Week Notes 2021-08

  • Above, Stanley Tucci travels around Italy, eating great food, drinking lovely things, and generally looking cool; while also seeming a thoroughly nice bloke. We watched the first episode of this this week, and now I want to be Stanley Tucci when I grow up.
  • Drive & Listen has been a great mood-saver this week. I have spent quite a bit of time tooling around American cities listening to a lot of 90s indie music and DJs discussing the health of Tiger Woods.
  • Cory Doctorow on ouija board planchettes and fake news:

Our narratives are social-scale planchettes, directed by mass ideomotor response. When a fake news story takes hold, it reveals a true fact: namely, the shared, internal models of how the world really works. Fake news is an oracle, in other words.

  • I have started rereading Lila by Robert M. Pirsig. I tend to go to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance when I need a bit of literary comfort food, but I was reading about the Zettelkasten method of note-taking and it reminded me of Phaedrus in the sequel so I picked it up again. It’s not nearly as good as ‘Zen…’ but it’s an interesting read.
  • Someday someone will write the article about what happened at Reply All but right now it all feels too… Self-reflexive? Incestuous? Neither of those are right, but it’s one of those occassions where there’s a story which is somehow incredibly symbolic and a perfect representation of a cultural moment… But that sheer level of pure, 100% unadulterated zeitgeist makes it impossible to examine with any clarity. It’s almost too of the moment.
  • Oliver Burkeman on that feeling that if you could try a but harder you might get… there:

 I think virtually everyone, except perhaps the very Zen or very old, goes through life haunted to some degree by the feeling that this isn’t quite the real thing, not just yet – that soon enough, we’ll get everything in working order, get organised, get our personal issues resolved, but that till then we’re living what the great Swiss psychologist Marie-Louise von Franz called the “provisional life.”

  • Music this week. Naomi Asa’s NTS ‘soul and spiritual jazz’ radio show from earlier this month:

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