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 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.
Division of the body in western funereal practices has historically been reserved for the highest and lowest dead. Dismemberment has been at once permitted –– celebrated even –– by the Church and considered the greatest of abominations. When the Murder Act of 1751 was passed in Great Britain, for example, the punishment for all criminals executed on murder offenses was a public dissection and subsequent display of the stripped corpse. That same year, William Hogarth published a threatening series of engravings following the life of a criminal from childhood to his public execution. The fourth and final engraving, The Reward of Cruelty, shows Nero’s body, hanged, cut from the gallows, and spread on a surgeon’s table in a crowded anatomical theatre as three men set about taking him apart.At the same time, however, the Church had made a habit of saving and displaying the various “relics” (read: body parts) of monarchs and saints.
Three nights ago, I was sitting at the corner table of my high school friend’s yellow-lit kitchen –– he was the high school friend whose house always served as the default place to hang, a default we default to even four years out of high school –– playing Hearts. In the background of our card game, as each of us tried and failed to “shoot the moon,” a tinny cellphone speaker squeaked out the most persistent & divisive Christmas song of all time. The song in question is, of course, “Last Christmas,” by the 80’s music duo Wham!, one half of whom is George Michael, namesake to Michael Cera’s character in Arrested Development and the most recent in a line of beloved figures to have passed away during 2016.“Last Christmas” is one of those seasonal songs on which everyone seems to have an opinion, no one of which is exactly the same.