, feet running over our carpet, even the sounds of the cat falling off the couch and then, he turned that sound into music.

This was the future. This is the future. And even more interestingly, it was Luigi Russolo’s future as he imagined it in his Futurist Manifesto: the Art of Noise. This article gives a brief summary and connective text between 1913 and now and then also links to the original 15 page text. If you have any interest in soundscapes this is worth the 20 minutes of your time. It’s certainly much more palatable for the average person than sitting through a Phillip Glass concert :).

Anyway, that’s all for now, see you next month!

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