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End Zone isn’t really a book about football or a book about warfare or a book about football as metaphor for warfare. It isn’t even a book about the cliché of football as metaphor for warfare. It’s a book about cliché, about metaphor. About aboutness. It’s a book about the words that exist beyond speech, about the sinister beauty that arrives when words escape their meaning. End Zone is a book about the secret practices hidden from sight within the world of Logos. It’s about the substitutes we need, not in spite of but because of the fact that we have the real thing. It’s about the game we all play at one time or another where we pretend that our finger is a gun. –“On Don Delillo’s End Zone“ by editor Christopher R. Beha, in Tin House
Horrible or wonderful: Devo’s focus-grouped comeback album;
related: how much does it cost to buy a pot for the world’s most expensive flowers?;
The first recorded use of the word revenge occurred in 1375, and porn came into common parlance in 1962, as shorthand for pornography. But the combination of the words is very much of the moment. Indeed, revenge porn popped up on Urban Dictionary as recently as October 2007, defined as “homemade porn uploaded by an ex-girlfriend or (usually) ex-boyfriend after particularly vicious breakup as a means of humiliating the ex.” While the act can lead to criminal charges, there’s some debate over whether revenge porn, per se, ought to be codified as a crime. What’s clear, however, is that it is part of the digital-age Zeitgeist. The ease of recording and transmitting sexually explicit images, the rise of Internet exhibitionism, and the ubiquity of a Girls Gone Wild mentality have created the contemporary version of writing “Jenny gives good head” on the bathroom wall. –“Revenge Porn,” Richard Morgan, Details
If advertising is indeed a powerful medium for truth-telling, then so what, right? Watch Mary Wells, founder of Wells Rich Greene and one of the most successful and influential ad executives of the 1960s and 1970s, explain how she helped Braniff Airlines make air travel hip and fashionable by convincing the company to paint its planes, redecorate their interiors, and clothe its stewardesses in new uniforms. Watch Tommy Hilfiger explain how, after George Lois devised a campaign that equated the then-unknown designer with Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein, he worked harder than he ever had on his next clothing line to measure up. Great advertising, these anecdotes suggest, isn’t about figuring out clever ways to hide a product’s flaws or tricking us into buying things we don’t really want or need. It’s about showcasing a product’s inherent desirability in ways that resonate, even if that means going back to the drawing board and revising the product itself. Wells’ campaign for Braniff turned a formerly utilitarian part of travel—getting there—into an entertaining experience. The artificial status Lois conferred on Hilfiger inspired him to produce his best-designed clothing yet. Advertising, in short, can make the world better. –“The Visible Persuaders: Advertising as a medium for truth-telling,” Gary Beato, Reason
Estimated acres of forest Henry David Thoreau burned down in 1844 trying to cook fish he had caught for dinner:
The bombardier beetle, which can fire liquid at its enemies from its rear end at up to 300 squirts per second, was being scrutinized in the hope of building a better airplane engine.
London Fire Brigade investigators blamed a building fire in South London on a bird that carried a lit cigarette to its rooftop nest. “Smokers,” said neighborhood baker Richard Scroggs. “What can you say?”
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“American politics has often been an arena for angry minds.”