John Crutchfield: Chords

O-Brother-Where-Art-Thou

If in the last ten years your travels have brought you through Asheville, North Carolina, you will have noticed something odd: for such a small town (pop. 85,700), Asheville has a disproportionate number of street musicians. Many of these are quite awful — typically a man aged 30 to 50, with a broken harmonica or a guitar he hasn't bothered (or doesn't know how) to tune, playing a classic rock cover.

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From the Militant

Rosetta, ARP Sélection, 1999 by R.D. Crano Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, by Joseph Mai, Urbana: University of Illinois Press. 156 pp. Since the Dardenne brothers first broke onto the international cinema scene with La promesse (1996) a decade and a half ago, their work has enjoyed immense critical acclaim...

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PacT

From “Anthology of Interest III”, Futurama, Season 3, The Curiosity Company From The Millions: The medial bulk of the book is accounted for by the actual “addict’s guide to battle tactics” promised by its ungainly subtitle, and this is where it really flourishes as a bizarro-world extracanonical oddity. It’s...

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Free Content

by Gregory Jusdanis “Imagine a world without art.” This could easily have been the message greeting visitors to the Wikipedia site on January 18, 2012, when it went silent in protest against legislation proposed in Congress (Stop Online Privacy Act, or SOPA). For Wikipedia and Google the issue is...

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Stuart Elden on Coriolanus

Menenius comes out of this film as a largely sympathetic figure, more so than he does from the play. His somewhat ambivalent attitude to the people is largely removed here. In the film’s greatest liberty with the play’s script, but largely in keeping with its own vision, he is...

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The Mummy Returns

Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, 20th Century Fox, 2011 From The New York Review of Books: In the spring of 2001, at the Conservative Party Conference in Plymouth, Margaret Thatcher made a joke. She was then seventy-five, and had been out of office for more...

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Patti Smith was aiming at once higher and lower than Paul Simon or Jim Morrison…

Patti Smith at Jim Morrison’s grave, Paris, 1976 From The New York Review of Books: I first heard of Patti Smith in 1971, when I was seventeen. The occasion was an unsigned half-column item in the New York Flyer, a short-lived local supplement to Rolling Stone, marking the single...

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Frog Loves Moon

Figure 1: All art unless otherwise indicated by Rex Veeder by Rex Veeder Introduction Marshall McLuhan deserves to be re-evaluated as a rhetorician because he has described and demonstrated a perspective on rhetoric that remains significant. That perspective involves aesthetic, social, and cultural elements that gravitate around a mythos...

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Mugging the Story

The moment you really begin to understand what it means to be watching a silent film in 2012 occurs very near the beginning of Michael Hazanavicius's The Artist.

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Gaming in the Stream

Super Mario 3D Land, Nintendo, 2011 From Kill Screen: While Pirate Kart is easily dismissed as fringe—a group of “no-name” hobbyists plotting raids on normal people from an uncharted island of the internet—even Mario, gaming’s most well-recognized mascot, has been influenced by the structure of the ‘net. Where once...

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Medium Talk

Larry David and Jeff Garlin in Curb Your Enthusiasm, HBO From Frieze: Borrowing a line from his Frankfurt School colleague Leo Löwenthal, Theodor Adorno once derided the mindlessness of the idiot box as ‘psychoanalysis in reverse’, a backwards medium enforcing conformity, distraction and the programmed life. Yet with today’s...

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Choose the Outdoors

by Nicholas Rombes 1. A sense of outsideness. Buildings turned inside out on 9-11, and people outside in the streets of Manhattan. The mind, outside of itself with disbelief. The brutal and temporary restoration of the natural world in the middle of one of the world’s largest cities. Located...

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Not Shakespeare’s Age

My Shakespeare class finally persuaded me to take a class trip to go see the new Roland Emmerich movie, Anonymous.  I went forewarned. Multiple reviewers have pointed out problems with the film, which proposes that the Earl of Oxford wrote the literature by William Shakespeare.

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America’s Beethoven

If we are to believe the Beethoven mythology, which is based mostly on his letters and reports from his inner circle, Beethoven had an unshakeable sense of his own importance.

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Queer Gaming by Evan Lauteria

Last month, I spent an evening wandering through a mystical forest, desperately trying to move through the fog to find a clearing between the trees. I felt more and more anxious as I explored the wooded maze, haunted by the sounds the forest’s insect and avian inhabitants as I...

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Holly Watkins: Deep Music

An Overgrown Mineshaft, Carl Gustav Carus, c. 1824 by Holly Watkins When a friend says to you that she finds a piece of music deeply moving, you might assume she is referring to some intensely personal experience rooted in her unique psychological makeup. What’s more, you may sense that...

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Blanked

Facing a blank canvas or blank page is a moment of pure potential, one that can be enervating or paralyzing. It causes a pause, a hesitation, in anticipation of the moment of inception—even of one that never comes.

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Days of Our Years

Ten or twelve years ago, when I was visiting Berlin, Stan Persky took me to see Cranach the Elder’s painting of the Fountain of Youth at the Gemäldegalerie. It is a medium-sized canvas that depicts, in excruciating detail, a rectangular swimming pool seen in perspective full of happily cavorting...

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Piped

3D pipes From The Believer: At a Pittsburgh gallery in 2006, artist Keny Marshall exhibited 3D Pipes, an elaborate, freestanding installation of aged metal plumbing. “Everybody’s got 3D Pipes on their computer,” said Marshall in an interview. “The only difference is this 3D Pipes took months to build and...

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Marcel-Duchamp-Leaving-the-Cafe-1

Marcel Duchamp sat silent. He seemed far away, lost in reverie. Then, he spoke of the death of art, which he described as...

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Bobbi Lurie
Duchamp-smoking-through-the-cracked-glass

But I was perplexed. Marcel Duchamp didn’t order a thing to eat at the café. I assumed it was because he was dead, requiring nothing...

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fp

Earthquake metaphors have had strong currency, both political and journalistic, in the aftermath of May’s European Parliament (EP) elections. The most spectacular tremors were...

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Ernst_Ludwig_Kirchner

Both Derrida and Ronell suggest that saying yes is “telephonic,” both in the sense that it resounds over a distance and therefore always is...

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ramirez1fullsize

Unless they lived in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona or California – all former Mexican territories – most U.S. residents in the 1930s were unaware...

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MashaTheDevilProbably

The different tools used to capture the frame and the wild variety in terms of image quality, which is the way films are remembered...

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ron-sky-rat-cover

“We’ve got a problem,” says Andrew Shuta of Spork as he and Drew Burk guide me into a fancy conference room. Ron’s sitting across from...

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chinua

Many years ago, in an interview he did with Bill Moyers, Chinua Achebe was asked, “What would you want the West to do?” Achebe...

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Masha Tupitsyn
sickert

No one can love anymore because of an overabundance of reaction formation. No one wants to owe anything to their desire(s); to other people’s...

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Hearn1

How could a man born on a Greek island in 1850 be a household name in Japan today? The answer lies in the story...

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kentridge1

Jean Améry titled his renowned book on voluntary death, Hand an Sich Legen – To lay Hands on Oneself. Beyond the argument of Amery...

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letters

Several months ago, I wrote a long letter by hand to a young woman I barely knew. That sounds pretty dubious, if not to...

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Kemmler

In a move that might strike readers as odd, Derrida spends most of these lectures not on the case made by death penalty proponents,...

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proust

Although Charles Kenneth Scott Moncrieff’s translation of À la recherche du temps perdu is considered by many journalists and writers to be the best...

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