January 28, 2010
posted by caroline picard
This article was published in the NY Times. You can read it in its entirety by going here.
J. D. Salinger, Literary Recluse, Dies at 91
J. D. Salinger, who was thought at one time to be the most important American writer to emerge since World War II but who then turned his back on success and adulation, becoming the Garbo of letters, famous for not wanting to be famous, died Wednesday at his home in Cornish, N.H., where he had lived in seclusion for more than 50 years. He was 91.
Mr. Salinger’s literary representative, Harold Ober Associates, announced the death, saying it was of natural causes. “Despite having broken his hip in May,” the agency said, “his health had been excellent until a rather sudden decline after the new year. He was not in any pain before or at the time of his death.”
Mr. Salinger’s literary reputation rests on a slender but enormously influential body of published work: the novel “The Catcher in the Rye,” the collection “Nine Stories” and two compilations, each with two long stories about the fictional Glass family: “Franny and Zooey” and “Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction.”
“Catcher” was published in 1951, and its very first sentence, distantly echoing Mark Twain, struck a brash new note in American literature: “If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.”
September 28, 2009
posted by Caroline Picard
The New York Times published an interesting article about Jung–It’s funny because the article begins like a Dan Brown novel and yet…
The Holy Grail of the Unconscious
This is a story about a nearly 100-year-old book, bound in red leather, which has spent the last quarter century secreted away in a bank vault in Switzerland. The book is big and heavy and its spine is etched with gold letters that say “Liber Novus,” which is Latin for “New Book.” Its pages are made from thick cream-colored parchment and filled with paintings of otherworldly creatures and handwritten dialogues with gods and devils. If you didn’t know the book’s vintage, you might confuse it for a lost medieval tome
And yet between the book’s heavy covers, a very modern story unfolds. It goes as follows: Man skids into midlife and loses his soul. Man goes looking for soul. After a lot of instructive hardship and adventure — taking place entirely in his head — he finds it again.
Some people feel that nobody should read the book, and some feel that everybody should read it. The truth is, nobody really knows. Most of what has been said about the book — what it is, what it means — is the product of guesswork, because from the time it was begun in 1914 in a smallish town in Switzerland, it seems that only about two dozen people have managed to read or even have much of a look at it.
Of those who did see it, at least one person, an educated Englishwoman who was allowed to read some of the book in the 1920s, thought it held infinite wisdom — “There are people in my country who would read it from cover to cover without stopping to breathe scarcely,” she wrote — while another, a well-known literary type who glimpsed it shortly after, deemed it both fascinating and worrisome, concluding that it was the work of a psychotic.
So for the better part of the past century, despite the fact that it is thought to be the pivotal work of one of the era’s great thinkers, the book has existed mostly just as a rumor, cosseted behind the skeins of its own legend — revered and puzzled over only from a great distance.
Which is why one rainy November night in 2007, I boarded a flight in Boston and rode the clouds until I woke up in Zurich, pulling up to the airport gate at about the same hour that the main branch of the Union Bank of Switzerland, located on the city’s swanky Bahnhofstrasse, across from Tommy Hilfiger and close to Cartier, was opening its doors for the day. A change was under way: the book, which had spent the past 23 years locked inside a safe deposit box in one of the bank’s underground vaults, was just then being wrapped in black cloth and loaded into a discreet-looking padded suitcase on wheels. It was then rolled past the guards, out into the sunlight and clear, cold air, where it was loaded into a waiting car and whisked away.
THIS COULD SOUND, I realize, like the start of a spy novel or a Hollywood bank caper, but it is rather a story about genius and madness, as well as possession and obsession, with one object — this old, unusual book — skating among those things. Also, there are a lot of Jungians involved, a species of thinkers who subscribe to the theories of Carl Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist and author of the big red leather book. And Jungians, almost by definition, tend to get enthused anytime something previously hidden reveals itself, when whatever’s been underground finally makes it to the surface.
May 21, 2009
posted by Caroline Picard
About a year ago, we released a publication called “Paper & Carriage” to which Mattathias Schwartz contributed. Recently he was featured on Chicago Public Radio for a piece he wrote for the New York Times Magazine about web trolls. Aside from recent accolades, Schwartz started The Philadelphia Independent–a publication that has since folded and is worth remembering.
The Trolls Among Us
by Mattathias Schwartz
pub. New York Times, Aug. 3rd 2008
One afternoon in the spring of 2006, for reasons unknown to those who knew him, Mitchell Henderson, a seventh grader from Rochester, Minn., took a .22-caliber rifle down from a shelf in his parents’ bedroom closet and shot himself in the head. The next morning, Mitchell’s school assembled in the gym to begin mourning. His classmates created a virtual memorial on MySpace and garlanded it with remembrances. One wrote that Mitchell was “an hero to take that shot, to leave us all behind. God do we wish we could take it back. . . . ” Someone e-mailed a clipping of Mitchell’s newspaper obituary to MyDeathSpace.com, a Web site that links to the MySpace pages of the dead. From MyDeathSpace, Mitchell’s page came to the attention of an Internet message board known as /b/ and the “trolls,” as they have come to be called, who dwell there.
/b/ is the designated “random” board of 4chan.org, a group of message boards that draws more than 200 million page views a month. A post consists of an image and a few lines of text. Almost everyone posts as “anonymous.” In effect, this makes /b/ a panopticon in reverse — nobody can see anybody, and everybody can claim to speak from the center. The anonymous denizens of 4chan’s other boards — devoted to travel, fitness and several genres of pornography — refer to the /b/-dwellers as “/b/tards.”
Measured in terms of depravity, insularity and traffic-driven turnover, the culture of /b/ has little precedent. /b/ reads like the inside of a high-school bathroom stall, or an obscene telephone party line, or a blog with no posts and all comments filled with slang that you are too old to understand.
Something about Mitchell Henderson struck the denizens of /b/ as funny. They were especially amused by a reference on his MySpace page to a lost iPod. Mitchell Henderson, /b/ decided, had killed himself over a lost iPod. The “an hero” meme was born. Within hours, the anonymous multitudes were wrapping the tragedy of Mitchell’s death in absurdity.
Someone hacked Henderson’s MySpace page and gave him the face of a zombie. Someone placed an iPod on Henderson’s grave, took a picture and posted it to /b/. Henderson’s face was appended to dancing iPods, spinning iPods, hardcore porn scenes. A dramatic re-enactment of Henderson’s demise appeared on YouTube, complete with shattered iPod. The phone began ringing at Mitchell’s parents’ home. “It sounded like kids,” remembers Mitchell’s father, Mark Henderson, a 44-year-old I.T. executive. “They’d say, ‘Hi, this is Mitchell, I’m at the cemetery.’ ‘Hi, I’ve got Mitchell’s iPod.’ ‘Hi, I’m Mitchell’s ghost, the front door is locked. Can you come down and let me in?’ ” He sighed. “It really got to my wife.” The calls continued for a year and a half.
In the late 1980s, Internet users adopted the word “troll” to denote someone who intentionally disrupts online communities. Early trolling was relatively innocuous, taking place inside of small, single-topic Usenet groups. The trolls employed what the M.I.T. professor Judith Donath calls a “pseudo-naïve” tactic, asking stupid questions and seeing who would rise to the bait. The game was to find out who would see through this stereotypical newbie behavior, and who would fall for it. As one guide to trolldom puts it, “If you don’t fall for the joke, you get to be in on it.”
you can read the rest of this article by going here.
Or to listen to the interview:
Merry Young Trolls (On The Media: Friday, 08 May 2009)
Mon, 11 May 2009 20:34 GMT Author: firstname.lastname@example.org (WNYC, New York Public Radio)
On Wednesday, Time Magazine threw a party for the world?s most influential people. One attendee was Christopher Poole, founder of the website 4chan. What set Poole apart from the guests was his mode of entry: he hacked his way in. Mattathias Schwartz has written about Poole and 4chan’s dark culture.
go to this website.
January 17, 2009
discovered and forwarded by moshe zvi marvit; this article was posted by caroline picard. published originally by the new york times, you can see the article in its original context here.
Art Hoax Unites Europe in
LONDON — Why didn’t anyone realize right away that there was something seriously weird about the new piece of art in Brussels?
The piece, an enormous mosaic installed in the European Council building over the weekend, was meant to symbolize the glory of a unified Europe by reflecting something special about each country in the European Union.
But wait. Here is Bulgaria, represented as a series of crude, hole-in-the-floor toilets. Here is the Netherlands, subsumed by floods, with only a few minarets peeping out from the water. Luxembourg is depicted as a tiny lump of gold marked by a “for sale” sign, while five Lithuanian soldiers are apparently urinating on Russia.
France? On strike.
The 172-square-foot, eight-ton installation, titled “Entropa,” consists of a sort of puzzle formed by the geographical shapes of European countries. It was proudly commissioned by the Czech Republic to mark the start of its six-month presidency of the European Union. But the Czechs made the mistake of hiring the artist David Cerny to put together the project.
Mr. Cerny is notorious for thumbing his nose at the establishment. He was arrested in 1991 for painting a tank, a Soviet war memorial in a Prague square, bright pink.
In the case of “Entropa,” Mr. Cerny presented the piece as the work of 27 artists, one from each country. But it was all a huge hoax.
After being challenged by reporters this week, Mr. Cerny admitted that he and two of his friends constructed the whole thing themselves, making up the names of artists, giving some of them Web sites and writing pretentious, absurd statements to go with their supposed contributions.
For example, next to the piece for Italy — depicted as a huge soccer field with little soccer players on it — it says, “It appears to be an autoerotic system of sensational spectacle with no climax in sight.”
The fake British entry, a kit of Europe in which the piece representing Britain has been taken out, says, “This improvement of exactness means that its individual selective sieve can cover the so-called objective sieve.”
Before the hoax was discovered, the Czech deputy prime minister, Alexandr Vondra, said “Entropa” — whose name alone should perhaps have been a sign that all was not as it seemed — epitomized the motto for the Czech presidency in Europe, “A Europe Without Borders.”
“Sculpture, and art more generally, can speak where words fail,” he said in a statement on Monday. “I am confident in Europe’s open mind and capacity to appreciate such a project.”
But he does not feel that way now.
“An agreement of the office of the government with the artist clearly stated that this would be the common work of artists from 27 E.U. states,” he said. “The full responsibility for violating this assignment and this promise lays with David Cerny.”
On its Web site, the Czech government said that it was “unpleasantly surprised” to learn the truth behind the mosaic.
The work has undoubtedly upset other people, too. The Germans are probably not too thrilled that their country is represented as a series of highways that, looked at a certain way, possibly bring to mind a swastika. Spain has to settle with being a huge construction site, while Romania is shown as a Dracula-themed amusement park.
According to the Czech News Agency, the Bulgarian government — the one whose country is shown as a bunch of toilets — summoned the Czech ambassador in Sofia to lodge an official protest. Meanwhile, the Bulgarian permanent representative to the European Union was quoted as saying: “It is preposterous, a disgrace. It is a humiliation for the Bulgarian nation and an offense to our national dignity.”
The Czechs have said that they are not sure what steps they will take before the official unveiling, scheduled for Thursday.
As for Mr. Cerny, on his Web site he said, “We knew the truth would come out.”
He added, “But before that we wanted to find out if Europe is able to laugh at itself.”
November 12, 2008
posted by Caroline Picard
The Iraq War is over, according to the fake New York Times! This morning a cadre of volunteers has fanned out across New York City to pass out a remarkably good, faux-copy of the Times dated July 4, 2009. They’ve even set up an entire website with all of the liberal fantasy headlines. Universities to be free! Bike paths to be expanded! Thomas Friedman to resign, praise the Unitarian Jesus! It’s not funny like The Onion, but obviously a lot of work went into this. Now we play “Who did it?” We already know!:
read more about this here.
and even here.
you can also see a video about it on vimeo here.