I think there’s an enormous over-emphasis on natural talent. In my work, programming, there’s often a perception that people who started early in life (say, 12 years old) have a huge, insurmountable advantage over people who start later in life. In the art world, this is even more pronounced. Mozart, whose main quality is his age. Picasso, who must have had an innate ability to do what he did. The latest viral video of a 12 year old child dancing or singing on youtube.
One thing to note is that we mostly attribute this to artistic qualities. Nobody believes a genius accountant is born that way (if we even accept an accountant having a positive quality). There are no natural born politicians, firefighters or beekeepers. But there are natural born police, sculptor, musicians, liars…
Who decides this s***?
One of the most interesting things I’ve ever heard stressed the importance of deliberate practice. And deliberate is a very important word is this. To not just cruise by on auto-pilot, but to consciously improve weak points, and to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone. To not lash on to convenient excuses, and just put our feet on Terra Incognita. To keep at it for a significant time, just as the first things we found comfort with (and probably identify with). To not be afraid to be an amateur, even if we are a professional at something else. To judge ourselves, without any fear of finding ourselves lacking. To not be complacent.
It’s certain there are some people who had a born-with advantage. Daniel Johnston, who innovated without being part of the music scene. Leonardo da Vinci, who was so far ahead that he had to be alone. Gaudi, who carved out such a unique space, he had to work on his own. But all of them learned how to wield that talent through practice. Perhaps 10000 hours worth.
Mine is pretty simple. I want to wear a tie, sit behind an empty desk, and bullshit into a camera. Some guests would be nice. Probably would call it comedy, as a cover. And yes, I miss Jon Stewart.
This years World Press Photo has been announced. It’s a very angry man, who has just murdered someone he has never met before, and has never interacted with. His face, even after the act, is a mask of pure hate. It’s not an easy photo to look at. Most of the good qualities of standard photography that apply (eg composition, framing) are incidental, or tangential.
And it does seem there’s a lot of naked hate out there. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that before as such a diverse and global scale. Hate against refugees. Hate against “the west”. Hate against republicans. Hate against democrats. Hate against the extreme right. Hate against the right. Hate against the left.
It’s a fitting photo.
I recently learned that you can append ” mw” to any google search, and a lookup of that word in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. I’ve been looking up some words that I’ve learned through context only. Sometimes it’s actually quite surprising to see the precise definition, as it’s often a lot wider then I thought. Here’s the first load:
vulgar odious legitimize betrayal lgbtq queer sapiosexual cavalier embrace bigotry pugnacious grandee “ape drunk” “lion drunk” firebrand mandate bellicose chutzpah sclerotic deplane svengali lucent lexicon
Now, you might be assuming that I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at a dumpster fire. And you might be right.
In the context, and with tone it was uttered, it was utterly disgusting in it’s dishonesty and intent. Surrounded by so much verbal sewage.
But it’s still a great phrase. I think (and hope) a lot of writers are kicking themselves of not coining it before. Hunter Thompson would have killed to have it this in the Nixon years. Here’s the context that phrase works best. Imagine the college textbook typesetting, and a comforting distance of decades.
2017- 2021 : American Carnage
After the Obama years, the contentious election of etc,etc…
This week might have been the largest fart in quite a while. Even though it came from a wind-bag, and is gag-reflex inducing, it’s quite harmless. And funny in the most toxicly crude way. Let’s hope we can open enough windows before we start lighting matches.
My first American election I remember/followed is the reelection of Bush Jr. It started with a lot of doubts on the legitimacy of the election. It gave us “pre-emptive strike”, warfare justified on lies, and Guantanamo bay. He was the vehicle for nihilism to project itself on the world.
This is the baseline. Things seem very fucked to the baseline. I wish I could have a beer with him now. Seems like an amiable guy. That’s how fucked we are.
Finally, we have enough time to take care of the basics again.
We can stop shaving with those disposable razors, and do it right.
We can stop buying these ready made meals, broths, and marinades. It’s time to make our own.
We can make our own clothes, we can make our own wallets, belts and buckles.
We can throw away our smartphones, and focus on the here and now.
We can go and live in the country, away from the radio waves
Make cheese and honey
And a fireplace instead of LED
We’ll be an autonomous collective
who don’t vote for a king
“Patriotism is often an arbitrary veneration of real estate above principles.”
George Jean Nathan.
As we saw before, colour can be hard to call out. The colour was a dark version of “plum jam”. I only figured this out by comparing the image with the Pantone catalogue. Because, once you start to look into it, colour is a total confusion. The colour I gave you for my hoodie doesn’t look like the colour I see right now. This is due to the environment lighting, and probably due to a lot of factors between my eyeball and my brain. For you, it’s worse, as we’ll have to account for the difference in monitors. What is emitted by my monitor is certainly different then what is emitted by your monitor. There are a lot of reasons for that.
A major one is calibration. Some shops will increase the contrast and saturation of their displays to punch up the visual “impact” of their demo units. This carries over to the units they ship. Your TV is very likely not configured to show colour as intended, but it is configured to show a lot of vibrancy and contrast. That sells.
There are other reasons as well. But that is to be continued…