David Mamet Teaches Dramatic Writing in a New Online Course

FYI: If you sign up for a Mas­ter­Class course by click­ing on the affil­i­ate links in this post, Open Cul­ture will receive a small fee that helps sup­port our oper­a­tion.

David Mamet, one of Amer­i­ca’s pre­em­i­nent play­wrights and screen­writ­ers, is now offer­ing an online course on Dra­mat­ic Writ­ing over at Mas­ter­Class. Fea­tur­ing 26 video lessons and a down­load­able work­book, the course will take you through Mamet’s “process for turn­ing life’s strangest moments into dra­mat­ic art. He’ll teach you the rules of dra­ma, the nuances of dia­logue, and the skills to devel­op your own voice and cre­ate your mas­ter­piece.” The cost is $90. It’s not every day that you can get inside the cre­ative process of the Pulitzer Prize-win­ning writer of Glen­gar­ry Glen Ross. So per­haps it’s mon­ey well spent. (If you want to give this course as a gift, just click here.)

As we’ve pre­vi­ous­ly men­tioned, Mas­ter­Class has enlist­ed oth­er accom­plished fig­ures to teach cours­es on their craft–eg, Steve Mar­tin does com­e­dyWern­er Her­zog, film­mak­ingAaron Sorkin, screen­writ­ingChristi­na Aguil­era, singing, and Frank Gehry, archi­tec­ture, to name a few. You can browse their com­plete list of cours­es here. And, for $180, you can now get a year-long pass to all Mas­ter­class cours­es.

If you’re look­ing for free cours­es, check out our col­lec­tion, 1,700 Free Online Cours­es from Top Uni­ver­si­ties.

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New Film Project Features Citizens of Alabama Reading Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself,” a Poetic Embodiment of Democratic Ideals

In times of nation­al anx­i­ety, many of us take com­fort in the fact that the U.S. has endured polit­i­cal crises even more severe than those at hand. His­to­ry can be a teacher and a guide, and so too can poet­ry, as Walt Whit­man reminds us again and again. Whit­man wit­nessed some of the great­est upheavals and rev­o­lu­tion­ary changes the coun­try has ever expe­ri­enced: the Civ­il War and its after­math, the assas­si­na­tion of Abra­ham Lin­coln, the fail­ure of Recon­struc­tion, the mas­sive indus­tri­al­iza­tion of the coun­try at the end of the 19th cen­tu­ry.…

Per­haps this is why we return to Whit­man when we make what crit­ics call a “poet­ic turn.” His expan­sive, mul­ti­va­lent verse speaks for us when beau­ty, shock, or sad­ness exceed the lim­its of every­day lan­guage. Whit­man con­tained the nation’s war­ring voic­es, and some­how rec­on­ciled them with­out dilut­ing their unique­ness. This was, indeed, his lit­er­ary mis­sion, to “cre­ate a uni­fied whole out of dis­parate parts,” argues Karen Swal­low Pri­or at The Atlantic. “For Whit­man, poet­ry wasn’t just a vehi­cle for express­ing polit­i­cal lament; it was also a polit­i­cal force in itself.” Poetry’s impor­tance as a bind­ing agent in the frac­tious, frag­ile coali­tion of states, meant that for Whit­man, the country’s “Pres­i­dents shall not be their com­mon ref­er­ee so much as their poets shall.”

Whit­man wrote as a gay man who, by the time he pub­lished the first edi­tion of Leaves of Grass in 1855, had gone from being an “ardent Free-Soil­er” to ful­ly sup­port­ing abo­li­tion. His poet­ry pro­claimed a “rad­i­cal­ly egal­i­tar­i­an vision,” writes Mar­tin Klam­mer, “of an ide­al, mul­tira­cial repub­lic.” A coun­try that was, itself, a poem. “The Unit­ed States them­selves are essen­tial­ly the great­est poem,” wrote Whit­man in his pref­ace. The nation’s con­tra­dic­tions inhab­it us just as we inhab­it them. The only way to resolve our dif­fer­ences, he insist­ed, is to embody them ful­ly, with open­ness toward oth­er peo­ple and the nat­ur­al world. Under­stand­ing Whitman’s mis­sion makes film­mak­er Jen­nifer Crandall’s project Whit­man, Alaba­ma all the more poignant.

For two years, Cran­dall “criss­crossed this deep South­ern state, invit­ing peo­ple to look into a cam­era and share part of them­selves through the words of Walt Whit­man.” To the ques­tion “Who is Amer­i­can?,” Crandall—just as Whit­man before her—answers with a mul­ti­tude of voic­es, weav­ing in and out of a col­lab­o­ra­tive read­ing of the epic “Song of Myself,” begin­ning with 97-year-old Vir­ginia Mae Schmitt of Birm­ing­ham, at the top, who reads Whitman’s lines, “I, now thir­ty-sev­en years old in per­fect health begin / Hop­ing to cease not till death.” No one watch­ing the video, Cran­dall remarks, should ask, “Why isn’t’ a thir­ty-sev­en year old man read­ing this?” To do so is to ignore Whitman’s design for the uni­ver­sal in the par­tic­u­lar.

When Whit­man penned the first lines of “Song of Myself,” the coun­try had not yet “Unlimber’d” the can­nons “to begin the red busi­ness,” as he would lat­er write, but the 1850 Fugi­tive Slave Act had clear­ly lain the foun­da­tion for civ­il war. The poet­’s many revi­sions, addi­tions, and sub­se­quent edi­tions of Leaves of Grass after his first small run in 1855 con­tin­ued until his death in 1892. He was obsessed with the huge­ness and dynamism of the coun­try and its peo­ple, in their dark­est, blood­i­est moments and at their most flour­ish­ing. His vision lets every­one in, with­out qual­i­fi­ca­tion, con­stant­ly rewrit­ing itself to meet new faces in the ever-chang­ing nation.

As Mari­am Jal­loh, a 14-year old Mus­lim girl from Guinea, recites in her short por­tion of the read­ing fur­ther up, “every atom belong­ing to me as good belongs to you.” Jol­lah quite lit­er­al­ly makes Whitman’s lan­guage her own, trans­lat­ing into her native Fulani the line, “If they are not just as close as they are dis­tant, they are noth­ing.” Jal­loh “may seem like a sur­pris­ing con­duit for the writ­ing of Whit­man, a long-dead queer social­ist poet from Brook­lyn,” writes Chris­t­ian Kerr at Hyper­al­ler­gic, “but such incon­gruity is the active agent in Whit­man, Alaba­ma’s ther­a­peu­tic salve.” It is also, Whit­man sug­gest­ed, the matrix of Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy.

See more read­ings from the project above from Lau­ra and Bran­don Reed­er of Cull­man, the Sul­li­van fam­i­ly of Mobile, and by Demetrius Leslie and Fred­er­ick George, and Patri­cia Mar­shall and Tam­my Coop­er, inmates at mens’ and wom­ens’ pris­ons in Mont­gomery. Whitman’s voice winds through these bod­ies and voic­es, set­tling in, find­ing a home, then, rest­less, mov­ing on, invit­ing us all to join in the cho­rus, yet also—in its con­trar­i­an way—telling us to find our own paths. “You shall no longer take things at sec­ond or third hand.…,” wrote Whit­man, “nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spec­tres in books, / You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me, / You shall lis­ten to all sides and fil­ter them from your­self.”

Find many more read­ings at the Whit­man, Alaba­ma web­site. And stay tuned for new read­ings as they come online.

Also find works by Walt Whit­man on our lists of Free Audio Books and Free eBooks.

via Hyper­al­ler­gic

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Iggy Pop Reads Walt Whit­man in Col­lab­o­ra­tions With Elec­tron­ic Artists Alva Noto and Tar­wa­ter

Walt Whit­man Gives Advice to Aspir­ing Young Writ­ers: “Don’t Write Poet­ry” & Oth­er Prac­ti­cal Tips (1888)

Walt Whitman’s Unearthed Health Man­u­al, “Man­ly Health & Train­ing,” Urges Read­ers to Stand (Don’t Sit!) and Eat Plen­ty of Meat (1858)

The Civ­il War & Recon­struc­tion: A Free Course from Yale Uni­ver­si­ty

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

Buckminster Fuller Creates an Animated Visualization of Human Population Growth from 1000 B.C.E. to 1965

Sit back, relax, put on some music (I’ve found Chopin’s Noc­turne in B major well-suit­ed), and watch the video above, a silent data visu­al­iza­tion by vision­ary archi­tect and sys­tems the­o­rist Buck­min­ster Fuller, “the James Brown of indus­tri­al design.” The short film from 1965 com­bines two of Fuller’s lead­ing con­cerns: the expo­nen­tial spread of the human pop­u­la­tion over finite mass­es of land and the need to revise our glob­al per­spec­tive via the “Dymax­ion map,” in order “to visu­al­ize the whole plan­et with greater accu­ra­cy,” as the Buck­min­ster Fuller Insti­tute writes, so that “we humans will be bet­ter equipped to address chal­lenges as we face our com­mon future aboard Space­ship Earth.”

Though you may know it best as the name of a geo­des­ic sphere at Disney’s Epcot Cen­ter, the term Space­ship Earth orig­i­nal­ly came from Fuller, who used it to remind us of our inter­con­nect­ed­ness and inter­de­pen­dence as we share resources on the only vehi­cle we know of that can sus­tain us in the cos­mos.

“We are all astro­nauts,” he wrote in his 1969 Oper­at­ing Man­u­al for Space­ship Earth, and yet we refuse to see the long-term con­se­quences of our actions on our spe­cial­ized craft: “One of the rea­sons why we are strug­gling inad­e­quate­ly today,” Fuller argued in his intro­duc­tion, “is that we reck­on our costs on too short­sight­ed a basis and are lat­er over­whelmed with the unex­pect­ed costs brought about by our short­sight­ed­ness.”

Like all vision­ar­ies, Fuller thought in long spans of time, and he used his design skills to help oth­ers do so as well. His pop­u­la­tion visu­al­iza­tion doc­u­ments human growth from 1000 B.C.E. to Fuller’s present, at the time, of 1965. In the image above (see a larg­er ver­sion here), we have a graph­ic from that same year—made col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly with artist and soci­ol­o­gist John McHale—showing the “shrink­ing of our plan­et by man’s increased trav­el and com­mu­ni­ca­tion speeds around the globe.” (It must be near micro­scop­ic by now.) Fuller takes an even longer view, look­ing at “the con­flu­ence of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and trans­porta­tion tech­nolo­gies,” writes Rikke Schmidt Kjær­gaard, “from 500,000 B.C.E. to 1965.”

Here Fuller com­bines his pop­u­la­tion data with the tech­no­log­i­cal break­throughs of moder­ni­ty. Though he’s thought of in some quar­ters as a genius and in some as a kook, Fuller demon­strat­ed his tremen­dous fore­sight in seem­ing­ly innu­mer­able ways. But it was in the realm of design that he excelled in com­mu­ni­cat­ing what he saw. “Pio­neers of data visu­al­iza­tion,” Fuller and McHale were two of “the first to chart long-term trends of indus­tri­al­iza­tion and glob­al­iza­tion.” Instead of becom­ing alarmed and fear­ful of what the trends showed, Fuller got to work design­ing for the future, ful­ly aware, writes the Fuller Insti­tute that “the plan­et is a sys­tem, and a resilient one.”

Fuller thought like a rad­i­cal­ly inven­tive engi­neer, but he spoke and wrote like a peacenik prophet, writ­ing that a sys­tem of nar­row spe­cial­iza­tions ensures that skill sets “are not com­pre­hend­ed com­pre­hen­sive­ly… or they are real­ized only in neg­a­tive ways, in new weapon­ry or the indus­tri­al sup­port only of war far­ing.” We’ve seen this vision of soci­ety played out to a fright­en­ing extent. Fuller saw a way out, one in which every­one on the plan­et can live in com­fort and secu­ri­ty with­out con­sum­ing (then not renew­ing) the Earth’s resources. How can this be done? You’ll have to read Fuller’s work to find out. Mean­while, as his visu­al­iza­tions sug­gest, it’s best for us to take the long view—and give up on short-term rewards and profits—in our assess­ments of the state of Space­ship Earth.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Buck­min­ster Fuller’s Map of the World: The Inno­va­tion that Rev­o­lu­tion­ized Map Design (1943)

200,000 Years of Stag­ger­ing Human Pop­u­la­tion Growth Shown in an Ani­mat­ed Map

The Life & Times of Buck­min­ster Fuller’s Geo­des­ic Dome: A Doc­u­men­tary

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

Milton Glaser’s 10 Rules for Life & Work: The Celebrated Designer Dispenses Wisdom Gained Over His Long Life & Career

“None of us has real­ly the abil­i­ty to under­stand our path until it’s over,” the cel­e­brat­ed graph­ic design­er Mil­ton Glaser mus­es less than a minute into the above video.

The 86-year-old Glaser’s many con­tri­bu­tions to pop culture—the  I ❤ NY logo, the psy­che­del­ic por­trait of a rain­bow-haired Bob Dylan, DC Comics’ clas­sic bul­let logo—con­fer unde­ni­able author­i­ty. To the out­side eye, he seems to have a pret­ty firm han­dle on the path he’s been trav­el­ing for lo these many decades. Aspi­rant design­ers would do well to give extra con­sid­er­a­tion to any advice he might share.

As would the rest of us.

His “Ten Things I Have Learned,” orig­i­nal­ly deliv­ered as part of a talk to the AIGA—a ven­er­a­ble mem­ber­ship orga­ni­za­tion for design professionals—qualifies as sol­id life advice of gen­er­al inter­est.

Yes, the Inter­net spawns bul­let-point­ed tips for bet­ter liv­ing the way spring rains yield mush­rooms, but Glaser, a self-described “child of mod­ernism” who’s still a con­tender, does not truck in pithy Insta­gram-friend­ly apho­risms. Instead, his list is born of reflec­tion on the var­i­ous turns of a long and most­ly sat­is­fy­ing cre­ative career.

We’ve excerpt­ed some of his most essen­tial points below, and sug­gest that those read­ers who are still in train­ing give spe­cial empha­sis to num­ber sev­en. Don’t place too much weight on num­ber nine until you’ve estab­lished a sol­id work eth­ic. (See num­ber four for more on that.)



Some years ago I real­ized that… all the work I had done that was mean­ing­ful and sig­nif­i­cant came out of an affec­tion­ate rela­tion­ship with a client.


Here, Glaser quotes com­pos­er John CageNev­er have a job, because if you have a job some­day some­one will take it away from you and then you will be unpre­pared for your old age. 


Glaser rec­om­mends putting a ques­tion­able com­pan­ion to a gestalt ther­a­py test. If, after spend­ing time with that per­son “you are more tired, then you have been poi­soned. If you have more ener­gy, you have been nour­ished. The test is almost infal­li­ble and I sug­gest that you use it for the rest of your life.”


Glaser con­cedes that a record of depend­able excel­lence is some­thing to look for in a brain sur­geon or auto mechan­ic, but for those in the arts, “con­tin­u­ous trans­gres­sion” is the qual­i­ty to cul­ti­vate. Pro­fes­sion­al­ism does not allow for that because trans­gres­sion has to encom­pass the pos­si­bil­i­ty of fail­ure and if you are pro­fes­sion­al your instinct is not to fail, it is to repeat suc­cess. 


I have an alter­na­tive to the propo­si­tion that I believe is more appro­pri­ate. ‘Just enough is more.’


Style change is usu­al­ly linked to eco­nom­ic fac­tors, as all of you know who have read Marx. Also fatigue occurs when peo­ple see too much of the same thing too often.


The brain is the most respon­sive organ of the body…. Thought changes our life and our behav­ior. I also believe that draw­ing works in the same way…. Draw­ing also makes you atten­tive. It makes you pay atten­tion to what you are look­ing at, which is not so easy.


One of the signs of a dam­aged ego is absolute cer­tain­ty. Schools encour­age the idea of not com­pro­mis­ing and defend­ing your work at all costs. Well, the issue at work is usu­al­ly all about the nature of com­pro­mise…. Ide­al­ly, mak­ing every­one win through acts of accom­mo­da­tion is desir­able.


Glaser cred­its essay­ist Roger Rosenblatt’s Rules for Aging (misiden­ti­fy­ing the title as Aging Grace­ful­ly) with help­ing him artic­u­late his phi­los­o­phy here.  It doesn’t mat­ter what you think. It does not mat­ter if you are late or ear­ly, if you are here or there, if you said it or didn’t say it, if you are clever or if you were stu­pid. If you were hav­ing a bad hair day or a no hair day or if your boss looks at you cock­eyed or your boyfriend or girl­friend looks at you cock­eyed, if you are cock­eyed. If you don’t get that pro­mo­tion or prize or house or if you do – it doesn’t mat­ter.


It’s inter­est­ing to observe that in the new AIGA’s code of ethics there is a sig­nif­i­cant amount of use­ful infor­ma­tion about appro­pri­ate behav­ior towards clients and oth­er design­ers, but not a word about a designer’s rela­tion­ship to the pub­lic. If we were licensed, telling the truth might become more cen­tral to what we do.


A butch­er was open­ing his mar­ket one morn­ing and as he did a rab­bit popped his head through the door. The butch­er was sur­prised when the rab­bit inquired ‘Got any cab­bage?’ The butch­er said ‘This is a meat mar­ket – we sell meat, not veg­eta­bles.’ The rab­bit hopped off. The next day the butch­er is open­ing the shop and sure enough the rab­bit pops his head round and says ‘You got any cab­bage?’ The butch­er now irri­tat­ed says ‘Lis­ten you lit­tle rodent, I told you yes­ter­day we sell meat, we do not sell veg­eta­bles and the next time you come here I am going to grab you by the throat and nail those flop­py ears to the floor.’ The rab­bit dis­ap­peared hasti­ly and noth­ing hap­pened for a week. Then one morn­ing the rab­bit popped his head around the cor­ner and said ‘Got any nails?’ The butch­er said ‘No.’ The rab­bit said ‘Ok. Got any cab­bage?’’

Read Mil­ton Glaser’s “Ten Things I Have Learned” in its entire­ty here.

via Kot­tke

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Mil­ton Glaser Draws Shake­speare & Explains Why Draw­ing is the Key to Under­stand­ing Life

Mick­ey Mouse In Viet­nam: The Under­ground Anti-War Ani­ma­tion from 1968, Co-Cre­at­ed by Mil­ton Glaser

World-Renowned Graph­ic Design­er Mil­ton Glaser Has a Laugh on Old Jews Telling Jokes

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

What Makes a Coen Brothers Movie a Coen Brothers Movie? Find Out in a 4‑Hour Video Essay of Barton Fink, The Big Lebowski, Fargo, No Country for Old Men & More

What could movies as dif­fer­ent as Bar­ton FinkThe Big Lebows­kiNo Coun­try for Old Men, and True Grit have in com­mon? Even casu­al cinephiles will take that as a sil­ly ques­tion, know­ing full well that all of them came from the same sib­ling writ­ing-direct­ing team of Joel and Ethan Coen, bet­ter known as the Coen broth­ers. But to those who real­ly dig deep into movies, the ques­tion stands: what, aes­thet­i­cal­ly, for­mal­ly, intel­lec­tu­al­ly, or emo­tion­al­ly, does uni­fy the fil­mog­ra­phy of the Coen broth­ers? Though it boasts more than its fair share of crit­i­cal, com­mer­cial, and cult fan favorites, its auteurs seem­ing­ly pre­fer to mark their work with many sub­tle sig­na­tures rather than one bold and obvi­ous one.

Cameron Beyl, cre­ator of The Direc­tors Series (whose exam­i­na­tions of Stan­ley Kubrick and David Finch­er we’ve pre­vi­ous­ly fea­tured here on Open Cul­ture), finds out just what makes a Coen broth­ers movie a Coen broth­ers movie in his sev­en-part, near­ly four-hour set of video essays on the two Jew­ish broth­ers from the Min­neso­ta sub­urbs who went on to make per­haps the most dis­tinc­tive impact on the zeit­geist of their gen­er­a­tion of Amer­i­can film­mak­ers.

He begins with the Coen broth­ers’ Texas noir debut Blood Sim­ple and sopho­more south­west­ern slap­stick Rais­ing Ari­zona, then goes on to their larg­er-scale post­mod­ern peri­od pieces Miller’s Cross­ingBar­ton Fink, and the Hud­suck­er Proxy.

The next chap­ter cov­ers their break­out films of the late 1990s Far­go and The Big Lebows­ki, and then two high­ly styl­ized pic­tures, the Odyssey-inspired prison break O Broth­er, Where Art Thou? and the black-and-white noir The Man Who Was­n’t There. Then come Intol­er­a­ble Cru­el­ty and The Ladykillers, two 21st-cen­tu­ry screw­ball come­dies, fol­lowed by their “pres­ti­gious pin­na­cle,” the acclaimed four-pic­ture stretch of No Coun­try for Old MenBurn After Read­ingA Seri­ous Man, and True Grit.

The final chap­ter (below) looks at the Coen broth­ers’ two most recent works, both of which take on the cul­ture indus­try: Inside Llewyn Davis, the tale of a would-be 1960s folk star, and Hail, Cae­sar!, one of ear­ly-1950s Hol­ly­wood.

Beyl’s analy­sis brings to the fore both the more and the less vis­i­ble com­mon ele­ments of the Coen broth­ers’ movies. The for­mer include their fond­ness for his­tor­i­cal and “mid­dle Amer­i­can” set­tings, their repeat­ed use of actors like John Good­man, Steve Busce­mi, Frances McDor­mand, and John Tur­tur­ro, and their ten­den­cy to move the cam­era with what Beyl sev­er­al times describes as “break­neck speed.” The lat­ter include eas­i­ly miss­able place and char­ac­ter inter­con­nec­tions (for instance, how Bar­ton Fink and Hail, Cae­sar!, set a decade apart and made a quar­ter-cen­tu­ry apart, involve the same fic­tion­al Hol­ly­wood stu­dio) and their simul­ta­ne­ous deploy­ment and sub­ver­sion of genre con­ven­tions, pos­si­bly owing to their life­long “out­sider” per­spec­tive.

But above all, noth­ing sig­nals the work of the Coen broth­ers quite so clear­ly as their ever-more-refined mix­ture of zani­ness and bru­tal­i­ty, which Beyl puts in terms of their mix­ture of dis­parate film­mak­ing influ­ences: Pre­ston Sturges on one hand, for exam­ple, and Sam Peck­in­pah on the oth­er. This comes with their films’ built-in resis­tance to straight­for­ward inter­pre­ta­tion, a kind of plea­sur­able com­plex­i­ty that pre­vents any one sim­ple his­tor­i­cal, social, or polit­i­cal read­ing from mak­ing much head­way. In fact, as Beyl acknowl­edges in the first of these video essays, the Coen broth­ers would prob­a­bly con­sid­er this sort of long-form exam­i­na­tion of their work a waste of time, but if it sends view­ers back to that work — and espe­cial­ly if it sends them back watch­ing and notic­ing more close­ly — it does a favor to the rare kind of mod­ern cin­e­ma that actu­al­ly mer­its the word unique.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

How the Coen Broth­ers Sto­ry­board­ed Blood Sim­ple Down to a Tee (1984)

Is The Big Lebows­ki a Great Noir Film? A New Way to Look at the Coen Broth­ers’ Icon­ic Movie

How the Coen Broth­ers Put Their Remark­able Stamp on the “Shot Reverse Shot,” the Fun­da­men­tal Cin­e­mat­ic Tech­nique

Tui­leries: A Short, Slight­ly Twist­ed Film by Joel and Ethan Coen

World Cin­e­ma: Joel and Ethan Coen’s Play­ful Homage to Cin­e­ma His­to­ry

Dis­cov­er the Life & Work of Stan­ley Kubrick in a Sweep­ing Three-Hour Video Essay

How Did David Finch­er Become the Kubrick of Our Time? A New Series of Video Essays Explains

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­ma, the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Ange­les Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

Discover the Creative, New Philosophy Podcast Hi-Phi Nation: The First Story-Driven Show About Philosophy

Let me call your atten­tion to a new and quite dif­fer­ent phi­los­o­phy pod­cast. Cre­at­ed by Bar­ry Lam (Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor of Phi­los­o­phy at Vas­sar Col­lege), Hi-Phi Nation is a phi­los­o­phy pod­cast “that turns sto­ries into ideas.” Con­sid­er it “the first sound and sto­ry-dri­ven show about phi­los­o­phy, bring­ing togeth­er nar­ra­tive sto­ry­telling, inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ism, and sound­track­ing.”

Above you can watch a trail­er that intro­duces Hi-Phi Nation, which is now avail­able on iTunes, Google Play, Sound­cloud and this web­site. Below, hear Episode 9 of Sea­son 1, called “The Ash­es of Truth.” Among oth­er things, it fea­tures film­mak­er Errol Mor­ris.

The first sea­son of Hi-Phi Nation has been made pos­si­ble by the Nation­al Endow­ment for the Human­i­ties, The Cen­ter for Doc­u­men­tary Stud­ies at Duke Uni­ver­si­ty, the Human­i­ties-Writ Large Fel­low­ship, and oth­er insti­tu­tions. Learn more about the show by read­ing these write-ups by Vas­sar and Prince­ton.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Free Online Phi­los­o­phy Cours­es

Learn Islam­ic & Indi­an Phi­los­o­phy with 107 Episodes of the His­to­ry of Phi­los­o­phy With­out Any Gaps Pod­cast

The His­to­ry of Phi­los­o­phy … With­out Any Gaps

A His­to­ry of Phi­los­o­phy in 81 Video Lec­tures: From Ancient Greece to Mod­ern Times 

The His­to­ry of Phi­los­o­phy Visu­al­ized

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How to Make the World’s Smallest Cup of Coffee, from Just One Coffee Bean

The Finnish cof­fee com­pa­ny, Paulig, has been around for a good long while–since 1876, to pre­cise. But only in 2017 did they get around to doing this–enlisting Helsin­ki design­er Lucas Zan­ot­to “to make the small­est cup of cof­fee, out of 1 bean.” Zan­ot­to does­n’t need much more than a nail file, can­dle, and thim­ble-sized cup to pro­duce that tiny cup of joe. Con­cep­tu­al­ly, it’s a neat exer­cise in effi­cien­cy and con­ser­va­tion. But, prac­ti­cal­ly speak­ing, will it get you through the day?

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

via Colos­sal

Relat­ed Con­tent:

A Rol­lick­ing French Ani­ma­tion on the Per­ils of Drink­ing a Lit­tle Too Much Cof­fee

Philoso­phers Drink­ing Cof­fee: The Exces­sive Habits of Kant, Voltaire & Kierkegaard

David Lynch Directs a Mini-Sea­son of Twin Peaks in the Form of Japan­ese Cof­fee Com­mer­cials

J.S. Bach’s Com­ic Opera, “The Cof­fee Can­ta­ta,” Sings the Prais­es of the Great Stim­u­lat­ing Drink (1735)

“The Virtues of Cof­fee” Explained in 1690 Ad: The Cure for Lethar­gy, Scurvy, Drop­sy, Gout & More

The Futurist Cookbook (1930) Tried to Turn Italian Cuisine into Modern Art

With the com­ing sav­age cuts in arts fund­ing, per­haps we’ll return to a sys­tem of noblesse oblige famil­iar to stu­dents of The Gild­ed Age, when artists need­ed inde­pen­dent wealth or patron­age, and wealthy indus­tri­al­ists often decid­ed what was art, and what wasn’t. Unlike fine art, how­ev­er, haute cui­sine has always relied on the patron­age of wealthy donors—or din­ers. It can be mar­ket­ed in pre­made pieces, sold in cook­books, and made to look easy on TV, but for rea­sons both cul­tur­al and prac­ti­cal, giv­en the nature of food, an exquis­ite­ly-pre­pared dish can only be made acces­si­ble to a select few.

Still, we would be mis­tak­en, sug­gest­ed Futur­ist poet and the­o­rist F.T. Marinet­ti (1876–1944), should we neglect to see cook­ing as an art form akin to all the oth­ers in its moral and intel­lec­tu­al influ­ence on us. While hard­ly the first or the last artist to pub­lish a cook­book, Marinetti’s Futur­ist Cook­book seems as first glance dead­ly, even aggres­sive­ly, seri­ous, lack­ing the whim­sy, imprac­ti­cal weird­ness, and sur­re­al­ist art of Sal­vador Dali’s Les Din­ers de Gala, for exam­ple, or the eclec­tic wist­ful­ness of the MoMA’s Artist’s Cook­book.

Just as he had sought with his ear­li­er Futur­ist Man­i­festo to rev­o­lu­tion­ize art, Marinet­ti intend­ed his cook­book to foment a “rev­o­lu­tion of cui­sine,” as Alex Rev­el­li Sori­ni and Susan­na Cuti­ni point out. You might even call it an act of war when it came to cer­tain sta­ples of Ital­ian eat­ing, like pas­ta, which he thought respon­si­ble for “slug­gish­ness, pes­simism, nos­tal­gic inac­tiv­i­ty, and neu­tral­ism” (antic­i­pat­ing scads of low and no-carb diets to come).

Believ­ing that peo­ple “think, dream and act accord­ing to what they eat and drink,” Marinet­ti for­mu­lat­ed strict rules not only for the prepa­ra­tion of food, but also the serv­ing and eat­ing of it, going so far as to call for abol­ish­ing the knife and fork. A short excerpt from his intro­duc­tion shows him apply­ing to food the tech­no-roman­ti­cism of his Futur­ist theory—an ethos tak­en up by Ben­i­to Mus­soli­ni, whom Marinet­ti sup­port­ed:

The Futur­ist culi­nary rev­o­lu­tion … has the lofty, noble and uni­ver­sal­ly expe­di­ent aim of chang­ing rad­i­cal­ly the eat­ing habits of our race, strength­en­ing it, dynamiz­ing it and spir­i­tu­al­iz­ing it with brand-new food com­bi­na­tions in which exper­i­ment, intel­li­gence and imag­i­na­tion will eco­nom­i­cal­ly take the place of quan­ti­ty, banal­i­ty, rep­e­ti­tion and expense.

In hind­sight, the fas­cist over­tones in Marinetti’s lan­guage seem glar­ing. In 1932, when  the Futur­ist Cook­book  was pub­lished, his Futur­ism seemed like a much-need “jolt to all the prac­ti­cal and intel­lec­tu­al activ­i­ties,” note Sori­ni and Cuti­ni.  “The sub­ject [of cook­ing] need­ed a good shake to reawak­en its spir­it.” And that’s just what it got. The Futur­ist Cook­book act­ed as “a pre­view of Ital­ian-style Nou­velle Cui­sine,” with such inno­va­tions as “addi­tives and preser­v­a­tives added to food, or using tech­no­log­i­cal tools in the kitchen to mince, pul­ver­ize, and emul­si­fy.”

Yet, for all the high seri­ous­ness with which Marinet­ti seems to treat his sub­ject, “what the media missed” at the time, writes Maria Popo­va, “was that the cook­book was arguably the great­est artis­tic prank of the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry.” In an intro­duc­tion to the 1989 edi­tion, British jour­nal­ist and his­to­ri­an Les­ley Cham­ber­lain called the Futur­ist Cook­book “a seri­ous joke, rev­o­lu­tion­ary in the first instance because it over­turned with rib­ald laugh­ter every­thing ‘food’ and ‘cook­books’ held sacred.” Marinet­ti first swept away tra­di­tion in favor of cre­ative din­ing events the Futur­ists called “aer­oban­quets,” such as one in Bologna in 1931 with a table shaped like an air­plane and dish­es called “spicy air­port” (Olivi­er sal­ad) and “ris­ing thun­der” (orange risot­to). Lam­br­us­co wine was served in gas cans.

It’s per­for­mance art wor­thy of Dal­i’s bizarre cos­tumed din­ner par­ties, but fueled by a gen­uine desire to rev­o­lu­tion­ize food, if not the actu­al eat­ing of it, by “bring­ing togeth­er ele­ments sep­a­rat­ed by bias­es that have no true foun­da­tion.” So remarked French chef Jules Main­cave, a 1914 con­vert to Futur­ism and inspi­ra­tion for what Marinet­ti calls “flex­i­ble fla­vor­ful com­bi­na­tions.” See sev­er­al such recipes excerpt­ed from the Futur­ist Cook­book at Brain Pick­ings, read the full book in Ital­ian here, and, just below, see Marinetti’s rules for the per­fect meal, first pub­lished in 1930 as the “Man­i­festo of Futur­ist Cui­sine.”

Futur­ist cui­sine and rules for the per­fect lunch

1. An orig­i­nal har­mo­ny of the table (crys­tal ware, crock­ery and glass­ware, dec­o­ra­tion) with the fla­vors and col­ors of the dish­es.

2. Utter orig­i­nal­i­ty in the dish­es.

3. The inven­tion of flex­i­ble fla­vor­ful com­bi­na­tions (edi­ble plas­tic com­plex), whose orig­i­nal har­mo­ny of form and col­or feeds the eyes and awak­ens the imag­i­na­tion before tempt­ing the lips.

4. The abo­li­tion of knife and fork in favor of flex­i­ble com­bi­na­tions that can deliv­er prelabi­al tac­tile enjoy­ment.

5. The use of the art of per­fumery to enhance taste. Each dish must be pre­ced­ed by a per­fume that will be removed from the table using fans.

6. A lim­it­ed use of music in the inter­vals between one dish and the next, so as not to dis­tract the sen­si­tiv­i­ty of the tongue and the palate and serves to elim­i­nate the fla­vor enjoyed, restor­ing a clean slate for tast­ing.

7. Abo­li­tion of ora­to­ry and pol­i­tics at the table.

8. Mea­sured use of poet­ry and music as unex­pect­ed ingre­di­ents to awak­en the fla­vors of a giv­en dish with their sen­su­al inten­si­ty.

9. Rapid pre­sen­ta­tion between one dish and the next, before the nos­trils and the eyes of the din­ner guests, of the few dish­es that they will eat, and oth­ers that they will not, to facil­i­tate curios­i­ty, sur­prise, and imag­i­na­tion.

10. The cre­ation of simul­ta­ne­ous and chang­ing morsels that con­tain ten, twen­ty fla­vors to be tast­ed in a few moments. These morsels will also serve the ana­log func­tion […] of sum­ma­riz­ing an entire area of life, the course of a love affair, or an entire voy­age to the Far East.

11. A sup­ply of sci­en­tif­ic tools in the kitchen: ozone machines that will impart the scent of ozone to liq­uids and dish­es; lamps to emit ultra­vi­o­let rays; elec­trolyz­ers to decom­pose extract­ed juices etc. in order to use a known prod­uct to achieve a new prod­uct with new prop­er­ties; col­loidal mills that can be used to pul­ver­ize flours, dried fruit and nuts, spices, etc.; dis­till­ing devices using ordi­nary pres­sure or a vac­u­um, cen­trifuge auto­claves, dial­y­sis machines.

The use of this equip­ment must be sci­en­tif­ic, avoid­ing the error of allow­ing dish­es to cook in steam pres­sure cook­ers, which leads to the destruc­tion of active sub­stances (vit­a­mins, etc.) due to the high tem­per­a­tures. Chem­i­cal indi­ca­tors will check if the sauce is acidic or basic and will serve to cor­rect any errors that may occur: lack of salt, too much vine­gar, too much pep­per, too sweet.”

via Fine­Din­ingLovers and Brain­Pick­ings

Relat­ed Con­tent

Sal­vador Dalí’s 1973 Cook­book Gets Reis­sued: Sur­re­al­ist Art Meets Haute Cui­sine

MoMA’s Artists’ Cook­book (1978) Reveals the Meals of Sal­vador Dalí, Willem de Koon­ing, Andy Warhol, Louise Bour­geois & More

The Artists’ and Writ­ers’ Cook­book Col­lects Recipes From T.C. Boyle, Mari­na Abramović, Neil Gaiman, Joyce Car­ol Oates & More

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

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