The Simpsons Reimagined as a Russian Art Film

Animator Lenivko Kvadratjić has re-created The Simpsons' famous opening scene. And it's bleak--as in post-Chernobyl bleak. Watch at your own risk.

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via Neatorama

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When MAD Magazine Ruffled the Feathers of the FBI, Not Once But Three Times

Many of us grew up reading MAD, the soon-to-be-late illustrated satirical magazine. But only the generations who went through their MAD periods in the publication's first couple of decades, from the 1950s through the 1970s, enjoyed it at the height of its subversive powers. As hard as it may be to imagine in the 21st century, there was even a time when MAD came under scrutiny by no less powerful an organization than the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, and faced the wrath of its first and most feared director J. Edgar Hoover at that. But did the heat stop its creators from doing their necessary work of irreverence? Most certainly not.

"In a memo dated November 30, 1957," writes Mental Floss' Jake Rossen, "an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation identified as 'A. Jones.' raised an issue of critical importance." That issue had to do with what the FBI file on the case described as several complaints made "concerning the 'Mad' comic book," and specifically "a tongue-in-cheek game about draft dodging. Players who earned such status were advised to write to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and request a membership card certifying themselves as a 'full-fledged draft dodger.' At least three readers, the agent reported, did exactly that." Agent Jones also weighed in with a judgment of MAD itself: "It is rather unfunny.”

You can see all this for yourself in the documents from the FBI file, excerpts of which are available to download at thesmokinggun.com. "Criticizing or lampooning the FBI has become standard media fare," says that site, "but when J. Edgar Hoover ran the joint, the bureau wouldn't stand for such swipes — and often retaliated by investigating its foes. So that's why it's great to see that MAD magazine wasn't intimidated by Hoover and seemed to take pleasure in needling the Director." It did it again in 1960, two years after publisher William Gaines promised never to mention Hoover's name in the pages of MAD, when it made fun of the FBI's top man twice in a single issue, once in a faux advertisement for a vacuum cleaner called “The Honorable J. Edgar Electrolux.”

The exchanges that ensued, says thesmokinggun.com, reveal the FBI's possession of "one lousy sense of humor." But they also reveal no small degree of courage on the part of a still-new humor magazine in the face of an intelligence organization more than empowered to seriously disrupt lives and careers. Not long thereafter, MAD would become a recognized American institution in its own way, poking fun at seemingly every phenomenon to pass, however ephemerally, through the national zeitgeist. But now that its own run, which adds up to a highly non-ephemeral 67 years, has come to an end, we'd do well to reflect on what its history tells us about satire and the state. The condition of that dynamic today may cause some of us to do just what MAD mascot Alfred E. Neuman never did — worry.

via Mental Floss

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The End of an Era: MAD Magazine Will Publish Its Last Issue With Original Content This Fall

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Read 113 Pages of Charles Bukowski’s FBI File From 1968

The Existentialism Files: How the FBI Targeted Camus, and Then Sartre After the JFK Assassination

Who Was Afraid of Ray Bradbury & Science Fiction? The FBI, It Turns Out (1959)

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall, on Facebook, or on Instagram.

The Most Disturbing Painting: A Close Look at Francisco Goya’s “Saturn Devouring His Son”

Progress is not a guarantee. It can be stunted, outlawed, or usurped. And then you have to fight for it all over again. The Spanish painter Francisco Goya (1746–1828) found this out over the course of his life as he saw the promise of the Enlightenment fall to Napoleon’s forces and then to an autocratic monarch (Ferdinand VII). In his personal life, Goya had gone from a happy existence as a court painter to struggling with loss of hearing and possible mental illness.

As Evan Puschak aka Nerdwriter illustrates in his creepy and well edited video essay, it was around this time that the reclusive painter started work on his “Black Paintings.” These 14 works were made in oil directly onto the plaster walls of the converted farmhouse that had become his studio. The subject matter was very dark: old age, madness, witches. And the one painting that Puschak singles out as The Most Disturbing Painting of All Time, “Saturn Eating His Son,” is the darkest of the lot.




As Puschak explains, artists had often turned to the story of Saturn (in Roman Mythology) or Cronos (in Greek) for subject matter. Cronos ate his newborn sons after a prophecy warned that a future child would overthrow him. Despite the cannibalism, painters rendered Cronos with a classical, heroic physique. Goya, despite having painted in this style early in his career, renders Saturn as a bearded beast of a man, caught in the middle of devouring not a baby, but a grown man. It’s the eyes that frighten--Goya paints them wide and wild, almost too big, full of shame, horror, bloodlust and pretty much whatever the viewer wants to read into it.

But here’s the kicker, as Puschak says, this painting along with the 13 others at his studio, weren’t meant to be seen by anyone. Goya never spoke about them, and people certainly weren’t stopping by to see them. The Saturn painting was on display in his dining room. Bon appétit!

The Black Paintings now hang (after much laborious transfer from their original walls) at the Prado Museum in Madrid where they chill and fascinate viewers to this day. But we’ll never know exactly why he painted them and what was running through his mind when he painted Saturn. The Nerdwriter gives this work the explication it deserves.

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Ted Mills is a freelance writer on the arts who currently hosts the FunkZone Podcast. You can also follow him on Twitter at @tedmills, read his other arts writing at tedmills.com and/or watch his films here.

Deconstructing Stevie Wonder’s Ode to Jazz and His Hero Duke Ellington: A Great Breakdown of “Sir Duke”

I never really liked theory classes very much. To be honest, I was never that good at them. I’ve definitely learned more from using my ears rather than my brain.  

- Musician Jacob Collier

I too, find music theory confounding, but unlike musical polymath Collier, I don’t have much of an ear to fall back on.

Which is possibly why I learned so much from his appearance on Vox's Earworm, above. He lent me his ears.

Ten minutes in, I think I maybe, sort-of understand what chromaticism is.




Rather than pull examples from a number of sources, Collier concentrates on his “musical crush” Stevie Wonder's chart topping 1976 tribute to jazz legend Duke Ellington, "Sir Duke." As Collier told Time Out Israel’s Jennifer Greenberg:

I believe that when you listen to music, it gives you this periphery of great stuff in your ears and then when you sit down to make music of your own, those are your teachers, those are your guiding forces. It’s better to have Stevie Wonder as a reference point than say “this textbook that I read in class” …Stevie is my number one. As a kid, he represented everything that I really loved about music: he had all the chops, he had all the chords, he had all the funky stuff, all the groove, but then had that voice and behind the voice, he had this soul and feelings, and he also had this sense of humor mixed with this humanity.

Collier has the innate know-how to break down those grooves, from the big band feel of the opening drums to the Motown sound backbeat of the verse.

Aided by series producer Estelle Caswell and some graphics that visualize such fundamentally aural concepts as harmony and the pentatonic scale, Collier articulates in purely musical terms what makes this enduring hit so catchy.

Certainly, the exuberant shout chorus doesn’t hurt.

Collier has delved into Wonder’s catalogue before, leaping on the opportunity to harmonize with himself.

That’s him above, at age 17, performing an a cappella "Isn’t She Lovely," his melodica standing in for Wonder's iconic harmonica solo.

And Wonder’s "Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing," below, presented his greatest challenge as an arranger, due to such quirks as “unexpected suspension chords” and the diatonic descending melody. Hold on to your hats at the 2:26 mark when the screen splits into over a dozen sections, in an attempt to contain all the talent on display.

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inkyzine.  Her husband was gratified to see Jacob Collier shares his affinity for Crocs. No shame. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Download Beautiful Panoramic Paintings of U.S. National Parks by H.C. Berann: Maps That Look Even More Vivid Than the Real Thing

The United States of America's national parks have been inspiring artists even before they were officially declared national parks. That goes not just for American artists such as the master landscape photographer Ansel Adams, but foreign artists as well. Take the Austrian painter Heinrich C. Berann, described by his official web site as "the father of the modern panorama map," a distinctive form that allowed him to hybridize "old European painting tradition with modern cartography."

Berann found his way to cartography after winning a competition to paint a map of Austria's Grossglockner High Alpine Road, which opened in 1934, a couple years after Berann's graduation from art school. "In the following years," says the artist's bio, "he improved this technique, created the modern panorama map and became famous all over the world for his maps that are in a class of their own." Maps in a class of their own need geographical subjects in a class of their own, and America's national parks fit that bill neatly.




Berann's panoramas of Denali, North Cascades, Yellowstone, and Yosemite "were created in the 1980s and 90s as part of a poster program to promote the national parks," writes National Geographic's Betsy Mason. Just a few years ago, U.S. National Park Service senior cartographer Tom Patterson got to work on scanning the artworks in high resolution. When the project was complete, "the National Park Service released the new images on their newly redesigned online map portal, which also has more than a thousand maps that are freely available for the public to download."

Berann's 1994 painting of Denali National Park just above was his final work before retirement. It came at the end of a long and varied career in art that saw him paint not just the Alps, the Himalayas, the Virgin Islands, and the floor of the Pacific Ocean (as well as other impressive parts of the world under commission from the National Geographic society and six different Olympic Games) but travel posters and drawings of everything from landscapes to portraits to nudes.

But it is Berann's panoramic paintings of America's national parks, which you can download in high resolution here, that have done the most to make people see their subjects in a new way. Not least because, with an artistic sleight-of-hand that combines as many landmarks as possible into single vistas rendered with a strikingly wide range of colors, Berann provides them a series of vantage points entirely unavailable in real life. In one sense, these are all real national parks, but they're national parks captured in a way even Ansel Adams never could have done.

via Boing Boing

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall, on Facebook, or on Instagram.

Remembering the “Father of Bossa Nova” João Gilberto (RIP) with Four Classic Live Performances: “The Girl From Ipanema,” “Corcovado” & More

If you first heard the work of great Brazilian guitarist and singer João Gilberto in a little tune called “The Girl From Ipanema,” you’re in the company of millions, whose introduction to Gilberto and the sounds of bossa nova jazz came from that song, recorded with saxophonist Stan Getz. When the L.A. Times’ Randall Roberts compares their collaborative album Getz/Gilberto to the arrival of the Beatles in the U.S., this may sound like an exaggeration. But bossa nova, like rock and roll, was already hugely popular, and sound of this record was a quiet revolution.

Gilberto, who died this past Saturday at age 88, was “one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century.” He and “his peer and collaborator Antonio Carlos Jobim helped create and popularize bossa nova, a toned-down and romanticized take on Brazilian samba music.” Jobim may have written “The Girl From Ipanema,” but Gilberto first turned Americans on to its charms, and to what Allmusic’s John Dougan calls “the signature pop music of Brazil.”




Called O Mito, “the legend,” in his home country, Gilberto’s influence is incalculable and has “resonated in the work of artists including Caetano Veloso, Sade, Gal Costa, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Stereolab, Seu Jorge  and pretty much every Brazilian songwriter since 1960,” writes Roberts. His countryman Veloso has said, “I owe João Gilberto everything I am today. Even if I were something else and not a musician, I would say that I owe him everything.”

Many people have said similar things over the years about John Lennon or George Harrison, but an unassuming acoustic crooner singing in Portuguese? Could he really have that kind of cultural sway worldwide? It may be hard to see it now, but “bossa nova integrated itself into the global conversation in much the same way rock ‘n’ roll did.” Yet instead of rebelling, it dressed up; rather than “upping the tempo, attitude and energy,” it “soothed and seduced.”

Bossa nova provided a counterpoint to the raw energy of American and British rock, but not in the comforting, nostalgic way of soft, soporific music like that of Lawrence Welk. Rather—partly through its influence on jazz musicians like Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, and Charlie Byrd—bossa nova became its own kind of hip popular idiom, cool instead of hot, but still sexy and new. Elvis even tried to cash in on the music’s growing popularity in 1963 with his “rollicking ‘Bossa Nova Baby’” from the movie Fun in Acapulco.

The shoes didn’t quite fit. Bossa nova was subdued and subtle, a sound created for small spaces and small moves. It’s said that Gilberto’s quiet style of playing “developed in 1955 when he sequestered himself inside of a bathroom at his sister’s house so as not to disturb her family,” writes Felix Contreras at NPR, “and to take advantage of the acoustics provided by the bathroom tiles.” This intimate origin story aside, his was also a style that demarcated class lines in pop music.

Popular among a slightly older set of listeners, in Brazil bossa nova first attracted “a new moneyed class eager to move away from the more traditional samba sound of explosive drums and group singing.” In its influence on American jazz, bossa nova also telegraphed luxury, with its deeply relaxed atmosphere and lush, unhurried textures. It is the sound of seaside resort hotels and upscale nightclubs, of yacht parties, art galleries, and penthouse apartments. “The Girl from Ipanema” sounds like the singing sixties worlds of James Bond and Hugh Hefner, not Haight Ashbury.

Nonetheless, the song is an absolute classic for good reason, with Gilberto’s then-wife Astrud “on a sultry vocal” in English, repeating his understated Portuguese, and a “now-iconic tenor sax solo” by Getz. “It was a worldwide hit and won the 1965 Grammy for record of the year. Getz/Gilberto won album of the year and would go on to become one of the highest-selling jazz albums of all time.” For a time, bossa nova was everywhere, then it gave way to the harder-edged Tropicalia movement of younger musicians like Veloso and Gilberto Gil, and its vocabulary became absorbed into so many different kinds of music that we are hardly aware of its presence anymore.

If “The Girl from Ipanema” was the first, and maybe, the last, you heard of João Gilberto, you owe it to yourself to learn more of his work. And, if you’re already a lifelong fan, you’ll appreciate all the more these live performances from Gilberto’s career. At the top, see him perform “The Girl From Ipanema” with the song’s composer and his old collaborator Jobim; further up, Gilberto plays “Desafinado” and “Carinhoso” live in concert,” and, just above, see him play “Corcovado.”

Gilberto was cut out of his biggest global hit for the 1964 TV performance above. Producers opted to make Astrud the face and voice of “The Girl from Ipanema.” But the millions who bought the record heard his mesmerizing vocal and guitar work, and then kept hearing their influence on records released for decades afterward around the world.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

The Secret Language of Trees: A Charming Animated Lesson Explains How Trees Share Information with Each Other

Shel Silverstein’s bittersweet classic The Giving Tree paints an inaccurate view of trees as simple, easily victimized loners.

If only the titular character had had a same-species best friend around to talk some sense into her when her human pal started helping himself to her branches… You’ve Gotta Be Kidding Me Tree, or maybe No Bullshit Tree.

You’ve Gotta Be Kidding Me Tree could’ve passed some vital nutrients to The Giving Tree, whose self care regimen is clearly not cutting it, via the mycorrhizae system, a vast network of filament-like tree roots and symbiotic soil fungi.




That same system could serve as the switchboard by which You’ve Gotta Be Kidding Me Tree could alert the extended Tree family to the dangers of prolonged association with cute, but needy kids.

Imagine the upbeat ending, had Silverstein gone light—The Giving Tree N’ Friends.

Not as poignant perhaps, but not entirely inaccurate from a scientific standpoint.

As forest ecologists Suzanne Simard and Camille Defrenne point out in the animated TED-Ed lesson, "The Secret Language of Trees," above, trees have large family (forgive me) trees, whose living members are in constant communication, using the mycorrhizae system.

Hosting multiple fungal species allows each tree to connect with a wider network, as each group of symbiotic shrooms spreads information to their own personal crews, party line style.

On the other end, the receiving tree can identify its relation to the tree of origin, whether they are both members of what we humans refer to as a nuclear family, or much more distant relations.

And while this giant subterranean system for sharing information and resources is specific to trees, when we consider how many other forest denizens depend on trees for food and shelter, the message system seems even more vital to the planet’s health.

Defrenne and Simard’s full TED-Ed lesson, complete with quiz, customizable lesson plan, and discussion topics, can be found here.

Simard delves more deeply into the topic in the 18-minute TED Talk, "How Trees Talk to Each Other," below.

View more of animator Avi Ofer’s charming work here.

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

The End of an Era: MAD Magazine Will Publish Its Last Issue With Original Content This Fall

As a cultural reference, MAD magazine may have died decades ago. This is a not a disparagement, but a statement of fact. The kind of satire the august, anarchic comic first unleashed on the world of 1952 debuted in a cultural milieu that is no more, and a form—the illustrated, satirical periodical—that is increasingly niche. MAD left an indelible impression on American publishing’s past, but as the magazine’s legendary cartoonist Al Jaffee tells The Washington Post, “it’s mostly nostalgia now.”

Responding to the market’s cues, MAD will more or less disappear from newsstands, publishing legacy content on a subscription-only basis and on the direct market, “a.k.a. specialty and comic book stores,” writes Gizmodo, “like the vast majority of DC’s comics output is already.” MAD shaped itself in opposition to Cold War paranoia and never seemed to find a new edge after favorite targets like Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan left the scene. The magazine turned almost exclusively to pop culture parody in the 90s. As ABC News reports, MAD “peaked at 2.8 million subscribers in 1973,” then began its decline, with only “140,000 left as of 2017.”




The magazine’s founding editor, cartoonist Harvey Kurtzman, passed away in 1993. His successor Al Feldstein, who brought the magazine to international prominence, died in 2014. MAD's longtime, tight-knit staff of writers and cartoonists are mostly retired, and most are sanguine about the winding down. “It’s been a logical development,” comments another MAD cartooning legend, Sergio Aragonés. To wit, after Issue 10 (MAD re-numbered last June) comes out this fall, there will be no new content, “except for the end-of-year specials,” notes The Post. “All issues after that will be republished content culled from 67 years of publication.”

This still represents a great way for newcomers to MAD to catch up on its wildly skewed view of the last half of the 20th century, though some imagination is required to appreciate how subversive their humor was for much of its run. MAD inspired countless offshoots in the decade after its founding, setting the tone for radical campus publications, countercultural cartoonists, and comic writers, some of whom went on to become Stephen Colbert and Judd Apatow, who both wrote in the pages of MAD about how much the magazine meant to them during their apprentice years.

The list of MAD devotees, both famous and not (I count myself among the latter), runs into the millions, but it runs along some obvious demographic divides. As the magazine is poised to become a gift-shop version of itself, tributes have poured in for its editors, writers, and cartoonists—all of them, to a man, well, men. And most of those tributes—those from prominent cartoonists and writers claiming MAD as a formative influence, at least—are also from men of a certain generation, most of them straight and white.

Such market segmentation, one might say, speaks to the way MAD's brand of political satire remained embedded in its heyday. As laid-back cartoonists Jaffee and Aragonés recognize, you can’t stay young and relevant forever—though MAD had a remarkably good run. The Post offers a notable example of Mad’s passage into history. When the current president “mockingly referred to Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg as Alfred E. Neuman”—the once-ubiquitous, gap-toothed symbol of take-no-prisoners irreverence—the 37-year-old Buttigieg replied, “I’ll be honest. I had to Google that.”

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

The Walkman Turns 40: See Every Generation of Sony’s the Iconic Personal Stereo in One Minute

Do you remember your first Walkman? If you grew up after the cassette era, of course, you might have owned a CD-playing Discman instead, or maybe — just maybe — even a Minidisc Walkman. Nowadays you probably have an iPod or iPod-like digital audio player as well as a cellphone equipped to serve the same purpose. But all the ways in which you've ever taken your tunes on the go evolved from a common technological ancestor: Sony's TPS-L2, which debuted on the market 40 years ago this month. First marketed in the United States as the Soundabout and the United Kingdom as the Stowaway, it didn't take long to achieve worldwide success under the Japanese-English brand name that long ago became a byword for the personal stereo.

"To celebrate the Walkman's 40th anniversary, Sony has opened an exhibition in Tokyo’s bustling Ginza district," writes designboom's Juliana Neira. "Titled #009 WALKMAN IN THE PARK 40 Years Since 'the Day the Music Walked,' the exhibition focuses on the people for whom the Walkman has been a part of their everyday life."




It also includes a wall "featuring around 230 versions of the Walkman throughout its 40-year history. From the nostalgic older models, all the way up to the latest models, the exhibit allows visitors to take in the changes in designs, specifications, and media formats over the years." You can see all the representative Walkman models from throughout the device's four decades of history in the minute-long official video above.

The Walkman defined an era of personal technology, but its brand hasn't weathered so well in the 21st century. "The beautifully designed, easy-to-use TPS-L2 was the device that liberated the cassette from living room hi-fis and car tape decks to truly make music portable," writes Quartz's Mike Murphy. But "a great many of the products that Sony once dominated with have been replaced, or have been consolidated into other devices. Over the years, Sony has made fantastic camcorders, stereo components, cameras, portable media players, and phones. Relatively few people buy most of these products anymore, with the smartphone usurping many of these devices’ functions." Today's Walkman devices don't reflect "the influential (and often experimental) Sony of yesterday. And with Apple grappling with its own existential questions about its future, who is left to take up the mantle of the king of consumer electronics?"

Still, when we put on our headphones or pop in our earbuds on the morning commute and see that everyone else around us has done the same, we have to admit that we live in the world the Walkman created. This has its downsides, as Amanda Petrusich acknowledges in a New Yorker piece on public headphone-wearing: these include "the disconnection they facilitate" (and the hand-wringing about that disconnection they encourage) as well as the engineering of music itself to accommodate low-quality audio reproduction. But then, "ambling down a city street with headphones on — you know, maybe it’s dusk, maybe it’s midsummer, maybe you had a really nice day — is, without a doubt, one of life’s simplest and most perfect joys." Sony's music-loving co-founder Masaru Ibuka, commissioner of the original Walkman's design, must have known similar joys himself. But what would he make of podcasts?

via designboom

Related Content:

How Good Are Your Headphones? This 150-Song Playlist, Featuring Steely Dan, Pink Floyd & More, Will Test Them Out

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Listen to Audio Arts: The 1970s Tape Cassette Arts Magazine Featuring Andy Warhol, Marcel Duchamp & Many Others

City of Eight Million Soundtracks

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall, on Facebook, or on Instagram.

How Intellectual Humility Can Boost Our Curiosity & Ability to Learn: Read the Findings of a New Study

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

When I think about the times I definitely knew what I was talking about, versus the times I kinda, sorta, might have, maybe did… well…. Let’s just say that wisdom doesn’t always come with age, but hindsight certainly does. We may cringe when we remember the moments we were overconfident, out of our depth, etcetera, and so forth—when we lacked the critical capacity known as intellectual humility. It’s a quality that can save us a lot of shame, for sure, if we’re the type of people capable of feeling that emotion.

But there’s more to knowing what you don’t know than avoiding regret, as important a consideration as that may be. Without intellectual humility, we can’t acquire new knowledge. Still, though we might find “open minded” listed on many an online dating profile, being flexible in one’s thinking and willing to say “I don’t know” are also socially stigmatized, says Pepperdine University professor of psychology Elizabeth J. Krumrei-Mancuso:

When it comes to beliefs, people tend to appreciate others being open-minded, yet they may also view people who are unsure about their beliefs as weak or they may view those who change their viewpoint as unstable or manipulative. These social perceptions might make people afraid to admit the fallibility in their thinking. They may believe they should be confident in their viewpoints, which can lead people to be afraid to change their minds.

Fundamentalist religion and polarized political battle-royales played out in social media stoke the fires of this tendency day in and out, creating a veritable conflagration of willful ignorance. Krumrei-Mancuso and her colleagues set out to investigate the opposite, “accepting one’s intellectual fallibility in an open and level-headed way,” writes Peter Dockrill at Science Alert.




Their findings were somewhat similar to those popularized by the Dunning-Krueger Effect. In one finding, for example, the researchers discovered that “intellectually humble people underestimated their cognitive ability,” perhaps not working up to their full potential. The intellectually overconfident, as we might expect, overestimated their abilities. On the whole, however, the conclusions tend to be quite positive.

In a series of five studies, which surveyed 1,200 individuals, the authors found that the intellectually humble are far more motivated to learn for its own sake, more likely to enjoy challenging cognitive tasks, more willing to consider different perspectives and alternative evidence, and less threatened by awareness of their own limitations.

The Harvard Business Review points out the Pepperdine studies’ importance in defining the fuzzy concept of open-mindedness, with a fourfold measure to assess individuals' intellectual humility:

  1. Having respect for other viewpoints
  2. Not being intellectually overconfident
  3. Separating one’s ego from one’s intellect
  4. Willingness to revise one’s own viewpoint

Becoming intellectually humble can take us into some uncomfortable territory, places where we don’t know what to say or do when everyone around us seem so certain. But it can also give us the push we need to actually learn the things we might have kinda, sorta pretended to understand. Read Pepperdine's study, “Links between intellectual humility and acquiring knowledge” at The Journal of Positive Psychology.

Related Content:

Why Incompetent People Think They’re Amazing: An Animated Lesson from David Dunning (of the Famous “Dunning-Kruger Effect”)

Research Finds That Intellectual Humility Can Make Us Better Thinkers & People; Good Thing There’s a Free Course on Intellectual Humility

How to Argue With Kindness and Care: 4 Rules from Philosopher Daniel Dennett

24 Common Cognitive Biases: A Visual List of the Psychological Systems Errors That Keep Us From Thinking Rationally

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness





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