- Advice to Young Critics - Matt Zoller Seitz (who writes at Roger Ebert's site) lays down some pretty common sense advice for young critics, though I'd argue that it's pretty good advice for fans as well:
2. Learn about TV and film history beyond your date of birth. Go back as far as you possibly can. Seek out the past because it informs the present.Actually, this is probably just good advice, period. (Of course, some of the other suggestions are very specific to critics and writers, but still.)
... 6. Read about history and psychology, because so much art draws from those two areas. If you don't have some passing familiarity with history (recent and ancient) and psychology, your inferences about an artist's point-of-view will draw almost entirely upon second- or third-hand attitudes: i.e., you'll be critiquing film and TV based mainly on what film and TV you've seen. This will make your work shallow and prevent you from connecting the art to life.
- The Poetry of the Trading Floor, Going Beyond Bears and Bulls - I had no idea where half of these terms actually came from:
Once upon a time, for instance, all that you needed to start a bank was a bench. You put your bench up in a square in medieval Italy and sat down behind it to do business. The Italian for bench is banca, and hence our modern word bank.And there's lots of others, too.
Sometimes, of course, bankers would run out of money, and when they did - in an age before the invention of TARP, bailouts and Ben Bernanke - their bench would be ceremonially smashed in front of them. It was then a "broken bench" or "banca rotta" or "bankrupt."
- Why The Idling Mind is the Mother of Invention - Clive Thompson on the benefits of letting your mind wander:
Granted, most scientists think that if you really want to let your mind roam, you need to engage in a nondemanding task, like going for a three-hour walk.Wishful thinking, perhaps, but interesting nonetheless.
Most jobs don't allow that, of course. That's why I've begun to think that the "social" Internet has become a rough substitute. If your boss is trying to force you to focus on PowerPoint and Word documents, you might gravitate to mentally discursive, floaty experiences — the idle surfing of Facebook updates, Wikipedia entries, YouTube videos, casual games like Bejeweled. Maybe these things aren't so much time sucks as desperate attempts by our brains to decouple from the go-go-go machine and head off on its own.
- The Expert - Haha, they made a funny.
- The Case For Going to the Movies Alone - She had me at alone. In all seriousness, it was a liberating revelation when I started going to the movies alone. Of course, I still go with other people (often, even), but it's nice to know that if I want to watch something weird or at a weird time, I can do so with no problems.
- A Statistical Analysis of the Work of Bob Ross - From the Some people have too much time, but that's ok because they make stuff like this file.
A regular old link dump, interesting stuff from the depths of the internets: