In a 2011 article for GQ, John Jeremiah Sullivan opens with one of those long, self-referential ledes about the story he was assigned (the future of the human race), the story he ‘thought he had’ (a look into the Future of Humanity Institute at Oord University in England), and the story he ultimately found (a fundamental change in the nature animal aggression toward humans) –– the kind of delightful decoy lede that seems to take you away from the story but actually crystallizes its central theme. When Sullivan finally gets to his nugget –– the idea that takes him from ‘the future of the human race’ to animal attacks––– it seems simultaneously obvious and unbelievable: “no one knows what’s going to happen in the future.”A minute of reflection will prove this claim true. No one is a fortune teller.
The air of urgency came as little surprise. It read in the face of the woman who closed her parchment store early for a front row seat. It read in the wringing hands of the man who wore a Hillary campaign hat and a fixed scowl in upper left corner of the auditorium. It read in the feet of a pack of book-toting poetry students rushing over late from their Monday night workshop. The silence that sits before speech had never felt so fitting.A poetry reading was held in the basement of the Cambridge Public Library this past Monday, the 30th of January, to premiere a deceptively small and unassuming chapbook of thirty-five different poets titled "Poems for Political Disaster." It was jointly hosted by the library staff and Boston Review, with Review poetry editor B.K. Fisher making the opening remarks.
We have run out of cinematic heroes. All we have left are entrepreneurs. Tired of watching movies about Steve Jobs? This time you can see one about Ray Kroc. Who is Ray Kroc? Ray Kroc is nobody. He’s an idea. A Placeholder. How do we know this? His character is plastic. He has misgivings, but they are only intimations. He drinks too much, he tramples his fellow man, he estranges his wife. Does he lament these qualities? We do not know. Does he desire like a man desires? Surely not. His are the desires of capital: expansion, accumulation, domination – never demonstrated within the experience of his person, but only suggested in the rabidity of Keaton’s eyes, the frenetics of his motion: skewed bites of burger, zigzagging approaches to golf partners, quasi-humping of the hood of the McDonald brothers’ car.
The following are digital flyers using text hidden in the background of spam emails. Spammers use the scrambled pedestrian language to trick Bayesian spam filters into categorizing the messages as non-commercial, thereby sending the emails to an inbox rather than a junk folder. The text is scraped from Christian romance novelist Judith Bronte, whose works are available free online and appears unaware of what her words have been up to. The colors palettes are taken from font colors in the original emails. All of the emails were received at a single gmail address, which a virus renamed “HOLIDAYS IN THE UNITED STATES.” No one of the emails successfully fooled the filter. 1. LAY YOUR LIFE INTO OUR HANDS AND WE WILL MAKE YOU HAPPY.2. WHY BE AVERAGE WHEN YOU CAN BE THE ELITE?!!3. WE'RE MORE THAN JUST YOUR LOCAL DRUG MAIL, WE'RE YOUR FRIENDS4.
It’s Friday last week and I’m accompanying my mother on one of those annual visits to the doctor. I’m thinking about how it used to be the other way round when I was younger - accompaniment was a grown-up enterprise entirely, and the idea of going anywhere at all by myself would mean tumbling into the jaws of the world of strangers and their lairs for lost children. Emerging from my thoughts, I check my wristwatch: we have been sitting in the waiting room for just over an hour, and I, all too rapidly, seem to be running out of patience. It’s not that I’m not used to waiting, or that there’s some environmental quality to the beige-grey waiting room that makes me physically uncomfortable; rather, I have never been in the presence of so many pregnant women all at once. Bellies bulging like those of malnourished children – nature has a mind of its own – the women have more than simply the obvious in common.
1. Some people think the children should be confiscated and raised up by the state, but I think the state should be confiscated and raised up by the children.1.1 "Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime." 1.11 But who around with a fish-surplus really would let the fellow starve on his way to learning, or if he could not learn? 1.12 The president-Electoral’s candidate to be the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development says that the best thing the state can do for recipients of welfare is to "get them off it."1.121 By way of our ethical fish-rubric we may understand Dr. Carson to be in favor of the prompt cancellation of any general program of fish-provision: no comment as to fishing-education. 1.1211 Whence this callousness? Generalized disdain for herd-immunity?1.
The Chainsmokers, those guys are legends. The DJ duo of Drew Taggart and Alex Pall has taken the pop charts by storm over the last year, particularly with their smash hit “Closer” which reigned number one on the Billboard charts for a full 12 weeks, making it, for all intents and purposes, the song of 2016. They’re hot, young, totally chill, and on top of the world. Perhaps we’re left to wonder how history will remember The Chainsmokers and Closer because we’re left to wonder how history will remember 2016 – the year when everyone we loved passed away and Donald Trump was elected president. I can only imagine the memories we’ll have of Closer flooding from Uber radios, dining hall serveries, and party rooms (somehow always playing but never at your own volition) will intertwine in the soup of our subconscious with our memories of the election (it was rocking out at number 1 on November 7th).
Took the Manifesto to the playground today— it was a new white day,and I went to the playground with the Manifesto and with Josephine, Adam, Adam’s new girlfriend— who is beautiful in a looks-way that I would like to be— and her child. They were mediating an old story of themselvesin winter— arms out, sparse trees, pink light on a range or a smudgeon a viewfinder unperturbed by sunset, not clear which. Too cold to read a magazineor have idle conversation. Too cold to have idle conversation next to a stack of magazines,so the story came out like it otherwise might not have, and Josephine left with her black hair.We all missed Josephine naked in the Yukon, swearingshe might dedicate all of the real estate on her back to an excerptof Neruda’s speaking voice. Josephine, with the Manifesto spread to a headerthat made her laugh, who never thought about motives.
There was once a girl with a terrible gift.The girl could pull any kind of fruit out of any kind of pocket. Oranges, quinces, lemons, kiwis; bananas, watermelon, guava. Even dragonfruit. The most difficult were blueberries, becausenobody ever wanted just one and the girl could only pull a piece at a time. She didn’t mind, though. Nobody else did, either: in her city, fresh fruit was hard to come by, and most people were willing to wait. So it took a long time for her to realize the secret horror of the gift. Because all things considered, fruit is more useful than other kinds of terrible talents. (Her best friend, for example, could produce flowers from any kind of hat, which caused all kinds of problems, like pollen allergies and bee-stings and the inevitable scratchiness of a hat with flowers poking out of it).
“If we don’t ever sleep again, so much the better,” José Arcadio Buendía said in good humor. “That way we can get more out of life.” But the Indian woman explained that the most fearsome part of the sickness of insomnia was not the impossibility of sleeping, for the body did not feel any fatigue at all, but its inexorable evolution toward a more critical manifestation: a loss of memory. She meant that when the sick person became used to his state of vigil, the recollection of his childhood began to be erased from his memory, then the name and notion of things, and finally the identity of people and even the awareness of his own being, until he sank into a kind of idiocy that had no past. —Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude I read this, appropriately enough, just after four in the morning, in that languishing time of night when falling asleep is depressingly unlikely and sunrise is equally depressingly far-off.
O journeyer, deaf in the mould, insane with violent travel & death: consider me in my cast, your first son. Would you were I by now another one, witted, legged? I see you before me plain (I am skilled: I hear, I see)Dream Song #42The first time I read the Dream Songs, I treated it like something that would help me know, something. Something something something - something about fathers and sons, about life on earth, life after, the glory of God, or an obsession that could replace it. Looking back, it was foolish of me to read poetry and expect knowledge, to go searching for enlightenment like a Leader could show the Student the answers that would get rid of pain. The Dream Songs didn’t do any of that for me, but what they did instead was rip all of it open.The book is Berryman’s weapon, the tool he uses to dig far into every potential answer to reveal the sublime chaos beneath it all: God is your father, who is not a thing but is the sky, the road, the path towards death and back.
“Numbers Stations” transmit recordings on shortwave radio frequencies that loop periodically into infinity. These recordings, bouncing and caroming off the atmosphere, can be heard from any location on earth and their source cannot be traced. Messages began to appear on these frequencies during World War I, and their content was mysterious and diverse: a female voice reciting strings of numbers in Czech, a child’s voice singing in German, a short, disembodied melody played by an old music box. The recordings, it was discovered, were encrypted messages for the purpose of espionage. To this day, we are unable to decode many of the messages, nor do we know their senders nor their recipients. These looped recordings are compiled in The Conet Project, whose website promises to send an authentic Roman coin to anybody who successfully cracks one of the codes.