At the beginning of American Beauty, just as Lester Burnham is beginning his spectacular breakdown, the movie’s tagline can be seen behind him, pinned to the wall of his cubicle. A little white sticker reads, “Look closer.”
It’s the peak of summer for most of you, and a long weekend for my Canadian friends. It goes fast, don’t forget to look around while it happens. The moment you think about what’s happening, it becomes “happened.”
Have a good weekend, and I’m not just saying that.
A great article about how social media is rapidly transforming the way in which our life stories are told to each other. Traditional media used to organize life into coherent stories, but now human lives no longer appear to us in meaningful narratives, but in SMS-sized fragments that are too small and separate to represent a whole human life. Instead of absorbing a few close personailties in great depth over many years, we absorb thousands daily in the most superficial bits possible.
At the end of every magazine article, before the “■,” is the quote from the general in Afghanistan that ties everything together. The evening news segment concludes by showing the secretary of State getting back onto her helicopter. There’s the kiss, the kicker, the snappy comeback, the defused bomb. [Traditional media] transmits them all. It promises that things are orderly. It insists that life makes sense, that there is an underlying logic.
A surprisingly articulate collection of anonymous letters from men describing their encounters with prostitutes. Value judgments aside, these are fascinating accounts that give us a bit of insight into an ancient aspect of human culture. The Johns come in every sort, from bored widowers to 40-year old virgins to sheltered Christians, and their reasons for paying for sex are not as simple as you might have thought.
Not the atheistic rant I thought it would be, not at all. With genuine respect, an amateur filmmaker describes his gradual, inevitable transition from devoted Christian to “agnostic atheist.” It’s a simple film that manages to be thorough without getting dry. Most of you probably aren’t fencesitters when it comes to religion, but no matter what camp you’re in, if you’re interested in where Christianity came from you’ll learn quite about about the other side, and your own.
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s flagship essay on why almost everyone in society is a thoughtless, timid fool. Except you, clever reader. If there was ever a difficult read worth slowing down and tiptoeing through, this is it.
Photo by senscience