questionable topic – uneasy matters since 2008

American Mozart

Posted in amazing, anthropology, culture, entertainment, music, opinion, PR by questionabletopic on Monday, April 16, 2012

By David Samuels

Intense, emotional, and frequently out of control, the hip-hop superstar Kanye West allowed his antics to turn him into a national joke and to earn him the criticism of two American presidents. Would a massive concert tour with his friend and rival Jay-Z offer the troubled rapper a taste of redemption—or disaster?

Whatever you think of the many controversies he has ignited, you must admit that Kanye West is at least some kind of musical genius, ranking among the top five producers and the top five rappers of the past decade. (His singing, by contrast, is kind of a joke.) Every one of his five solo albums has gone platinum, and he has sold 30 million digital downloads of his songs, to become one of the most downloaded musical artists of all time. He has won 18 Grammys—the most of any artist in the past 10 years—while serving as a backpack-wearing icon of black nerd chic. Kanye’s power resides in his wild creativity and expressiveness, his mastery of form, and his deep and uncompromising attachment to a self-made aesthetic that he expresses through means that are entirely of the moment: rap music, digital downloads, fashion, Twitter, blogs, live streaming video. He is the first true genius of the iPhone era, the Mozart of contemporary American music, intent on using his creative and emotional gifts to express the heartbreaks and fantasies of his audience.

In addition, though, Kanye West is, according to the president of the United States—the first black president of the United States—a “jackass,” a narcissistic monster who tore a massive hole of self-regard in the American cultural quilt.

Worse even than the president’s epithet, which he first offered on September 14, 2009, is the near-universality of his verdict, which has been echoed for years on talk shows and gossip sites across America. Most painful of all, perhaps, was the classic “Fish Sticks” episode of South Park, which portrayed Kanye as a designer shades–wearing egomaniac who is so humorless and devoid of self-awareness that he can’t comprehend a simple joke about fish sticks. Being represented as the most humor-impaired man in America by the South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker may have actually hurt more than what the president said.

Freakonomics Quorum: Why, During a Bad Economy, Does Crime Continue to Fall?

Posted in amazing, anthropology, facts by questionabletopic on Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The FBI recently announced that the number of violent crimes fell 5.5 percent in 2010, with property crimes falling 2.8 percent. This extends the dramatic reduction in crime that began in the 1990s. The Times declared that criminologists were baffled by the news, and Levitt was baffled by their bafflement:

Apparently, everyone expected crime to rise because of the weak economy, which I find strange, because there is zero evidence of any relationship between violent crime and the economy, and a relatively weak one between property crime and the economy. Plus, relative to 2009, the economy in 2010 was substantially improved.

We spent an entire chapter in Freakonomics exploring the factors that do and do not seem to have brought down the rate of violent crime in the U.S. In short, factors that matter include: number of police; number of prisoners; changes in drug markets; and the availability of abortion. And those that don’t seem to much matter: the economy; innovative policing strategies; most gun laws; capital punishment; and demographics.There is of course no reason for anyone to have complete confidence in the arguments we presented, even if they were more empirical than most arguments about crime. Still, as Levitt said in the excerpt above, it is surprising that so many people seem wedded to the view that the economy drives violent crime even when the evidence supports the contrary.

via Freakonomics » Freakonomics Quorum: Why, During a Bad Economy, Does Crime Continue to Fall?.

Бисер перед свиньями

Posted in amazing, anthropology, consumerism, culture, entertainment, experiment by questionabletopic on Tuesday, May 24, 2011

12 Января 2007 года в Вашингтоне скрипач мировой славы 43 минуты играл перед безликой толпой у станции метро. За то время, пока он исполнил 6 классических пьес на скрипке ценой 3,5 млн. долларов, 1097 людей (среди которых большинство – столичные бюрократы) прошли мимо. За все выступление Joshua Bell собрал 32 доллара и обратил на себя внимание горстки людей.

Для справки: этот человек собирает своими академическими концертами полные залы ценителей, средняя цена билета при этом 150 долларов.

Современное общество победившего консьюмеризма – слепое, глухое и интеллектуально немощное. Зерна от плевел отделить само не может, ему обязательно нужны костыли в виде провокационной рекламы, мнений экспертов и мощного продвижения.

How many other things are we missing?

Steve Jobs Oldie but Goodie

Posted in amazing, consumerism, industry, PR, story by questionabletopic on Sunday, May 22, 2011
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American Thinker Blog: It’s harder to get a job at Walmart than it is to be admitted to an Ivy League school.

Posted in amazing, industry by questionabletopic on Thursday, May 12, 2011

Harvard College accepted just 6.9 percent of applicants for the class of 2015, its lowest rate ever. The numbers were not much better elsewhere in the Ivies: 8.2 percent at Princeton, 11.5 percent at Dartmouth.

In other words, there were nearly 15 applicants for every freshman freshperson class opening at Harvard, slightly over 12 for each spot at Princeton and just under 9 at Dartmouth.

In contrast, a new Walmart in Cleveland recently received 6000 applicants for 300 positions, and, not long ago, two Walmart stores in the Chicago area received 25,000 and 15,000 applications. The Cleveland store hired one in twenty applicants. The Chicago hiring rates were far more modest.

via American Thinker Blog: It’s harder to get a job at Walmart than it is to be admitted to an Ivy League school..

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Lies, damned lies and statistics about TEDTalks

Posted in amazing, joke by questionabletopic on Thursday, April 7, 2011
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Sarah Kay: If I should have a daughter…

Posted in amazing, lifehack by questionabletopic on Friday, March 18, 2011

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Conan O’Brien Kinetic Typography

Posted in amazing, culture, design, lifehack, prominent persons, quotations by questionabletopic on Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Conan’s farewell speech from his brief stint on The Tonight Show, as presented by Oklahoma State University student Jacob Gilbreath:

The concept behind this video is to show Conan O’Brien as a solid wall and a monumental entertainer. Also portrayed is the relationship between old and new. This comparison shows the idea of a span of time. Conan O’Brien is and will continue to be seasoned television entertainer. This concept was achieved by creating a literal wall out of over 60 individual typographic layouts. These layouts reference a variety of vintage type designs. The combination of vintage styled type layouts and the sleek 3d look achieved in Cinema 4D allow the wall to seem both old and new. This contrast emphasizes time and creates a sturdy and timeless object which is the perfect metaphor for Conan O’Brien.

Академической музыке запрещено быть скучной,

Posted in amazing, culture, entertainment, joke by questionabletopic on Monday, March 14, 2011

или “Rachmaninov had big hands” в исполнении дуета Igudesman & Joo, эпизод из “A Little Nightmare Music.

Charlie Sheen is a man with zero regrets.

Posted in alcohol, amazing, anthropology, culture, debate, entertainment, health, lifehack, motivation, opinions, PR, prominent persons, self improvement, story by questionabletopic on Thursday, March 3, 2011

охуенная статья о том, почему Чарли Шин важен и клев.
His appeal is that, while most guys — especially post–college — must reign in their ids and demure to society’s expectations to advance rung by rung up the soul–crushing ladder of corporate mediocrity, Sheen has reached the ultimate apex of manhood eternal: doing whatever he wants and speaking the complete truth, consequences be damned. (Even if the complete truth, as he perceives it, is “I got tiger blood,” “I have a 10,000–year–old brain,” and “I’m an F–18, bro.”)

сопливая статья о том, почему Чарли Шин шовинист и женоненависник (as if there was anything wrong with it)
Sheen’s m.o. seems to be to invalidate these women’s claims by accusing them of being money hungry or fame hungry. It’s interesting for him to consider women looking for money, particularly at the end of a relationship with him, as some kind of character flaw, considering his well–known practice of paying women to party with him, as well as his penchant for hookers. According to a recent GQ article, Sheen lost his virginity at 15 to a hooker in Las Vegas whom he paid for with his father’s stolen credit card. Kacey Jordan tells GQ of Sheen’s obsession with sex workers, “He is unhappy, and he probably relates to the porn girls, thinking they’re unhappy, too.”

вдумчивая статья о о том, почему Чарли Шин важнее Джастина Бибера в медиа–мире
If you didn’t hear, yesterday Charlie Sheen joined Twitter. Today he very well may reach 1 million followers (as I type he’s already passed the 900K mark).
How did it happen? Why all of a sudden did he wake up and decide it’s Twitter time? And how was it that Charlie Sheen went from non–twitterer to hardcore twitterer overnight? Short answer: he got a lot of help from a team of experts at, a small Beverly Hills start–up that focuses on celebrity endorsements via Facebook and Twitter.

Жизнь имитирует искусство или искусство имитирует жизнь?

Posted in amazing, conspiracy, government, lifehack, politics, survival by questionabletopic on Friday, February 25, 2011

Решать вам. Для начала: Джон Ронсон написал прекрасную книгу “The Men Who Stare at Goats” (“Мужчины, уставившиеся на коз”), а Грант Герслов осуществил гениальную экранизацию (в прокате — “Безумный спецназ”).
И все бы ничего, посмеялись и забыли.
Но появляется статья “Another Runaway General: Army Deploys Psy–Ops on U.S. Senators“. А в ней — “Вооруженные силы США нелегально подрядили команду солдат, которые специализируются в “психологических операциях” для манипулирования сознанием приезжающих сенаторов, для того, чтобы те увеличили обеспечение военных действий персоналом и материальными средствами. А когда один из офицеров отказался это продолжать — им занялась военная прокуратура”.

Randy Pausch

Posted in amazing, anthropology, lifehack, prominent persons, story, survival by questionabletopic on Sunday, February 20, 2011


Posted in amazing, anthropology, culture, prominent persons by questionabletopic on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Это не порно, это чистый офигенчик” – сайт, посвященный нетривиальным фотографиям знаменитых людей.

The External World

Posted in amazing, consumerism, culture, films & animation by questionabletopic on Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Анимационная работа “The External World” от David OReilly – возможно, самое пугающее/смешное/удивительное/грустное/дикое/честное/абсурдное из того, что вам довелось увидеть. Особам с беременной или несовершеннолетней психикой все же рекомендую обойти вниманием данный ролик.

Пугающего/смешного/удивительного/грустного/дикого/честного/абсурдного дня вам, дорогие мои!

Stewart & Colbert Rally

Posted in amazing, anthropology, contest, government, motivation, opinions, politics, PR, prominent persons by questionabletopic on Sunday, September 19, 2010
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Rally to Restore Sanity

Недавно, сайт Reddit решил обратится к политобозревателю Стивену Колберу с просьбой провести акцию “Restoring Truthiness” (“Восстановление Праведливости”), пародирующую акцию “Restoring Honor” (“Восстановление Гордости”), которая проводится Гленном Беком (одиозным политобозревателем республиканских взглядов и финансовым консультантом).

В этот раз, вместо малоэффективного создания групп в Фэйсбуке и тематических сайтов, пользователей Реддита попросили поучаствовать в проекте сбора средств, где Стивен Колбер числится в комитете основателей. Расчет был таков: если они побьют действующий рекорд по сборам Хиллири Клинтон ($29,945), то Стивен обратит внимание на петицию. Не прошло и 8 часов (!), как рекорд был побит суммой $100,000 (конечная — $194,000). Для начала, в качестве выражения своей благодарности, виновник акции ответил лично аудитории Реддита.

А дальше случилось еще большее чудо (в глазах фанатов этого Человека) — Стивен Колбер и Джон Стьюарт (друг и ведущий партнерского шоу “The Daily Show”) огласили о том, что проведут совместный крестный поход на Вашингтон, каждый под своими знаменами: “March to Keep Fear Alive“™ и “Rally to Restore Sanity.“.

Что тут скажешь, кроме УИИИИИИ!