The perfect record review should change your hearing. You should come away from it with your brain slightly re-wired, so that you never hear the piece of music in quite the same way again. The change happens because an interesting idea about the music was presented in such a rich and compelling way that it remains part of your consciousness long after the actual reading. Sometimes the idea presented is something that never occurred to you. Sometimes it’s an idea you knew emotionally but had never seen articulated in language. But you gain new insight in part because you are now hearing the music with someone else’s ears (those of the writer). You might also hear about the relative quality of the music, and how it’s situated in its cultural context. And sometimes ideas embedded in these observations can change your hearing. Sometimes the ideas are related to technical details. Sometimes they come from a very specific and personal place that is nonetheless recognizable to strangers and provides insight. Regardless, if you get all that and are entertained and maybe get a laugh or two out of it, that is perfection.
“For many—and for better or for worse—the BlackBerry marked the dawn of a modern era in which work doesn’t end at five o’clock but, rather, follows you home and stays by your side, blinking that little red light like a faithful pet that feels neglected.”—Vauhini Vara on BlackBerry’s fall: http://nyr.kr/16u7X0g (via newyorker)
But an old brown Vermont barn roof was revealed, quite clearly, to be salmon red. Yards full of leafy trees and plants suddenly had different shades of green. Everywhere I looked, desaturated or barely discernible red things were popping.
… It was like a peek into a world I knew existed, but had never been allowed to see.
“There have been many moving and illuminating stories about the victims of the marathon attack, and the people who selflessly came to their aid, but this is not one of them. Instead, the Rolling Stone article is about the still largely mysterious backstory of a young man who transformed, in what appears to be a short amount of time, from a seemingly normal college student into an alleged terrorist. The facts of his life are important, the larger social implications of his biography are important—and so this story has the potential to be a valuable contribution to the public record and to the general understanding of one of the most serious incidents of domestic terrorism in American history. And so, in the plainest terms, Rolling Stone chose to promote an article about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev with a photo of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev—one that other news outlets, including the New York Times and Washington Post, had previously published.”—Ian Crouch says all the things someone needed to say about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s Rolling Stone Cover and Cultural Self-Censorship.
“Your teeth will crack its sugared shell like a spoon agreeably disrupting the surface of a crème brûlée. The marshmallow beneath it is soft, satiny, and wonderfully cold. (“It took some time to develop a marshmallow-like recipe that allowed it to freeze without getting hard,” Ansel said.) A core of vanilla ice cream enveloped in chocolate feuilletine holds a long, maple-smoked stick in place.”—
“There’s nothing the Internet can tell me about myself that I don’t already know. The rest is foolishness and people killing time. (Not that I have anything against foolishness and killing time. Because I don’t. I have a healthy interest in both.)”—Wise words from Wentworth Miller.
“The confetti, Ricky finally thought. The confetti will sting like rain. He was surprised when it became just another subject for his photographs. “The earth didn’t shake,” he says. “I realized it’s just a football game. Yes, it’s a big football game, but I didn’t feel like I was missing out. I was just happy for my teammates, the way you’re happy for a kid when they have success. I knew how much they wanted it.””—Amazing full-circle story about Ricky Williams, from ESPN the Magazine.
“But in this case, again, I think the Netflix model hurt the show rather than helped it. Had the episode been allowed to stand on its own, it would have stood out; a week to consider this softer vision of Francis Underwood would have allowed viewers to fill in some of the emotional blanks in House of Cards’ unceasing scheming. Instead, sandwiched as it was in the middle of my personal binge, the episode and its revelations seemed ephemeral and weightless. Hitting “next” on my remote allowed me to swallow without chewing, to move on without digesting.”—