David Ehrlich argues that the recent Godzilla remake is the first post-human blockbuster: “This is a story about exposing the myopia of the human perspective and then humiliating our inherently egocentric POV.” And Kevin McLenithan writes that “in Godzilla’s world we are dwarfed by beings far greater and older than ourselves, and our own best efforts cannot halt oncoming destruction.”
Matt Zoller Seitz reflects on “the most meta-textual live-action half-hour comedy in network TV history,” aka Community: “It was typical sitcom tomfoolery. It was satire and parody. It was an action film or a Western or a paranoid thriller or a musical when it wanted to be. It sent up Ken Burns and soaps and timeline-twisting science fiction, and cartoons, and puppetoons. Not only did it seem too smart and ostentatiously self-aware for network TV, few cable series could match its ingenuity.”
In case you missed it, Slowdive played their first gig in 20 years as part of Sonic Cathedral’s 10th anniversary. The day after, they played their first “official” reunion show at the Village Underground, and according to Gigwise’s review, “…it becomes clear that the band’s immense hiatus has done nothing to diminish the power of their live shows. The avalanche of noise they produce treads the fine line between chaos and unity with a precision many bands have tried and failed to emulate during Slowdive’s absence.” Or, as The Quietus puts it, “The band that was once the most reviled in Britain is now the most loved. It's about fucking time.” You can watch the entire performance here.
Computers may be able to defeat human chess masters but they have a long way to go before being able to defeat masters of Go: “When Deep Blue was busy beating Kasparov, the best Go programs couldn’t even challenge a decent amateur. And despite huge computing advances in the years since — Kasparov would probably lose to your home computer — the automation of expert-level Go remains one of AI’s greatest unsolved riddles.”
I’ve never seen any of Naomi Kawase’s films, but reading Nik Grozdanović’s review of Still The Water — which recently screened at Cannes — I can’t help but think they’d be right up my alley: “The grandiose themes, the symbolism of the sea and all the wonders that lie beneath, the fear of misunderstanding the laws of nature, and the relationship between men and women, all blend into a cathartic climax that reminds one of the film’s beating heart; an enthralling coming of age story.”
A year ago, Tim Lambesis, the lead singer of the ostensibly Christian metalcore band As I Lay Dying, was arrested for trying to put a hit on his wife. In this lengthy, fascinating, and sobering interview, he discusses his leaving Christianity and growing atheism, his addiction to steroids, the stresses of being a touring musician, the dissolution of his marriage, and why he tried to have his wife killed.
Scientists and researchers are concerned that the rising status of cats and dogs — e.g., family pets are getting involved in custody cases, activists are pushing to grant them “personhood” status — may doom biomedical research, which still relies heavily on animal testing.
Niall Gooch reflects on the classic liberal values that he learned from his “bigoted” parents and how classic liberal values of tolerance and open-mindedness are changing: “…progressive morality can be more judgmental and self-righteous, in its way, than traditional religious morality, in that it seeks to label persons, not acts, i.e. to make vast sweeping judgments about the arc of a person’s life and their whole character based on certain aspects of their thinking about morality.” (I’m reminded of this Fredrik deBoer piece on attempts to ban free speech by folks on the left.)
Amy Peterson thinks those silly BuzzFeed quizzes might have a divine element to them: “Perhaps what we ought to remember, when the quizzes name us in a way that feels true, is that one day God will bestow upon each of us secret, perfect, life-giving names.”
Written in 1658, John Comenius’ A World of Things Obvious to the Senses Drawn in Pictures holds the distinction of the world’s first children’s picture book, as well as “the first megahit in children’s publishing, receiving translations in a great many languages and becoming the most popular elementary textbook in Europe.” Via