I’ve had a tiny amount of bluefin tuna in my life, and it was absolutely exquisite. At the time, I was conflicted about it, because they are so overfished, but if anything, the experience made me even more concerned about its preservation.
What’s remarkable is that Japan lead the opposition to the ban, even though by overfishing bluefin, they’re engaged in a sort of minor cultural suicide. No one will lose out more than the Japanese if bluefin are no longer available.
I’m obviously flattered that Go is the game of the highbrow, according to a 1949 issue of Life magazine, but having played both, I wouldn’t say it’s a more highbrow game than bridge. I like it better, but I wouldn’t say it’s a better game than bridge.
Even more confusing, Go’s footprint in the US was extremely small in 1949. Not even many highbrow individuals would have played it, even if they’d heard of it.
You know that Munday is Sundayes brother
Tuesday is such another
Wednesday you must go to Church and pray
Thursday is half-holiday
On Friday it is too late to begin to spin
The Saturday is half-holiday agen.
That’s by Merlin Mann some moralist, writing in 1639, which I found in “Time, Work-Discipline and Industrial Capitalism,” the E.P. Thompson paper that Julian recommended. Thompson soon offers as an aside:
The work pattern was one of alternate bouts of intense labour and of idleness, wherever men were in control of their own working lives. (The pattern persists among some self-employed — artists, writers, small farmers, and perhaps also with students — today, and provokes the question whether it is not a “natural” human work-rhythm.)
I am so glad to hear that.
This 1991 Atlantic Monthly article “Waiting For The Weekend” by Witold Rybczynski is interesting throughout, even if it doesn’t fully substantiate its most ambitious claims. It’s worth reading if just for the depiction of work culture before and after the Industrial Revolution, which is quite fascinating. I’d known that drunkenness on the job was common before the Industrial Revolution and remained a problem throughout it, but I’d never heard of Saint Monday, for instance.
I found the article via the Atlantic’s new ideas blog, which is being written by Conor Friedersdorf–more about which later.
Update: In a comment to this post, my friend Julian suggests a very nice piece of academic history on changing conceptions of time and work for those who want to read more.
Posted in Culture
Tagged Leisure, Work
David Lynch’s Twin Peaks takes a sharp turn for the worse once the killer is caught. It takes that turn fast–perhaps instantaneously. Can’t tell you if it improves again because we stopped watching episodes months ago. It is absolutely brilliant up until that point.
Posted in Culture
Tagged David Lynch
But a correction seems to be in order. Zadie Smith didn’t actually issue a mea culpa in response to James Wood’s essay “Human All Too Inhuman,” though she surely had read that essay many times, but rather to Wood’s “Tell me how does it feel?” That particular article was written shortly after September 11th, and shares in the characteristic fatuousness of essays reacting to that event. I find that fact rather ironic, given Wood’s apparent bugaboos (is September 11th that important to literature, or isn’t it, Mr. Wood?)–not that I’ve read anything of his beyond the two articles linked above. Nor have I read any of the books he criticizes, except the ur-document, Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow.
More on why references to September 11th bother me more than usual tonight will follow.
I just bought Tha Carter III from Amazon. I feel an obligation to temper my filesharing with the habitual infusion of cash into the recording industry, but on this occasion, I was struck by the convenience of using amazon†. Tha Carter III is sixteen songs, and Lil Wayne is such a prolific artist that tracking down a good copy of the CD on Soulseek would have been a pain in the ass. This way, I get the album with one search and one click, and I don’t have to worry about the ID3 tags being wrong, so iTunes and my iPod will properly recognize the music. I suspect that as people move up their lifetime income curve, these sorts of considerations become more and more important, and you’ll see them buying a larger proportion of their music. That’s part of the reason that I’m relatively unconcerned about the impact of file-sharing on the music business.
† I suppose for full consistency, I should be supporting a smaller act, but see the following point about convenince. Also, Amazon sells the album for $3 less than iTunes, which can’t be good for iTunes in the long run.
On the occasion of Midnight’s Children winning the “Best of the Booker” prize, the BBC had the cute idea of soliciting 67 word précises of the 672 page work. The stated goal is to help those who haven’t read the book appear more erudite. I read the book three years ago, and I doubt I could assemble a coherent précis of any length whatsoever. I adored it, but it washed over me without leaving traces in my memory. I think if I met someone who had any clear recollection of the book, I’d suspect that he had merely read the Cliff’s Notes.
Perhaps this is just another manifestation of the fact that I am a terrible reader.
This story, about a FTM transsexual who gave birth, is really fascinating. It says something important about gender that a person who identifies as a man would want to give birth. This is the first time I’ve heard of a transman giving birth–I wonder if it will remain equally rare in the future, or if a general softening of gender norms will make a regular, albeit uncommon, occurence.