quote 22 Apr
New Jersey is a synthesis of Philadelphia and New York City, of Newark and the Pine Barrens. Mexican, Spanish, Italian, and Irish immigrants have created a folk Catholicism that begins in our cities but bleeds toward the suburbs, where each small parish has its own culture. Here in Jersey, The Exorcist still wounds us, but we return to it, like paying respect to a warning. Weird NJ is not simply a regional magazine; it is a way of life. The Garden State is a mixture of the real and the supernatural. We often cannot tell the difference.
quote 21 Apr
If you compare the post-Soviet bear to the Soviet one, the only thing they have in common is the imperial roar. However, the post-Soviet bear is teeming with corrupt parasites that infected it during the 1990s, and have multiplied exponentially in the last decade. They are consuming the bear from within. Some might mistake their fevered movement under the bear’s hide for the working of powerful muscles. But in truth, it’s an illusion. There are no muscles, the bear’s teeth have worn down, and its brain is buffeted by the random firing of contradictory neurological impulses: “Get rich!” “Modernize!” “Steal!” “Pray!” “Build Great Mother Russia!” “Resurrect the USSR!” “Beware of the West!” “Invest in Western real estate!” “Keep your savings in dollars and euros!” “Vacation in Courchevel!” “Be patriotic!” “Search and destroy the enemies within!”
quote 21 Apr
Distant HAM radio enthusiasts, tuning in from attics in Indiana, spin the dial every Saturday night hoping to find Pompeii, a destroyed city on the other side of the world with its own location in the ether, whistling and purring as its architecture falls apart, room by room, a catacomb of sound and destruction.
quote 18 Apr
He had a mind bent in the direction of curating undervalued things. In his teens, he went to burlesque shows, presumably the only one in the audience with a notebook, and wrote down accounts of the comedy skits, stock bits with vulgar names, the Pickle Caper, things no one would have thought to remember, and possibly no one did, but they’re in McCormick’s files.
quote 11 Apr
Instead of recoiling in abject fear at the materializing possibility of “hidden and fathomless worlds” completely autonomous from the mundane one we take for granted, characters in these works obsessively pursue the breadcrumbs to these phantom frontiers as if they were the truest form of salvation. Instead of wishing them away, as so many Lovecraftian narrators do so that they may regain their sanity, these characters actually participate in the perpetuation of these chimeras. Francis Thurston’s hell is Hildred Castaigne’s heaven. And so cosmic horror is also cosmic ecstasy.
quote 9 Apr
The difference, of course, is that dying is an addiction from which there is no recovery. But the similarity is this. Dying is a mental discipline, even if the goal is not to be clean and sober, but simply to be ready.
quote 9 Apr
Millions of people have come of age experiencing storytelling predominantly through this medium. Millions of people have fake killed millions of other fake people. Millions of people have conquered the world or prevented it from being conquered, have built and run impossibly vast megacities, have followed the stories of countless heroes and villains. We should try to write some novels for them.
quote 8 Apr
Passions are pneumatic images,sensations from outside that seize and overwhelm the subject. For the advocates of courtly love, the idea that you might grab hold of the source of your desire and actually fuck them wasn’t just crass and unseemly; it missed the point entirely. Actions belong to the body, and passions to the mind; consummation of a passion is nothing more than the contemplation or the expression of an image.
quote 6 Apr
If anything, programming has become more important to me as I have gotten older, for the same reason that mathematics has greater appeal to a maturing mind — it represents a rational counterpoint to a world that, over time, seems to make less sense.
quote 5 Apr
Austin also comes with a phenomenon called the “velvet rut.” Back in the 70s, a lot of musicians moved to Austin because it was so laid-back and cheap, and because it was a respite from Nashville. These musicians didn’t need a lot to live on, and they were comfortable with gigging, so they never really became ambitious to do anything else because Austin was so comfortable: that’s the velvet rut. It’s real, and it’s easy to get stuck in it. You start to think, “I’ve got my breakfast tacos, my sunshine, my BBQ, and my food trucks. I’m just going to sit here and do my thing.”
quote 31 Mar
Here is how the boom in China’s economy actually came about: during the Mao era, the Chinese people were unfree in all aspects of their lives except the most mundane. After Mao’s death in 1976, and even more clearly after the massacre in 1989, Deng Xiaoping relented and told the Chinese people, essentially, that they were still under wraps in the areas of politics, religion, and other matters of “thought,” but in money-making were now free to go all-out. So they did—as would anyone when given only one channel for the application of personal energies. They worked hard—at low pay, for long hours, without unions, without workman’s compensation laws, without the protections of a free press or independent courts, and without even legal status in the cities where they worked. Moreover, there were hundreds of millions of them and they worked year after year. Is it strange that they produced enormous wealth? The fine details of the picture are of course more complex than this, but its overall shape is hardly a mystery or a “miracle.”
link 23 Mar Silicon's Valley's Brutal Ageism | New Republic»

IBM’s headquarters in Armonk, New York, where men in starched white shirts swarmed around mastodon-sized mainframes, which they sold to corporate types whose interests ranged from accounting to human resources.

quote 20 Mar
Why, in all these stories, do the poor townspeople hate the haunted mansion? Well, because they’re poor. They can’t afford to move away, to uproot their families, even after some rich eccentric has unleashed an unspeakable evil just beyond the town limits. “People leave this town,” a Hillsdale resident tells Eleanor, “they don’t come here.” The archetypal haunted house story is often really about class, about the rich who don’t understand the land or the people or the history and blunder into the landscape, attempting to buy their way into a community, blithely oblivious to the locals nearby. The town grows resentful because, by the force of economics, they are imprisoned by the rich and their folly—haunted by forces beyond their own control.
quote 19 Mar
‘Conspiracy theories have always existed,’ he says. ‘The great innovation of Lutheranism, with its accusations of Papal blasphemy, was to change their locus. Previously rulers were forever afraid of conspiracies on the part of those they oppressed, of heresies and witchcraft and peasant uprisings. Now, the grand conspiracy is held to be the mode of operation of those who already effectively run the world, and who announce their malign intentions openly before the masses as I do before you today. The scale of this victory cannot be overstated. The hidden conspiracy has become a thing of aristocratic evil, where it was once the only effective means of popular resistance. It is only by allowing others to think that we are engaged in secret and nefarious plots that those of us in power have been able to survive.’
quote 15 Mar
The cosmological principle states that the universe is homogeneous and isomorphic. Look at the universe on a large enough scale and it’s made of enormous walls of galaxy clusters, each billions of light years across, containing millions of galaxies that themselves contain billions of stars, forming a fragile web between vast and empty voids. Great things happen. Galaxies collide, stars are born and burn out, intelligent life stares out into the darkness and dreams stories for itself. Look at the universe on a slightly larger scale and the filaments and voids vanish. The universe is a flat grey expanse, all matter and all energy distributed evenly across its infinity, with no structure and no hidden meaning. On a large enough scale, the heat death of the universe has already happened.

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