Category Archives: Culture

What happens in August

Well, as I mentioned last month, I like to take a month a year off of looking at any news. And it’s always August, because the combination of nothing happening in August and the need/desire of news to keep people breathlessly interested, means that August is a time for swift boating, death panels, shocking fake-heartfelt […]

Peggy rocks my world

You should be watching Mad Men.

taking up room on the dance floor

Ok, this is some pretty good looking stuff. Loving the dude with the white shirt. (via J Kottke.

I am a force of motherfucking nature and I will not rest until every uptight armchair typographer cock-hat like you is surrounded by my lovable, comic-book inspired, sans-serif badassery

Rock on, Comic Sans.

Howard Zinn

I always liked Howard Zinn. Along with Studs Turkel, he defined for me an old-school commitment to listening to people and caring about what they said and did, without great self-promotion. Hearing about his passing today, I wonder where the Zinn’s of today and tomorrow are. Time for a drink and another pass through A […]

Two models for understanding what people like, which is better?

I have a sort of interesting question, though perhaps it’s less interesting than I imagine it to be. Given the following two scenarios, which is more likely and why? Scenario 1: In the first case, we have a series of attributes attached to a person, and then we can make arguments (empirical, theoretical) about how […]

NBC and Jay Leno

Gabriel had a thoughtful post about Jay Leno, comparing his programming to NPR and classical music over the past couple decades. I’m much more sympathetic to Grant McCracken’s view of Leno as a failure because he misses the contemporary moment’s desire for specificity and instead provides the blandest of something-for-everyone variety. Though McCracken and Rossman […]

Visualizing data, movie edition

Ok, this is impressive. And I’ve seen Primer three times and still don’t 100% have the timeline worked out.

Front-stage/backstage behavior

One of Erving Goffman’s brilliant insights is the extent to which people engage in presentations of self. Front-stage behavior is the display meant for ‘public’ consumption: witty, urbane, dangerous, smart, smooth, down-to-earth, intellectual, anti-intellectual. This depends on the audience, of course, and it is meant to make oneself look good. Backstage behavior is closer to […]


There’s a longer post I intend on the ways political/social discourse gets hijacked by experts, well-covered territory to be sure but important nevertheless. In the meantime, I’m still on something of a news hiatus. So I am coming to this a little belatedly. Apparently, Niall Ferguson, a professor dude who writes about money, wrote an […]