The World is a Song

I sense the world might be more dreamlike, metaphorical, and poetic than we currently believe—but just as irrational as sympathetic magic when looked at in a typically scientific way. I wouldn’t be surprised if poetry—poetry in the broadest sense, in the sense of a world filled with metaphor, rhyme, and recurring patterns, shapes, and designs—is how the world works. The world isn’t logical, it’s a song.

– David Byrne, Bicycle Diaries. 

Against Popular Culture

There is so much meat to chew on in this essay discussing Adorno’s views on art and popular culture. What is the function of art? What is the danger of its commercialization? What is all this easy entertainment doing to us?

– via aeon.co (to whom I recently subscribed, because it’s hard to find writing this interesting and this accessible these days, and finding it consistently is worth way more than they charge for a subscription)

Photography That Treats Dementia

It’s tempting to think of art as a purely aesthetic pursuit, a process that generates beautiful things to hang on the walls of galleries and homes, but artists, can use their skills to create art that does other things too. In this case, Laurence Aëgerter has collected photographs, both his and others’, to create a book that, in its strange pairings, works to keep the mind active, treating dementia. It’s inspiring to see such cross-disciplinary work; the world needs more of such boundaries blurred.

– via Hyperallergic

Badass Women

It’s painfully obvious to anyone paying attention that history tends to be a little (a lot), well, skewed toward the male side of things. All the big decisions, we are taught, are made by men. Ditto for all the big innovations, and its always men that seem to be making the big differences in the course of nations and cultures. All bullshit, of course: women have been along for the ride every step of the way, insistently making their own difference, and the blatant interference of the patriarchy means that the women who fought hard enough to make a difference are unequivocally badass. Take Anita Brenner, for example, I doubt you’ve heard of her (I hadn’t). A Mexican-born, American Jew, disowned by pretty much all three adjectives in that label, finds herself up in the middle of the post-Mexican Revolution explosion of arts that included the likes of Diego Rivera, Clemente Orozco, and, of course, Frida Khalo. Brenner was convinced that art had a vital role to play in the establishment of Mexican identity post-revolution, and her steadfast efforts to nurture, connect, and promote Mexican art makes her one badass woman, and an absolute hero to me. Let’s face it: the world wouldn’t be worth half the nonsense we have to endure if it wasn’t for badass women like Anita Brenner.

Which makes me wonder: what other badass women am I totally unaware of? Not just Marie Curie or Hillary Clinton, who’s fame matches their accomplishments. Who do you feel hasn’t been recognized? Enlighten me in the comments! Let’s stop talking about outspoken men of weak intellect and self-image issues and talk more about badass women. Demand more badass women in the history books!!!

The Vulnerability of Sensitivity

It seems that the most sensitive souls are able to find the most beautiful things about the world, but that sensitivity is a tremendous vulnerability that many great writers have been unable to live with. Breece D’J Pancake was one of them. This story of his life from The Millions is both a sad and beautiful reminder of the terrible price of open eyes and an open heart. I can assure you, Pancake’s only book, The Stories of Breece D’J Pancake, pictured above, is worth a lifetime of re-readings.

Medicine, Magic, and Art

It’s a turn-around jump shot
it’s everybody jump start
it’s every generation throws a hero up the pop charts
medicine is magical and magical is art
think of the Boy in the Bubble
and the baby with the baboon heart.

– Paul Simon, “The Boy in the Bubble” Graceland