on art and advertising

A few months ago, a small but confident bronze girl appeared across from the bronze bull charging through New York City’s financial district.

Reactions have been…mixed.

…there she is, the Fearless Girl. I love the little statue of the girl in the Peter Pan pose. And I resent that she’s a marketing tool. I love that she actually IS inspiring to young women and girls. And I resent that she’s a fraud. I love that she exists. And I resent the reasons she was created. –Greg Fallis

As inspiring as Fearless Girl is, she changes the meaning of Charging Bull, and she was created to promote an investment fund, a product of the Wall Street system she’s theoretically facing down.

So do we accept that society changes the meaning of art? Or do we stand with the creator of Charging Bull, insisting on understanding the original intent? Or something in the middle?

Read Greg Fallis’ insightful article here and tell us what you think.

BAJAU LAUT: LAST OF THE SEA NOMADS

The ocean. An enigma, fascinating and terrifying, keeping us alive but quick to kill the careless.

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photo by elia lifflander in Phu Quoc, Vietnam

Who hasn’t dreamed of life on the ocean, whether as a gentle retirement or a pirate fantasy?

Some live this dream, a precarious, vanishing reality.

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photo by prabash livera in Galle, Sri Lanka

A few, growing fewer, have stepped into the ocean entirely, living and dying on the waves. Economic pressures, religious customs, ignorance and great inherited knowledge all combine in the symbiotic lives of the Bajau Laut.

James Morgan has photographed them, creating a beautiful, haunting portrait of their vanishing lifestyle, and what it would take to help them–and the reefs they depend on–survive.

Click the image below to view his gallery:

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Tremendous Trifles

At offbeat teen, we firmly believe that boredom is the product of a boring mind.

(Not that we’ve never been bored, of course, we’re just trying very hard not to be.)

Nor are we the first ones to believe this–though we are a little more rude about it. In fact, the great Gilbert Keith Chesterton believed essentially the same idea. And lived it, too, till his pockets held hours of entertainment. Don’t believe us? Check it out:

I have only once in my life picked a pocket, and then (perhaps through
some absent-mindedness) I picked my own. My act can really with some
reason be so described. For in taking things out of my own pocket I
had at least one of the more tense and quivering emotions of the thief;
I had a complete ignorance and a profound curiosity as to what I should
find there…

By this point, we’re muttering “what has it got in its pocketses, precious?” But maybe that’s just us?

Read the rest of the essay here, and then take a vow of fascination with everything.

Berlin Typography

Every city hides bits of history and artistry in grime-coated corners. I love to go hunting for fascinating details, but sometimes there’s beauty in the obvious places.

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Berlin Typography is dedicated to showcasing the varied beauty of lettering in Berlin, from theaters to salons to architectural plaques. Check it out here.

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a map by a man on the edges

Meet Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn Idris al-‘Ala bi-Amr Alla.

Or, as historians know him, al-Idrisi.

A medieval refugee, a journalist, and a mapmaker, al-Idrisi created a fascinating map covering the world from Iceland to China.

Check it out here at The Public Medievalist.

Ever read a dreadful article and want to save others the waste of time? Ever wish you had a quick, simple yet descriptive way to do so?

No, but now you do?

Look no farther!

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Tom Scott has created a fabulous collection of warning stickers. Apply liberally to your favorite irritating tabloids.

instant film thesis

Writing an essay on a film, but can’t come up with a suitably high-brow thesis?

Not to worry. This site has you covered.

Just…don’t expect it to totally make sense.

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Here’s an example:

Aladdin…”Through the expressionistic play between sound and history, Aladdin hybridizes passive and active gaze.”

See what I mean? Now pick your favorite movie and give it a try!