Open Culture on Facebook

Just a quick fyi, we cre­at­ed a lit­tle Face­book page where you can access our dai­ly con­tent. So head over and become a “Fan.” And tell a friend.

Also, please note, you can find us on Twit­ter or sub­scribe to our RSS feed. And remem­ber that we’re now locat­ed at  

Have a good week­end.

Bill Moyers with The Wire’s David Simon

Here Bill Moy­ers sits down with David Simon, exec­u­tive pro­duc­er of The Wire, the stun­ning HBO pro­duc­tion. As any­one who has watched the show knows, The Wire is not just a splen­did dra­ma. It is, as Simon has once called it, “a polit­i­cal tract mas­querad­ing as a cop show.” It takes a pen­e­trat­ing and aes­thet­i­cal­ly rich look at some of Amer­i­ca’s most vex­ing social issues. And it’s why Moy­ers says, “What Edward Gib­bon was to the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, or Charles Dick­ens to the smokey, mean streets of Vic­to­ri­an Lon­don, David Simon is to Amer­i­ca today.” To access this 40 minute inter­view, you can watch it on the web or on iTunes. You can also grab an audio mp3 here.

Final­ly, as a quick aside, the video below recaps The Wire’s 5 sea­sons in 5 min­utes. It hard­ly does the show jus­tice, but it gives you a quick feel for things. If you haven’t watched the show, do your­self a big favor and get your­self a Net­flix sub­scrip­tion and spend the new few months watch­ing it from begin­ning to end.

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 1 ) |

Adult Content. For Mature Thinkers Only

A new sea­son of Enti­tled Opin­ions (iTunes Feed Web Site) recent­ly got off the ground, and it does­n’t take long to under­stand what this pro­gram is all about. Robert Har­ri­son, the Stan­ford lit­er­a­ture pro­fes­sor who hosts the show, opens the new sea­son with these very words:

Our stu­dios are locat­ed below ground, and every time I go down the stairs to do a new show, I feel like I’m descend­ing into the cat­a­combs where those of us who still read great lit­er­a­ture, probe ideas, and explore the recess­es of cul­tur­al his­to­ry, prac­tice a per­se­cut­ed reli­gion. In this neuras­thenic world of ours, we are like a dis­persed soci­ety of secret ini­ti­ates. We live covert­ly, as it were. And it’s in spe­cial shel­ters that our read­ing, think­ing and exchange of ideas take place. Maybe some­day we’ll once again be able to prac­tice our per­sua­sion pub­licly. But mean­while Enti­tled Opin­ions comes to you from the cat­a­combs.

You get the drift. This is a show that takes ideas, lit­er­a­ture, and life seri­ous­ly. It’s heady, and it does­n’t dumb things down. If you’re a faith­ful read­er of Open Cul­ture, you’ll find some­thing here for you. If you take a spin through the archives, you’ll find Har­ri­son in con­ver­sa­tion with Orhan Pamuk (the Nobel Prize win­ning nov­el­ist) and Richard Rorty (one of Amer­i­ca’s most impor­tant con­tem­po­rary philoso­phers). You’ll also find him talk­ing with schol­ars about  Vladimir Nabokov and his Loli­ta, World War II and the Ger­man bomb­ing of Lon­don, the His­to­ry of Psy­chi­a­try, and The His­tor­i­cal Jesus. Each pro­gram starts with a 10 minute (or so) mono­logue, and then Har­ri­son gets down to talk­ing with his guest for anoth­er 50. Give a lis­ten. Let us know your thoughts. And know that Enti­tled Opin­ions (iTunes Feed Web Site) is includ­ed in our Ideas & Cul­ture Pod­cast Col­lec­tion.

PS I shame­less­ly bor­rowed this titled from a com­ment made about Enti­tled Opin­ions on iTunes. To be hon­est, my cre­ative well was run­ning dry.

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 1 ) |

Jon Stewart on the Relevance of Cultural Magazines


The Dai­ly Show With Jon Stew­art M — Th 11p / 10c
We Don’t Tor­ture
Dai­ly Show
Full Episodes
Eco­nom­ic Cri­sis Polit­i­cal Humor

Here’s Jon Stew­art talk­ing Mon­day night about the rev­e­la­tion that Amer­i­ca’s “extreme inter­ro­ga­tion” tech­niques actu­al­ly amount to tor­ture. Some­how he man­ages to work The New York Review of Books, The Paris ReviewMcSweeney’s and The Utne Read­er into the dis­cus­sion. You’ll find it about 4 min­utes in. Pret­ty fun­ny stuff, although the com­men­tary is sad when you get right down to it.

On a more seri­ous note, Rahm Emanuel (high­light­ed in the video above) was almost cer­tain­ly ref­er­enc­ing excel­lent Mark Dan­ner’s work in the NYRB, which you can find here.

The direct link to the Stew­art video can be found here.

World Digital Library

wdl2Anoth­er big dig­i­tal archive went live this week. Backed by the Unit­ed Nations, the World Dig­i­tal Library wants to cen­tral­ize cul­tur­al trea­sures from around the world. Man­u­scripts, maps, rare books, musi­cal scores, record­ings, films, prints, pho­tographs, and archi­tec­tur­al draw­ings — they will all be absorbed into this grow­ing online col­lec­tion, and users will be able to nav­i­gate through these mate­ri­als in sev­en dif­fer­ent lan­guages (Ara­bic, Chi­nese, Eng­lish, French, Por­tuguese, Span­ish and Russ­ian). The col­lec­tion (to which Google con­tributed $3 mil­lion in 2005) now hosts about 1,250 arti­facts, a frac­tion of what it will even­tu­al­ly include. The ini­tial col­lec­tion fea­tures some gems. Take for exam­ple the Tale of the Gen­ji, a Japan­ese text from the ear­ly 11th cen­tu­ry that’s often con­sid­ered “the first great nov­el in world lit­er­a­ture.” You can also take a close look at some Ora­cle Bones from Chi­na cir­ca 1200 BC. Or how about these icon­ic pho­tos from The Great Depres­sion or these shots of the great Jack­ie Robin­son. To learn more about this new dig­i­tal archive, read this piece in The Wash­ing­ton Post.

Web 2.0 to Book Deal in 3 Minutes

After Seth Har­wood got his MFA at the Iowa Writ­ers’ Work­shop, he began pub­lish­ing in tra­di­tion­al mag­a­zines and jour­nals, as most young writ­ers do. But those pub­li­ca­tions were slow to launch his career. Things changed, how­ev­er, once he start­ed pub­lish­ing online. And they real­ly changed when he released his crime nov­el Jack Wakes Up as a free pod­cast (via iTunesRSS Feed, & MP3) and dis­trib­uted it through social net­works. Web 2.0 broad­ened the reach of his work, attract­ed fans world­wide, and ulti­mate­ly land­ed Har­wood a nice book deal with Ran­dom House. (RH will be pub­lish­ing Jack Wakes Up in print ear­ly next month). In the short video above, Har­wood gives you a quick look inside the mak­ing of his pod­cast, and how it brings expo­sure to his work. If you’re an up-and-com­ing writer, there’s cer­tain­ly some­thing here to think about. You can find out more about Seth’s work at

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 5 ) |

Mark Twain’s New Book

Mark Twain died near­ly a cen­tu­ry ago but that has­n’t slowed him down. Twain has a new book com­ing out today. It’s called “Who is Mark Twain,” and it brings togeth­er 24 pre­vi­ous­ly unpub­lished sto­ries, one of which you can read over at The Wall Street Jour­nal. The piece is enti­tled “Frank Fuller and My First New York Lec­ture.” Here you go. Served up fresh.

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 1 ) |

Paul McCartney Live @ Coachella

Paul McCart­ney played a long 35 song set at Coachel­la this past week­end. And now we’re get­ting a lit­tle peek at his per­for­mance. Here, in homage to George Har­ri­son, Paul plays “Some­thing” and a lit­tle ukulele.

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 1 ) |

« Go BackMore in this category... »
Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.