Tuesday, December 22, 2009 2:59 PM
This month, a British sculptor smashed the front window of a gallery with a metal pole and called it art. The artist, Kevin Harman, had warned the gallery of his imminent attack—though he refused to specify the time—and he immediately paid £350 to have the window replaced. But that wasn’t good enough for the gallery’s owners, who pressed charges against Harman. The artist was fined another £200 for breaching the peace. One of Harman’s colleagues, Michael Sandle, disagreed with the gallery’s decision, telling the Guardian, “They should have shaken his hand and bought him a drink.”
Source (with video!):
Wednesday, July 22, 2009 3:19 PM
Purity rings and virginity pledges are getting an upgrade. For only 99 cents, iPhone users can download a virtual purity ring, complete with a virginity pledge in which users vow to “not engage in sexual activity of any kind before marriage,” and “keep my thought and my body pure as a very special present for the one I marry.” (You can listen to that pledge below.) The application displays a silver ring on iPhones that theoretically proves the user’s commitment to abstinence.
The company behind the virtual purity ring, Island Wall Entertainment, chose the following keywords to entice people into buying the app: “The Jonas Brothers, Chastity, Miley Cyrus, Billy Grahm, Barack Obama, Bible, God, Jesus, Sex, Naked, Woman,” and “pocket.” The company also makes an application that helps disoriented users find their tents during music festivals.
One espoused benefit the virtual ring is that it saves money, Island Wall Entertainment director Henry Bennett told the Guardian. According to Bennett, “If you wanted to buy a purity ring, you could spend as much as £100.” When asked if the virtual nature would lead young girls to forget about their pledge, Bennett responded, “If you've taken the pledge, you're likely to follow it through.”
Not everyone agrees that the application will be so effective. Jessica Valenti of the blog Feministing writes that the purity pledge won’t really promote chastity, but it could promote “oral, anal, and unprotected sex.”
To hear the pledge, click on the links below:
Men’s Purity Pledge
Women’s Purity Pledge
Sources: The Guardian, Feministing
Thursday, August 07, 2008 2:36 PM
It’s a “vintage year for writerly U.S. bands,” reports the Guardian. Festival season is in full swing in the United Kingdom, where “a slew of witty, hyper-literate American groups [are providing] a much-needed corrective to Britain’s indie malaise.”
Citing acts such as Vampire Weekend, the Hold Steady, the Mountain Goats, Fleet Foxes, and the poet-fronted Silver Jews, music writer Ally Carnwath concedes they don't represent a homogenous bookish scene. In their work, however, Carnwath recognizes a shared “sense of lyrical ambition and adventure,” and the writerly bent is coalescing into a golden moment for literary bands. Carnwath talks to n+1 co-editor Benjamin Kunkel, who points out that these days, rock ’n’ roll is a genre with lifelong appeal—not just for youthful rebels—which puts “new pressure on lyrics to be meaningful and intelligent.”
Wednesday, July 23, 2008 1:33 PM
John Crace is sort-of like CliffsNotes—except cheeky, erudite, and with a nice accent. In his column for the Guardian, The Digested Read, the British journalist condenses contemporary books into pithy 700-word stories. Sometimes satirical, always spot-on, Crace’s abridgements often reveal as much as traditional reviews. Compare his take on the latest Bond novel, Devil May Care, with the New York Times appraisal. Same message, disparate delivery.
Lately, Crace has made a couple of appealing changes. First, he’s started doing an audio version of select columns. Then, around the same time he commenced podcasting, Crace began condensing the occasional classic, such as Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.
The digested classics are a kick, in column or podcast format, because they offer readers and listeners a chance to compare (perhaps foggy) recollections of a text with the freshly condensed version. Even if you haven’t read Heart of Darkness for decades, Crace’s digested version sings with familiar phrases and nimbly selected scenes: the memorable bits that lodged in your brain even as the rest faded away. Identifying those bits, that’s where a good excerpt begins.
Crace’s column is weekly, and the podcasts show up intermittently. The most recent content, just posted today, is a reading of the digested Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez. The column version ran this past weekend.
Image by wmshc_kiwi, licensed under Creative Commons.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007 2:02 PM
The struggle to stop global warming has suffered a major setback. Again. But this time it's the Brits' fault. The UK government, which had previously set ambitious plans to cut its reliance on nonrenewable energy, is already scheming to wriggle out of its commitment in the next couple of days. From the Guardian:
Leaked documents seen by the Guardian show that [prime minister] Gordon Brown will be advised today that the target Tony Blair signed up to this year for 20 percent of all European energy to come from renewable sources by 2020 is expensive and faces "severe practical difficulties."
The news doesn't bode well for the worldwide environmental movement. If a country whose people clearly support environmentally friendly policies can't get its act together to switch to renewable energy, then the United States, China, and other massive polluters with powerful contingents that don't even believe in global warming are just that much less likely to green up. —Brendan Mackie
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