Pretense, Thoreau, Purity, Pop


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Stop Pretending Donald Trump Is Running For President

Albert Burneko | Concourse | 6th August 2015

"He is pretending to campaign for president, and the political press has agreed to pretend to believe him for a little while. It’s cynical and farcical and boring and stupid and insulting to ... [counts on fingers] ... yep, pretty much everyone except Donald Trump." In truth, his candidacy is "a gross professional famous person’s branding ploy" and current polls only "an indictment of the practice of polling voters a year before the election" (1,660 words)

The Terror And The Tedium Of Living Like Thoreau

Diana Saverin | Atlantic | 9th September 2015

Refreshingly honest tale of going to the woods to "live deliberately." It isn't all breezes, light and transcendent experiences; more mosquitos, stalking birds and protective bears. Terror, euphoria, and tedium. "Deliberate living wasn’t coming easily." Hours are harder to define than lives: "I’ll be a writer! An astronaut! A world traveler! It’s harder to make yourself into a noun in the span of a day. Days are about verbs" (3,980 words)

I Found Purity’s First Honest Paragraph, On Page 66

Albert Burneko | Concourse | 15th September 2015

Argues that, in Purity, Jonathan Franzen is largely writing about things he doesn't understand. “That a one-paragraph description of weather patterns would highlight the falseness of thousands of words of narration and dialog and story; that the effect would be strong enough to clue a reader into its origins in the author’s actual life; that this is how you experience this Major Literary Event Novel? It’s fucking depressing" (2,110 words)

China VCs Are Going Crazy For Girl Groups

Alexandra Ho | Bloomberg Business | 17th September 2015

Top Chinese girl group SNH48 is essentially a startup backed by venture capitalists and "valued at several hundred million dollars." The 119 members are "split into smaller teams, which are rotated in live performances at the band’s 340-seat Shanghai theater, for about seven shows a week." New recruits endure a rigorous training camp for "singing, dancing, and show-hosting." Fans vote for favourites and help determine salaries (1,070 words)

Hit Charade

Nathaniel Rich | Atlantic | 18th September 2015

Only "a handful of people, a crazily high percentage of them middle-aged Scandinavian men, write most of America’s pop hits," because "too much is on the line" for pop stars to do it themselves: "it would be like Will Smith writing the next Independence Day." "The performers are called artists," though they are not, while the hit-writers "remain largely anonymous" (2,230 words)

Video of the day: Ohayo by Satoshi Kon

What to expect: The dissociated feeling of waking up (1'01")

Thought for the day

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place
George Bernard Shaw

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