1. It is a special time when Americans open their homes and hearts and give freely to each other regardless of color, creed, gender association, sexual orientation, or religious affiliation.
     


  2. Why I miss the gritty greatness of the 1970s

    It was a decade of disillusionment that produced some of the greatest moments in our cultural history

     


  3. It’s difficult to imagine that editors, curators, or gallery owners are consciously excluding women, but both Gallery Talley and VIDA’s counts show gender discrimination is as present as ever. There is an important discussion to be had about inequality in the culture industry and the industry should welcome it rather than defensively stick their heads in the sand.
     

  4. “If you were to sit down with the “internet” — it would be a messy-haired, foul-mouthed, aggressive, and impatient radical. The unimpeachable androgyne would attack you on subjects ranging from feminism to modern-day fascism. It’d know everything there is to know and be useless at dispensing the information. And if it had to assume a cultural identity, it would have to be Japanese.” — Jack Flanagan, in How Japan won the internet

     

  5.  

  6. Sorry, but this is Velveeta-grade cheese. Her is full of these treacly moments, such as when poor Joaquin Phoenix is forced to frolic in public as Theodore’s relationship with Samantha blooms, an emo-adolescent vision of happiness that in no way resembles what being in love looks or feels like. Even the humor — a foul-mouthed video game avatar, a joke about data that is too silly to repeat here — is of the cutesy variety. At one point, a ukulele makes an appearance.

    None of this would be even worth mentioning were it not for the glowing reception Her has received in the mainstream press, which could very well land this mawkish mess an Oscar for writing, of all things. But perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised, since mawkishness is having something of a moment in American culture, popping up most egregiously in the more recent films of Wes Anderson, but also in fashionable literature and broad swathes of indie rock music.

    This is the art of the hipster, which is to say that there is a lot of style, but the substance is missing

    Ryu Spaeth, in Spike Jonze’s Her is actually a terrible movie

     


  7. Upholding church doctrine and affirming it as true, in the style of conservative Catholics, is one thing. Fighting to change church doctrine, as my perhaps imaginary liberal Catholic reformers would want to do, is another. But treating doctrine as completely beside the point is something else entirely.
    — Damon Linker, in What do liberal Catholics want?
     


  8. Hikikomori
    — 

    Japanese teens and young men known as shut-ins, who eschew human contact and spend their days playing video games and reading comics in their parents’ homes.  There are an estimated 1 million hikikomori in Japan, contributing to a worrisome drop in the Japanese population.

    Everything you need to know about Japan’s population crisis

     


  9. The sexual organs, too, are very closely connected with the spine and the brain by means of the nerves, and if they are handled, or if you keep thinking about them, these nerves get excited and become exhausted, and this makes the back ache, the brain heavy and the whole body weak. It lays the foundation for consumption, paralysis, and heart disease. It weakens the memory, makes a boy careless, negligent and listless. It even makes many lose their minds; others, when grown, commit suicide.
    — 

    From 1903’s Perfect Womanhood for Maidens — Wives — Mothers.

    Masturbation was once considered more offensive than child abuse

     

  10. Obscure status symbol: No logo


    If your purse or sunglasses have the designer’s logo on them — even an expensive one — you’re clearly not part of the in-crowd. A new study published in The Journal of Consumer Research suggests that the more expensive the product, the more anonymous it is. People who can afford a $19,000 purse apparently don’t need a signature to recognize valuable accessories.

    7 obscure status symbols

     


  11. 44%
    — 

    The share of Americans aged 18-29 who view Christmas as “more of a cultural holiday”.  Among those 65 +, only 19% agree.

    Fox News has already lost its War on Christmas

     

  12. These are members of Kenya’s El Molo tribe.  Only 8 elders still speak the tribe’s eponymous language.

    11 languages spoken by 11 people or fewer

     


  13. What’s disturbing about her performance is that all those tired Orientalist tropes overcame dozens of corporate hurdles and onto live television. Neither her circle nor the show’s producers had the common sense to say, Hey, you know what? This might not be such a bright idea. Can’t you just dress like a cupcake again?