questionable topic – uneasy matters since 2008

John Cleese on the Origin of Creativity

Posted in anthropology, lifehack, self improvement by questionabletopic on Monday, April 16, 2012

by Maria Popova
http://www.openculture.com/2010/09/john_cleese_on_the_origin_of_creativity.html

British actor John Cleese is best known for his comedic talent as one of the founding members of Monty Python, which makes his intellectual insights on the origin of creativity particularly fascinating. This talk from the 2009 Creativity World Forum in Germany is part critique of modernity’s hustle-and-bustle, part handbook for creating the right conditions for creativity.

“We get our ideas from what I’m going to call for a moment our unconscious — the part of our mind that goes on working, for example, when we’re asleep. So what I’m saying is that if you get into the right mood, then your mode of thinking will become much more creative. But if you’re racing around all day, ticking things off a list, looking at your watch, making phone calls and generally just keeping all the balls in the air, you are not going to have any creative ideas.” ~ John Cleese

Cleese advocates creating an “oasis” amidst the daily stress where the nervous creature that is your creative mind can safely come out and play, with the oasis being guarded by boundaries of space and boundaries of time.

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American Mozart

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

By David Samuels
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/05/american-mozart/8931/?single_page=true

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.

Бытует мнение, что плохо только “тут”,

Posted in anthropology, culture, facts, government, politics by questionabletopic on Sunday, March 18, 2012

 

а “там”, левее по карте и западнее по курсу — все сплошь жизненный елей, торжество гражданских свобод да экономическая вольница.

Певец Plan B, известный как исполнитель песни “She Said” и актер в фильме “Harry Brown” с Майклом Кэйном, выпустил клип на песню “ill Manors”, которую авторитетные издания нарекли “песней протеста нового поколения”.

Эта песня может служить очень отрезвляющим взглядом на то, как дела идут в тех местах, о которых говорят как о “колыбели свобод”.

Лирическое отступление “ill manors” — это игра слов, при прямом прочтении “плохие районы”, при переносном “плохие манеры”. “Район с плохим воспитанием” — необходимое зло перевода, вроде украинской ГТС. Вот оригинал слов песни, а я вам покажу свой очень беглый перевод:

Давайте выйдем на городское сафари,
Там полно нелегальных иммигрантов.
Слышь, смотри – а там типочек.
Значит: с судебным приводом и опасен.
Он в капюшоне – обними его скорее,
Хотя нет – может мобилу отжать.
Ну все, поздняк, идея была тупой,
и кто б ее не придумал – дурак.
Он ведь дерзок, как мы все –
Будь шутом, играй паяца,
А политика – не более чем
ложь и пропаганда, 1ое Апреля
круглый год подряд, в целом –
еще один кирпич в стене.
Нам простят убийства в школе,
маты все теперь в почете.
«Все мы пьянь и утырки
Каждый там – с пакетом дури» —
продолжайте верить прессе.
«Дети спальных городских районов», твари,
думаете, вам известна наша жизнь
из тысяч статей или всех слухов?!
Да все правда, оставайтесь, где комфортно,
нет нужды бросать пригород.
Правда в том, что мы – проблема:
лжем, разводим. Это все бессмыслица.
Поддерживай боязнь нас, вот что мы поняли.
Разжигай и пусть горит!

Припев
Слышь, я сказал слышь!
Че уставился, мажор?
Бедность тут, запри дверь своего дома
Сваливай, пока все не отобрали —
Я с района с плохим воспитанием.
Район с плохим воспитанием,
Знаете, плохо с районом и воспитанием.

В асфальтных джунглях можно потеряться,
новостройки тут и там.
Не тот поворот на перекрестке —
вы в районе куда нет пути чужим.
Власть печется экологией,
сохранив нашу естественную среду –
построив олимпийскую деревню
вокруг кварталов без выселений,
дали нам откупные и налоговые льготы,
социальную медицину. Ой, спасибо вам, родные!
Ножевых ранений и ножей здесь поровну,
«Хорошо знать, что нас поддержат в случае нападения» —
вот не надо парить мне, это выводит всех.
А кто же закрыл наш центр молодежи?
Там я проводил все время,
где же мне тусовать до сентября?

Школы нет и правил тоже, доставай что тяжелее.
Лондон в огне, я предрекаю бунт.
Конфликт и противостояние,
Кто бы знал, о чем тот глава вещал?
Что–то о Кайзерах.
Дети улиц своего не упустят
И урвут свое когда есть шанс
Пойдем воровать? Нет,не в кровать.
Скоро центр, скрой свое лицо.
Увидим мажоров на нашем пути —
Будут сожалеть, что вышли из дома.
Вот вам штраф за проезд, всем платить!
Делайте как Борисграбьте вчистую!

Те стоики, которые дочитали до этого места, заслуживают на дополнительный фактоид: песня содержит сэмпл песни “Alles Neu” от Peter Fox, которая говорит о кардинальном обновлении своей жизни и ценностей. Мажоры и прочие люди с музобразованием заметят там части Симфонии №7 Шостаковича. У каждого свои культурные ориентиры.

Live Free And Die – NYTimes.com

Posted in anthropology, health by questionabletopic on Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Live Free And Die

During the Bush years, every time a new estimate of life expectancy came out I would get letters saying “Hah! You say things are terrible, so how come life expectancy is rising, huh?” This was, of course, stupid: medicine continues to progress, the long-term decline in smoking has reduced lung cancer, etc.. Life expectancy is rising just about everywhere in the world; sharing in that trend is no big achievement.

On the other hand, failing to share in that trend IS a big achievement, in a bad way. And via Kevin Drum, we have this:

 

 

I guess the geography of the decline speaks for itself.

via Live Free And Die – NYTimes.com.

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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?.

4 More Brutal Prison Stories To Keep You Scared Straight Out Of Jail

Posted in anthropology, opinion, opinions, story by questionabletopic on Wednesday, June 1, 2011

4 More Brutal Prison Stories To Keep You Scared Straight Out Of Jail | Caveman Circus.

Here are 4 more brutal stories that will help you understand the vicious and predatory environment of prison. All these stories aren’t isolated events, in all honesty they are commonplace in an environment where murderers, robbers, gangsters and the like congregate. For all those likely headed in the direction of prison, if you don’t have a clear understanding of what really goes on in there; the politics, the power struggles, the power moves, the chess game, the weapons, the drugs, the racial barrier, respect, people with life sentences with nothing to lose, the people that really run the prison….you’ll be fucked, figuratively and literally. Watch carefully.

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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?

My Rapist Friended Me on Facebook (and All I Got Was This Lousy Article) | xoJane

Posted in anthropology by questionabletopic on Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Me: Well, I was…and my background contributed….I craved that sexual attention and put myself in bad situations. And I didn’t know how to … I said no, but I didn’t scream or bite or kick because that’s not what I knew how to do. I just asked you nicely to stop.

via My Rapist Friended Me on Facebook (and All I Got Was This Lousy Article) | xoJane.

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Why Aren’t Gays Funny? | The Awl

Posted in anthropology, culture, entertainment, joke by questionabletopic on Thursday, May 5, 2011

Why Aren’t Gays Funny?

By Choire Sicha | May 3, 2011

Sure, there are funny gays in various entertainment fields, such as shoe design and Condé Nast magazines, but let us think of gays in actual comedy. Okay, so there’s Ellen. That guy ANT. Neil Patrick Harris. And… hmm.

Oh right. Scott Thompson. And Graham Chapman, of Monty Python. These two might prove a comedy “rule” that gays are often funny when in groups of straight people. Or when they are English: Stephen K. Amos, Simon Amstell, Matt Lucas, Julian Clary, Paul O’Grady. And Kenny Everett and Frankie Howerd and Kenneth Williams, RIP! Or when they are of an English province: Trey Anthony, say, from Canada. And Tommy Sexton. And I guess Trevor Boris counts! Then there’s… oh, Dave Rubin!

There’s a pretty equal number of ladies, of course. Don’t ever confuse Judy Gold and Julie Goldman. (Jews! I know!) Also don’t confuse Wanda Sykes, Elvira Kurt and René Hicks. That’s racist. (I’m kidding, it’s not. See what I did there?) Margaret Cho still counts. Also I will namedrop Alec Mapa in the interests of diversity!

Of the greats, you have Rip Taylor and Lily Tomlin. And more, hmm… I guess Eddie Murphy, if you count those who may prefer our sexual partners to be in that wonderful middle ground between gender norms. And Andy Dick counts. (There is such a thing as bisexuality!)

But now. Think of the least funny people you know: Susan Sontag, Bret Easton Ellis and Jeffrey Dahmer. All gay. All devoutly unhumorous. Why aren’t gay people funny?

via Why Aren’t Gays Funny? | The Awl.

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Bristol Palin’s Abstinence Campaign Payday: Her Latest Teen Pregnancy Outrage – The Daily Beast

Posted in anthropology, industry, politics, PR, prominent persons by questionabletopic on Monday, April 18, 2011

Bristol Palin’s Abstinence Campaign Payday: Her Latest Teen Pregnancy Outrage – The Daily Beast.

Even before it was revealed that Candies Foundation paid Bristol Palin $262,500 to be its abstinence ambassador, her campaign against teen pregnancy was a farce. The Candies Foundation exists, in the words of its 990 form, “To educate America’s youth about the devastating consequences of teen pregnancy through celebrity PSA campaigns and initiatives.” Palin, a young woman whose unplanned pregnancy has rocketed her to reality star fame, could scarcely be a worse spokesperson. Everything about her and her celebrity telegraphs the message, already distressingly prevalent in this country, that pregnancy offers a way to trade boring high school anonymity for attention and adoration.

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Blame Zuckerberg!

Posted in anthropology, facts, internet, relationship by questionabletopic on Thursday, March 17, 2011

Young New Yorkers Don’t Have Sex, At All

Thesis: Young New Yorkers “no longer care about having sex.”

Opening, complete with orgasm joke: “On a recent Friday night, a 22-year-old in his first year of living in New York hosted a late get-together in his Little Italy apartment. Everyone there would call it a good party, but it decidedly lacked a climax.”

Investigation: “The Observer spent a few weeks at parties and gatherings fraught with abstinence but slack of any sexual tension.”

Findings: No one was getting down at the parties Nate went to. As the sun rose, “attendees departed alone. They peeled off instead of pairing up. No one at the party got laid that night and, even worse, no one gave a fuck.”

Why? “Twenty-somethings are wary of sex,” said one, a young man who works at a hedge fund. “It’s not 1998.”

How Facebook stops sex: “Social media networks, rather than bringing people together, encourage nothing so much as an orgy of self-congratulation.”

How Twitter inhibits sex drives: “Platonic cliques spend all day tweeting at each other, forming exclusive @-reply feeds that appear only to them,” making it “harder to go home with someone knowing that you’ll be seeing their avatar the next morning and every morning after that.” Plus, “cocaine is again going around.”

Please Explain: “Sex is antithetical to the way they socialize, disruptive to the larger plan, a gateway to chaos in a digitally ordered world.”

Marx never thought of this: “‘Capitalism has replaced sex,’ the model said into our ear.”

Observer readers, unite! You have nothing to lose but your virginity: “‘My hours are so fucking absurd,’ an office production assistant on the film told The Observer. “I work a minimum 12 hours a day and up to 14 or 16, and you don’t have time to bring anyone into the equation.”

How to find hope in sexting: “THERE IS, HOWEVER, hope for these poor souls, sexless in the city; younger kids are poised to take their places.” Their “texts are always sexts. They don’t seek to expand their persona within a scene, online or otherwise. The carnality is evident and, to some in New York, enviable.”

Huh? “‘Because all it comes down to, really, is whether he/she smells good and can wiggle around well.'”

Conclusion: “‘I agree!’ The Observer typed back.”

But still, we should channel our frustration and anger towards Canada.

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Посмотрите в эти заплаканные глаза.

Posted in anthropology, consumerism, internet, motivation by questionabletopic on Friday, March 4, 2011

Эти дети пережили страдания и лишения, соизмеримые с Мубараком, утратившим власть.
Вину всему можно искать во многих углах: рецессия в США, плохое качество ванн, принцип “жесткой любви“.

Суть этой драмы, достойной экранизации и трех сиквелов, такова:

1. На иБэе появляется листинг “Selling 8 Beyblades to replace destroyed baththub” (Продаются 8 игрушек “Beyblade“, деньги идут на ремонт ванной), размещенный матерью этих славных хулиганов.
2. Краткое описание листинга: “Продаем 8 штук. Как видите, они не слишком этому рады. Но они додумались устроить боевую арену в ванной, а Beyblades + ванная = Разрушение. Следствие – сбитая эмаль, сколотый слив и отломанный держатель мыла. Мы получили счет за ремонтные работы на сумму $500.00. В их копилках было около $125.67, эти деньги и выручка с торгов пойдут на покрытие расходов”.
3. Информация об этом попадает в колыбель всех Интернетов, на 4Чан. При стартовой цене в $69, скоро цена листинг превысила $9,000. (Что, впрочем, совершенно логично, учитывая то, что клок волос Джастина Бибера ушел за $40,000).
4. Интернет-детективы довольно быстро узнали контактные данные матери, и начали досаждать ее с предложениями продать следующие товары: пузырек со слезами сыновей, синюю футболку старшего, записать 3-минутный трек ихних рыданий.
5. В то время, совместными трудами Адвокатов Счастливого Детства(tm) с 4Чана цена листинга подошла к совершенно абсурдным $999,999. Далее листинг был снят, предположительно по просьбе матери, которая и разместила его.
6. Потом мать выступила с заявлением о том, что это было высшим проявлением заботы – жесткой любовью, и больше она так делать не будет.

Вот вам ссылки на текст (1 и 2), статья о матери на ЭД и графическое представление событий.

Если ваше детство не было омрачено такими событиями – мысленно поблагодарите своих родителей и воскурите фимиам колеснице Будды, за то, что она на заградила сияние Солнца от вас.

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 Ad.ly, a small Beverly Hills start–up that focuses on celebrity endorsements via Facebook and Twitter.

Пустой сейф

Posted in anthropology, experiment, government, health, industry, prominent persons, science by questionabletopic on Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Craig Venter, человек, о котором несколько лет назад говорили, что ему под силу нарушить небесную монополию на создание организмов, дал интервью, в котором рассказал почему священная корова биофармакологов и генетиков всего мира — расшифровка человеческого генома — оказалась скорее коровьим навозом. 

Уж лучше заниматься судоку” — такой была его неформальная резолюция.

Randy Pausch

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