Saturday, 4 March 2017

It is Saturday so it must be time for some more "trivia"

The Faith Behind Aubrey Beardsley’s Sexually Charged Art
via 3 Quarks Daily: Morgan Meis in The New Yorker

Aubrey Beardsley, “The Burial of Salome,” from Oscar Wilde’s “Salome”
The drawings of the late-nineteenth-century English illustrator and author Aubrey Beardsley are so sexually charged that even a critic as generally snobbish and patrician as Kenneth Clark, in accounting for his youthful fondness for them, all but described the works, in a 1976 essay for The New York Review of Books, as autoerotic visual aids. Calling the drawings “a kind of catmint to adolescents,” Clark wrote that they “suggested vice . . . with an adolescent intensity which communicated itself through every fold and tightly drawn outline of an ostensibly austere style.” He added, “I like to think that my interest was not only sexual.”
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Did the Star-Spangled Banner land Stravinsky in jail?
via Arts & Letters Daily: Carly Carioli in Boston Globe

This story begins and ends with a photo. It’s Igor Stravinsky, the legendary modernist composer. He looks a little worse for wear. In fact, it looks like a mug shot. The date on the Boston police placard around his neck appears to be April 15, 1940.
I think I prefer this photo of one of my favourite composers.03ideas Russian composer Igor Stravinsky poses in Boston Jan. 12, 1944, as he prepares to conduct his own arrangement of the Star Spangled Banner to be performed by the Boston Symphony Jan. 14 and 15. Stravinsky said he kept the national anthem's melody the same, but changed the harmony. (AP Photo/Abe Fox)
Continue reading the Boston Globe report and find out what really happened!

A Shocking Find In a Neanderthal Cave In France
via 3 Quarks Daily: Ed Yong in The Atlantic

In February 1990, thanks to a 15-year-old boy named Bruno Kowalsczewski, footsteps echoed through the chambers of Bruniquel Cave for the first time in tens of thousands of years.
The cave sits in France’s scenic Aveyron Valley, but its entrance had long been sealed by an ancient rockslide. Kowalsczewski’s father had detected faint wisps of air emerging from the scree, and the boy spent three years clearing away the rubble. He eventually dug out a tight, thirty-meter-long passage that the thinnest members of the local caving club could squeeze through. They found themselves in a large, roomy corridor. There were animal bones and signs of bear activity, but nothing recent. The floor was pockmarked with pools of water. The walls were punctuated by stalactites (the ones that hang down) and stalagmites (the ones that stick up).
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Death by Prefix? The Paradoxical Life of Modernist Studies
via Arts & Letters Daily: Gayle Rogers in Los Angeles Review of Books
Like many scholars of modernism, I’m often asked two questions: What is modernism? And why is modernist studies, it seems, all the rage right now? I don’t have a good, succinct answer to either question – and I’ve no doubt frustrated plenty of friends because of that – but the reasons why I don’t are pretty telling.
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Digging, damage and display: wartime archaeology in Libya
via The National Archives Blog by Dr Juliette Desplat
In 1943, Lieutenant-Colonel Mortimer Wheeler was in Libya with the Eighth Army and wrote that it was ‘urgent’ to ‘put the War Office to work’. He was not complaining about the military campaign in North Africa. Wheeler was the Keeper of the London Museum and the Director of the Institute of Archaeology. The war was important to him, but the state of ancient monuments even more so (WO 32/10157).
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Desensitization Therapy Might Someday Cure Autoimmune Disorders
via Big Think by Philip Perry
Article Image
For sailors, a mutiny was one of the most harrowing and fearsome events, though if a sea captain was a tyrant, it could be justified. In the military and in government circles, treason is considered one of the most heinous crimes. It can see you put to death in many countries, and have your name maligned for generations. We’re looking at you Benedict Arnold! But what about when your own body turns against you, the ultimate form of treason? For 50 million Americans, this is their reality. They suffer from what is known as an autoimmune disorder.
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Neil Gaiman on Douglas Adams
via Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow

Neil Gaiman’s third book was a history of the Hitchhiker’s Guide the Galaxy called Don't Panic, which Adams described as “devastatingly true – except the bits that are lies”.
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The Past of Islamic Civilization
via 3 Quarks Daily by Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad
“Those who control the present, control the past and those who control the past control the future.”
George Orwell, 1984
These days every other person seems to be concerned about the future of Islamic Civilization. From the Islamists, the traditionalists, the Liberals, the Conservatives etc. almost everyone seems to have a stake in the future of Islam. While these different groups may have different vision of the future they do have one thing in common – they almost always define the future in terms of the past: From the Salafis harkening back to a supposed era of purity, to the academics yearning for the Golden Age of Islam and to the more recent Ottoman nostalgia in Turkey and the wider Middle East. The study of history becomes paramount in such an encounter since a distorted view of the past can become a potentially unrealizable view of the future.
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There are some unfortunate proofing errors which have crept in with the translation of this article but it definitely worth reading unless you are already well-versed in Islamic history.

1970s magazine ads for cocaine paraphernalia
via Boing Boing by Mark Frauenfelder
[Not a single one of the images was safe for work]
Buzzfeed collected a bunch of drug toy ads from the early 70s.
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On The Heartbreaking Difficulty Of Getting Rid Of Books
via 3 Quarks Daily: Summer Brennan in Literary Hub
Like a lot of avid readers, I enjoyed Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up but bristled when it came to the section about books. The gist of her now-famous method is this: go through all your possessions by category, touch everything, keep only that which “sparks joy,” and watch as your world is transformed. It seems simple enough, but Kondo gives minimalism the hard sell when it comes to books, urging readers to ditch as many of them as they can. You may think that a book sparks joy, she argues, but you’re probably wrong and should get rid of it, especially if you haven’t read it yet.
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There isn't a book on my bookshelf that I've not yet read. The to-be-read pile is by my bed!

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