Applause Fills the Air as Stephen Hawking Gets Laid to Rest in Cambridge, England

Ear­li­er today, they laid Stephen Hawk­ing to rest in a pri­vate funer­al held at Uni­ver­si­ty Church of St. Mary the Great in Cam­bridge, Eng­land. Although the funer­al itself was attend­ed by only 500 guests, the streets of Cam­bridge swelled with onlook­ers who broke into applause as the cof­fin hold­ing the physi­cist made its way into the church, leav­ing us with some proof that there’s still some­thing right in a world tilt­ing toward the wrong, that we can still appre­ci­ate some­one who over­came so much, and left us with even more.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Stephen Hawk­ing Picks the Music (and One Nov­el) He’d Spend Eter­ni­ty With: Stream the Playlist Online

The Big Ideas of Stephen Hawk­ing Explained with Sim­ple Ani­ma­tion
Stephen Hawking’s Lec­tures on Black Holes Now Ful­ly Ani­mat­ed with Chalk­board Illus­tra­tions

Watch Stephen Hawking’s Inter­view with Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Record­ed 10 Days Before His Death: A Last Con­ver­sa­tion about Black Holes, Time Trav­el & More

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Hear Beowulf and Gawain and the Green Knight Read in Their Original Old and Middle English by an MIT Medievalist

Many a mock­ing cri­tique floats around point­ing out that some peo­ple who tell their mul­ti­lin­gual neigh­bors to “speak Eng­lish” seem to have a lot of trou­ble with the lan­guage them­selves. I must con­fess, I find the obser­va­tion more sad than fun­ny. I’ve met many Eng­lish speak­ers who strug­gle with under­stand­ing the pecu­liar­i­ties of the lan­guage and do not know its his­to­ry. Increas­ing­ly, such things are not taught to those who don’t devote them­selves to lan­guage study.

When peo­ple do learn how the lan­guage evolved, they can be shocked that for much of its his­to­ry, Eng­lish was unrec­og­niz­able to mod­ern ears. Indeed, the study of Old Eng­lish—or Anglo-Sax­on, the lan­guage of Beowulf—sat­is­fies for­eign lan­guage require­ments in many Eng­lish depart­ments. Orig­i­nal­ly writ­ten in runic before it incor­po­rat­ed the Latin alpha­bet (and retain­ing some of those ear­ly sym­bols after­ward), this Ger­man­ic lan­guage slow­ly became more Lati­nate, and gave way among the read­ing class­es in Britain to Anglo-Nor­man, a Ger­man­ic-French cousin, for a few cen­turies after 1066.

That’s the very short ver­sion. These strains and more even­tu­al­ly com­min­gled to form Mid­dle Eng­lish, the lan­guage of Chaucer, which also sounds to mod­ern ears like anoth­er tongue, though we rec­og­nize more of it. In the video above, Medieval­ist and MIT pro­fes­sor Arthur Bahr gives us demon­stra­tions of both Old and Mid­dle Eng­lish in read­ings of Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight as part of his 2014 course, “Major Authors: Old Eng­lish and Beowulf.” (You can still vis­it the course site, read the syl­labus and down­load course mate­ri­als.)

Bahr reads the first 20 lines of the ancient epic poem, which begins:

Hwæt. We Gar­de­na in geardagum, 
þeod­cyninga, þrym gefrunon, 
hu ða æþelin­gas ellen freme­don. 

“Besides being the lan­guage of Rohan in the nov­els of Tolkien,” he writes, “Old Eng­lish is a lan­guage of long, cold, and lone­ly win­ters; of haunt­ing beau­ty found in unex­pect­ed places; and of unshak­able resolve in the face of insur­mount­able odds.” For all its dis­tance from us, we can still rec­og­nize quite a lot in Old Eng­lish if we lis­ten close­ly. Much of its vocab­u­lary and inflec­tions sur­vive, unchanged but for pro­nun­ci­a­tion and spelling, in mod­ern Eng­lish, includ­ing many of the language’s most basic words, like “the,” “in” and “are,” and most com­mon, like “god,” “name,” “me,” “hand,” and even “old.”

After the Viking and Nor­man inva­sions, Old Eng­lish became “the third lan­guage in its own coun­try,” notes Luke Mastin at his His­to­ry of Eng­lish site. More spo­ken than writ­ten, it “effec­tive­ly sank to the lev­el of a patois or cre­ole,” with sev­er­al dis­tinct region­al vari­ants. Eng­lish seemed at one time “in dire per­il” of dying out but “showed its resilience once again, and, two hun­dred years after the Nor­man Con­quest, it was Eng­lish not French that emerged as the lan­guage of Eng­land,” though it remained a dif­fuse col­lec­tion of dialects. As you’ll hear in Bahr’s Mid­dle Eng­lish read­ing, it was also an Eng­lish entire­ly trans­formed by the lan­guages around it, as it would be once again a few hun­dred years lat­er, when we get to the Eng­lish of Shake­speare.

via Laugh­ing Squid

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Hear Beowulf Read In the Orig­i­nal Old Eng­lish: How Many Words Do You Rec­og­nize?

1,000-Year-Old Man­u­script of Beowulf Dig­i­tized and Now Online

Sea­mus Heaney Reads His Exquis­ite Trans­la­tion of Beowulf and His Mem­o­rable 1995 Nobel Lec­ture

Hear What Shake­speare Sound­ed Like in the Orig­i­nal Pro­nun­ci­a­tion

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

A Shazam for Nature: A New Free App Helps You Identify Plants, Animals & Other Denizens of the Natural World

Do you ever long for those not-so-long-ago days when you skipped through the world, breath­less with the antic­i­pa­tion of catch­ing Poké­mon on your phone screen?

If so, you might enjoy bag­ging some of the Pokeverse’s real world coun­ter­parts using Seek, iNaturalist’s new pho­to-iden­ti­fi­ca­tion app. It does for the nat­ur­al world what Shaz­am does for music.

Aim your phone’s cam­era at a non­de­script leaf or the grasshop­per-ish-look­ing crea­ture who’s camped on your porch light. With a bit of luck, Seek will pull up the rel­e­vant Wikipedia entry to help the two of you get bet­ter acquaint­ed.

Reg­is­tered users can pin their finds to their per­son­al col­lec­tions, pro­vid­ed the app’s recog­ni­tion tech­nol­o­gy pro­duces a match.

(Sev­er­al ear­ly adopters sug­gest it’s still a few house­plants shy of true func­tion­al­i­ty…)

Seek’s pro­tec­tive stance with regard to pri­va­cy set­tings is well suit­ed to junior spec­i­men col­lec­tors, as are the vir­tu­al badges with which it rewards ener­getic upload­ers.

While it doesn’t hang onto user data, Seek is build­ing a pho­to library, com­posed in part of user sub­mis­sions.

(Your cat is ready for her close up, Mr. DeMille…)

(Dit­to your Por­to­bel­lo Mush­room burg­er…)

Down­load Seek for free on iTunes or Google Play.

via Earth­er/My Mod­ern Met

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Two Mil­lion Won­drous Nature Illus­tra­tions Put Online by The Bio­di­ver­si­ty Her­itage Library

Watch 50 Hours of Nature Sound­scapes from the BBC: Sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly Proven to Ease Stress and Pro­mote Hap­pi­ness & Awe

How Walk­ing Fos­ters Cre­ativ­i­ty: Stan­ford Researchers Con­firm What Philoso­phers and Writ­ers Have Always Known

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

Japanese Designer Creates Incredibly Detailed & Realistic Maps of a City That Doesn’t Exist

When he first spent time in Japan­ese cities, urban design and his­to­ry pro­fes­sor Bar­rie Shel­ton “was baf­fled, irri­tat­ed, and even intim­i­dat­ed by what I saw. Yet at the same time I found myself ener­gized, ani­mat­ed, and indeed inspired by them. The effect was lib­er­at­ing and my intu­ition was quick to sug­gest that fur­ther explo­ration of their chaot­ic vital­i­ty might be extreme­ly reward­ing.” That explo­ration involved vis­its to “alleys, shrine and tem­ple precincts, high­ways, rail­way sta­tions (and their ‘mag­net­ic’ fields), roof-tops, obser­va­tion decks, arcades, under­ground streets, bars, gar­dens,” and so on, and no less essen­tial­ly includ­ed “almost com­pul­sive por­ing over city maps (old and new).”

It all cul­mi­nat­ed in Shel­ton’s book Learn­ing from the Japan­ese City, a study that can help any West­ern­er bet­ter under­stand the likes of Tokyo, Osa­ka, Kyoto, Kanaza­wa, Hiroshi­ma, Fukuo­ka, or indeed Nago­mu­ru City. You won’t find that last, how­ev­er, on any map of Japan, nor will you find it in the coun­try itself. It exists in the land of Naira, which itself exists in the mind of Japan­ese graph­ic design­er and car­tog­ra­ph­er Imaizu­mi Takayu­ki. Imaizu­mi’s painstak­ing, ongo­ing work has pro­duced maps of Nago­mu­ru City that look at it in dif­fer­ent ways in dif­fer­ent eras, which you can browse on Let’s Go to the Imag­i­nary Cities! On this page you can explore scrol­lable maps of the city by first select­ing one of its thir­ty regions; just below that, you can also down­load a large PDF map of the entire metrop­o­lis.

Imaizu­mi’s urban car­to­graph­ic vision is so rich­ly real­ized that it has pro­duced art exhi­bi­tions, a book, and even a vari­ety of phys­i­cal arti­facts. On one page, for instance, you’ll find pho­tographs of the con­tents of sev­er­al imag­i­nary wal­lets lost on the imag­i­nary streets of Nago­mu­ru City by its imag­i­nary cit­i­zens. On anoth­er appear the imag­i­nary cash cards issued by the imag­i­nary Nago­mu­ru Bank, com­plete with a pair of imag­i­nary mas­cots with­out which, as any­one with any expe­ri­ence of Japan knows, no card would be com­plete. These arti­facts and oth­ers have all come as a result of the project Imaizu­mi began at just ten years old, a brief his­to­ry of which Japan­ese-read­ers can take in here.

“If I can imag­ine a fic­tive nation,” writes Roland Barthes in Empire of Signs, “I can give it an invent­ed name, treat it declar­a­tive­ly as a nov­el­is­tic object,” then “iso­late some­where in the world (far­away) a cer­tain num­ber of fea­tures (a term employed in lin­guis­tics), and out of all these fea­tures delib­er­ate­ly form a sys­tem. It is this sys­tem which I call: Japan.” Imaizu­mi chose to call his sys­tem Nago­mu­ru City, but one imag­ines that all its care­ful­ly cre­at­ed and posi­tioned fea­tures and details — the train lines and sta­tions, the shrines and tem­ples, the hous­ing devel­op­ments, the con­ve­nience stores, all the things cel­e­brat­ed in both Empire of Signs and Learn­ing from the Japan­ese City — would have fired up Barthes’ imag­i­na­tion just as much as did the real Japan.

via Metafil­ter

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Invis­i­ble Cities Illus­trat­ed: Artist Illus­trates Each and Every City in Ita­lo Calvino’s Clas­sic Nov­el

Invis­i­ble Cities Illus­trat­ed: Three Artists Paint Every City in Ita­lo Calvino’s Clas­sic Nov­el

William Faulkn­er Draws Maps of Yok­na­p­ataw­pha Coun­ty, the Fic­tion­al Home of His Great Nov­els

Japan­ese Design­ers May Have Cre­at­ed the Most Accu­rate Map of Our World: See the Autha­Graph

Artist Re-Envi­sions Nation­al Parks in the Style of Tolkien’s Mid­dle Earth Maps

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities 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 or on Face­book.

The Fall’s Mark E. Smith’s (RIP) Creates a List of His Favorite Books, Films & Music, Circa 1981

Some of us are still reel­ing from the death this last Jan­u­ary of Mark E. Smith, the front­man and acer­bic brains behind The Fall, sure­ly one of post-punk’s finest groups, and def­i­nite­ly its longest last­ing. The band might not have scored that many Top 40 sin­gles, but Britain’s music press loved and feared Smith in equal amounts. He was always good for a bel­liger­ent quote, or a beer-fueled inter­view down the pub. To para­phrase DJ John Peel, Smith was the yard­stick against which oth­er musi­cians were mea­sured.

And his death has also brought out a trea­sure trove of clip­pings, includ­ing this one from the August 15, 1981 edi­tion of NME. “Por­trait of the Artist as a Con­sumer” was an occa­sion­al series, ask­ing musi­cians for their favorite books, art, writ­ers, come­di­ans, films, and even oth­er music. We’ve past­ed the orig­i­nal scan above, but just in case, we’ve tran­scribed his lists with a lit­tle bit of com­men­tary.

Gulcher — Richard Meltzer
A Small Town in Ger­many — John Le Car­ré
A Scan­ner Dark­ly — Philip K. Dick
The Sirens of Titan — Kurt Von­negut Jr.
The Deer Park - Nor­man Mail­er
The Black Room — Col­in Wil­son
Rit­u­al in the Dark — Col­in Wil­son
Cogan’s Trade — George V. Hig­gins
At the Moun­tains of Mad­ness - H.P. Love­craft
Beyond Good and Evil — Fred­erich Niet­zsche

U.S. Civ­il War Hand­book — William H. Price
How I Cre­at­ed Mod­ern Music — D. McCul­loch (a week­ly ser­i­al)
True Crime Month­ly
Pri­vate Eye
Fibs About M.E. Smith by J. Cope (a pam­phlet)

Okay, for long­time fans of The Fall, the appear­ance of Philip K. Dick and H.P. Love­craft should come as no sur­prise, as Smith ref­er­enced them often in his lyrics. Gulcher (sub­ti­tled Post-Rock Cul­tur­al Plu­ral­ism in Amer­i­ca) was one of the first ever col­lec­tions of seri­ous rock crit­i­cism from one of the first ever rock crit­ics. The blurb on Col­in Wil­son over at Ama­zon says he “wrote wide­ly on true crime, mys­ti­cism and the para­nor­mal” which sounds pret­ty much like Smith’s CV. George V. Hig­gins was also a crime writer, with a gift for mafioso gab. And as for The Deer Park by Mail­er, Smith took the title for an ear­ly Fall song:

Of Smith’s fas­ci­na­tion with the U.S. Civ­il War, I can think of his own visu­al­iz­ing between the North and South in his own belea­guered Britain, and the lyric from “The N.W.R.A.”:

“The streets of Soho did rever­ber­ate
With drunk­en High­land men
Revenge for Cul­lo­den dead
The North had rose again
But it would turn out wrong”

Don’t go look­ing for the McCul­loch and Cope writings—they’re both jokes at the expense of fel­low Man­cu­ni­ans Ian McCul­loch (Echo and the Bun­ny­men) and Julian Cope, who Smith gigged with back in the day and went on to—as Smith no doubt saw it—sell out to the main­stream

[UPDATE: As one com­menter has not­ed D. Cul­loch is actu­al­ly Dave McCul­loch, Ian’s broth­er and once the edi­tor and writer for Sounds. How­ev­er, he is a man that has dropped off the face of the Inter­net, and we’ll need some more dig­ging to see if his ser­i­al even exists. Help us in the com­ments.]


Claude Bessy

Of William S. Bur­roughs much has been writ­ten, but Claude Bessy was a French writer who start­ed and/or wrote for sev­er­al punk fanzines, includ­ing Ange­leno Dread and Slash, was the res­i­dent VJ at Manchester’s Hacien­da Club, and directed—supposedly—music videos for The Fall (which ones, I can’t dis­cern).

Wyn­d­ham Lewis
Mal­colm Alli­son
Vir­gin Prunes
The Worst live, March­ester Dec. ’77

Those who have seen Lewis’ writ­ings for BLAST, the mag­a­zine of the vor­ti­cist move­ment in Britain, cir­ca 1914, might be mis­tak­en that they were look­ing at a M.E.S. lyric sheet.

The list is Smith’s joke over what is con­sid­ered art: Mal­colm Alli­son was an Eng­lish foot­ball play­er and man­ag­er; the Vir­gin Prunes were an Irish post-punk band; The Worst was a lit­tle known punk band that shared the bill with The Fall and John Coop­er Clark at the Elec­tric Cir­cus gig—the record­ing of which was the Fall’s first release.

Lenny Bruce
Alan Pel­lay
Bernard Man­ning
All Ian Cur­tis deriv­a­tives

Lenny Bruce and Bernard Man­ning are oppo­site ends of a very odd spec­trum. More inter­est­ing is Alan Pel­lay aka Al Pel­lay aka Lana Pel­lay, who front­ed a group I Scream Plea­sures that often opened for The Fall, and whose angry dec­la­ra­tions over dub tracks by Adri­an Sher­wood are son­ic cousins to Smith.

Polanski’s Mac­beth
Mel Brook’s (sic) High Anx­i­ety
Fellini’s Rome
The Man with X‑Ray Eyes and The Lost Week­end star­ring Ray Mil­land
Visconti’s The Damned
Days of Wine and Ros­es with Jack Lem­mon
Char­lie Bub­bles with Albert Finney

The most per­son­al selec­tion here is the last one, a 1968 film that starred Finney as a des­per­ate but suc­cess­ful writer who returns to his child­hood home…Salford, near Man­ches­ter, Smith’s own home­town.

John Cleese adverts

Of the two, Bluey is the rare one, a cult Aus­tralian cop dra­ma from 1976 cre­at­ed by Jock Blair and Ian Jones. We also have no idea why he liked it.


Take No Pris­on­ers — Lou Reed
Peter Ham­mill
John­ny Cash
The Pan­ther Burns
God Save the Queen — The Sex Pis­tols
Raw and Alive — The Seeds
Peb­bles Vol. 3 — Var­i­ous
16 Great­est Truck Dri­ver Hits cas­sette
Radio City — Philip John­son (cas­sette)
Der Plan
Alter­na­tive TV
Land of the Homo Jews and Hank Williams Was Queer, live — Fear (L.A. Group)
We’re Only In It for the Mon­ey — Moth­ers of Inven­tion

So, at last, the music list. No sur­pris­es see­ing Lou Reed, John­ny Cash, The Pis­tols, or Zap­pa on here. The Pan­ther Burns was a favorite group of Claude Bessy; The Seeds was a great garage rock band of the ‘60s; Peb­bles is a com­pi­la­tion of Amer­i­can psy­che rock; Alter­na­tive TV, Fear, and Der Plan had vary­ing degrees of suc­cess in the punk and elec­tron­ic gen­res.

Of note, two things: the 16 Great­est Truck Dri­ver Hits cas­sette, which the band must have picked up some­where on tour. A baf­fling release, it has songs not cred­it­ed to any artist, so per­haps this is a stu­dio band con­coc­tion of coun­try cov­ers. But it might have inspired Smith to write his own ver­sion of the Amer­i­can truck­er song, “Con­tain­er Dri­vers”:

Also Philip John­son. Radio City was one of a dozen self-released cas­settes by an ear­ly elec­tron­ic artist, which DieorDIY described as “A fan­tas­tic cut up of var­i­ous cur­rent affairs radio broad­casts, with the clas­sic AM radio sound qual­i­ty, made good by that cosi­ly depress­ing fer­ric oxide degra­da­tion tech­nique.” For those look­ing for the var­i­ous influ­ences on the genius of Mark E. Smith, this entire list gives you a good place to start.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Pat­ti Smith’s 40 Favorite Books

David Bowie’s Top 100 Books

Springsteen’s Favorite Books & Read­ing List

Hayao Miyaza­ki Picks His 50 Favorite Children’s Books

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 and/or watch his films here.

Martin Scorsese Creates a List of 38 Essential Films About American Democracy

Image by “Sieb­bi,” Wiki­me­dia Com­mons

So many of us, through­out so much of the 20th cen­tu­ry, saw the nature of Amer­i­can-style democ­ra­cy as more or less etched in stone. But the events of recent years, cer­tain­ly on the nation­al lev­el but also on the glob­al one, have thrown our assump­tions about a polit­i­cal sys­tem that once looked des­tined for uni­ver­sal­i­ty — indeed, the much-dis­cussed “end” toward which his­to­ry itself has been work­ing — into ques­tion. What­ev­er our per­son­al views, we’ve all had to remem­ber that the Unit­ed States, approach­ing a quar­ter-mil­len­ni­um of his­to­ry, remains an exper­i­men­tal coun­try, one more sub­ject to re-eval­u­a­tion and revi­sion than we might have thought.

The same holds true for the art form that has done more than any oth­er to spread visions of Amer­i­ca: the movies. Mar­tin Scors­ese sure­ly knows this, just as deeply as he knows that a full under­stand­ing of any soci­ety demands immer­sion into that soci­ety’s dreams of itself. The fact that so many of Amer­i­ca’s dreams have tak­en cin­e­mat­ic form makes Scors­ese well-placed to approach the sub­ject, giv­en that he’s dreamed a fair few of them him­self. Taxi Dri­ver, Rag­ing Bull, Good­fel­las, Gangs of New YorkThe Wolf of Wall Street: most of his best-known films tell thor­ough­ly Amer­i­can sto­ries, root­ed in not just his coun­try’s dis­tinc­tive his­to­ry but the equal­ly dis­tinc­tive pol­i­tics, soci­ety, and cul­ture that have result­ed from it.

Now, along with his non­prof­it The Film Foun­da­tion, Scors­ese pass­es his under­stand­ing of Amer­i­ca along to all of us with their cur­ricu­lum, “Por­traits of Amer­i­ca: Democ­ra­cy on Film.” It comes as part of their larg­er project “The Sto­ry of Film,” described by its offi­cial site as “an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary cur­ricu­lum intro­duc­ing stu­dents to clas­sic cin­e­ma and the cul­tur­al, his­tor­i­cal, and artis­tic sig­nif­i­cance of film.” Scors­ese and The Film Foun­da­tion offer its mate­ri­als free to schools, but stu­dents of all ages and nation­al­i­ties can learn a great deal about Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy from the pic­tures it includes, the sequence of which runs as fol­lows:

Mod­ule 1: The Immi­grant Expe­ri­ence
Intro­duc­to­ry Les­son: From Pen­ny Clap­trap to Movie Palaces—the First Three Decades
Chap­ter 1: “The Immi­grant” (1917, d. Char­lie Chap­lin)
Chap­ter 2: “The God­fa­ther, Part II” (1974, d. Fran­cis Ford Cop­po­la)
Chap­ter 3: “Amer­i­ca, Amer­i­ca” (1963, d. Elia Kazan)
Chap­ter 4: “El Norte” (1983, d. Gre­go­ry Nava)
Chap­ter 5: “The Name­sake” (2006, d. Mira Nair)

Mod­ule 2: The Amer­i­can Labor­er
Intro­duc­to­ry Les­son: The Com­mon Good
Chap­ter 1: “Black Fury” (1935, d. Michael Cur­tiz)
Chap­ter 2: “Har­lan Coun­ty U.S.A.” (1976, d. Bar­bara Kop­ple)
Chap­ter 3: “At the Riv­er I Stand” (1993, d. David Apple­by, Alli­son Gra­ham and Steven Ross)
Chap­ter 4: “Salt of the Earth” (1954, d. Her­bert J. Biber­man)
Chap­ter 5: “Nor­ma Rae” (1979, d. Mar­tin Ritt)

Mod­ule 3: Civ­il Rights
Intro­duc­to­ry Les­son: The Cam­era as Wit­ness
Chap­ter 1: King: A Filmed Record…Montgomery to Mem­phis (1970, con­ceived & cre­at­ed by
Ely Lan­dau; guest appear­ances filmed by Sid­ney Lumet and Joseph L.
Chap­ter 2: “Intrud­er in the Dust” (1949, d. Clarence Brown)
Chap­ter 3: “The Times of Har­vey Milk” (1984, d. Robert Epstein)
Chap­ter 4: “Smoke Sig­nals” (1998, d. Chris Eyre)

Mod­ule 4: The Amer­i­can Woman
Intro­duc­to­ry Les­son: Ways of See­ing Women
Chap­ter 1: Through a Woman’s Lens: Direc­tors Lois Weber (focus­ing on “Sus­pense,” 1913 and
“Where Are My Chil­dren,” 1916) and Dorothy Arzn­er (“Dance, Girl, Dance,” 1940)
Chap­ter 2: “Imi­ta­tion of Life” (1934, d. John M. Stahl)
Chap­ter 3: “Woman of the Year” (1942, d. George Stevens)
Chap­ter 4: “Alien” (1979, d. Rid­ley Scott)
Chap­ter 5: “The Age of Inno­cence” (1993, d. Mar­tin Scors­ese)

Mod­ule 5: Politi­cians and Dem­a­gogues
Intro­duc­to­ry Les­son: Checks and Bal­ances
Chap­ter 1: “Gabriel Over the White House” (1933, d. Gre­go­ry La Cava)
Chap­ter 2: “A Lion is in the Streets” (1953, d. Raoul Walsh)
Chap­ter 3: “Advise and Con­sent” (1962, d. Otto Pre­minger)
Chap­ter 4: “A Face in the Crowd” (1957, d. Elia Kazan)

Mod­ule 6: Sol­diers and Patri­ots
Intro­duc­to­ry Les­son: Movies and Home­front Morale
Chap­ter 1: “Sergeant York (1941, d. Howard Hawks)
Chap­ter 2: Pri­vate Snafu’s Pri­vate War—three Sna­fu Shorts from WWII
Chap­ter 3: “Three Came Home” (1950, d. Jean Neg­ule­sco)
Chap­ter 4: “Glo­ry” (1989, Edward Zwick)
Chap­ter 5: “Sav­ing Pri­vate Ryan” (1998, d. Steven Spiel­berg)

Mod­ule 7: The Press
Intro­duc­to­ry Les­son: Degrees of Truth
Chap­ter 1: “Meet John Doe” (1941, d. Frank Capra)
Chap­ter 2: “All the President’s Men” (1976, d. Alan J. Paku­la)
Chap­ter 3: “Good Night, and Good Luck” (2005, d. George Clooney)
Chap­ter 4: “An Incon­ve­nient Truth” (2006, d. Davis Guggen­heim)
Chap­ter 5: “Ace in the Hole” (1951, d. Bil­ly Wilder)

Mod­ule 8: The Auteurs
Intro­duc­to­ry Les­son: Film as an Art Form
Chap­ter 1: “Mod­ern Times” (1936, Char­lie Chap­lin)
Chap­ter 2: “The Grapes of Wrath”(1940, d. John Ford)
Chap­ter 3: “Cit­i­zen Kane” (1941, d. Orson Welles)
Chap­ter 4: “An Amer­i­can in Paris” (1951, d. Vin­cente Min­nel­li)
Chap­ter 5: “The Avi­a­tor” (2004, d. Mar­tin Scors­ese)

“Divi­sion, con­flict and anger seem to be defin­ing this moment in cul­ture,” says Scors­ese, quot­ed in Film Jour­nal Inter­na­tion­al arti­cle about the cur­ricu­lum. “I learned a lot about cit­i­zen­ship and Amer­i­can ideals from the movies I saw. Movies that look square­ly at the strug­gles, vio­lent dis­agree­ments and the tragedies in his­to­ry, not to men­tion hypocrisies, false promis­es. But they also embody the best in Amer­i­ca, our great hopes and ideals.” Few could watch all 38 of the films on his cur­ricu­lum with­out feel­ing that the exper­i­ments of democ­ra­cy and cin­e­ma are still on to some­thing – and hold out the promise of more pos­si­bil­i­ties than we’d imag­ined before.

via Indiewire

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Mar­tin Scors­ese to Teach His First Online Course on Film­mak­ing

Mar­tin Scors­ese on How “Diver­si­ty Guar­an­tees Our Cul­tur­al Sur­vival,” in Film and Every­thing Else

Mar­tin Scors­ese Makes a List of 85 Films Every Aspir­ing Film­mak­er Needs to See

Alex­is De Tocqueville’s Democ­ra­cy in Amer­i­ca: An Ani­mat­ed Intro­duc­tion to the Most Insight­ful Study of Amer­i­can Democ­ra­cy

20 Lessons from the 20th Cen­tu­ry About How to Defend Democ­ra­cy from Author­i­tar­i­an­ism, Accord­ing to Yale His­to­ri­an Tim­o­thy Sny­der

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities 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 or on Face­book.

When The Surrealists Expelled Salvador Dalí for “the Glorification of Hitlerian Fascism” (1934)

Image by Carl Van Vecht­en, via Library of Con­gress and Wiki­me­dia Com­mons

We may be con­di­tioned to offer­ing an opin­ion at the push of a but­ton, but before ven­tur­ing on the ques­tion of whether we can, or should, sep­a­rate the art from the artist, it seems ever pru­dent to ask, “Which art and which artist?” There are the usu­al case stud­ies, in addi­tion to the recent crop of dis­graced celebri­ties: Ezra Pound, P.G. Wode­house, and, in phi­los­o­phy, Mar­tin Hei­deg­ger. One case of a very trou­bling artist, Sal­vador Dalí, gets less atten­tion, but offers us much mate­r­i­al for con­sid­er­a­tion, espe­cial­ly along­side an essay by George Orwell, who rumi­nat­ed on the ques­tion and called Dalí both “a dis­gust­ing human being” and an artist of unde­ni­ably “excep­tion­al gifts.”

Like these oth­er fig­ures, Dalí has long been alleged to have had fas­cist sym­pa­thies, a charge that goes back to the 1930’s and per­haps orig­i­nat­ed with his fel­low Sur­re­al­ists, espe­cial­ly André Bre­ton, who put Dalí on “tri­al” in 1934 for “the glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of Hit­ler­ian fas­cism” and expelled him from the move­ment. The Sur­re­al­ists, most of whom were com­mu­nists, were pro­voked by Dalí’s dis­dain for their pol­i­tics, expressed in the like­ness of Lenin in The Enig­ma of William Tell (view here). It’s also true that Dalí seemed to pub­licly pro­fess an admi­ra­tion for Hitler. But as with every­thing he did, it’s impos­si­ble to tell how seri­ous­ly we can take any of his pro­nounce­ments.

Anoth­er paint­ing, 1939’s The Enig­ma of Hitler (view here) is even more ambigu­ous than The Enig­ma of William Tell, a col­lec­tion of dream images, with the recur­ring melt­ing objects, crutch­es, mol­lusk shells, and food images, set around a tiny por­trait of the Ger­man dic­ta­tor. Kami­la Kocialkows­ka sug­gests that psy­cho­an­a­lyt­ic motifs in the paint­ing, some rather obvi­ous, reflect Hitler’s “fear of impo­tence, and cer­tain com­men­ta­tors have not­ed that Hitler’s enthu­si­as­tic pro­mo­tion of nation­al­is­tic breed­ing can fur­ther explain the innu­en­do present in this image.”

The Hitler obses­sion began years ear­li­er. “I often dreamed of Hitler as a woman,” Dalí sup­pos­ed­ly said,

His flesh, which I imag­ined as whiter than white, rav­ished me. I paint­ed a Hit­ler­ian wet nurse sit­ting kneel­ing in a pud­dle of water….

There was no rea­son for me to stop telling one and all that to me Hitler embod­ied the per­fect image of the great masochist who would unleash a world war sole­ly for the plea­sure of los­ing and bury­ing him­self beneath the rub­ble.

The paint­ing Dalí alludes to, The Wean­ing of Fur­ni­ture-Nutri­tion (view here), is the work that first raised Breton’s ire, since “Dalí had orig­i­nal­ly paint­ed a swasti­ka on the nurse’s arm­band,” notes art his­to­ri­an Robin Adèle Gree­ley, “which the Sur­re­al­ists lat­er forced him to paint out.” Dalí lat­er claimed that his Hitler paint­ings “sub­vert fas­cist ide­olo­gies,” Gree­ley writes: “Bre­ton and com­pa­ny appear not to have appre­ci­at­ed a fel­low Sur­re­al­ist sug­gest­ing that there were con­nec­tions to be made between bour­geois child­hoods such as their own and the fam­i­ly life of the Nazi dic­ta­tor.” Like­wise, his creepy dream-lan­guage above is hard­ly more straight­for­ward than the paint­ings, though he did write in The Unspeak­able Con­fes­sions of Sal­vador Dalí, “Hitler turned me on in the high­est.”

Oth­er pieces of evi­dence for Dalí’s pol­i­tics are also com­pelling but still cir­cum­stan­tial, such as his friend­ship with the proud­ly pro­fessed Nazi-sym­pa­thiz­er, Wal­lis Simp­son, the Amer­i­can Duchess of Wind­sor, and his admi­ra­tion for Span­ish dic­ta­tor Fran­cis­co Fran­co, whom he called, as Lau­ren Oyler points out at Broad­ly, “the great­est hero of Spain.” (Dalí paint­ed a por­trait of Franco’s daugh­ter). Oyler points out that Dalí’s “wicked­ness,” as Orwell put it in his scathing review of the artist’s “auto­bi­og­ra­phy” (a spu­ri­ous cat­e­go­ry in the case of ser­i­al fab­ri­ca­tor Dalí), mat­ters even if it were pure provo­ca­tion rather than gen­uine com­mit­ment.

The claim car­ries more weight when applied to the artist’s attest­ed sadism in gen­er­al. Dalí spends a good part of his Con­fes­sions delight­ing in sto­ries of bru­tal phys­i­cal and sex­u­al assault and cru­el­ty to ani­mals. (The famous Dalí Atom­i­cus pho­to, his col­lab­o­ra­tion with Philippe Hals­man, required 28 attempts, Oyler notes, and “each of those attempts involved throw­ing three cats in the air and fling­ing buck­ets of water at them.”) Whether or not Dalí was a gen­uine Nazi sym­pa­thiz­er or an amoral right-wing troll, Orwell is com­plete­ly unwill­ing to give him a pass for gen­er­al­ly cru­el, abu­sive behav­ior.

“In his out­look,” writes Orwell, “his char­ac­ter, the bedrock decen­cy of a human being does not exist. He is as anti-social as a flea. Clear­ly, such peo­ple are unde­sir­able, and a soci­ety in which they can flour­ish has some­thing wrong with it.” But per­haps Dalí means to say exact­ly that. Allow­ing for the pos­si­bil­i­ty, Orwell is also unwill­ing to toss aside Dalí’s work. The artist, he writes “has fifty times more tal­ent than most of the peo­ple who would denounce his morals and jeer at his paint­ings.”

When it comes to the ques­tion of Dalí as fas­cist, some less-than-nuanced views of his work (“Marx­ist crit­i­cism has a short way with such phe­nom­e­na as Sur­re­al­ism,” writes Orwell) might miss the mark. The Wean­ing of Fur­ni­ture-Nutri­tion, writes Gree­ley, seems to reveal “a secret about his own mid­dle-class back­ground” as a nurs­ery for fas­cism, espe­cial­ly giv­en the “dis­turb­ing” fact that “the nurse is a por­trait of Dalí’s own, and that she droops hol­low­ly on the shore near the painter’s Cata­lan child­hood home, sug­gest­ing that Dalí him­self might have had a ‘hit­ler­ian’ upbring­ing.”

Gree­ley’s fur­ther elab­o­ra­tion on Dalí’s con­flict with Bre­ton fur­ther weak­ens the charges against him. “Ten days before the Feb­ru­ary meet­ing, he had defend­ed him­self to Bre­ton,” she writes, “claim­ing, ‘I am hit­ler­ian nei­ther in fact nor in inten­tion.’ ” He point­ed out that the Nazis would like­ly burn his work, and chas­tised left­ists for “their lack of insight into fas­cism.”

The ques­tion of Dalí’s fas­cist sym­pa­thies is inco­her­ent with­out the biog­ra­phy, and the bio­graph­i­cal evi­dence against Dalí seems fair­ly thin. Nonethe­less, he has emerged from his­to­ry as a vio­lent, vicious, oppor­tunis­tic per­son. How much this should mat­ter to our appre­ci­a­tion of his art is a mat­ter you’ll have to decide for your­self.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

George Orwell Reviews Sal­vador Dali’s Auto­bi­og­ra­phy: “Dali is a Good Draughts­man and a Dis­gust­ing Human Being” (1944)

Ernest Hem­ing­way Writes of His Fas­cist Friend Ezra Pound: “He Deserves Pun­ish­ment and Dis­grace” (1943)

Heidegger’s “Black Note­books” Sug­gest He Was a Seri­ous Anti-Semi­te, Not Just a Naive Nazi

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

150 Courses Starting at Stanford Continuing Studies Next Week: Explore the Catalogue of Campus and Online Courses

Quick fyi: I spend my days at Stan­ford Con­tin­u­ing Stud­ies, where we’ve devel­oped a rich line­up of online cours­es, many of which will get start­ed next week. The cours­es aren’t free. But they’re first rate, giv­ing adult students–no mat­ter where they live–the chance to work with ded­i­cat­ed teach­ers and stu­dents.

The cat­a­logue includes a large num­ber of online Cre­ative Writ­ing cours­es, cov­er­ing the Nov­el, the Mem­oir, Cre­ative Non­fic­tion, Trav­el Writ­ing, Poet­ry and more. For the pro­fes­sion­al, the pro­gram offers online busi­ness cours­es in sub­jects like Prod­uct Man­age­ment for the Inter­net of ThingsThe Busi­ness of Self-Dri­ving CarsVal­ue Invest­ing: An Intro­duc­tion, Visu­al Think­ing: Work­ing with Pic­tures, and Merg­ers and Acqui­si­tionsAnd there’s a grow­ing num­ber of online Lib­er­al Arts cours­es too. Take for exam­ple The His­to­ry and Geog­ra­phy of Cur­rent Glob­al EventsRev­o­lu­tion: The Bea­t­les’ Inno­v­a­tive Stu­dio Years (1965–1967)Ethics for Arti­fi­cial­ly Intel­li­gent Robots, Byzan­tine Art, and The Great Dis­cov­er­ies That Changed Mod­ern Med­i­cine.

If you live in the San Fran­cis­co Bay Area, check out the larg­er cat­a­logue. Stan­ford Con­tin­u­ing Stud­ies has 150+ cours­es get­ting start­ed this Spring quar­ter (next week), many tak­ing place in Stan­ford’s class­rooms. For any­one liv­ing out­side of Cal­i­for­nia, check out the pro­gram’s list of online cours­es here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Free: A Crash Course in Design Think­ing from Stanford’s Design School

Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty Launch­es Free Course on Devel­op­ing Apps with iOS 10

How Walk­ing Fos­ters Cre­ativ­i­ty: Stan­ford Researchers Con­firm What Philoso­phers and Writ­ers Have Always Known

Take a Free Course on Dig­i­tal Pho­tog­ra­phy from Stan­ford Prof Marc Lev­oy

How to Start a Start-Up: A Free Course from Y Com­bi­na­tor Taught at Stan­ford

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