Museum Curators Create a Contest to See Who Has the Creepiest Object: Ancient Body Parts, Cursed Toys, and More

Muse­ums around the world have tem­porar­i­ly closed due to the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic, and each of these insti­tu­tions has used its down­time dif­fer­ent­ly. Some have pro­vid­ed online ver­sions of the expe­ri­ences pre­vi­ous­ly offered in their phys­i­cal gal­leries; oth­ers have start­ed pro­longed bat­tles on Twit­ter. No, not the kind of pro­longed bat­tle one nor­mal­ly asso­ciates with Twit­ter, but a friend­lier, more pro­duc­tive com­pe­ti­tion between pro­fes­sion­als. At times, how­ev­er, the #cura­tor­bat­tle, as it’s been hash­tagged, has looked just as repul­sive to the view­er as any Twit­ter con­flict: espe­cial­ly last week, when the York­shire Muse­um threw down the chal­lenge to pull the “creepi­est object” out of the archives and post it.

“Muse­um cura­tors are up to their ears in weird crap, some of which isn’t fit for dis­play,” writes Ruin My Week’s Ali­son Sul­li­van. “There are lots of niche muse­ums out there, too, who don’t get the kind of atten­tion the Smith­son­ian receives. They’re about local his­to­ry or spe­cif­ic inter­ests, and their col­lec­tions are the strangest of all.”

The York­shire Muse­um, which bills itself as offer­ing “Britain’s finest archae­o­log­i­cal trea­sures, and a walk through the Juras­sic land­scapes of York­shire,” is no dif­fer­ent: they start­ed off the chal­lenge of the week by post­ing a “3rd/4th cen­tu­ry hair bun from the bur­ial of a #Roman lady, still with the jet pins in place” — albeit ful­ly detached from the head it was buried on.

Oth­er par­tic­i­pat­ing insti­tu­tions saw the York­shire Muse­um’s hair bun and raised it a “sheep’s heart stuck with pins and nails, to be worn like a neck­lace for break­ing evil spells,” a P.T. Bar­num-style “mer­maid” con­struct­ed through taxi­dermy, a “CURSED CHILDREN’S TOY that we found inside the walls of a 155-year-old man­sion,” and small dio­ra­mas pop­u­lat­ed by gold-min­ers and card-play­ers made of crab’s legs and claws.

In the tweet post­ing that last, the York Cas­tle Muse­um describes the pieces’ cre­ators as typ­i­cal of Vic­to­ri­ans, who “loved weird/creepy stuff.” If your own such love isn’t sat­is­fied by the high­lights at Ruin My Week and The Guardian, have a look at the replies below the  York­shire Muse­um’s orig­i­nal tweet. You may not have asked to see a beaked 17th- or 18th-cen­tu­ry plague mask at this par­tic­u­lar moment, but try to take it in the spir­it of cul­tur­al exchange. View more creepy objects on Twit­ter here.

via Art­net

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The “Weird Objects” in the New York Pub­lic Library’s Col­lec­tions: Vir­ginia Woolf’s Cane, Charles Dick­ens’ Let­ter Open­er, Walt Whitman’s Hair & More

Inside the Creepy, “Aban­doned” Wiz­ard of Oz Theme Park: Scenes of Beau­ti­ful Decay

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

The Creepy 13th-Cen­tu­ry Melody That Shows Up in Movies Again & Again: An Intro­duc­tion to “Dies Irae”

Charles Dick­ens Gave His Cat “Bob” a Sec­ond Life as a Let­ter Open­er

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

Human All Too Human: A Roman Woman Visits the Great Pyramid in 120 AD, and Carves a Poem in Memory of Her Deceased Brother

The phrase “his­to­ry is writ­ten by the vic­tors” is a cliché, which means that it is at least half true; offi­cial his­to­ries are, to a sig­nif­i­cant degree “writ­ten,” or dic­tat­ed, by rul­ing elites. But as far as the actu­al writ­ing down, and exca­vat­ing, nar­rat­ing, argu­ing about, and revis­ing of his­to­ry goes… well, that is the work of his­to­ri­ans, who may work for pow­er­ful insti­tu­tions but who are not themselves—with sev­er­al notable excep­tions, of course—politicians, gen­er­als, or cap­tains of indus­try.

This is all to the good. His­to­ri­ans, and Twit­ter­sto­ri­ans, can tell sto­ries and present evi­dence that the vic­tors might rather see dis­ap­pear. And they can tell sto­ries we nev­er knew that we were miss­ing, but which human­ize the past by restor­ing the lives of ordi­nary peo­ple with ordi­nary con­cerns. Sto­ries of every­day ancient Romans and Egyp­tians, for exam­ple, or of ancient Romans in Egypt, vis­it­ing and van­dal­iz­ing the pyra­mids.

In one such poignant sto­ry, cir­cu­lat­ing on Twit­ter, a Roman woman named Ter­en­tia carved into the lime­stone fac­ing of the Great Pyra­mid some­time around 120 AD a touch­ing poem for her broth­er, who had just recent­ly died. As told by medieval­ist, lin­guist, and Senior Edi­tor at His­to­ry Today Dr. Kate Wiles, the poem might have been lost to the ages had it not been dis­cov­ered by Ger­man pil­grim Wil­helm von Bold­ense­le in 1335.

Know­ing Latin, Von Bold­ense­le read the poem, found it mov­ing, and copied it down. (See his man­u­script at the top.) Wiles quotes a part of the prose Eng­lish trans­la­tion:

I saw the pyra­mids with­out you, my dear­est broth­er, and here I sad­ly shed tears for you, which is all I could do. And I inscribe this lament in mem­o­ry of our grief. May thus be clear­ly vis­i­ble on the high pyra­mid the name of Dec­imus Gen­tianus….

We can sur­mise that Ter­en­tia must have had some means to trav­el, but in Wiles’ abridged Twit­ter ver­sion of the sto­ry, we also might assume she could be any­one at all, griev­ing the loss of a close rel­a­tive. Terentia’s grief is no less mov­ing or real when we learn that the inscrip­tion goes for on sev­er­al lines Wiles cut for brevi­ty.

Turn­ing to Emi­ly Ann Hemelrijk’s book Matrona Doc­ta: Edu­cat­ed Women in the Roman Elite from Cor­nelia to Julia Dom­na, Dr. Wiles’ source for the Great Pyra­mid poem, we find that Ter­en­tia wasn’t just an edu­cat­ed, upper class woman, she was a very well-con­nect­ed one. The inscrip­tion goes on to iden­ti­fy her broth­er as “a pon­tif­ex and com­pan­ion to your tri­umphs, Tra­jan, and both cen­sor and con­sul before his thir­ti­eth year of age.”

In his anthol­o­gy Women Writ­ers of Ancient Greece and Rome, Ian Michael Plant pro­vides even more his­tor­i­cal con­text. Of Ter­en­tia, we know lit­tle to noth­ing save the Von Boldensele’s copy of her six hexa­m­e­ters (and pos­si­bly more that he ignored). Of Dec­imus Gen­tianus, how­ev­er, we know that he not only served as a con­sul under Tra­jan but also as gov­er­nor of Mace­do­nia under Hadri­an. Ter­en­tia “chose the pyra­mid for her epi­taph to pro­vide a suit­ably grand and ever­last­ing site for her trib­ute to him,” writes Plant. (Cue Shelly’s “Ozy­man­dias.”)

Not only is the poem about a vic­tor, but it appears to shift its address from him to the ulti­mate vic­tor, Emper­or Tra­jan, in its final lines. Should this change our appre­ci­a­tion of the sto­ry as a slice of Roman tourist life and exam­ple of ancient wom­en’s writ­ing? No, but it shows us some­thing about what his­to­ry gets pre­served and why. Despite his­to­ri­ans’ best efforts, espe­cial­ly in pub­lic-fac­ing work, to make the past more acces­si­ble and relat­able, they, too, are lim­it­ed by what oth­er cul­tures chose to pre­serve and what to pass over.

Hemel­rijk admits, “the poem is no lit­er­ary mas­ter­piece,” but Von Bold­er­se­le saw enough mer­it in its sen­ti­ments to record it for pos­ter­i­ty. He also made a judg­ment about the inscription’s his­tor­i­cal import, giv­en its ref­er­ences, which is prob­a­bly the rea­son we have it today.

via Dr. Kate Wiles

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Play Cae­sar: Trav­el Ancient Rome with Stanford’s Inter­ac­tive Map

An Ani­mat­ed Recon­struc­tion of Ancient Rome: Take A 30-Minute Stroll Through the City’s Vir­tu­al­ly-Recre­at­ed Streets

How the Egypt­ian Pyra­mids Were Built: A New The­o­ry in 3D Ani­ma­tion

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

Nine Things a Woman Couldn’t Do in 1971

As we bar­rel toward the cen­ten­ni­al cel­e­bra­tion of wom­en’s suf­frage in the Unit­ed States, it’s not enough to bone up on the plat­forms of female pri­ma­ry can­di­dates (though that’s an excel­lent start).

A Twit­ter user and self-described Old Crone named Robyn recent­ly urged her fel­low Amer­i­cans to take a good long gan­der at a list of nine free­doms women in the Unit­ed States were not uni­ver­sal­ly grant­ed in 1971, the year Helen Red­dy released the soon-to-be anthem, “I Am Woman,” above.

Even those of us who remem­ber singing along as chil­dren may expe­ri­ence some shock that these facts check out on Snopes.

  1. CREDIT CARDS: Pri­or to the Equal Cred­it Oppor­tu­ni­ty Act of 1974, mar­ried women couldn’t get cred­it cards with­out their hus­bands’ sig­na­tures. Sin­gle women, divorcees, and wid­ows were often required to have a man cosign. The dou­ble stan­dard also meant female appli­cants were fre­quent­ly issued card lim­its up to 50% low­er than that of males who earned iden­ti­cal wages.
  2. PREGNANT WORKERS: The Preg­nan­cy Dis­crim­i­na­tion Act of 1978 pro­tect­ed preg­nant women from being fired because of their impend­ing mater­ni­ty. But it came with a major loop­hole that’s still in need of clos­ing. The lan­guage of the 41-year-old law stip­u­lates that the employ­ers must accom­mo­date preg­nant work­ers only if con­ces­sions are being made for oth­er employ­ees who are “sim­i­lar in their abil­i­ty or inabil­i­ty to work.”
  3. JURY DUTY: In 1975, the Supreme Court declared it con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly unac­cept­able for states to deny women the oppor­tu­ni­ty to serve on juries. This is an are­na where we’ve all come a long way, baby. It’s now com­plete­ly nor­mal for men to be excused from jury duty as the pri­ma­ry care­givers of their young chil­dren.
  4. MILITARY COMBAT: In 2013, for­mer Sec­re­tary of Defense Leon Panet­ta and for­mer Chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen­er­al Mar­tin Dempsey announced that the Pen­ta­gon was rescind­ing the direct com­bat exclu­sion rule that barred women from serv­ing in artillery, armor, infantry and oth­er such bat­tle roles. At the time of the announce­ment, the mil­i­tary had already seen more than 130 female sol­diers killed, and 800 wound­ed on the front­lines in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  5. IVY LEAGUE ADMISSIONS: Those who con­ceive of elite col­leges as breed­ing grounds for sex­u­al assault protests and Title IX activism would do well to remem­ber that Colum­bia Col­lege didn’t admit women until 1983, fol­low­ing in the mar­gin­al­ly deep­er foot­steps of oth­ers in the Ivy League—Harvard (1977), Dart­mouth (1972), Brown (1971), Yale (1969), and Prince­ton (1969). These days, sin­gle sex high­er edu­ca­tion options for women far out­num­ber those for men, but the net­work­ing pow­er and increased earn­ing poten­tial an Ivy League degree con­fers remains the same.
  6. WORKPLACE HARASSMENT: In 1977, women who’d been sex­u­al­ly harassed in the work­place received con­fir­ma­tion in three sep­a­rate tri­als that they could sue their employ­ers under Title VII of the 1964 Civ­il Rights Act. In 1998, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex harass­ment was also unlaw­ful. In between was the tele­vi­sion event of 1991, Ani­ta Hill’s shock­ing tes­ti­mo­ny against her for­mer boss, U.S. Supreme Court jus­tice (then nom­i­nee) Clarence Thomas.
  7. SPOUSAL CONSENT: In 1993, spousal rape was offi­cial­ly out­lawed in all 50 states. Not tonight hon­ey, or you’ll have a headache in the form of your wife’s legal back up.
  8. HEALTH INSURANCE: In 2010, the Patient Pro­tec­tion and Afford­able Care Act decreed that any health insur­ance plan estab­lished after March of that year could not charge women high­er pre­mi­ums than men for iden­ti­cal ben­e­fits. This was bad news for women who got their health insur­ance through their jobs, and whose employ­ers were grand­fa­thered into dis­crim­i­na­to­ry plans estab­lished pri­or to 2010. Of course, that’s all ancient his­to­ry now.
  9. CONTRACEPTIVES: In 1972, the Supreme Court made it legal for all cit­i­zens to pos­sess birth con­trol, irre­spec­tive of mar­i­tal sta­tus, stat­ing “if the right of pri­va­cy means any­thing, it is the right of the indi­vid­ual, mar­ried or sin­gle, to be free from unwar­rant­ed gov­ern­men­tal intru­sion into mat­ters so fun­da­men­tal­ly affect­ing a per­son as the deci­sion whether to bear or beget a child.” (It’s worth not­ing, how­ev­er, that in 1972, states could still con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly pro­hib­it and pun­ish sex out­side of mar­riage.)

Fem­i­nism is NOT just for oth­er women.

- Old Crone

Via Kot­tke

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Library of Con­gress Dig­i­tizes Over 16,000 Pages of Let­ters & Speech­es from the Women’s Suf­frage Move­ment, and You Can Help Tran­scribe Them

MAKERS Tells the Sto­ry of 50 Years of Progress for Women in the U.S.

Women’s Hid­den Con­tri­bu­tions to Mod­ern Genet­ics Get Revealed by New Study: No Longer Will They Be Buried in the Foot­notes

A Space of Their Own, a New Online Data­base, Will Fea­ture Works by 600+ Over­looked Female Artists from the 15th-19th Cen­turies

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inkyzine.  Join her in NYC on Mon­day, Octo­ber 7 when her month­ly book-based vari­ety show, Necro­mancers of the Pub­lic Domaincel­e­brates the art of Aubrey Beard­s­ley. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

We’re Gonna Build a Fourth Wall, and Make the Brechtians Pay for It


By now, you undoubt­ed­ly know what hap­pened when Mike Pence went to see Hamil­ton on Fri­day night. And the brouha­ha that unfold­ed from there, par­tic­u­lar­ly on Twit­ter.

Tweets came and went through­out the week­end. But, if you’re keep­ing score at home, none out­fun­nied this tweet from Jere­my Noel-Tod. We’re suck­ers around here for Brecht­ian humor.

Find us on Twit­ter at @openculture.

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

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

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch Them Watch Us: A His­to­ry of Break­ing the “Fourth Wall” in Film

The Cast of Hamil­ton Sends a Strong Mes­sage to Mike Pence (After the Crowd Jeers Him)

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 1 ) |

Three University Projects Use Twitter to Understand Happiness, Hate and Other Emotions in America

It turns out that the fleet­ing pro­nounce­ments we post on Twit­ter are cat­nip for aca­d­e­mics and oth­ers eager to find the elu­sive pulse of Amer­i­can soci­ety. Since Twit­ter launched in 2006, researchers have been hard at work fig­ur­ing out how to turn those 140-char­ac­ter mus­ings into tea leaves with some­thing mean­ing­ful to say about us all.

Here come three new projects that claim to pro­vide a win­dow into the Amer­i­can soul through Twit­ter. Whether they suc­ceed or not, well, that’s still unclear. (And, by the way, you can start fol­low­ing Open Cul­ture on Twit­ter here.)

Most fever­ish­ly excit­ed about its work are the team behind the Glob­al Twit­ter Heart­beat, which so far focus­es most­ly on the Unit­ed States. With the help of a huge SGI proces­sor to process a live feed of pub­lic social media data, a team of researchers from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Illi­nois at Urbana-Cham­paign has made a heat map to show how peo­ple react (through Twit­ter) to big events.

They looked at two things: Hur­ri­cane Sandy (top) and the 2012 Pres­i­den­tial Elec­tion (above). Using Twitter’s “gar­den hose feed”—a ran­dom sam­pling of 10 per­cent of the rough­ly 500 mil­lion tweets sent every day—researchers col­or-cod­ed tweets red for neg­a­tive tone and blue for pos­i­tive and showed the shift­ing con­cen­tra­tions of Twit­ter activ­i­ty across the coun­try. It looks like a map of a talk­ing weath­er sys­tem as occa­sion­al dia­logue box­es open up to show rep­re­sen­ta­tive tweets. Researcher Kalev Lee­taru argues that track­ing Twit­ter activ­i­ty gives us the poten­tial to track the heart­beat of soci­ety.


Two oth­er projects look in an on-going way at tweet “tone,” or the negativity/positivity of mes­sages. One spin on this research is the Geo­graph­ic Hate Map (sam­ple map above), a project by Dr. Mon­i­ca Stephens of Hum­boldt State Uni­ver­si­ty in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia. To begin their work, Stephens and her team accessed a mas­sive data­base of geo­graph­i­cal­ly tagged tweets sent between June, 2012  and April, 2013.

They used only tweets that con­tained any of ten “hate words.” They read each tweet to be sure the words were used in a neg­a­tive way and built a map based on where the tweets came from. Then they aggre­gat­ed to the coun­ty lev­el and nor­mal­ized for the amount of twit­ter traf­fic in that area so that dense­ly pop­u­lat­ed areas don’t look more racist or homo­pho­bic by default.

Then there’s the glass half full. The Hedo­nome­ter mea­sures hap­pi­ness, or lack there­of, as expressed by tweets, cal­cu­lat­ing aver­ages based on what the researchers call “word shifts” (watch an expla­na­tion above). This research project, put togeth­er by the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ver­mont Com­plex Sys­tems Cen­ter, uses the same gar­den hose feed as the Glob­al Twit­ter Heart­beat. This project search­es for fre­quent­ly used words to mea­sure how good a day Twit­ter users are hav­ing. Since 2008 the Hedo­nome­ter has kept track of how often words like “hap­py,” “yes,” and “love” pop up in tweets, as opposed to “hate,” “no,” and “unhap­py.” The sad­dest day on Hedo­nome­ter record so far is April 15, 2013, the day bombs explod­ed at the Boston Marathon fin­ish line. Christ­mas Day tends to rank as the hap­pi­est day of the year.

To be sure, any tool that uses tweets for data is mea­sur­ing a very young and spe­cif­ic sub­group of peo­ple. Tweets are not a reli­able mea­sure of any­thing, real­ly, but maybe with some tweak­ing, these research mod­els will come up with some­thing inter­est­ing.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Art of Data Visu­al­iza­tion: How to Tell Com­plex Sto­ries Through Smart Design

Watch a Cool and Creepy Visu­al­iza­tion of U.S. Births & Deaths in Real-Time

An Ani­mat­ed Visu­al­iza­tion of Every Observed Mete­orite That Has Hit Earth Since 861 AD

Kate Rix writes about edu­ca­tion and dig­i­tal media. Fol­low dai­ly ups and downs on Twit­ter @mskaterix.

Steven Soderbergh Writes Twitter Novella After His Retirement From Filmmaking

How does one read Twit­ter lit­er­a­ture? Your thoughts are as good as mine. I sup­pose I’ll have to learn or end up in the ash heap of old-timey turn­ers of pages. Because Twit Lit is upon us, man­i­fest­ed by Jen­nifer Egan and now, under the twit­ter han­dle “Bitchu­a­tion,” by mer­cu­r­ial film­mak­er Steven Soder­bergh. Hav­ing announced his retire­ment from film­mak­ing in 2011, Soder­bergh made anoth­er announce­ment at the San Fran­cis­co Film Fes­ti­val on the State of Cin­e­ma (video above, tran­script here). The fol­low­ing day, Soderbergh’s Twit­ter novel­la Glue began with the lacon­ic April 28 tweet “I will now attempt to tweet a novel­la called GLUE.”


Some unique fea­tures of Twit Lit: Soder­bergh can twit­pic an estab­lish­ing shot—which he does, of Ams­ter­dam—along with pics of oth­er loca­tions (or just vague­ly sug­ges­tive images). The indi­vid­ual tweets often read like Horse ebooks absur­di­ties. He’s up to Chap­ter Four­teen now. The lat­er tweets repli­cate screen­play dia­logue, with copi­ous inser­tions of BEAT to sig­ni­fy dra­mat­ic paus­es. Tak­en togeth­er, I sup­pose there’s coher­ence, though as I admit­ted above, I have not mas­tered the abil­i­ty to pull tweets togeth­er into longer text in my mind, Twit­ter being where I go when my atten­tion span is spent.

I leave it to savvi­er, more patient read­ers to judge the suc­cess of Soderbergh’s attempt. It may suf­fice to say that his pes­simism about the state of film does not apply to Twit­ter Lit. Or maybe he’s just pass­ing time before he makes movies again.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Read, Hear, and See Tweet­ed Four Sto­ries by Jen­nifer Egan, Author of A Vis­it from the Goon Squad

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Wash­ing­ton, DC. Fol­low him @jdmagness 

Jennifer Egan, Pulitzer Prize-Winner, Tweets New Story with The New Yorker

In March, Jen­nifer Egan (A Vis­it From the Goon Squad) paid a vis­it to Google and was asked to sum up her year since win­ning the Pulitzer Prize in 2011. She said: “I am still not used to the idea that I won it. Maybe I will final­ly real­ly grab hold of that idea when some­one else wins it. I will say ‘No, I want it!’ ” Lit­tle did she know that just a few weeks lat­er the Pulitzer Prize judges would decline to name a suc­ces­sor, leav­ing her in men­tal lim­bo for yet anoth­er year. She seems to be han­dling it pret­ty well — well enough to pub­lish a new short sto­ry on The New York­er’s Fic­tion twit­ter stream. Yes, you read that right, its Twit­ter stream.

Start­ing last night, The New York­er began tweet­ing her new sto­ry, “Black Box,” and the sto­ry will con­tin­ue to unfold over nine more night­ly install­ments. It’s a gim­mick, you’re think­ing, right? Well, for Egan, it’s not. She explains on The New York­er web site:

I’d also been won­der­ing about how to write fic­tion whose struc­ture would lend itself to seri­al­iza­tion on Twit­ter. This is not a new idea, of course, but it’s a rich one—because of the inti­ma­cy of reach­ing peo­ple through their phones, and because of the odd poet­ry that can hap­pen in a hun­dred and forty char­ac­ters. I found myself imag­in­ing a series of terse men­tal dis­patch­es from a female spy of the future, work­ing under­cov­er by the Mediter­ranean Sea. I wrote these bul­letins by hand in a Japan­ese note­book that had eight rec­tan­gles on each page. The sto­ry was orig­i­nal­ly near­ly twice its present length; it took me a year, on and off, to con­trol and cal­i­brate the mate­r­i­al into what is now “Black Box.”

If you’re a Twit­ter user, you can catch the live stream between 8 and 9 P.M. EDT. (And you can also fol­low our live­ly Twit­ter stream here.) If micro-seri­al­ized fic­tion isn’t your thing, then you can always fol­low the sto­ry on The New York­er’s “Page Turn­er” blog.

Alain de Botton Tweets Short Course in Political Philosophy

Alain de Bot­ton has mas­tered the art of pop­u­lar­iz­ing great phi­los­o­phy. His books, lec­tures, tele­vised pro­grams and the Lon­don-based School of Life – they all help de Bot­ton get great ideas “out there.” And now he turns to Twit­ter. On Fri­day, @AlaindeBotton tweet­ed a short course in polit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy in sev­en parts. The course, with each les­son pre­sent­ed in 140 char­ac­ters or less, begins like this:

1: Pla­to: We should be ruled not by lead­ers cho­sen by a major­i­ty, but by those who are most intel­li­gent.

2. St Augus­tine: We should not try to build par­adise on earth. Aim for tol­er­a­ble gov­ern­ment, true gov­ern­ment only pos­si­ble in the next life.

3. Machi­avel­li: Politi­cian must choose between serv­ing the inter­ests of coun­try and the inter­ests of Chris­t­ian moral­i­ty. Can’t have both.

You can fin­ish the course here, and start fol­low­ing us on Twit­ter here, where we post a steady flow of cul­tur­al good­ies through­out the day. If you like Open Cul­ture, you will love our Twit­ter stream (and our Face­book page)…

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 2 ) |

More in this category... »
Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.