1. “Are We Approaching the End of Human History?” Noam Chomsky on how the likely end of civilization is foreshadowed in a new draft report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
“The land of the Tigris and Euphrates has been the scene of unspeakable horrors in recent years. The George W. Bush-Tony Blair aggression in 2003, which many Iraqis compared to the Mongol invasions of the 13th century, was yet another lethal blow. It destroyed much of what survived the Bill Clinton-driven U.N. sanctions on Iraq, condemned as ’genocidal’ by the distinguished diplomats Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, who administered them before resigning in protest. Halliday and von Sponeck’s devastating reports received the usual treatment accorded to unwanted facts.”
2. “Victim-Blaming Is a Lot Harder in the Age of Streaming Video.” Jesse Singal on streaming video influencing observer empathy.
“Empathy is not a word you’d necessarily associate with the age of streaming video. Anyone who has been on YouTube, let alone ventured into its untamed-jungle comments section, knows that streaming video has a tendency to bring out the worst in human beings. But over the last few months, we’ve also seen an unexpected, welcome side effect to the constant recording and posting of everything and everyone: increased empathy for victims of assaults who, in ages past, would have likely been at least partially blamed for what happened to them.”
3. “Why The Leftovers Might Be the Most Creatively Bold Series on Television.” Tim Goodman explains how the show is about the depressing (fine, sometimes freeing) elements of existentialism, which is harder to sell than a thriller or rom-com.
“The Leftovers has been described as depressing television (it certainly can be). There’s melancholia to it, a byproduct of its existentialism. But the real beauty of The Leftovers is that the show is about discovering what happens to people when something unexplainable and horrendous happens to them. The answers that The Leftovers seeks are varied and do not begin nor end with how or why the Sudden Departure happened. That’s the provenance of a procedural. The Leftovers isn’t a show about logic and concrete conclusions. It’s a show about what happens to the human condition when you severely mess with it. When you shake it and upend it and give it stimuli and end results it’s not necessarily built to process. That’s a fascinating idea for a show in that said reactions can be all over the map—and in The Leftovers, they are.”
4. “Ariel Pink.” The 36-year-old weirdo-pop savant talks about his colorfully bizarre forthcoming album—which includes tracks about strippers, Jell-O, and nude beaches—and explains why American culture is too politically correct for its own good.
“I’m trying to be a grown up when I say that I’m over love. Is it child’s play? Having been single for three years, I feel like I’m just entering my own as a grown man. I should have done it a lot sooner, but I didn’t. I was a serial monogamist for the whole of my 20s, and I had a very cynical and sour attitude towards marriage because of my upbringing, but I still allow myself to entertain the notion that I might be in love. And when I was happy, I was in love. And then it went away, and I was really bad, but that was an opportunity for me to get right with myself and dispel the notions of needing a partner. It’s a natural thing to want, but from where I stand I feel so much more comfortable in my own skin these days. I don’t have any need to be with anybody. I’m happy with myself.”
5. “Entertainment Geekly: Boardwalk Empire as TV history.” EW’s Darren Franich on the show’s place in the HBO decade.
“You could argue that Boardwalk Empire is the last great glimmering remnant of what is already being termed the Difficult Men era–the HBO Renaissance, memorialized with maybe a touch too much hagiography in Brett Martin’s book. Difficult Men posits a theory of TV history that focuses on dudes and dramas. But 2010 is the year that Parks and Recreation capped off a second season that saw it transform from a weird Office non-spinoff into a ribald world-building ensemble comedy that abstracted the politics of the Bush era into the proteaon Leslie Knope/Ron Swanson relationship (love/hate, lazy boss/overdelivering employee, mentor/mentee, idealist/cynic, Great Old American Male and Great New American Female).”
Video of the Day: Takashi Miike’s As the Gods Will gets a trailer:
Links for the Day: A collection of links to items that we hope will spark discussion. We encourage our readers to submit candidates for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org and to converse in the comments section.