Sometimes, it’s easier to read or watch something that’s light and airy, as opposed to seeking out art that challenges your perspective. Millions contributor Fiona Maazel generally thinks of herself as a person who instinctively chose nuance over breeziness. But lately, she’s had to ask herself a tough question — is she actually more attracted to the anodyne?
Why do we spend so much time with stories whose endings we already know?
“Why do some poets perform as though they had just come to in a bad dream?” Reflecting on the gap between page and stage in American poetry today.
The word “cool” has been cool for more than 70 years. At Slate, Carl Wilson examines why this slang stuck, and how it’s evolved from being used by beatniks to smartphone companies. “Cool is an attitude that allows detached assessment, but one that prizes an air of knowingness over specific knowledge. I think that’s why it doesn’t become dated, unlike hotter-running expressions of enthusiasm like groovy or rad.” Pair with: Michael Agger’s essay on why we love the “cool story, bro” meme.
The Present Group provides an interactive look at “how artists, cultural producers, and content providers have experimented with funding and support models during the Internet Age.” The scrolling timeline spans from 1998 through 2016, and it outlines the major innovations (and failures) as websites tried monetizing.
Not highbrow, not lowbrow, not even middlebrow - is American culture now dominated by the upper middle brow?