Among my growing collection of Australian-hosted cultural review podcasts, about which more anon, is actor Angourie Rice’s venture The Community Library. Rice is quite young to have been steadily producing a solo podcast for four years, and is also quite busily famous, so the continued sincerity and thoughtfulness of her self-driven work is something I find an interesting rarity. I was moved to link to it in particular by an archival episode from the depths of 2021, dissecting a poor-faith argument tactic that has long irritated me for reasons I couldn’t quite articulate. But Rice articulates them well, and now I have an easy reference for when I want to counter that kind of circular justification myself.
“It’ll be no surprise that modern translations can give a slanted impression of ancient texts.”
“The Gros Michel was sweeter, creamier, and didn’t bruise as easily as the Cavendish. And the individual peel was… more slippery.“
“Are you standing athwart history, yelling ‘stop?'”
“I use many different kinds of wood for spoons, but my favorite kind of wood is free.”
It is impossible to disentangle what I want to put here from twitter even though twitter isn’t really what this is about.
“Feel free to adopt the sceptical raised eyebrow, but keep an open mind behind it. When a sceptic becomes a cynic it turns them sour.”
“I would argue that it isn’t technology that is at the root of our anemoia.”
“I believe soon the answer to the question “Can a computer write poetry?” will be “yes, of course,” for most casual observers. I’m going to take this assertion one step further and make a stronger claim: in fact, the only thing computers can write is poetry.”
“Quite a few composers have had their scores rejected by dissatisfied directors… it’s a recognized risk of the profession. A few films do exist with entirely different scores, almost always as a result of release in different countries. Until now, however, I’d never come across a film that exists with three different scores.“
The NFD Annual Blog Post of the Year Award 2022
If you’ve been heeding my exhortations then you have long since already subscribed to The Roof is on Phire and no doubt caught this months ago, when it went up. But I’ve been trying to figure out how to do something more emphatic than simply quote from “labour of love” ever since I read it (and read it again), so here it is: the extremely legitimate and hallowed NFDABPOTYA for this very long year, presented to my friend Jenny, for extraordinary work.
“Loving this planet enough to fight against the man-made systems that harm us all, instead of retreating, is the hardest work there is.”
I have felt stuck about writing here for a while, and there has been a death in my family that I will need to write more about when the words come to me. But right now I just want to talk more about blogs. One of the most exciting things that has come to my awareness recently is Phil Gyford’s ooh.directory of blogs and its RSS feed of newly added URLs. I don’t know if Mr. Gyford’s manual review and curation of these things is sustainable in the indefinite, but what a great idea! It seems to me like social media and SEO supremacy have rendered personal blog discoverability broken, but one need not fix the entire internet to build a little free library in one’s front yard.
By way of that directory, I have found a new source of dailyish poems, Janette Haruguchi’s ongoing explication of sashiko stitching, Bartosz Ciechanowski’s extraordinary interactive physics lessons, Jani Patokallio’s quest to find food from every Chinese province, special administrative region and contested island—in Singapore, and Bloom, a journal devoted to authors whose first major work was published when they were age 40 or older. And Eric Idle’s book reviews! A fan blog that’s just for Peanuts! Librarians dunking on books that need to go! And the directory is still so new. I suspect there are many more entries to come after the holidays.
Lucy linked, last month, to Dave Rupert’s suggestion to be a carpenter this time, and I’ve been turning it over in my mind ever since. I don’t know any real carpentry, though I’d be glad to have the space and time to learn. But the tools I do know can still make good things at the scale of individual humans, and that’s delightful to see, after a long time when I didn’t know where to look.
“There’s a Chinese phrase for when you lose money on something that translates to ‘paying school fees.’ I’ve paid a lot of school fees, and I don’t consider any of it wasted money. Even through the mistakes, I’ve learned a lot.”
“It’s certainly a beautiful film to LOOK at.”
So you were really hoping to wrap up your weekend reading five thousand words about a movie you haven’t seen and literally can’t watch anywhere online even if you pay for it, right?
I had to go searching for a third quote just so I could legally post the first two
“Websites are not similar to telephones. They are not even similar to books or magazines. They are street corners, they are billboards, they are parks, they are shopping malls, they are spaces where people congregate.”—Ryan Broderick
“It now feels like we live in a cyberspace dominated by skyscrapers instead of neighborhoods.”—Jody Serrano
“I used to see my job as teaching students, hey, the Internet might seem great, but it has all these sort of hidden power dynamics that are troubling, and we should learn about those. And now my job is very different. Now my job is to show students that it wasn’t always this way online, and that means it could also be different in the future.”—Jessa Lingel