Books

So Long Internet Privacy, Hello Dystopia

It looks very likely that our internet histories will soon become available to the highest bidder, thanks to House Republicans and ultimately, Donald Trump.

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As corporate interests shape our relationship to privacy, I propose we take a moment to consider the dystopian road this could lead us down.

Brian K. Vaughan’s graphic novel Private Eye envisions a future in which people fiercely guard their personal privacy through public disguises.

The story follows a detective as he works to solve the case of a mysterious murder.

The plot is fast-paced and surprising while still adhering to the film noir genre. My favorite parts involve the protagonist’s grandfather: an aging Millennial who is hard of hearing, fully tatted and video game obsessed.

Illustrator Marcos Martin’s attention to detail is fantastic, which you can see in the selected panels below:

Like I said, film noir

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The variety of disguises is incredible

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Marijuana cigarettes: legal in the future?

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Millennials: the generation with nothing to hide?

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A future where the Press are the Police

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This clamshell iBook from 1999 makes a significant cameo

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If you’re feeling down about the future of privacy and the internet, I recommend visiting your local library. Many librarians are surprisingly dedicated to protecting the privacy of their communities — and as an added bonus, they can probably help you find this book.

 

 

 

 

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Personal

Words I Can’t Get Out of My Head Tonight

“I always give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it.”

–  Alice in Disney’s Alice in Wonderland (1951)

 

“It’s like when you go to read your own poetry; you get all choked up.”

– Audio sample at the beginning of Daniel Johnston’s Story Of An Artist (2006)

 

“You think, ‘I’ll carve a path through New York and be an artist,’ but are you anything?”

– Animal Collective’s Peacebone (2007)

 

 

 

 

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Travel

My First Days at Franklin University Switzerland

When people learn that I went to school in Switzerland, I can’t help but feel a bit snobbish. Perhaps this is because Switzerland connotes fine watches, extravagant ski trips and indulgent chocolate for most. But that’s not why I chose to attend Franklin University Switzerland (then Franklin College Switzerland).

I wanted to travel more than anything, and this American school in the heart of Europe makes experiential learning a part of its curriculum with academic travel. Taking the study abroad experience to the next level, every semester, students participate in a class studying site specific topics culminating in a two-week travel led by their professor.

I was lucky enough to attend Franklin for all four years. That means I participated in eight academic travels!

After reading my friend Kate’s reflection on her time at Franklin, I thought I would share some of my first photographs and impressions of Switzerland and more specifically, Lugano, where the school is located — near the Italian border.

The bus ride from the airport was a blur.

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Lake Lugano and some rowers for scale.

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One of the “regal thieves” Kate mentioned in her blog post: purportedly imported along with palm trees to lend the Paradiso municipality an exotic feel.

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An elderly Swiss man wearing sensible shoes resting on one of the iconic red benches that line the lake.

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During orientation week, student leaders were tasked with keeping all new students awake to prevent debilitating jet lag from setting in. We were required to sign up for various activities and I opted for a walk to nearby Gandria, a quaint quarter of Lugano.

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The view of Lake Lugano from the dock in Gandria.

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Illuminati? In Switzerland, you better believe it.

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Ticino (Ti-chee-no) is the name of the canton, or region, Lugano belongs to.

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Ticino is heavily influenced by bordering Italy. Italian is the primary language spoken there.

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I was enchanted right away. Switzerland is so beautiful it was hard to believe I wasn’t dreaming, and to this day, I’m not entirely sure I was ever there.

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Arts & Culture, Journalistic

From the Archives: “Drowning In This Frank Ocean Do Not Resuscitate”

Published July 19, 2013 for the Reykjavík Grapevine

During Frank Ocean’s Reykjavík show—the final one of his European tour—fans drowned metaphorically in the tides of his music and literally in the sea of people pushing towards the stage. 
It was great.

Swim Good
Before the show, excitement at Laugardalshöllin was palpable. Frank Ocean may not be as well known throughout Iceland as he is in the United States, however those who invested in the sold-out show demonstrated their dedication by staking out spots near the stage long before the concert was set to begin, fiercely guarding their positions.

The overexcited crowd screamed periodically as they mistook sound technicians for The Man Himself. The background music played such R&B classics as Otis Redding’s “Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay,” and some whistled along impatiently while negotiating the rippling waves of the crowd.

A chant of Frank’s name rose up and died down—sounding comically foreign to an American ear. Just as Talking Head’s “Psycho Killer” reached its chorus, the man we were waiting for finally appeared on stage and even the most reserved fan couldn’t help but scream like a little schoolgirl.

Thinkin Bout You
Wearing his signature red and white striped handkerchief headband, Frank Ocean opened the show with a song about travelling all the way from California, befitting the title of his tour, ‘California Live: You’re Not Dead…2013.’

On his Tumblr page, Frank Ocean wrote, “all the travel isn’t in support of an album or anything like that really- past or ahead. there’s no label or touring firm dollars involved. all pennies from my pocket. in support of some odd daydream. ops to photograph crowds and clouds from planes. contrast all the quiet with some noise. new noise and old noise…sober crowd, faaded crowd. all welcome [sic].”

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Illustration by Megan Herbert

 
Super Rich Kids
The demographic largely corresponded to the age group most familiar with Tumblr, a ‘micro-blogging’ website popular among the Millennial Generation that Frank Ocean uses to connect most directly with his fans. There were even some surprisingly young fans in their early teens who were much too short to see the stage from the standing area. A few of their chaperones could even be spotted wandering around.

Many of these youngins were preoccupied with taking pictures and videos of Frank Ocean and themselves with Frank Ocean in the background before and during the concert, presumably to post them to social media as soon as possible. Other fans felt the need to shout the lyrics to each of Frank Ocean’s highly nuanced 
melodies.

The star mostly played the hits from ‘Channel Orange’ but mixed in “Novacane” and “Songs For Women” from ‘nostalgia, ULTRA.’ He also unveiled two new songs from an album in the works, and tested the crowd with a few deep cuts, noting that he would be impressed if they could sing along to “Golden Girl.”

We All Try
Based on the Icelandic scenery Frank Ocean posted his blog we can gather that after travelling to Germany, Sweden, Russia, the Netherlands, France, Norway, Belgium, England, Ireland and Scotland, Frank Ocean was looking forward to ending his tour here in Iceland. Although he added, “i’d tour for a year if it didn’t interrupt my recording or my weekend driving [sic].”

During his last show in Norway, Frank Ocean ended the concert abruptly after only four songs. On Tuesday he once again left the stage after performing a few songs giving many of his fans heart palpitations, however, he returned gleefully with a camera to snap a photograph of the crowd. Afterwards he said, “I probably should have said, ‘say cheese,’ or some shit like that.” And although his concert in Reykjavík lasted just under two hours, he showed no signs of exhaustion or disdain.

He ended the concert with a performance of “Wise Man,” which he said he likes to end each show with because it expresses a “core sentiment” of his. As he left the stage and his fans resurfaced, the statement, “In a dream you saw a way to survive and you were filled with joy” was projected on the backdrop. Some waded towards the stage for an encore, but it was clear that Frank Ocean had finished his tour on the note he wanted to. Until his next album release Frank Ocean’s fans will gasp for his music like fish out of water.

Note: As all photography was prohibited at the concert (which was kind of amusing in light of ALL THOSE FUCKING CELL PHONE CAMS OBSTRUCTING THE VIEW), we sent the wonderful illustrator Megan Herbert to the show so she could document it, courtroom-style. This is her illustration that you’re looking at right now. Pretty good, right?

See more of Megan Herbert’s illustrations

Read more Reykjavík Grapevine

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Arts & Culture

Ready for a YouTube Rabbit Hole? Watch Every Bill Wurtz Video ♬You’re Welcome♬

If you haven’t heard of Bill Wurtz, I’ll let him introduce himself with his own video:

What you will notice immediately about Bill Wurtz from his videos is:

  1. He’s cool
  2. He has a silky smooth singing voice
  3. He has a keyboard and isn’t afraid to use every button
  4. Neon typography is his jam
  5. His animation style evokes jazzy PowerPoint slides

With 394 videos and counting, Wurtz categorizes his YouTube channel under “science.”

His bio on billwurtz.com reads, “accidentally came to earth. it’s weird”

With videos as short as 5 seconds, many of Wurtz’s videos claim to be comprehensive and then fall comedically short.

His 9 minute “history of japan,” however, is surprisingly thorough despite being mostly a joke. Donald Trump makes an eerie appearance at minute 4:00.

And if you watch all of his videos and have some questions for Wurtz, he’ll answer them on his “euqstions” page.

Here’s a good one:

“8.26.16  3:07 pm   WHY DO YOU ANSWER QUESTIONS IN ALL LOWERCASE LETTERS?

     why do you ask questions in all capital letters”

If this doesn’t feel like a rabbit hole already, I don’t know what is.

You could watch this playlist of every Wurtz upload and just sit back and enjoy the ride. But it’s also equally exciting to pick and choose from his archive based on video titles.

If you’re not cracking up after watching ten of these videos in a row, I’m not sure we can be friends.

Either way I “hope you have a good day,” just like Bill:

 

 

 

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Arts & Culture

The Best Meryl Streep Fan Page of All Time!

Are you a fan of Meryl Streep? You’ve probably seen a lot of her movies then. And with three Oscars and countless nominations, you’ve come to expect Streep’s incredible transformations on screen for characters like Florence Foster Jenkins or Margaret Thatcher… but I bet you’ve never seen her like this:

@TASTEOFSTREEP HAS ARRIVED !!!! #meryl #merylstreep #oscar #foodie #hungry #brunch #food #queen #mamamia #nyc #sunday #pizza

A post shared by taste of streep (@tasteofstreep) on

You can thank Samantha Raye for these lovely internet gems, which she posts on the Instagram account @TasteOfStreep. As a graphic designer and actor in Brooklyn, Raye’s penchant for photoshopping Meryl Streep with food is clearly perfectly natural.

In an interview with the Cut, Raye said, “There are so many great actors that I admire, and I could go on for reams about each one. But come on, Meryl Streep tops everyone’s  list… From what I’ve seen in interviews, she has a killer sense of humor and a love of life. No apologies for who she is, and honestly, I think she seems unbelievably cool. Pair that with food, and you’ve got one stellar combo.”

But how does she come up with the food pairings? Raye told Lucky Peach, “I search the Internet and find a picture of her where something about her outfit reminds me of food.” You can read the interview for more in-depth examples.

The resulting images range from tasteful…

summer bodega chipwich goals ✨🍪 #merylstreep #cookie #icecream #saturday #chipwich

A post shared by taste of streep (@tasteofstreep) on

…to tasteless (in the best possible way).

🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭 #merylstreep #hotdog #summer #june

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Raye started posting in January of this year, and with every post, 2016 becomes all the richer for it. Thank you, Samantha.

 

 

 

 

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