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Jewish Metal is something that has always been a part of me. The first album I ever bought was Twisted Sister’s Stay Hungry, a schmaltzy collection of hard rock from one of Long Island’s many amazing (and partially-Jewish) bands. From the moment I was aware of music, Metal has been my calling… Metal was the theme of my Bar Mitzvah (Metallica was the dais). I had, and still keep, a running list of every prominent Jewish metal musician. But outside of knowing how much influence Jews have had on Metal, there really weren’t any examples of truly “Jewish” Metal. Not that I would want to hear a Jewish Stryper, but none of the melodies have reflected the traditional music we all grew up with. Considering the wonderful intensity of the harmonic minor scale why have American Jews relied so heavily on Western European melodies and the Blues when writing Metal? It would be easy to write 1,000 words about the commercial, cultural, or political reasons, but what about the artistic reasons? –“Hanukkah Gone Metal: How I Drew a Straight Line from Iron Maiden to the Shtetl,” Seth Diamond, Jewcy
Around 490 BCE, Hermodorus, an Ephesian, undertook to refute Heraclitus’s claim that “everything changes and nothing remains still” by writing a History of Death, in which “only those things that have ceased to change” would be recorded. Neanthes of Cyzicus says that Hermodorus had written the first book of his History when he died of a seizure. And Neanthes, says Athenaeus in his Deipnosophistae, had just managed to record the fact of Hermodorus’s death in his Annals when he himself fell ill and died. Georg Kaibel, who prepared the Teubner edition of the Deipnosophistae, makes the joking suggestion that the History might have done Athenaeus in also, inasmuch as he (Athenaeus) was trampled by a horse not long after the fifteenth and final volume of his great work was completed. As for Kaibel, the Neue Deutsche Biographie says that he died of stomach cancer, but Schulze, in his B. G. Teubner, remarks, “Teubner was much moved by the death of Kaibel, who fell to the floor one day in his office, still holding the last pages of a manuscript he had come to deliver.”–“The History of the History of Death,” Paul La Farge, Conjunctions
The dumbest things–hopefully–you will read all day: Ferran Adria, owner of fancy restaurant El Bulli: “We have turned eating into an experience that supersedes eating”; Sandra Tsing Loh hoping you’ll like her if she says she is bad: “I am truly bad, in a 1970s way—that decade when women really were bad!”; Jennifer Rubin on why Obama is no Bush: “Bush was decisive in turning around a failing war strategy, presided over a robust relationship with Israel, got along swimmingly with the Eastern Europeans, and spoke passionately about human rights— so the chance of Obama’s being confused with Bush isn’t great, right?”
The television commercial for the wildly successful Xbox 360 video game Gears of War (2006)– which has, so far, sold more than five million copies– opens with an image of a war-torn cityscape silently smouldering; it radiates as much sinister Gothic pathos as a Tim Burton film. As a view of this digitally-rendered war zone unfolds, a hunched, metal-clad Übermensch appears. He stares dolefully into a pool of water, alone, apparently, in the aftermath of a great battle, his square jaw, weathered skin and narrowed eyes oozing the stoic resolve of the most iconic anti-hero. As this sensitive brute cradles the semi-obliterated face of a porcelain putto in his palm– a passage so heavy-handed it is almost camp– the ground around him begins to erupt and, in an effort to escape, the commando flees quite literally into the jaws of a ravenous alien beast; part scorpion, part beetle and wholly flight-of-fancy. The commercial fades to black just as our nameless hero unleashes a hail of bullets upon this seemingly unassailable monster, the drama of this David-and-Goliath encounter emphasized by a moody tenebrism worthy of Georges de La Tour. –“Mad World,” Christopher Bedford and Jennifer Wulfson, Frieze
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”