Rhetorician

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Tacit Endorsement #10

Week 7.24.2016 & 7.31.2016

Two weeks worth of little delights

:::

  1. Looking: The Movie. As was the case with Looking: The Recently Terminated HBO Series, very little happens and everything transforms. Or fails to transform, but in inventive, monumental ways. The shifting of plates. Andrew Haigh is doing some magical things — Looking, The Weekend, 45 Years. More please. 
  2. Red Cabbage Slaw: The Recipe. Yum.
  3. The Never-ending Quest For Crispy Tofu. Continues
  4. Sarah Silverman’s incredible DNC Moment. You’re being ridiculous
  5. Khizr Khan’s incredible post-DNC week. Listen to this interview
  6. The Moth. I finally made it to a live show. I’m not sure stories need scores, but ok.
  7. Yucca Tots. On the patio
  8. Grilled Cheese Sandwich at the Farmer’s Market. Our Carb of the Week. 
  9. Lounging on a Brand New Chunk of the Chicago Lakefront. And learning the word ‘revetment.’ 
  10. Ten TED Tips on Better Conversation. From Celeste Headlee
  11. Movies in the Park are the best thing about summer in the city. BYOBlankets. BYOBeer. BYOBuddies.
  12. West Side Story was the specific movie in the park this week. I always go into West Side Story expecting camp and schlock and cheese — because, you know, dance fighting and synchronized gangsnapping. But there is some Real Live American Art going on here. Wrenching and serious and sharp. (I guess I shouldn’t be surprised: Bernstein, Sondheim, Robbins. And Shakespearian source material.) Dated, sure, and so imperfect as far as ‘commentary’ goes, but it endures to a degree that you wouldn’t expect. And yes, some of the more awkward moments elicited chuckles during the screening-in-the-park, but people were full-on in its thrall by the end. And while we’re at it: Zizek on the ideology of Officer Krupke
  13. The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone. I am very much enjoying Olivia Laing’s meditation on loneliness — her language, her observations, her weaving together of art criticism and personal memoir.
  14. Cold Brew Iced Coffee at a Hip Coffee Shop. This glass stood out because it was brewed with hops. Hops! Yes, like beer. It was tasty, though not so tasty that I’d order it again. The delight in this moment came from realizing that sometimes I live in a Portlandia sketch — which is a great relief after a few weeks of feeling like we’re living in the movie Idiocracy
  15. The Olympics on TV. I love the absurdity. I love what everyone calls "the pageantry” of the opening ceremony. I love that that’s what they call it. “Such pageantry,” they say, meaning nothing at all in particular. I love the formulaic, melodramatic backstory narratives — delivered without hint of irony, each one the same as all the others but presented nevertheless as absolutely singular. (Oh! You’re telling me that this athlete worked hard? And that she wanted it? And that she had support?) There’s an obsession with backstory, perhaps a desperate attempt to compensate for the obliteration of the event’s actual context. I love seeing obscure sports that otherwise can’t get a minute of airtime suddenly on display as though they are self-evident sites of national pride. I love the terrifically hyperbolic language of the commentators, sharing thoughts on technical minutiae, tenths of seconds — and balancing these with sweeping claims about the nature of human struggle, human motivation, human capacity. I love the advertisements, the aggressive biennial re-wholesomification of iconic brands. I love the celebration of extraordinary physical feats, framed by the tv prattle as truly exceptional but also, simultaneously, as emblematic of universal, even banal, human striving. One greatest athletic achievement in the history of the world, followed by another, and another, and never disconnected from your own choice of breakfast cereal, your choice of airline. I love our puritanical tiptoeing around the fact that the whole endeavor has an awful lot to do with the scopophilic consumption of bodies on display. I love the terrifying, Trumpian chant of "USA USA USA" applied to something as relatively harmless as a swim meet.