White whale in the big smoke: How the geography of London inspired Moby-Dick
Yet at the same time, Melville’s book subverted those ideas. It tacitly addresses slavery and struggle; it is not a coincidence that one of its most extraordinary chapters, “The Whiteness of the Whale” overturns a notional purity. “It was the whiteness of the whale that above all things appalled me,” Melville writes, and cites images of the “higher horror in this whiteness of . . . woe”. Among many contemporary artists inspired by the book is the internationally celebrated Ellen Gallagher – New England-born, of Cape Verdean and Irish parents – who subtly interrogates the implicit themes of race in Moby-Dick through her Watery Ecstatic series. Add to this Melville’s astonishingly overt homoeroticism (not least the “marriage” of Ishmael and the tattooed South Sea islander Queequeg, one of the first persons of colour to appear in western fiction), and you have a book almost postmodern in its elegant ellipses.
Four years under Trump has also taken its toll. “It’s been a terrible atmosphere to live in,” she says. “You try to do your work and not let [politics] permeate your consciousness daily but it does. It’s very insidious.” She notes that she and the outgoing president are about the same age. “I have encountered him in New York through the years and found him a horrible, narcissistic person and just a bad businessman. I’ve seen the debris of his deals. I think the damage he has done is going to be felt for a long time. It’s not going to be so easily healed because globally he has empowered people of a like mind.”
Vemos algumas pessoas defenderem a manutenção da atividade econômica, dizendo que “alguns vão morrer” e é inevitável. Esse tipo de abordagem afeta as pessoas que amam os idosos, que são avós, pais, filhos, irmãos. É uma declaração insensata, não tem sentido que alguém em sã consciência faça uma comunicação pública dizendo “alguns vão morrer”. É uma banalização da Vida, mas também é uma banalização do poder da palavra. Pois alguém que fala isso está pronunciando uma condenação, tanto de alguém em idade avançada, como de seus filhos, netos e de todas as pessoas que têm afeto uns com outros. Imagine se vou ficar em paz pensando que minha mãe ou meu pai podem ser descartados. Eles são o sentido de eu estar vivo. Se eles podem ser descartados, eu também posso.
The core Budd sound of yearning piano motifs and reverb-laden impressionism is often called minimalism. But compared with the cyclical craft of Steve Reich and early Philip Glass, his low-key, expansive forays felt deftly maximalist. This has made Budd’s craft synonymous with the dreamworld. An heir to Satie and Debussy, his music was treated and poetic, never kneejerk nor incautious. The disembodied mantras of 1986’s Lovely Thunder, for instance, have guided countless listeners through the nebulous no man’s land between consciousness and sleep.
Faced with such unbridled flagrancy, the US establishment has never been keen to accept the idea that Melville may just possibly have been gay. And it must have rankled to have the brilliance of his book pointed out to them by a bunch of British queer writers. When a modest Everyman edition appeared in London 20 years after Melville’s death in 1891, DH Lawrence declared it a work of futurism before futurism had been invented; EM Forster and WH Auden extolled its queer nature. Virginia Woolf read it three times, comparing it to Wuthering Heights in its strangeness, and noted in her 1926 diary that no biographer would believe her work was inspired by the vision of “a fin rising on a wide blank sea”.
Every time I pushed through another mental barrier, I grew more certain of a philosophy that was slowly taking shape in my mind. Fear is never a good reason not to do something. Up to this point, I think I’d believed that if you were afraid of something, it meant it wasn’t good for you to do that something. But as each challenge was overcome, I started to experience the immense rewards of using fear as a catalyst for action, rather than a deterrent. Fear can give us rational boundaries that protect us from excess. But it can also be crippling. The trick is figuring out which fears are worth keeping and which fears are worth pushing past.
If Heaven’s Gate epitomizes the excesses of the 70s film-brat boom in Hollywood, then it should also represent the revolutionary spirit at its core – a determination to reject the myths and traditions that studio film-making had stodgily upheld. It’s an anti-western, for starters. It’s also just anti-west, in that it’s about how the civilizing forces that tamed the country in the mid-to-late 1800s were, in fact, the villains, violently suppressing the dreams of immigrants and other unfortunates. Immigrants may have built America, the film suggests, but only the few could take ownership of it.
As palavras importam. São carregadas de conotações, referências. A escritora argentina Luisa Valenzuela, cuja obra é um exercício linguístico de desconstrução de mitos e enunciados, diz que “a linguagem é em si mesma uma forma de máscara: cobre e desvela ao mesmo tempo”. A língua é resultado das relações de poder na sociedade. Seus enunciados, no nosso mundo, refletem o poder que homens exercem sobre as mulheres, brancos sobre negros, europeus sobre indígenas, aqueles que têm sobre os despossuídos, héteros sobre os gays, e daí por diante. Termos racistas como “judiaria” ou “meia-tigela” se perpetuam, pois esquecemos sua natureza e os normalizamos.
The Laughing Stock reissue sounds amazing, as good as the album's ever sounded, in any format. Which is crucial, because on some level Talk Talk's later albums are all about sound. How startling, isolated moments of sound, or a formless wash of sound, can wring emotions out of listeners as powerfully as any conventional melody. How the ambient sound of the room in which an album was recorded can be used almost as instrument in itself, and how the studio can be used to create a sense of environment in the listener's mind that has nothing to do with recording booths and control decks. How far the sound of a rock song can be pared back and loosened up and still be "rock," or even still be "a song." And especially how sound can become all the more powerful when surrounded by silence, great gulfs of which are all over the later Talk Talk albums, especially Laughing Stock, captured here in a remarkable vinyl mastering job on Ba Da Bing's part.
“He caught something that was in the air,” says the writer Colm Tóibín, who has known him for almost 30 years. “A sort of paranoia, a sense that things were ending, an idea that nothing was not connected, and that much was a kind of illusion. The illusion interested him, and he set about finding a tone that would match an undercurrent in the world, a secret energy, that had replaced reality and had become a reality that was more like echo than sound.
I kept that principle of mobility. It is improvising by itself all the time. In some way it is improvising itself.
I like them because they’re from this era where the technology is imperfect, just because of the way it was at the time. It’s not like they were trying to make them unstable or whatever, but they had no choice. I think it works in favor of the type of music I do because having those instabilities brings all sorts of interesting overtones and psychoacoustic effects out. But I think those instruments in particular, they create the kind of sound world that I’m looking for. They’re instruments the same as a violin is an instrument – each one is unique.
I have to admit that, after all these years, it remains something of a mystery to me what it is exactly that Fahey does that so mesmerises, despite having had it explained to me by several accomplished guitarists and Fahey enthusiasts. For me, the obvious dexterity and seemingly effortless technical brilliance of Fahey's playing is only one part of the equation of his greatness. His songs often work on me like a spell through his use of those strange tunings, his reliance on repetition, dissonance and layered melody as well as the way he constantly introduces slightly different variations on a single pattern. Put simply, his playing just draws me in every time and takes me somewhere else: a place approaching the realm of attentive daydream.
“Para Borges, o âmago da realidade estava nos livros: em ler livros, escrever livros, conversar sobre livros”, escreve Manguel, e continua: “De maneira visceral, ele sabia que dava continuidade a um diálogo iniciado havia milhares de anos, o qual ele acreditava que nunca terminaria. Livros restauravam o passado”.
Yet his pioneering role in the digital music adventure deserves recognition. For Allison, the spirit of music33 lives on in Bandcamp, not iTunes. “Because they’ve worked out a way for artists to keep their work and still turn a profit. Such business thinking didn’t exist at the time. Wilson was way ahead but there was no structure for his ideas. He was like Nostradamus.”
The obvious way to mitigate the shortages of food that the UN anticipates is to throw less away. After decades of plenty in some parts of the world, about one-third of the food that is produced each year, or about 1.3bn tonnes, goes to waste. The proportion of the budget of the average British household that goes on food has come down from more than 30% in the 60s to below 10% today. (After Singapore and the US, Britain has the cheapest food “basket” of any country.) It is little wonder that a commodity that people buy so casually, and with such little regard for the natural resources and human ingenuity that have gone into its production, should be discarded in such quantities.
Nevertheless, Gray is right to point out that linear progress is a kind of default way of thinking about history in the modern west and that this risks blinding us to the ways in which gains can be lost, advances reversed. It also fosters a sense of the superiority of the present age over earlier, supposedly less “advanced” times. Finally, it occludes the extent to which history doesn’t repeat itself but does rhyme.
It’s all so stupid. Commercial fishing is by far the greatest cause of ecological destruction at sea, but produces less income and employment in the UK than the industries it wrecks. Recreational angling alone, which is perpetually threatened by the absence of fish, generates more jobs and money than commercial fishing. Whale and dolphin watching, diving and snorkelling would, if allowed to prosper, greatly enhance the livelihoods of coastal people. And this is to say nothing of the immeasurable improvements in the lives of everyone connected to a thriving, abundant living system.
Manzarek and Krieger’s lawyers tried to paint Densmore as a dangerous communist – even citing a piece he wrote that was published in the Guardian as evidence for this – but eventually, and spectacularly, he won. He wrote a book about the case, published in 2013, and donated the profits to the Occupy movement. “Money is like fertiliser,” he says. “When spread around, things grow; when it’s hoarded, it stinks.”
O Brasil é a Amazônia, mas a Amazônia não é o Brasil. Não existe comércio nessa relação. Não há paga, não tem ciclo do valor, trata-se de uma irredutível ecologia da dádiva, num sentido tão puro que chega a ser perturbador. Toda economia da dádiva de que tenho notícia inclui a reciprocidade, a obrigação de dar, receber, retornar e até iniciar uma outra dádiva, sob pena de uma profunda violência. Até mesmo no sistema cristão do sacrifício de si absoluto existe a noção de um retorno, ainda que em outro reino.
Os conhecimentos e práticas dos povos indígenas têm sido reconhecidos em foros internacionais, como ficou patente no Painel Intergovernamental sobre Mudanças Climáticas (IPCC, na sigla em inglês), criado em 1988, e na Plataforma Intergovernamental sobre Biodiversidade e Serviços Ecossistêmicos (IPBES, na sigla em inglês), de 2012. A arqueologia brasileira tem posto em evidência que o enriquecimento da cobertura e dos solos da floresta – as fertilíssimas “terras pretas” – é fruto das práticas de populações indígenas desde a era pré-colombiana até hoje. E sabe-se agora que na Amazônia foram domesticadas dezenas de plantas, entre as quais a batata-doce, a mandioca, o cará, a abóbora, o amendoim e o cacau. Um artigo publicado recentemente mostra que até mesmo o milho, originário do México, passou por uma segunda domesticação na Amazônia.
Moreover, billionaires’ extravagant wealth is by and large not spent, as Zuckerberg suggests, on cutting edge research and philanthropic efforts. After they’ve bought up enough yachts and private jets they mainly invest in making themselves richer through casino-style financial speculation and in luxury real estate in starkly unequal cities like San Francisco, Miami and New York, where mostly vacant homes act as safety deposit boxes to shield wealth from taxation. Their money might also end up in tax havens like the Cayman Islands, where it can sit undisturbed by the long arm of the state. Very little of that ever trickles down to the 99%, where inequality has skyrocketed and wages have stagnated.
In her book Learning From the Germans, the philosopher Susan Neiman observes that the enormity of the Holocaust has forced Germany to address the darkest aspects of its past. But it has also allowed Britain and America not to do so, to avoid thinking too deeply about the history of slavery or of empire, to minimise their horrors in comparison with the Holocaust.
But the greatest facilitator of race-hatred against refugees isn’t a tabloid; it’s Facebook. Researchers at the University of Warwick recently studied every anti-refugee attack – 3,335, over two years – in Germany. They found that among the strongest predictors of the attacks was whether the attackers are on Facebook. The social network aids the dissemination of rumours, such as that all refugees are welfare cheats or rapists; and, unmediated by gatekeepers or editors, the rumours spread, and ordinary people are roused to violence. Wherever Facebook usage rose to one standard deviation above normal, the researchers found, attacks on refugees increased by 50%. When there were internet outages in areas with high Facebook usage, the attacks dropped significantly.
“How much has first to be found, then suppressed, in order to arrive at the naked flesh of emotion.”
Why do we keep telling these stories? Why do our films depict sociopaths murdering to Mozart and not Metallica? Why must master criminals always time their nuclear strikes at curtain time? The answer runs deeper than box-office populism and derivative filmmaking. How a society pictures its villains is a revelation of its own anxieties. Opera-house assassinations, while a familiar trope, still strike a chord of Everyman angst deep in the American subconsciousness: a vein of populist paranoia that suspects the shiny trappings of high society—galas, gowns, orchestras—exist to disguise the brutal source of its wealth. Decorum is an accomplice to depravity. That we imagine secret cabals planning world domination at Tosca rather than Davos exposes something about our unspoken apprehensions, tells us that the public does not fear perversity or power so much as deception. These scenes materialize the phantom suspicion that the real threat to the Common Man is not the raving lunatic in the streets but the polite psychopath in the opera box. We mistake malevolence as sophistication because it’s wearing a suit and a tie.
Indeed, most of us don’t want to live like this, heads bent over a handheld device, twitching from one social-media outlet to another. Insidiously, though, the technologies that mediate our existence provide an illusory sense of mastery, as we tap a screen and summon brightly colored sweaters to our door. “The precise moment at which our needs are met,” Zuboff writes, “is also the precise moment at which our lives are plundered for behavioral data.” We find ourselves in an elegantly designed, frictionless trap.
Opposition to climate change is a symptom of a society that is politically polarised between those who cling to the past and those who recognise the need for a better future.
O bem viver nos inspira para pensar novas formas de viver que superem a concepção produtivista-consumista, depredadora da natureza, que leve em conta as exigências e os limites da Terra, que permita extrair dela meios de vida sem destruir as condições de vida. Não se trata de voltar atrás e todos retornarem à vida no campo. Trata-se de se apoiar nos seus princípios de vida para pensar e organizar a nossa vida social em convivência com a natureza e não em confronto com ela, em harmonia entre nós e não em guerra.
What’s the point of a healthy cholesterol reading and a low BMI if there’s no drinking water?
“For the first time in my life people are talking about class,” she says. “It’s just ridiculous that this was an unspeakable concept for so long – that is why we are in the predicament we are in.”
A maior conquista do novo complexo cognitivo-militar é que a opressão direta e óbvia não é mais necessária: os indivíduos podem ser muito melhor controlados e orientados na direção desejada, quando continuam a se enxergar como pessoas livres e como agentes autônomos de suas próprias vidas.
Human beings, born ultimately of the stars and now for a while inhabiting a world called Earth, have begun their long voyage home.
Near Heathrow airport, I looked up to see the microwaves passing through two huge dishes atop Hillingdon hospital, a pioneering 1960s centre now suffering – like much of the NHS – from a shortfall in funding. For a rent of a few thousand pounds a year, the machinery of private finance perches on the crumbling infrastructure of the welfare state: all that money, flowing invisibly just a few metres above the patients inside. This is how a difference in visibility translates into a difference in power: those who can see, can understand – and thus shape the world to their advantage.
Ecologically, economically and politically, capitalism is failing as catastrophically as communism failed. Like state communism, it is beset by unacknowledged but fatal contradictions. It is inherently corrupt and corrupting. But its mesmerising power, and the vast infrastructure of thought that seeks to justify it, makes any challenge to the model almost impossible to contemplate. Even to acknowledge the emergencies it causes, let alone to act on them, feels like electoral suicide. As the famous saying goes: “It is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism.” Our urgent task is to turn this the other way round.
In fact, almost everything about memory remains open to debate, speculation, theorising. It used to be thought, for example, that memories were like files that we retrieved or – if we couldn’t recall them – lost. Now it’s much more widely understood that memories are created and then recreated, each time in a slightly different way.
Voltamos, assim, à questão dos frágeis. O indivíduo merece amparo porque, no mundo da força, ele é a parte fraca. O poder é por definição muitos, nunca é sozinho. Sozinho é o indivíduo. A pessoa tem segredos que escapam à multidão, dizia Maritain, e é essencial reconhecer isso. A brutalidade não tem tempo a perder com as pequenas idiossincrasias de cada um. O que ela deseja é a ordem-unida, o coro. Se o propósito da força é abafar a dissonância, o propósito de quem se opõe à força deveria ser o de abrigar tudo o que destoa, o que é irrelevante, o que não chama atenção, o que fala baixo, o que é tido como dispensável, o que parece pouco.
I hope it’s clear that mindful resistance isn’t passive resistance — that the idea here isn’t to comply with the unfair stereotype of Buddhism as just a recipe for accepting the world as it is. There are plenty of times when Trump should be criticized and plenty of times when moral indignation should be expressed and amplified. But indignation is a resource to be deployed carefully, on occasions when its importance outweighs its tendency to reinforce Trump’s self-serving persecution narrative. And the more indiscriminately indignation is indulged, the less
He wasn’t, then, one to dash things off. Despite the generous and world-weary humour that emerged in his last decades, – his early, folkie work was denounced as “humourless” –the task of writing was deadly serious. He surely knew the line from Yeats – a poet he deeply admired – about how “The intellect of man is forced to choose / Perfection of the life, or of the work.” On this wager, Cohen was unambiguous.
Eis a receita perfeita para uma ditadura de massas: um candidato eleito que não respeita os dois princípios fundamentais da democracia liberal e que é idolatrado por imenso contingente de policiais e militares em todo o país. Não apenas Bolsonaro prepara discursivamente a possibilidade de uma ditadura caso eleito, como já construiu legitimação para si mesmo no caso de uma eventual sublevação dos agentes armados desse país. O Brasil está refém de um candidato que não respeita a democracia. Como pode uma pessoa que é explicitamente contrária ao estado de direito e deslegitima o mecanismo eleitoral ser oficializado como candidato? Como o país que exige ficha limpa não exige também ficha democrática?
Assim, a imprensa precisa perguntar para a maioria dos LGBTs, pretos e mulheres se eles e elas acham o candidato polêmico. Se o acham controverso. Engraçado. “Meio Sérgio Mallandro.” Para indígenas, quilombolas. Para as pessoas que trabalham com movimentos sociais. Para quem está deixando de usar uma camiseta vermelha ou um #EleNão com medo de ser espancado. O jornalismo que está agora atônito, dizendo que estamos vendo a ascensão de uma população violenta até então silenciosa, não percebe que um naco considerável dessa violência, a que deseja o extermínio do que é visto como diferente, sempre acompanhou milhões de brasileiras e brasileiros que vivem nas faixas mais pobres. Ela, agora, amplia-se e mostra-se à luz do dia, atingindo setores da classe média e da elite intelectual – com destaque para os jornalistas.
Isso que está acontecendo no Brasil é fascismo, não tem outro nome, se você folhear a imprensa do mundo todo vai perceber que é o único jeito de olhar para a coisa (embora a revista conservadora americana “Foreign Policy” prefira um outro substantivo: nazismo). “Um fascista é um fascista”, publicou um articulista do jornal português Público, enquanto explicava por que nem o movimento liderado por Marine Le Pen na França nem o comandado por Donald Trump nos Estados Unidos merecem o nome, mas o de Bolsonaro, sim.
O óbvio odeia ser negado. A violência que dizima os jovens nas periferias de nossas cidades e gente de todas as idades e endereços na selvageria do trânsito e na roleta-russa dos latrocínios, condenando o Brasil às divisões inferiores do mundo, parece ter encontrado novos canais de expressão política.
Friedrich was a pianist of the old school, owner of a piano shop, a critic, and a teacher. He was arrogant and overpowering, and with his daughter he saw a chance to create a child prodigy. On the one hand, he thought there was nothing wrong with a woman musician having a professional career (unlike Abraham Mendelssohn, who encouraged his son Felix, but stamped on the fortunes of his equally talented big sister, Fanny), but his control over Clara when she was young was suffocating and creepy. All the early entries in her diary were written by Friedrich, and he never allowed her to read. By hook or crook, she would become a great German musician, and his masterplan paid off. Clara was his best student. By eight, she was playing concertos by Mozart; by 10, she was touring Germany; by 13, she had begun work on her own piano concerto; by 16, it had received a premiere in Leipzig, conducted by Felix Mendelssohn with Clara as soloist. But there was a cost. “I am a girl within my own armour,” she tellingly wrote of her teenage self, and by the time she was 20 she was experiencing blackouts on stage, chest pains and other physiological and psychological illness.
Hett refrains from poking the reader with too many obvious contemporary parallels, but he knew what he was doing when he left the word “German” out of his title. On the book’s final page, he lays his cards on the table: “Thinking about the end of Weimar democracy in this way—as the result of a large protest movement colliding with complex patterns of elite self-interest, in a culture increasingly prone to aggressive mythmaking and irrationality—strips away the exotic and foreign look of swastika banners and goose-stepping Stormtroopers. Suddenly, the whole thing looks close and familiar.” Yes, it does.
But the atmosphere of fear is here, the helplessness of the little people, the rising questions on the futility of human existence, the fragility of life and the eternal question of God’s existence, especially popular in times of trial and trouble. Rarely have there been movies so easily distinguishable by a single image as it’s the case with this film.
It’s a siege from within. What’s scary about the movie is not that’s it big and action-filled, but it’s small and there’s nothing out there but this blowing blackness and storm and cold and right next to you maybe a creature. That’s the creepiness of the story.
A fase áurea da globalização promoveu uma indústria da consciência de orientação cosmopolita; e essa indústria vislumbrou suas chances de crescimento ao atribuir ao ímpeto expansionista dos mercados capitalistas valores libertários da revolução social dos anos 60 e 70, bem como suas promessas utópicas de libertação. Isso fundiu a pensée unique tecnocrática do neoliberalismo ao juste milieu moral de uma comunidade com discurso internacionalista.
What this means is that even more than it is in the advertising business, Facebook is in the surveillance business. Facebook, in fact, is the biggest surveillance-based enterprise in the history of mankind. It knows far, far more about you than the most intrusive government has ever known about its citizens. It’s amazing that people haven’t really understood this about the company. I’ve spent time thinking about Facebook, and the thing I keep coming back to is that its users don’t realise what it is the company does. What Facebook does is watch you, and then use what it knows about you and your behaviour to sell ads. I’m not sure there has ever been a more complete disconnect between what a company says it does – ‘connect’, ‘build communities’ – and the commercial reality. Note that the company’s knowledge about its users isn’t used merely to target ads but to shape the flow of news to them. Since there is so much content posted on the site, the algorithms used to filter and direct that content are the thing that determines what you see: people think their news feed is largely to do with their friends and interests, and it sort of is, with the crucial proviso that it is their friends and interests as mediated by the commercial interests of Facebook. Your eyes are directed towards the place where they are most valuable for Facebook.
Markets may be human facsimiles of natural systems, and like the universe itself, they may be authorless and valueless. But the application of Hayek’s Big Idea to every aspect of our lives negates what is most distinctive about us. That is, it assigns what is most human about human beings – our minds and our volition – to algorithms and markets, leaving us to mimic, zombie-like, the shrunken idealisations of economic models. Supersizing Hayek’s idea and radically upgrading the price system into a kind of social omniscience means radically downgrading the importance of our individual capacity to reason – our ability to provide and evaluate justifications for our actions and beliefs.