Mick Jagger Takes Shots at Conspiracy Theorists & Anti-Vaxxers in a New Song, “Eazy Sleazy” (with Dave Grohl on Drums, Bass & Guitar)

Follow along with the lyrics below, or in the video above.

W’e took it on the chin
The numbers were so grim
Bossed around by pricks
Stiffen upper lips
Pacing in the yard
You’re trying to take the mick
You must think i’m really thick

Looking at the graphs with a magnifying glass
Cancel all the tours footballs fake applause
No more travel brochures
Virtual premieres
Ive got nothing left to wear

Looking out from these prison walls
You got to rob peter if you’re paying paul
But its easy easy everything’s gonna get really freaky
Alright on the night
Soon it ll be be a memory you’re trying to remember to forget

That’s a pretty mask
But never take a chance tik tok stupid dance
Took a samba class i landed on my ass
Trying to write a tune you better hook me up to zoom
See my poncey books teach myself to cook
Way too much tv its lobotomising me
Think ive put on weight
Ill have another drink then ill clean the kitchen sink

We escaped from the prison walls
Open the windows and open the doors
But its easy easy
Everything s gonna get really freaky
Alright on the night
Its gonna be a garden of earthly delights
Easy sleazy its gonna be smooth and greasy
Yeah easy believe me
Itll only be a memory you’re trying to remember
To forget

Shooting the vaccine bill gates is in my bloodstream
Its mind control
The earth is flat and cold its never warming up
The arctics turned to slush
The second comings late
There’s aliens in the deep state

We’ll escape from these prison walls
Now were out of these prison walls
You gotta pay peter if you’re robbing paul
But its easy easy everything s gonna be really freaky
Alright on the night
Were all headed back to paradise
Yeah easy believe me
It’ll be a memory you’re trying to remember to forget
Easy cheesy everyone sing please please me
It’ll be a memory you’re trying to remember to forget

What Andrei Tarkovsky’s Most Notorious Scene Tells Us About Time During the Pandemic: A Video Essay

In his films, Andrei Tarkovsky shows us things no other auteur does: an unbroken eight-minute shot, for example, of a man slowly walking a lit candle across an empty pool, starting over again whenever the flame goes out. One of the best-known (or at least most often mentioned) sequences in the Russian master’s oeuvre, it comes from Nostalghia, a late picture made during his final, exiled years in Italy. Some cite it as an example of all that’s wrong with Tarkovsky’s cinema; others as an example of all that’s right with it. But both the criticism and the praise are rooted in the director’s heightened sensitivity to and deliberate use of time — a resource about which we’ve all come to feel differently after a year of global pandemic.

“Our sense of time during the pandemic was just as warped as our sense of space,” says Evan Puschak, better known as the Nerdwriter, in his new video essay above, a follow-up to his previous exploration of how lockdowns turned cities around the world into de Chirico paintings.

At first, “time felt simultaneously slow and fast: hours dragged on at a snail’s pace, but weeks flew by. 2020 seemed endless while it was happening, but in retrospect it feels brief, shorter than a normal year.” But even under “normal” conditions, it holds true that “the more attention we give to time, the slower it feels.” And when we think back to our past experiences, “the more we can remember in a given period expands our sense of its length.”

Watching Nostalghia‘s candle-in-the-pool scene, “you become aware of the odd encounter you’re having with time itself. You can feel the texture of it, its presence, as if time were not only a concept, but a substance, stretching out in front of you, expanding and contracting with every breath. It’s beyond interest, beyond boredom.” Unlike most filmmakers, Tarkovsky doesn’t manipulate time to keep us on a pre-laid emotional track, but to make us aware of our own movement through it. “It’ll be the same for the pandemic,” says Puschak. “There are some rhythms we’ll be eager to get back to, and others, now that we’ve experienced their absence, we’ll be eager to leave behind.” Right now, we’d do well to question the new forms of nostalgia that have beset us. Or we could use the time still on our hands to hold Tarkovsky retrospectives of our own.

Related Content:

Free Online: Watch the Films of Andrei Tarkovsky, Arguably the Most Respected Filmmaker of All Time

The Poetic Harmony of Andrei Tarkovsky’s Filmmaking: A Video Essay

“Auteur in Space”: A Video Essay on How Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris Transcends Science Fiction

Andrei Tarkovsky Answers the Essential Questions: What is Art & the Meaning of Life?

When Our World Became a de Chirico Painting: How the Avant-Garde Painter Foresaw the Empty City Streets of 2020

Why Time Seems to Speed Up as We Get Older: What the Research Says

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, 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.

Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine Is Streaming Free on YouTube

Earlier this year, Michael Moore released the 2002 documentary Bowling for Columbine on his official YouTube channel. The winner of the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, the film “set out to investigate the long, often volatile love affair between Americans and their firearms, uncovering the pervasive culture of fear that keeps the nation locked and loaded.” Criterion goes on to write:

Equipped with a camera and a microphone, Moore follows the trail of bullets from Littleton, Colorado, and Flint, Michigan, all the way to Kmart’s midwestern headquarters and NRA president Charlton Heston’s Beverly Hills mansion, meeting shooting survivors, militia members, mild-mannered Canadians, and rock provocateur Marilyn Manson along the way. An unprecedented popular success that helped usher in a new era in documentary filmmaking, the Oscar-winning Bowling for Columbine is a raucous, impassioned, and still tragically relevant journey through the American psyche.”

Nearly two decades later–and right on the heels of two massacres in Atlanta and Boulder–Moore’s film has unfortunately not lost its relevance. You can watch it online, right above.

via NoFilmSchool

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What Are the Real Causes of Zoom Fatigue? And What Are the Possible Solutions?: New Research from Stanford Offers Answers

The technology we put between ourselves and others tends to always create additional strains on communication, even as it enables near-constant, instant contact. When it comes to our now-primary mode of interacting — staring at each other as talking heads or Brady Bunch-style galleries — those stresses have been identified by communication experts as “Zoom fatigue,” now a subject of study among psychologists who want to understand our always-connected-but-mostly-isolated lives in the pandemic, and a topic for Today show segments like the one above.

As Stanford researcher Jeremy Bailenson vividly explains to Today, Zoom fatigue refers to the burnout we experience from interacting with dozens of people for hours a day, months on end, through pretty much any video conferencing platform. (But, let’s face it, mostly Zoom.) We may be familiar with the symptoms already if we spend some part of our day on video calls or lessons. Zoom fatigue combines the problems of overwork and technological overstimulation with unique forms of social exhaustion that do not plague us in the office or the classroom.

Bailenson, director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, refers to this kind of burnout as “Nonverbal Overload,” a collection of “psychological consequences” from prolonged periods of disembodied conversation. He has been studying virtual communication for two decades and began writing about the current problem in April of 2020 in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that warned, “software like Zoom was designed to do online work, and the tools that increase productivity weren’t meant to mimic normal social interaction.”

Now, in a new scholarly article published in the APA journal Technology, Mind, and Behavior, Bailenson elaborates on the argument with a focus on Zoom, not to “vilify the company,” he writes, but because “it has become the default platform for many in academia” (and everywhere else, perhaps its own form of exhaustion). The constituents of nonverbal overload include gazing into each others’ eyes at close proximity for long periods of time, even when we aren’t speaking to each other.

Anyone who speaks for a living understands the intensity of being stared at for hours at a time. Even when speakers see virtual faces instead of real ones, research has shown that being stared at while speaking causes physiological arousal (Takac et al., 2019). But Zoom’s interface design constantly beams faces to everyone, regardless of who is speaking. From a perceptual standpoint, Zoom effectively transforms listeners into speakers and smothers everyone with eye gaze.

On Zoom, we also have to expend much more energy to send and interpret nonverbal cues, and without the context of the room outside the screen, we are more apt to misinterpret them. Depending on the size of our screen, we may be staring at each other as larger-than-life talking heads, a disorienting experience for the brain and one that lends more impact to facial expressions than may be warranted, creating a false sense of intimacy and urgency. “When someone’s face is that close to ours in real life,” writes Vignesh Ramachandran at Stanford News, “our brains interpret it as an intense situation that is either going to lead to mating or to conflict.”

Unless we turn off the view of ourselves on the screen — which we generally don’t do because we’re conscious of being stared at — we are also essentially sitting in front of a mirror while trying to focus on others. The constant self-evaluation adds an additional layer of stress and taxes the brain’s resources. In face-to-face interactions, we can let our eyes wander, even move around the room and do other things while we talk to people. “There’s a growing research now that says when people are moving, they’re performing better cognitively,” says Bailenson. Zoom interactions, conversely, can inhibit movement for long periods of time.

“Zoom fatigue” may not be as dire as it sounds, but rather the inevitable trials of a transitional period, Bailenson suggests. He offers solutions we can implement now: using the “hide self-view” button, muting our video regularly, setting up the technology so that we can fidget, doodle, and get up and move around…. Not all of these are going to work for everyone — we are, after all, socialized to sit and stare at each other on Zoom; refusing to participate might send unintended messages we would have to expend more energy to correct. Bailenson further describes the phenomenon in the BBC Business Daily podcast interview above.

“Videoconferencing is here to stay,” Bailenson admits, and we’ll have to adapt. “As media psychologists it is our job,” he writes to his colleagues in the new article, to help “users develop better use practices” and help “technologists build better interfaces.” He mostly leaves it to the technologists to imagine what those are, though we ourselves have more control over the platform than we collectively acknowledge. Could we maybe admit, Bailenson writes, that “perhaps a driver of Zoom fatigue is simply that we are taking more meetings than we would be doing face-to-face”?

Read about the “Zoom Exhaustion & Fatigue Scale (ZEF Scale)” developed by Bailenson and his colleagues at Stanford and the University of Gothenburg here. Then take the survey yourself, and see where you rank in the ZEF categories of general fatigue, visual fatigue, social fatigue, motivational fatigue, and emotional fatigue.

Related Content: 

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Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli Releases Free Backgrounds for Virtual Meetings: Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away & More

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

Why Putin Wants Alexei Navalny Dead

From Vox: “In 2006, a lawyer named Alexei Navalny started a blog where he wrote about corruption in his home country of Russia. It’s the most prominent problem under the regime of Vladimir Putin, who has ruled Russia since 2000. Putin has systematically taken over the country’s independent media, oligarchy, elections, and laws to cement his own power and wield corruption to his advantage.

That’s what Navalny set out to expose. And in 2010, he published a groundbreaking investigation into a state-owned transportation company, Transneft, which was funneling state money into the hands of its executives. The post launched Navalny into politics.

By 2016, he had become the face of Russia’s opposition movement, run for mayor, and was running for president against Putin himself. Navalny was unifying Russia’s opposition like no politician had before. That’s why the Kremlin tried to kill him. Navalny survived the assassination attempt, launching a movement never before seen in Russia.”

To dive deeper into why the Russian government wants Navalny dead, watch the Vox video above, then listen to this informative report from the New York Times’ Daily Podcast below.

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The “Academic Tarot”: 22 Major Arcana Cards Representing Life in the Academic Humanities Under COVID-19

“Speculations about the creators of Tarot cards include the Sufis, the Cathars, the Egyptians, Kabbalists, and more,” writes “expert cartomancer” Joshua Hehe. All of these suppositions are wrong, it seems. “The actual historical evidence points to northern Italy sometime in the early part of the 1400s,” when the so-called “major arcana” came into being. “Contrary to what many have claimed, there is absolutely no proof of the Tarot having originated in any other time or place.”

A bold claim, yet there are precedents much older than tarot: “A few decades before the Tarot was born, ordinary playing cards came to Europe by way of Arabs, arriving in many different cities between 1375 and 1378. These cards were an adaptation of the Islamic Mamluk cards,” with suits of cups, swords, coins, and polo sticks, “the latter of which were seen by Europeans as staves.”

Whether the playing cards invented by the Mamluks were used for divination may be a matter of controversy. The history and art of the Mamluk sultanate itself is a subject worthy of study for the tarot historian. Originally a slave army (“mamluk” means “slave” in Arabic) under the Ayyubid sultans in Egypt and Syria, the Mamluks overthrew their rulers and created “the greatest Islamic empire of the later Middle Ages.”

What does this have to do with tarot reading? These are academic concerns, perhaps, of little interest to the average tarot enthusiast. But then, the average tarot enthusiast is not the audience for the “Academic Tarot,” a project of the Visionary Futures Collective, or VFC, a group of 22 scholars “fighting for what higher education needs most,” Stephanie Malak writes at Hyperallergic, “a bringing together of thinkers who ‘believe in the transformational power and vital importance of the humanities.’”

To that end, the Academic Tarot features exactly the kinds of characters who love to chase down abstruse historical questions—characters like the lowly, confused Grad Student, standing in here for The Fool. It also features those who can make academic life, with its endless rounds of meetings and committees, so difficult: figures like The President (see here), doing duty here as the Magician, and pictured shredding “campus-wide COVID results.”

The VFC, founded in the time of COVID-19 pandemic and “in the midst of the long-overdue national reckoning led by the Black Lives Matter movement,” aims to “trace the contours of things that define our shared human condition,” says Collective member Dr. Brian DeGrazia. In the case of the Academic Tarot, the conditions represented are shared by a specific subset of humans, many of whom responded to “feelings surveys” put out by the VFC in a biweekly newsletter.

The surveys have been used to make art that reflects the experiences of the grad students, professors, and professional staff working the academic humanities at this time:

VFC artist-in-residence Claire Chenette, a Grammy-nominated Knoxville Symphony Orchestra musician furloughed due to COVID-19, brought the tarot cards to life. What began as a three-card project to complement the VFC newsletter grew in spirit and in number. 

“In tarot, the cards read us,” the VFC writes, “telling a story about ourselves that can provide clarity, guidance and hope.” What story do the 22 Major Arcana cards in the Academic Tarot tell? That depends on who’s asking, as always, but one gets the sense that unless the querent is familiar with life in a higher-ed humanities department, these cards may not reveal much. For those who have seen themselves in the cards, however, “the images made them laugh out loud,” says Chenette, or “they hit hard. Or… they even made them cry, but… it needed to happen.”

Struggling through yet another pandemic semester of attempting to teach, research, write, and generally stay afloat? The Academic Tarot cards are currently sold out, but you can pre-order now for the second run.

via Hyperallergic

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Carl Jung: Tarot Cards Provide Doorways to the Unconscious, and Maybe a Way to Predict the Future

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

The Breathtaking Courage of Harriet Tubman: An Animated History Lesson Speaks to Her Place on the $20 Bill

I was a conductor on the Underground Railroad, and I can say what many others cannot. I never ran my train off the track, and I never lost a passenger.  —Harriet Tubman

Remember how one of the Obama administration’s final initiatives was to redesign the $20 bill, banishing Andrew Jackson, a slaveholder, to a minor role on the back of the bill, in favor of abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who was born into slavery?

The announcement arrived on the heels of a controversy, after then-Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew enraged American women by going back on a promise to install a woman on the face of a newly designed $10 bill.

The decision to keep Alexander Hamilton, architect of our financial system and the country’s first Treasury Secretary, in place is rumored to owe rather a lot to his status as the subject of a certain hit musical that had opened earlier in the year.

The official design of the Tubman bill was to have been unveiled in 2020, to coincide with the hundredth anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which guaranteed a woman’s right to vote. Had all gone according to plan, it would have been in wide circulation later this decade.

At the time Lew was untroubled by the possibility that the incoming administration might kill off the proposed makeover:

I don’t think somebody’s going to probably want to do that — to take the image of Harriet Tubman off of our money? To take the image of the suffragists off?

It seems, however, that someone did want to do that.

In 2016, presidential candidate Donald Trump told NBC that replacing Jackson with Tubman was “pure political correctness,” suggesting instead that a place might be found for Tubman on the $2 bill… which is no longer printed.

He also reportedly remarked to former White House adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman, “You want me to put that face on the twenty-dollar bill?”

The Treasury Department website’s revision in the wake of the 2016 election scrubbed all references to planned changes to the currency.

Lew’s replacement, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, finally announced that the new $20 bill wouldn’t be ready until 2028, and that the finished design might not include Tubman at all. He attributed this to technical reasons relating to security features, though a Treasury Department employee told The New York Times that the engraving plate for it was completed “as recently as May 2018” and that the design “appeared to be far along in the process.”

Certainly, there were bigger stories in 2020 than the absence of the promised Harriet Tubman $20 bill, but the obfuscation and delay were maddening given everything Tubman, a woman of action, was able to accomplish well over a hundred years ago.

Most of us are familiar with her prominence on the Underground Railroad, which led to the sobriquet “Moses of her people,” but there are several things in the above animated TED-Ed lesson by Janell Hobson, Department Chair of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at SUNY Albany, that may come as news to you.

Of particular note, Tubman was the first woman in US history to plan and lead a military raid, resulting in the liberation of nearly 700 enslaved persons in South Carolina.

Her second husband, Nelson Davis, also born into slavery, had been a Union soldier, which entitled her to a pension of $8 as a military widow.

She fought hard for an increase on the basis of her own service to the Union Army, enlisting various friends and supporters to lobby on her behalf, including Lincoln’s Secretary of State, William Seward, who said, “I have known her long as a noble high spirit, as true as seldom dwells in the human form.”

Finally, in 1899, her pension was increased to $20 a month.

Professor Hobson, whose lesson predates Mnuchin’s announcement of the stall, called the denomination “a fitting twist of fate.”

As is the rubber stamp that artist Dano Wal created to help disgusted Americans convert Jacksons into Tubmans without the help of the Treasury Department:

Who we choose to honor as a society affects the moral attitudes that are baked into us as we grow up. The impact that seeing the face of Harriet Tubman staring back at you from a $20 bill should not be underestimated. This sort of representation can subtly but deeply affect someone’s conception of themselves and their place in society. The slightly subversive nature of it being currency that’s been hand-stamped by another human makes a discovery of one of these bills all the more joyous.

Good news looms on the horizon. Less than a week into the Biden administration, the Treasury Department confirmed that the agency is “exploring ways to resume” putting Harriet Tubman on the bill, as well as ways to hasten their release. She will be the first female and first Black American to be featured on our folding money.

TED-Ed has a list of additional resources for those who’d like to delve deeper into Tubman’s life and legacy, as well as a discussion as to whether putting Tubman’s face on the $20 bill is a fitting honor.

Related Content: 

Designer Creates a 3D-Printed Stamp That Replaces Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman on the $20 Bill

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

Watch Amanda Gorman Read “The Hill We Climb,” “Making Mountains As We Run,” “Fury and Faith,” and More

Led by celebrity host Tom Hanks, the Biden inauguration’s entertainers, A-listers all, were safe bets, reliable stadium-fillers with instant mass appeal. They “did exactly what we needed them to do,” remarked Stephanie Zacharek at TIME, offering the reassurance that “we no longer need to live in dread.” They were “singers you actually know,” Alexis Petridis wrote at The Guardian. The comment was a dig at the previous administration’s C and D-list lineup, and also, perhaps, an admission that what Americans most crave is the familiar, which, of course, means, first and foremost, a national focus on celebrities we all know and love.

For a moment, however, this repetition of comforting household names was punctuated by an entirely new young face and voice—that of a poet, no less, a standard bearer of the form that has held the nation’s rapt attention in the work of Whitman, Frost, Hughes, and Angelou.

Amanda Gorman, chosen as the first National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017, channeled a tradition of American lyric writing about America in her inauguration poem, and she brought to it her own experiences as a Gen Z black feminist and activist who overcame a speech impediment to address the country at one of the most significant televised public events in recent history.

Gorman’s resume is a testament to her generation’s commitment to art and activism in the face of compounding crises, and to her personal commitment to change in a country that promises little for young black artists in particular. Named youth poet laureate of Los Angeles in 2014 at age 16, she published her first book of poetry, The One for Whom Food is Not Enough, the following year. She then went on to found a nonprofit writing and leadership program, open the literary season for the Library of Congress in 2017, and graduate cum laude from Harvard College with a degree in sociology in 2020.

While charting her own literary path, Gorman learned to use her voice as “a political choice,” as she says in her TED-Ed student talk above, in which she confidently asks a small audience of her peers, “whose shoulders do you stand on?” and “what do you stand for?” These are the questions she asks students in workshops, she says, to shake them out of the idea that poetry is for “dead white men who were just born to be old.” Then she shares her own answers. Gorman’s public appearances tend to focus on process as much as on politics and prosody. In a talk on “Presentation and Reading” at the Academy of Arts & Sciences in Cambridge below, she reads a poem, then has a brief discussion of “how it came to be.”

Gorman is as skilled a storyteller as she is a poet and educator. In her 2017 Moth GrandSLAM appearance in Boston, further up, she tells the story of trying to catch her big break auditioning for Broadway, an aspiration shaped by her childhood love of The Lion King. Her inaugural poem, she tells PBS, was written to “be accessible to anyone who might be watching, that they can feel that they are represented and well-established in this poem,” an act of writing she calls “a really difficult dance to do.” The effort did not blunt the poem’s most incisive lines, however, including its reference to “the belly of the beast,” in which “we’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace.”

For Gorman, speaking out is a personal imperative she honed as “a form of a pathology,” overcoming her speech issues “by embarking on spoken word over and over and over again and reciting my poems. No matter how terrified I was, because I had the support of others, I was able to kind of slowly climb my way to the place I am at today.”

For millions of young people who watched the inauguration, it will be Gorman’s story of perseverance, community, personal growth, and refusal to be passive and silent in the face of social injustice that will most resonate, perhaps for the rest of their lives, amidst celebrations of a longed-for return to the familiar. See Gorman read more of her poetry above and below, including a poem for another inauguration, that of Harvard President Lawrence S. Bacow, in 2018.

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Animated Poetry by US Poet Laureate

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

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