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

Behold the MusicMap: The Ultimate Interactive Genealogy of Music Created Between 1870 and 2016

A Pan­do­ra for the adven­tur­ous anti­quar­i­an, the high­ly under­rat­ed site Radiooooo gives users stream­ing music from all over the world and every decade since 1900. While it offers an aur­al feast, its lim­it­ed inter­face leaves much to be desired from an edu­ca­tion­al stand­point. On the oth­er end of the audio-visu­al spec­trum, clever dia­grams like those we’ve fea­tured here on elec­tron­ic music, alter­na­tive, and hip hop show the detailed con­nec­tions between all the major acts in these gen­res, but all they do so in silence.

Now a new inter­ac­tive info­graph­ic built by Bel­gian archi­tect Kwin­ten Crauwels brings togeth­er an ency­clo­pe­dic visu­al ref­er­ence with an exhaus­tive musi­cal archive. Though it’s miss­ing some of the fea­tures of the resources above, the Musicmap far sur­pass­es any­thing of its kind online—“both a 23and me-style ances­tral tree and a thor­ough dis­am­bigua­tion of just about every extant genre of music,” writes Fast Com­pa­ny.

Or as Frank Jacobs explains at Big Think, Crauwels’ goal is “to pro­vide the ulti­mate geneal­o­gy of pop­u­lar music gen­res, includ­ing their rela­tions and his­to­ry.”

With over 230 gen­res in all—linked togeth­er in intri­cate webs of influ­ence, mapped in a zoomable visu­al inter­face that orga­nizes them all at macro and micro lev­els of descrip­tion, and linked to explana­to­ry arti­cles and rep­re­sen­ta­tive playlists (drawn from YouTube)—the project is almost too com­pre­hen­sive to believe, and its degree of sophis­ti­ca­tion almost too com­plex to sum­ma­rize con­cise­ly (though Jacobs does a good job of it). The Musicmap spans the years 1870–2016 and cov­ers 22 major cat­e­gories (with Rock fur­ther bro­ken into six and “World” into three).

In an oval around the col­or­ful sky­scraper-like “super-gen­res” are decades, mov­ing from past to present from top to bot­tom. Zoom into the “super-gen­res” and find “a spider’s web of links with­in and between the dif­fer­ent hous­es” of sub­gen­res. “Those links can indi­cate parent­age or influ­ence, but also a back­lash (i.e. as ‘anti-links’).” Click­ing on the name of each sub­genre reveals “a short syn­op­sis and a playlist of rep­re­sen­ta­tive songs.” These two func­tions, in turn, link to each oth­er, allow­ing users to click through in a more Wikipedia-like way once they’ve entered the minu­ti­ae of the Musicmap’s con­tents.

The map not only draws con­nec­tions between sub­gen­res but also between their rel­a­tives in oth­er “super-gen­res” (learn about the rela­tion­ship, for exam­ple, between folk rock and clas­sic met­al). On the left side of the screen is a series of but­tons that reveal an intro­duc­tion, method­ol­o­gy, abstract, sev­er­al nav­i­ga­tion­al func­tions, a glos­sary of musi­cal terms, and a bib­li­og­ra­phy (called “Acknowl­edg­ments”). Aside from visu­al­ly reduc­ing all the way down to the lev­el of indi­vid­ual bands with­in each sub­genre, which could become a lit­tle dizzy­ing, it’s hard to think of any­thing seri­ous­ly lack­ing here.

Any­thing we might find fault with might be changed in the near future. Although Crauwels spent almost ten years on research and devel­op­ment, first con­ceiv­ing of the project in 2008, the cur­rent site “is still ver­sion 1.0 of Music map. In lat­er ver­sions, the playlists will be expand­ed, per­haps even com­mu­ni­ty-gen­er­at­ed.” Crauwels also wants to sync up with Spo­ti­fy. Although not a musi­cian him­self, he is as pas­sion­ate about music as he is about design and edu­ca­tion, mak­ing him very like­ly the per­fect per­son to take on this task, which he admits can nev­er be com­plet­ed.

Crauwels does not cur­rent­ly seem to have plans to mon­e­tize his map. His stat­ed motives are altru­is­tic, in the same pub­lic ser­vice spir­it as Radiooooo. “Musicmap,” he says, “believes that knowl­edge about music gen­res is a uni­ver­sal right and should be part of basic edu­ca­tion.” At the moment, the edu­ca­tion here only applies to pop­u­lar music, although enough of it to acquire a grad­u­ate-lev­el his­tor­i­cal knowl­edge base.

The four cat­e­gories at the top of the map—the strange­ly named “Util­i­ty” (which includes hymns, mil­i­tary march­es, musi­cals, and sound­tracks), Folk, Clas­si­cal, and World—are zoomable but do not have click­able links or playlists. Giv­en Crauwels’ com­pletist instincts, this may well change in future updates. In the TED talk above, see him tell the sto­ry of how he cre­at­ed Musicmap, a DIY effort that came out of his frus­tra­tion that noth­ing like it exist­ed, so he had to cre­ate it him­self.

Enter the Musicmap here and try not to get lost for sev­er­al hours.

via Big Think

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Radiooooo: A Musi­cal Time Machine That Lets You Hear What Played on the Radio in Dif­fer­ent Times & Places

Radio Gar­den Lets You Instant­ly Tune into Radio Sta­tions Across the Entire Globe

The His­to­ry of Hip Hop Music Visu­al­ized on a Turntable Cir­cuit Dia­gram: Fea­tures 700 Artists, from DJ Kool Herc to Kanye West

A His­to­ry of Alter­na­tive Music Bril­liant­ly Mapped Out on a Tran­sis­tor Radio Cir­cuit Dia­gram: 300 Punk, Alt & Indie Artists

A Mas­sive 800-Track Playlist of 90s Indie & Alter­na­tive Music, in Chrono­log­i­cal Order

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

Hear 48 Hours of Lectures by Joseph Campbell on Comparative Mythology and the Hero’s Journey

What does it mean to “grow up”? Every cul­ture has its way of defin­ing adult­hood, whether it’s sur­viv­ing an ini­ti­a­tion rit­u­al or fil­ing your first tax return. I’m only being a lit­tle facetious—people in the U.S. have long felt dis­sat­is­fac­tion with the ways we are ush­ered into adult­hood, from learn­ing how to fill out IRS forms to learn­ing how to fill out stu­dent loan and cred­it card appli­ca­tions, our cul­ture wants us to under­stand our place in the great machine. All oth­er press­ing life con­cerns are sec­ondary.

It’s lit­tle won­der, then, that gurus and cul­tur­al father fig­ures of all types have found ready audi­ences among America’s youth. Such fig­ures have left last­ing lega­cies for decades, and not all of them pos­i­tive. But one pub­lic intel­lec­tu­al from the recent past is still seen as a wise old mas­ter whose far-reach­ing influ­ence remains with us and will for the fore­see­able future. Joseph Camp­bell’s obses­sive, eru­dite books and lec­tures on world mytholo­gies and tra­di­tions have made cer­tain that ancient adult­hood rit­u­als have entered our nar­ra­tive DNA.

When Camp­bell was award­ed the Nation­al Arts Club Gold Medal in Lit­er­a­ture in 1985, psy­chol­o­gist James Hill­man stat­ed that “no one in our century—not Freud, not Thomas Mann, not Levi-Strauss—has so brought the myth­i­cal sense of the world and its eter­nal fig­ures back into our every­day con­scious­ness.” What­ev­er exam­ples Hill­man may have had in mind, we might rest our case on the fact that with­out Camp­bell there would like­ly be no Star Wars. For all its suc­cess as a mega­mar­ket­ing phe­nom­e­non, the sci-fi fran­chise has also pro­duced endur­ing­ly relat­able role mod­els, exam­ples of achiev­ing inde­pen­dence and stand­ing up to impe­ri­al­ists, even if they be your own fam­i­ly mem­bers in masks.

In the video inter­views above from 1987, Camp­bell pro­fess­es him­self no more than an “under­lin­er” who learned every­thing he knows from books. Like the con­tem­po­rary com­par­a­tive mythol­o­gist Mircea Eli­ade, Camp­bell did not con­duct his own anthro­po­log­i­cal research—he acquired a vast amount of knowl­edge by study­ing the sacred texts, arti­facts, and rit­u­als of world cul­tures. This study gave him insight into sto­ries and images that con­tin­ue to shape our world and fea­ture cen­tral­ly in huge pop cul­tur­al pro­duc­tions like The Last Jedi and Black Pan­ther.

Camp­bell describes rit­u­al entries into adult­hood that view­ers of these films will instant­ly rec­og­nize: Defeat­ing idols in masks and tak­ing on their pow­er; bur­ial enact­ments that kill the “infan­tile ego” (aca­d­e­mics, he says with a straight face, some­times nev­er leave this stage). These kinds of edge expe­ri­ences are at the very heart of the clas­sic hero’s jour­ney, an arche­type Camp­bell wrote about in his best­selling The Hero with a Thou­sand Faces and pop­u­lar­ized on PBS in The Pow­er of Myth, a series of con­ver­sa­tions with Bill Moy­ers.

In the many lec­tures just above—48 hours of audio in which Camp­bell expounds his the­o­ries of the mythological—the engag­ing, acces­si­ble writer and teacher lays out the pat­terns and sym­bols of mytholo­gies world­wide, with spe­cial focus on the hero’s jour­ney, as impor­tant to his project as dying and ris­ing god myths to James Fraz­er’s The Gold­en Bough, the inspi­ra­tion for so many mod­ernist writ­ers. Camp­bell him­self is more apt to ref­er­ence James Joyce, Carl Jung, Pablo Picas­so, or Richard Wag­n­er than sci­ence fic­tion, fan­ta­sy, or com­ic books (though he did break down Star Wars in his Moy­ers inter­views). Nonethe­less, we have him to thank for inspir­ing the likes of George Lucas and becom­ing a “patron saint of super­heroes” and space operas.

We will find some of Campbell’s meth­ods flawed and ter­mi­nol­o­gy out­dat­ed (no one uses “Ori­ent” and “Occi­dent” anymore)—and mod­ern heroes can just as well be women as men, pass­ing through the same kinds of sym­bol­ic tri­als in their ori­gin sto­ries. But Campbell’s ideas are as res­o­nant as ever, offer­ing to the wider cul­ture a coher­ent means of under­stand­ing the arche­typ­al stages of com­ing of age. As Hol­ly­wood exec­u­tive Christo­pher Vogler said in 1985, after rec­om­mend­ing The Hero with a Thou­sand Faces as a guide for screen­writ­ers, Campbell’s work “can be used to tell the sim­plest com­ic sto­ry or the most sophis­ti­cat­ed drama”—a sweep­ing vision of human cul­tur­al his­to­ry and its mean­ing for our indi­vid­ual jour­neys.

You can access the 48 hours of Joseph Camp­bell lec­tures above, or direct­ly on Spo­ti­fy.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Joseph Camp­bell and Bill Moy­ers Break Down Star Wars as an Epic, Uni­ver­sal Myth

A 12-Hour East­ern Spir­i­tu­al­i­ty Playlist: Fea­tures Lec­tures & Read­ings by Joseph Camp­bell, Christo­pher Ish­er­wood, the Dalai Lama & Oth­ers

The Com­plete Star Wars “Fil­mu­men­tary”: A 6‑Hour, Fan-Made Star Wars Doc­u­men­tary, with Behind-the-Scenes Footage & Com­men­tary

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

A Periodic Table Visualizing the Year & Country in Which Each Element Was Discovered

On the “Data is Beau­ti­ful” sub­red­dit, a user named Udzu post­ed a visu­al­i­sa­tion of the Peri­od­ic Table of Ele­ments that high­lights the year and coun­try in which each ele­ment was dis­cov­ered. You can view it in a larg­er for­mat here. Elab­o­rat­ing on how the graph­ic was made, he adds (his words, not mine, fol­low):

  • The year and coun­try of dis­cov­ery are tak­en from Wikipedia and are based on when the ele­ment was first observed or pre­dict­ed rather than when it was first iso­lat­ed.
  • The pri­or­i­ty for the dis­cov­er­ies is often con­tentious. The visu­al­i­sa­tion uses the list­ings cur­rent­ly in the Wikipedia arti­cle, with no claim as to their accu­ra­cy.
  • The coun­try is typ­i­cal­ly both the cit­i­zen­ship of the dis­cov­er­er and the loca­tion of dis­cov­ery. Excep­tions include Hafni­um (dis­cov­ered by a Dutch and Hun­gar­i­an duo in Copen­hagen) and Radon (dis­cov­ered by a British and Amer­i­can duo in Mon­tre­al); these are list­ed under loca­tion.
  • Coun­tries and flags are of the mod­ern equiv­a­lents when appro­pri­ate: e.g. Rus­sia rather than the USSR, UK rather than England/Scotland, and Mex­i­co rather than New Spain.
  • The ety­molo­gies are also tak­en from Wikipedia.
  • The leg­ends con­tain sum­ma­ry counts of the data. Good work, Swe­den.

Ranked in order, the UK could lay claim to 19 ele­ments, Swe­den and Ger­many to 18 each, France to 16, and Rus­sia and the Unit­ed States to 11 each.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Peri­od­ic Table of Endan­gered Ele­ments: Visu­al­iz­ing the Chem­i­cal Ele­ments That Could Van­ish Before You Know It

nter­ac­tive Peri­od­ic Table of Ele­ments Shows How the Ele­ments Actu­al­ly Get Used in Mak­ing Every­day Things

The Peri­od­ic Table of Ele­ments Scaled to Show The Ele­ments’ Actu­al Abun­dance on Earth

Peri­od­ic Table Bat­tle­ship!: A Fun Way To Learn the Ele­ments

“The Peri­od­ic Table Table” — All The Ele­ments in Hand-Carved Wood

World’s Small­est Peri­od­ic Table on a Human Hair

“The Peri­od­ic Table of Sto­ry­telling” Reveals the Ele­ments of Telling a Good Sto­ry

Chem­istry on YouTube: “Peri­od­ic Table of Videos” Wins SPORE Prize

Read and Hear Tristan Tzara’s “Dada Manifesto,” the Avant-Garde Document Published 100 Years Ago (March 23, 1918)

Dada demands expla­na­tion, yet it some­how also demands not to be explained. In the near­ly 102 years since its incep­tion, many attempts at sum­ma­ry and analy­sis of that ear­ly 20th-cen­tu­ry Euro­pean avant-garde move­ment have emerged; as you can see in the relat­ed links at the bot­tom of the post, we’ve fea­tured a fair few of them here on Open Cul­ture. But to tru­ly under­stand Dada, you must, to the extent pos­si­ble, get inside the heads of its founders, and one short­cut to that artis­ti­cal­ly rich des­ti­na­tion takes the form of some­thing any move­ment worth its salt — espe­cial­ly any ear­ly 20th-cen­tu­ry Euro­pean avant-garde move­ment — will have drawn up: its man­i­festo.

“The mag­ic of a word – Dada – which has brought jour­nal­ists to the gates of a world unfore­seen, is of no impor­tance to us,” wrote Roman­ian-French essay­ist, poet, and per­for­mance artist Tris­tan Tzara almost exact­ly a cen­tu­ry ago.

To put out a man­i­festo you must want: ABC

to ful­mi­nate against 1, 2, 3

to fly into a rage and sharp­en your wings to con­quer and dis­sem­i­nate lit­tle abcs and big ABCs, to sign, shout, swear, to orga­nize prose into a form of absolute and irrefutable evi­dence, to prove your non plus ultra and main­tain that nov­el­ty resem­bles life just as the lat­est-appear­ance of some whore proves the essence of God. His exis­tence was pre­vi­ous­ly proved by the accor­dion, the land­scape, the wheedling word. To impose your ABC is a nat­ur­al thing — hence deplorable.

In this Dada Man­i­festo of March 23, 1918 (read it online here), Tzara goes on to define “Dada” as “a word that throws up ideas so that they can be shot down; every bour­geois is a lit­tle play­wright, who invents dif­fer­ent sub­jects and who, instead of sit­u­at­ing suit­able char­ac­ters on the lev­el of his own intel­li­gence, like chrysalis­es on chairs, tries to find caus­es or objects (accord­ing to whichev­er psy­cho­an­a­lyt­ic method he prac­tices) to give weight to his plot, a talk­ing and self-defin­ing sto­ry.” And fur­ther down, just in case you haven’t quite got the pic­ture: “DADA DOES NOT MEAN ANYTHING.”

Dif­fer­ent trans­la­tions of Tzara’s words, of which you can hear read­ings in the videos at the top of the post and just above, put it some­what dif­fer­ent­ly: “Dada means noth­ing,” says anoth­er. But what­ev­er it means, exact­ly — or does­n’t mean, exact­ly — Dada burned bright­ly enough dur­ing its brief hey­day to pro­duce not just one man­i­festo, but two. “As in every human endeav­or when two strong per­son­al­i­ties meet, opin­ions may clash and an argu­ment often ensues,” writes Eli Ana­pur at Wide­walls. The Ger­man writer Hugo Ball actu­al­ly wrote his own Dada man­i­festo before Tzara did, in 1916. “Both Man­i­festos are expla­na­tions of the Dada move­ment and its goals, but the con­tent dif­fers as long as the modes of spread­ing the move­ment through­out Europe and ulti­mate­ly world, were con­cerned.”

Ball begins by describ­ing Dada as “a new ten­den­cy in art. One can tell this from the fact that until now nobody knew any­thing about it, and tomor­row every­one in Zurich will be talk­ing about it.” For the word itself he cites sev­er­al dic­tio­nary def­i­n­i­tions: “In French it means ‘hob­by horse.’ In Ger­man it means ‘good-by,’ ‘Get off my back,’ ‘Be see­ing you some­time.’ In Roman­ian: ‘Yes, indeed, you are right, that’s it. But of course, yes, def­i­nite­ly, right.’ ” Yet what a use­ful word it can be:

How does one achieve eter­nal bliss? By say­ing dada. How does one become famous? By say­ing dada. With a noble ges­ture and del­i­cate pro­pri­ety. Till one goes crazy. Till one los­es con­scious­ness. How can one get rid of every­thing that smacks of jour­nal­ism, worms, every­thing nice and right, blink­ered, moral­is­tic, euro­peanized, ener­vat­ed? By say­ing dada. Dada is the world soul, dada is the pawn­shop. Dada is the world’s best lily-milk soap. Dada Mr. Rubin­er, dada Mr. Kor­ro­di. Dada Mr. Anas­ta­sius Lilien­stein.

One hun­dred years on, the tenets of Dada may not look like an obvi­ous route to eter­nal bliss, fame, or the exci­sion of both­er­some ele­ments of life. But some­thing about the notion at the move­men­t’s core — of mov­ing rad­i­cal­ly beyond sense as a response to the state of the world — still res­onates today. The Europe of 1918 found itself in a bad spot, to put it mild­ly, but most of us in the ear­ly 21st cen­tu­ry also feel, at least occa­sion­al­ly, sur­round­ed by a real­i­ty that has lost its own sense. How much could it hurt to heed Ball and Tzara’s words and just say dada?

You can read Tzara’s man­i­festo at this Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia web­site.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Down­load All 8 Issues of Dada, the Arts Jour­nal That Pub­li­cized the Avant-Garde Move­ment a Cen­tu­ry Ago (1917–21)

The ABCs of Dada Explains the Anar­chic, Irra­tional “Anti-Art” Move­ment of Dadaism

Down­load 36 Dadaist Mag­a­zines from the The Dig­i­tal Dada Archive (Plus Oth­er Avant-Garde Books, Leaflets & Ephemera)

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 Museum of Failure: A Living Shrine to New Coke, the Ford Edsel, Google Glass & Other Epic Corporate Fails

All suc­cess­ful prod­ucts are alike; every unsuc­cess­ful prod­uct is unsuc­cess­ful in its own way. Or so a mod­ern-day Tol­stoy might find him­self inspired to write after a vis­it to the Muse­um of Fail­ure, a mov­able feast of flops which began last year in Hels­ing­borg, Swe­den and has now opened its doors on Hol­ly­wood Boule­vard in Los Ange­les. The Don­ald Trump board game, Apple’s New­ton, Noki­a’s N‑Gage, Ford’s Edsel, Col­gate Beef Lasagne, Harley-David­son Cologne, New Coke, Google Glass: these and oth­er shin­ing exam­ples of fail­ure appear in the videos about the muse­um at the top of the post and just below.

Con­sid­ered today, many of these prod­ucts, whether well-known or thor­ough­ly obscure, look hilar­i­ous­ly ill-con­ceived. But the Muse­um of Fail­ure’s founder, a psy­chol­o­gist named Samuel West, does have high praise for some of the prod­ucts he’s col­lect­ed in his insti­tu­tion.

As you’ll find out on a vis­it there, though, they’ve all got at least one fatal flaw — a design prob­lem, bad tim­ing, mis­judg­ment of the mar­ket, falling into the cracks of exist­ing offer­ings — that drove con­sumers away. You can’t say that any of them did­n’t take a risk, but risks, by their very nature, burn out more often than they pay off.

“Why do I have all these fail­ures?” asks West in his TED Talk just above. “The point of hav­ing the muse­um is that we can learn from these fail­ures. I want us to start to admit our fail­ures as com­pa­nies, as indi­vid­u­als, so we can learn from it.” Amer­i­ca’s rel­a­tive lack of cul­tur­al stigma­ti­za­tion of fail­ure often gets cit­ed among the rea­sons for the coun­try’s rep­u­ta­tion for inno­va­tion and eco­nom­ic dynamism, but there, as any­where else, an increased will­ing­ness not just to fail but to bet­ter under­stand the nature of indi­vid­ual fail­ures would­n’t go amiss. Noth­ing suc­ceeds like suc­cess, so the say­ing goes, but the fas­ci­na­tion that has built around the Muse­um of Fail­ure so far sug­gests that we have much to gain from its oppo­site as well.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Hear Thomas Edison’s Creepy Talk­ing Dolls: An Inven­tion That Scared Kids & Flopped on the Mar­ket

Blade Run­ner: The Pil­lar of Sci-Fi Cin­e­ma that Siskel, Ebert, and Stu­dio Execs Orig­i­nal­ly Hat­ed

Why Do So Many Peo­ple Adore The Room, the Worst Movie Ever Made? A Video Explain­er

Meet the World’s Worst Orches­tra, the Portsmouth Sin­fo­nia, Fea­tur­ing Bri­an Eno

Paulo Coel­ho on The Fear of Fail­ure

“Try Again. Fail Again. Fail Bet­ter”: How Samuel Beck­ett Cre­at­ed the Unlike­ly Mantra That Inspires Entre­pre­neurs Today

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.

Enter the Pulp Magazine Archive, Featuring Over 11,000 Digitized Issues of Classic Sci-Fi, Fantasy & Detective Fiction

Pulp Fic­tion will like­ly hold up gen­er­a­tions from now, but the res­o­nance of its title may already be lost to his­to­ry. Pulp mag­a­zines, or “the pulps,” as they were called, once held spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance for lovers of adven­ture sto­ries, detec­tive and sci­ence fic­tion, and hor­ror and fan­ta­sy. Acquir­ing the name from the cheap paper on which they were print­ed, pulp mag­a­zines might be said, in large part, to have shaped the pop cul­ture of our con­tem­po­rary world, pub­lish­ing respect­ed authors like H.G. Wells and Jules Verne and many an unknown new­com­er, some of whom became house­hold names (in cer­tain hous­es), like Isaac Asi­mov, Arthur C. Clarke, and Philip K. Dick.

Begin­ning in the late 19th cen­tu­ry, the pulps opened up the pub­lish­ing space that became flood­ed with com­ic books and pop­u­lar nov­els like those of Stephen King and Michael Crich­ton in the lat­ter half of the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry.

They var­ied wide­ly in qual­i­ty and sub­ject mat­ter but all share cer­tain pre­oc­cu­pa­tions. Sex­u­al taboos are explored in their naked essence or through var­i­ous genre devices. Mon­sters, aliens, and oth­er fea­tures of the “weird” pre­dom­i­nate, as do the fore­run­ners of DC and Marvel’s super­hero empires in char­ac­ters like the Shad­ow and the Phan­tom Detec­tive.

Unlike high­er-rent “slicks” or “glossies,” pulp mag­a­zines had license to go places respectable pub­li­ca­tions feared to tread. Genre fic­tion now spawns mul­ti­mil­lion dol­lar fran­chis­es, one after anoth­er, purged of much of the pulps’ sala­cious con­tent. But pag­ing through the thou­sands of back issues avail­able at the Pulp Mag­a­zine Archive will give you a sense of just how out­ré such mag­a­zines once were—a qual­i­ty that sur­vived in the under­ground comics and zines of the 60s and beyond and in genre tabloids like Scream Queens.

The enor­mous archive con­tains over 11,000 dig­i­tized issues of such titles as If, True Detec­tive Mys­ter­ies, Witch­craft and Sor­cery, Weird Tales, Uncen­sored Detec­tive, Cap­tain Billy’s Whiz Bang, and Adven­ture (“Amer­i­ca’s most excit­ing fic­tion for men!”). It also fea­tures ear­ly celebri­ty rags like Movie Pic­to­r­i­al and Hush Hush, and ret­ro­spec­tives like Dirty Pic­tures, a 1990s com­ic reprint­ing the often quite misog­y­nist pulp art of the 30s.

There’s great sci­ence fic­tion, no small amount of creepy teen boy wish-ful­fill­ment, and lots of lurid, noir appeals to fan­tasies of sex and vio­lence. Swords and sor­cery, guns and trussed-up pin-ups, and plen­ty of crea­ture fea­tures. The pulps were once mass culture’s id, we might say, and they have now become its ego.

Enter the Pulp Mag­a­zine Archive here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Enter a Huge Archive of Amaz­ing Sto­ries, the World’s First Sci­ence Fic­tion Mag­a­zine, Launched in 1926

Free: 355 Issues of Galaxy, the Ground­break­ing 1950s Sci­ence Fic­tion Mag­a­zine

Isaac Asi­mov Recalls the Gold­en Age of Sci­ence Fic­tion (1937–1950)

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

A 17-Hour Chronological Playlist of Pink Floyd Albums: The Evolution of the Band Revealed in 209 Tracks (1967–2014)

At the inter­sec­tion of pro­gres­sive rock, con­cep­tu­al psy­che­delia, bluesy, anthemic clas­sic rock, and exper­i­men­tal sound you’ll find Pink Floyd, a band every­one thinks they know but who always man­age to sur­prise even ardent fans with the strange twists and turns of their discog­ra­phy. One might even say, as Bill Wyman writes at Vul­ture, that “there are at least four, or arguably five, Pink Floyds.”

“The first was a goofy and absur­dist pop-rock band, led by one Syd Bar­rett,” writes Wyman. This orig­i­nal Floyd released The Piper at the Gates of Dawn then fell apart after its lead singer/writer/guitarist’s men­tal health declined pre­cip­i­tous­ly. The sec­ond Pink Floyd first took shape “before Bar­rett joined, and then reached full pre­ten­tious flower after his depar­ture” and replace­ment by David Gilmour. This was the “psy­che­del­ic, space-rock­‑y, qua­si-impro­vi­sa­tion­al ensem­ble” of A Saucer­ful of Secrets, Ummagum­ma, and Atom Heart Moth­er.

The third Floyd, Wyman argues, “is the one we know and love; the organ­ic unit that cre­at­ed Med­dle, The Dark Side of the Moon, and Wish You Were Here”—arguably the band’s cre­ative zenith. From here, we move to the fourth ver­sion, “which saw a dom­i­neer­ing [Roger] Waters tak­ing con­trol,” pro­duc­ing records that increas­ing­ly became Roger Waters solo albums—Ani­mals, The Wall, and The Final Cut. The band’s sta­di­um shows became bom­bas­tic affairs of Spinal Tap pro­por­tions.

Final­ly, the fifth and final iter­a­tion, crit­i­cal­ly snubbed but com­mer­cial­ly suc­cess­ful, left the dis­af­fect­ed Waters to his solo work and went on with Gilmour at the helm to record A Momen­tary Lapse of Rea­son, The Divi­sion Bell, and twen­ty years lat­er, the final Pink Floyd album, the most­ly instru­men­tal End­less Riv­er, made in 2014 after key­boardist Richard Wright’s death and draw­ing on record­ings from The Divi­sion Bell ses­sions.

It’s easy to find fault with this schemat­ic out­line of Pink Floyd’s career—which leaves out their detours into film sound­tracks with More, Obscured by Clouds, and an abort­ed score for Michelan­ge­lo Antonioni’s film Zabriskie Point. It leaves out a mis­be­got­ten, but notable excur­sion into bal­let (!), and exper­i­ments with found sound record­ings in the late-60s. This quick sur­vey also under­es­ti­mates the impor­tance of Syd Bar­rett.

Pink Floyd’s first front­man may have tak­en his odd­ball sen­si­bil­i­ty with him when he left the band—and brought it to his cap­ti­vat­ing­ly weird solo work—but his pres­ence remained with them for years after­ward and haunts one of their finest achieve­ments, 1975’s Wish You Were Here. There are all sorts of lines that run through the var­i­ous ver­sions of Pink Floyd, con­nect­ing their strange, youth­ful, unpre­dictable ear­ly work to the high­ly-pol­ished, and much less inter­est­ing, mature late record­ings.

And yet, Wyman’s sum­ma­ry is a use­ful cat­e­go­riza­tion nonethe­less, a suc­cinct expla­na­tion for how Pink Floyd “may be the only rock band that can cred­i­bly be com­pared to both the Bea­t­les and Spinal Tap.” His mas­sive under­tak­ing—rank­ing every Pink Floyd song from worst to best—deserves a thor­ough read. Long­time lovers of the band and new­com­ers alike will find the com­men­tary enlight­en­ing and infor­ma­tive (and he does include those film scores and gives Bar­rett his due).

While you read about each of the band’s offi­cial­ly-released, 165 songs, you can lis­ten to them as well in the Spo­ti­fy playlist above, which not only includes every stu­dio release, but every live album as well. 17 hours total of Pink Floyd’s quirky pop, space‑y, prog­gy exper­i­men­tal­ism, mas­ter­ful psych-rock sound­scapes, cli­mac­tic, polit­i­cal­ly-charged con­cept albums, and the denoue­ment of their final three albums. No mat­ter how long you’ve fol­lowed the band over their 40-plus year career, you’re like­ly to find some sur­pris­es here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The “Lost” Pink Floyd Sound­track for Michelan­ge­lo Antonioni’s Only Amer­i­can Film, Zabriskie Point (1970)

When Pink Floyd Tried to Make an Album with House­hold Objects: Hear Two Sur­viv­ing Tracks Made with Wine Glass­es & Rub­ber Bands

Pink Floyd’s “Echoes” Pro­vides a Sound­track for the Final Scene of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey

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

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