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13 Jan 11:29

Twitter / pourmecoffee: ”Djibouti migrants try to capture...

Twitter / pourmecoffee: ”Djibouti migrants try to capture cheap cell signals from Somalia to call relatives” (Photo: John Stanmeyer/@NatGeo) 

Update: original source at National Geographic, via Timo - Photo taken as part of the "Out of Eden Walk" series.

Dennis Dimick, Executive Editor, Environment:

"Standing as if waiting for signals from another world, these men on the Djibouti shores hope for a faint cellphone signal from neighboring Somalia. The power of this picture speaks to our enduring quest to explore—to connect with each other wherever we go—despite facing often daunting obstacles as we roam across the Earth. We are not alone. We are all connected, or try to be."

Elena Sheveiko, Photo Coordinator:

"As it happens, I’ve worked with John Stanmeyer since his first ever story in National Geographic. And each story had an image that touched a hidden string in my soul. Years later, I still hear the sound. This picture from “To Walk the World” is one of them. It makes me want so much for everybody desperately trying to connect with others, to be heard and hear back from loved ones."

12 Jan 18:53


Johan Palme

Okay, I officially do not "get" Milan menswear week. London was fantastic, innovative, provocative, beautiful, what happened, Italy?

The satanic vroom in the room launched the latest Versace collection as a paean to the biker as the new cowboy, living life on the wild frontier, outside of so-ci-e-tee. Whoops! Nothing new in that notion. Just as there wasn't much that registered as "new" in the Versace show. But it sure was a hell of a ride.

"My CEO told me I had to show a lot of product," Donatella announced, a propos of a collection that was chockfull of stuff. Most memorable: a handful of boys who were basically bare-assed in chaps, bar the skimpy, hungry-bummed bandana-printed briefs they sported. "It was a way to show underpants," Donatella merrily declared. "Male lingerie!"

That particular group looked like showboys from a Vegas review inspired by Kenneth Anger's underground biker classic Scorpio Rising. Oil-stained denims highlighted by studded codpieces might have been costumes from the same production. And, once that seed was planted, even suits with horseshoe, cactus, and sheriff's star appliqués had a glitzy campiness that screeched Vegas.

But subtlety has scarcely ever been Versace's calling card. There were so many moments of stand-up-and-be-counted over-the-topness in this collection: the red leather cowboy that looked like a New York Doll (circa the era of Malcolm McLaren's management); the bike-printed jacket and jeans that might have been lifted from a kid's duvet cover; the chinchilla hoodie…ahem, the chinchilla hoodie!

Donatella took her bow in a wrinkled white cotton blouse. Wrinkled! Cotton! "Very cowgirl," she said with a laugh. In fact, she was laughing a lot backstage, in a way that suggested a state of relaxation that is seldom allowed her by the gimlet-eyed world in which she moves. "There's a young Versace customer who is looking for these products," she insisted, eyeing the enthusiastic guys who clustered around her in their chaps. "I'm inspired by the confidence of the models."
—Tim Blanks
11 Jan 19:54

Dolce & Gabbana

Johan Palme

A truly ghastly collection, really really awful. But I kept tittering at the shit-looking, po-faced Game of Thronsey medievalism.

Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce say they don't watch Game of Thrones, but their collection today was an extravagant acknowledgment of the kind of butch pageantry that has made the show such a cult phenom. Gabbana's rationale was that this whole crazy, mixed-up world has taken a turn for the medieval. He may be right: The ever-widening gap between the haves and have-nots certainly suggests a twenty-first-century neo-feudalism. But Dolce & Gabbana's switch from folksy Siciliana to a darker, gutsier historicism came in the nick of time. There wasn't much more they could wring in fashion terms from salt-of-the-earth villagers.

So the single plaintive olive tree that backdropped last season's show was replaced by thrones, suits of armor, and regal portraiture. And the casting moved away from all-sorts Sicilian townsfolk to a more idealized masculinity—for which read "handsome models" (half naked at times, in the Dolce tradition of male objectification). Some of them wore coronets and bejeweled gauntlets like young lords. They also sported oversize sweats printed with images of the Norman kings who invaded Sicily in the eleventh century.

Yes, it was still Sicily that determined the character of the collection, but the designers found a way to widen the frame of reference by drawing inspiration from the posse of hardass northerners who swooped in a millenium ago to reshape the island of Dolce's birth. The churches they built, for instance, were reproduced as images on a peacoat and a velvet suit, their saints were also printed on velvet, and a print of their suits of armor decorated a spectacular shearling. The hoods that they would have worn under the helmets of that armor were remodeled in embroidered wool.

But Domenico and Stefano were much too canny to surrender wholeheartedly to history. Those printed sweats? A consummately proportioned blend of past and present. There were plenty of the sharply tailored suits that define the Dolce ethos: double-breasted, nipped waist, lapels stitched flat for added leanness. And, in the end, it was their own history that captivated them. Tony Ward closed the show in a black velvet tux, a man of some un-lean means wearing his years of experience with all the balls it takes to live that life.
—Tim Blanks
11 Jan 19:38

Jil Sander

Johan Palme

Much shiny, very fabrics, wow

It wasn't hard to imagine the challenge the Jil Sander team faced in creating the collection that necessity demanded they offer today. Shorn of their emblematic figurehead and her show-defining stylist, they presented clothes that were, at best, a stop-gap before Jil's successor takes up the cudgels on a fashion placement that must surely be less gratifying with every warp in the label's continuing devolution.

The press notes were a minor masterwork of positive spin, promising "subtle electricity" and "tailoring applied to every aspect of the design of the wardrobe." The head spun with images of bespoke undies. No such luck. In actuality, the studio delivered a smartly serviceable collection of suits, knits, and outerwear that encapsulated the ethos of the label. There was a nod to the appetite for outsize that has already established itself as a trend in Milan (even more appealing in the Sander fabrics), and the "subtle electricity" made its presence felt in the shiny disco pants at show's end.

But there was an intriguing question niggling after the show. How different would the audience's response have been if this were a "Jil" show? This was, after all, her team. The only difference is that they were working without her direction. And if she'd been there, directing backstage? Well, who's to know. But let's face it, fashion is all about those backroom boys and girls.
—Tim Blanks
10 Jan 12:36

Death In A Cup! Proliferation Of Fake Alcohol On The Increase (PHOTO)

by Chimwani Obiajulu (Writer)
Johan Palme

It's a serious issue, but I loled at "Jeanie Waker Back Liable". :o

Friday, 10 January 2014 13:38 , Written by  Chimwani Obiajulu (Writer)

And I am not the only one who seems scared by the far reaching implications of the possibility of fake alcohol being served to unwitty clients by entertainment establishments and wholesalers alike. The photo I am about to share with you are truly the stuff of nightmare for any drinker or anyone who has friends and dear ones who drink:


John Mututho, this is what you should be fighting!

Chimwani Obiajulu (Writer)
Event To Look Forward To Next Week: Red Wine Unplugged

Event To Look Forward To Next Week: Red Wine Unplugged

Liddos Red Wine Unplugged returns next week. Read more

IMAX Brings You Special Oscar Screenings

IMAX Brings You Special Oscar Screenings

It's Oscar Season. And IMAX is not being left behind. Read more

Party All Weekend At The Newly Moved Florida Maddhouse

Party All Weekend At The Newly Moved Florida Maddhouse

This weekend Florida Nightclub has you covered. Read more

The Hip Hop Hook-Up Returns

The Hip Hop Hook-Up Returns

  The Hip Hop Hook-Up returns. Read more

Liddos' Red Wine Unplugged: The Morning After

Liddos' Red Wine Unplugged: The Morning After

Yesterday, Liddos Club gave its customers a new and unique experience with their latest theme night. Read more

Do you Want Your Event Listed Here ? Click Me!

08 Jan 23:07

E. Tautz

Johan Palme

Fave show of the Wednesday at London menswear fashion week. Very classic and wearable but with some lovely patterns and fabrics.

Is Patrick Grant on his own Rake's Progress? The decadent, gem-bright journey he's taken E. Tautz on these last few seasons ("nearly psychedelic," said our reviewer for Spring) suggests he may be. It was hard not to think as much when he chose, you guessed it, A Rake's Progress—Hogarth's 18th-century picaresque-in-plates of a rou's London rise and fall, as well as the Stravinsky opera that it inspired—as his source material for Fall.

But all art is not autobiography, and anyway A Rake's Progress has plenty to recommend itself without personal identification. The 18th century it came out of was, Grant said after the show, the dawn of the suit as we know it—no less, he said, than the dawn of fashion. And if Tautz is one thing, it's suits. The ones here started, like the Rake himself, sober and serious enough: smart Prince of Wales checks and dark tweeds. Even oversize geometric prints of crosses and lines were eye-catching but strict. But soon enough the collection lunged toward excess. Fringed scarves fluttered from beneath jackets, unstructured "house coats" floated like boudoir robes, and the lot shone in jewel tones and floral jacquards. Grant even commissioned students at the Royal School of Needlework to appliqué flower badges and words from Auden's libretto to the opera on suit jackets and outerwear. Students, not teachers, for a naive, slightly unsteady hand: Because, Grant reminded us, "A Rake's Progress ends in Bedlam," with madness.

Not his own, one hopes. "No, no," he said with a chuckle. "But you have your moments."
—Matthew Schneier
08 Jan 20:46


08 Jan 20:30

click click – 08-01-14

by Danielle
Johan Palme

Always good links

Welcome to click click, the sporadic review of what I find worth clicking on the internet.

From the series Mum

Photographer Nancy Newberry’s portraits of Texas teenagers and their ‘mums’ celebrate a form of modern folk art unique to American youth culture. Via Paige.

From the series Mum

Karma mums to pin on you…

  • Why did you wear that?“social commentary on love, life, fashion, and all things obnoxious.”
  • Paper Doll School“I spend as much time as I can creating art of all kinds, including my life-long hobby: paper dolls.”
07 Jan 15:14


Johan Palme

Wow, this collection is hillarious! Ps. Welcome back Mensear fashion week, much missed

Our review will be posted shortly. See the complete collection by clicking the image at left.
06 Jan 18:48

...algumas horas depois de brigar com o meu melhor amigo.

Johan Palme

Via Osiasjota


(by @GuiMurilo)

03 Jan 19:23

Dan Harmon is back, and so is the soul of Community! (season 5, eps. 1-2 recap)

by Kevin McFarland
Johan Palme

OMG! Is it actually back? I stopped watching three episodes into season 4, when I finally and painfully was forced to conclude that the show was now entirely soulless and bereft of the previous seasons' warmth, absudism and perfect wit.

Could someone give a brief recap of the rest of that season? I assume it just kept going downhill.

“Repilot” and “Introduction To Teaching”

I’m at a loss on how to properly describe something like the fifth season of Community. It shouldn’t exist. It makes no sense that it exists, especially with original creator Dan Harmon, a singularly gifted showrunner who is at the same time cursed to be a hellish guy to work with despite frighteningly astute comedic instincts.

When Chuck Klosterman reviewed Guns N’ Roses’ mythic Chinese Democracy, he said that writing about the long-in-progress album was “not like reviewing music. It’s more like reviewing a unicorn.” That’s how I feel about the episodes NBC sent out to critics for this fifth season. And not just about the fact that I have now seen three new episodes with my eyes—but the fact that Dan Harmon’s epic odyssey of getting fired by NBC following the show’s third season, then taking his podcast Harmontown on a barnstorming national tour while a listless fourth season aired, has ended in his miraculous and unprecedented return to the helm. Community is an improbably beautiful, lovable cockroach—like Wall-E’s little friend on Earth—that just refuses to die. And we’re better for it, because having Dan Harmon back means Community has regained its soul.

“Repilot” is about the best episode title to open this new, functioning version of the real Community. And in that regard it’s decidedly out of the ordinary, with only the reconstituted ninth season of Scrubs (subtitled Interns, and unfairly maligned in the eyes of this Scrubs apologist) as a recent parallel. Set a year after the fourth season, Jeff Winger is now a failed independent lawyer, whose tacky television commercial painting him as a robot-fighting superhero aiming to help people didn’t bring in enough business. So he takes up an offer from his old sleazy lawyer nemesis played by Rob Corddry and goes to investigate the case of a failed bridge architect who “graduated” from Greendale, and is now planning on suing the school to collect damages from a diploma mill. (His “thesis” project was a Lego bridge that collapses under no pressure.)

Dean Pelton is overwhelmed by the scandal, and assumes Jeff has come in to act as a hero and save Greendale. That means Jeff is once again caught between the negative influences of his past, aiming to make money off Greendale and embrace his locked-away monstrous tendencies, and the progress he made thanks to his group of friends while attending school. The Dean calls Abed—who of course deliberately harkens back to his dialogue from when he first met Jeff in the pilot—and just like that, everyone else shows up in the study room, now closed and used for storage due to sentimental (and asbestos) reasons. The structure isn’t much different than the way Jeff drew each of his classmates out of their shell in the pilot, only to set them against each other and step back. This time, he’s trying to get them to realize they want to sue the school.

So the gang is back together—minus Pierce, which we’ll get to in a minute—and then Community brings everyone up to speed. Annie is a pharmaceutical rep (perhaps an unintentional nod at Heather Locklear’s guest arc on Scrubs), Britta is a bartender, Shirley foolishly invested in expanding her sandwich chain, Abed is a computer programmer, and Troy, well, he doesn’t really need that much backstory. Community is now a show so fiercely up its own ass that it rewards viewers who have mercilessly picked it apart over the past few years and followed every winding news blurb about the behind-the-scenes tensions between Harmon, the network, Chevy Chase, and everyone else. The news that Donald Glover will only appear in five episodes this season hit the fan base hard—a confusing career move if he focuses on music, not as much if he has his own FX series—but one of the best lines in the episode deals directly with his impending departure.

Harmon has been a master at negotiating the stories behind the scenes of his show and incorporating how television tropes function into the fabric of his stories. In addition to broaching the Glover news, the premiere engages with Chevy Chase’s absence in an oblique and satisfying way while kicking the bigger issue down the road a bit to a future episode that is the best among the three I’ve seen. It’s heavily meta, which will throw off anyone foolishly trying to drop in on the show for the first time with the start of a fifth season, but still immensely rewarding, like seeing an old friend for the first time after a long absence.

In making his eventually fruitless case for signing onto a lawsuit, Jeff says, “We went into Greendale as real people and came out as psychotic cartoons.” That’s a marked revision of the slightly sketched characters from the pilot, but there are shades of the initial characterizations from that first half-hour still in the show. And it’s also a credit to how the world of Greendale built out to include a myriad of characters to make it a kind of live-action Springfield. Abed and Troy are best friends, but Abed is still a media trope-spouting machine. Britta has evolved from Jeff’s rebellious love interest into a bit of a ditz (“That’s like me blaming owls for how much I suck at analogies.”), but she’s still emotionally independent and hilarious.

Harmon said in an interview with IGN that there’s “a goal to sort of strip down the characters and remember who they really were. King of forget all the in-jokes and labyrinthine details and just know these people.” That’s a modest objective of reconstruction, and one that probably places this season on the level of the first back in 2009, when the focus was on the characters and not the increasingly ridiculous (and rewarding) genre homages that spun out from the conspiracy theory episode (“Conspiracy Theories And Interior Design”) or the bottle episode (“Cooperative Calligraphy”) or the Law & Order episode (“Basic Lupine Urology”).

With that reintroduction accomplished—and it’s difficult to discount just how surprising it is that Harmon captured lukewarm lightning in a bottle in what is very plainly a new pilot—the second episode establishes what will be the show’s new rhythm: alternating between the student concerns and Jeff finding his way as a teacher. Breaking Bad’s Jonathan Banks appears as criminology professor (and aspiring picture book author) Buzz Hickey, sharing an office with Jeff. Through his growing professional friendship with Hickey, Jeff becomes comfortable as a teacher separate from the students, but it takes some comedic intervention from Annie’s meticulous form of caring—she audits his class to make sure he’s living up to his potential—to get Jeff to actually realize he has the experience and knowledge to do his job. Oh yeah, and then there’s a full-scale riot over “slightly higher grades” that includes Fat Neil, Magnitude, Garrett, and a host of other minor recurring characters. Because what is Greendale without riots?

There’s also a subplot about Troy, Shirley, Britta, and Abed taking a class on Nicolas Cage—taught by the outstanding Kevin Corrigan as Drama Professor Sean Garrity. Abed spins out of control evaluating whether Cage is good or bad, and amid a lot of hyper-aware analysis about media criticism (Britta’s comment in class: “I think our opinions about pop culture are fed to us by machines designed to criminalize human autonomy.”), he starts to become Cage. But then it’s punctuated with a rare moment of kinship between Shirley and Abed, which harkens all the way back to “Myths And Messianic Peoples,” yet another instance where Harmon found a way to create a small kind of emotional resonance by shuffling the character pairings.

These aren’t standout classics that rank with the best madcap peaks Harmon and company achieved in the second and third seasons. But like the initial batch of episodes that opened Community back in the first season, they show promise. Jeff’s “Winger Speech” at the end of the second episode fails because he’s now a teacher, and that plays into Harmon’s overall goal of the show to depict the difficulties of perpetual transition. These characters are still in the same crazy location, with the same crazy people, yearning for personal growth and change in a welcoming and nurturing environment. And that desire for self-improvement is still as admirable as it is hilarious when ridiculously contrived scenarios borrowed from established entertainment genres sidetrack that progress.

The “six seasons and a movie” battle cry that Abed screams in second season standout “Paradigms Of Human Memory” was a brilliant throwaway line about short-lived NBC series The Cape, but has been adopted as the ultimate underdog goal for the fan base. With Harmon returning to guide Community back to its rightful tragicomic wavelength, that hopeless goal will no doubt return in earnest once again.

Extra Credit

Though details of the upcoming episode about Pierce are all over the internet, I’d rather not spoil it for people who’d like to remain in the dark about the fantastic guest star there.

It is impossible to overstate how amazing Jim Rash and Donald Glover are in their roles. They have proven time and time again to be the standout performers in the cast, and this show will sorely miss Glover’s ability to convincingly deliver non sequitur one-liners.

Ken Jeong is still a part of the cast, but justifying his presence is still Community’s Achilles heel. Harmon brushes aside most of the fourth season as the fault of a gas leak when Chang pops up for the first time, but it’s still unclear why he’s always around.

I still, after watching the episode at least three times, have absolutely no idea what is going on with the hilariously bizarre French song about Excel at the end of the second episode as Jim Rash looks forlornly into the study room with a single tear running down his cheek. Any enlightening comments would be appreciated.

This is one of those shows that for some reason just spews out quote after quote that I have to write down, so here’s a collection of my favorites from these two episodes:

“That’s only on Tummy Tuesdays!”

“Do you guys feel weird about doing this without…Magnitude?”

“I’m much sadder than the rest of you…I’ll figure out why later!”

“You found my Clive Owen Tumblr…”

“I don’t know. If I was in 70 films over 30 years and I spent each one talking at random volumes, I might accidentally win an Oscar.”

“It’s one duck, his name is Jim, and publishers are interested!”

“Et tu, Brute? Am I using that right?”


26 Dec 15:31

Oh Fuck These Lighthouses 2014 Calendar (sample pages 1, 2)

Oh Fuck These Lighthouses 2014 Calendar (sample pages 1, 2)

21 Dec 02:58

But not all men are like that!!!!!


men can take upskirt pictures of women and girls because women in public spaces have no legal expectation of privacy

women are treated as property that can be bought and sold and stolen as opposed to people

girls as young as kindergarten are called “sluts” for wearing a short skirt and forced to change clothes because boys and men might be distracted

men and boys literally can not seem to empathize with women (because i swear to god if melinda was a male character and everything else was the same the boys would not be asking that question)

men view women as literal objects

men build their own superiority into achievement tests that (in america) determine your future prospects

men believe that fat women don’t deserve to be loved simply because they are fat

women are villified for normal miscarriages and for aborting fetuses that were the result of rape (not to mention intentionally asserting bodily autonomy simply because you don’t want a fetus)

women can be raped on screen but can not masturbate on screen (even though men have masturbated on screen all the fucking time)

not wearing make up is one of the ways that psychologists determine if a woman is mentally healthy

Men have flat out stated that even if there is concrete evidence that a rape happened they would vote not guilty if on a jury.

Women need about 6 more years of education than men on average to make a comparable amount of money

Male Police officers have arrested women for resisting their advances with no initial punishment (until activists spoke up)

and this is just what i can think of recently.  There is so so so so so much more

19 Dec 17:04


19 Dec 07:53

We’ve seen it at Louis Vuitton in the past, and now, the...

Johan Palme

Oh dear

We’ve seen it at Louis Vuitton in the past, and now, the latest European fashion house to adopt a pattern that so many Africans (and non-Africans alike) are familiar with, as carry-all bags and not necessarily as clothing patterns, is fellow French luxury brand Céline. These items all come from the labels FALL 2013 READY-TO-WEAR collection.

The bags, made in China, are easily available all over the continent (and in Asia and even Europe) and are usually associated with the lower-income bracket of the population and therefore not in any way associated with an affluent and luxurious lifestyle.

In Nigeria, they have a deep cultural history. During the 1970s, Ghana was facing a deep economic hardship that sent a lot of immigrants to Nigeria in search of work and a better financial outlook. But during the 1980s, Nigeria’s economic landscape took a serious dip which resulted in a huge scramble for jobs between Nigerians and other foreign African populations, the largest of which were Ghanaians. In response to this dire economic climate, Nigerian government enacted an expulsion order in 1983, about 700,000 Ghanaians were returned to their country. As they packed up to leave, many of these Ghanaians made use of these cheaply made and low-cost bags which resulted in them being referred to as 'Ghana must go', either by ridicule or affection (perhaps both?), by association.

What’s your opinion on European luxury labels using ‘Ghana must go’ patterns for their highl-priced collections? Would you buy and wear these items?

17 Dec 18:14

Tetley Tea showcases ‘virtual assistants’ in...

Tetley Tea showcases ‘virtual assistants’ in Kuwait’s Co-ops (by TataCompanies)

16 Dec 00:15

Brand: Orange Culture Designer: Adebayo Oke-Lawal I Am a Tree...

Brand: Orange Culture

Designer: Adebayo Oke-Lawal

I Am a Tree Collection




11 Dec 21:45


Johan Palme


10 Dec 17:04


03 Dec 10:11

New Age music is fantastic (seriously!)

by David Pescovitz

Forget everything you think you hate about New Age music. I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age In America is a stunning compilation of beautiful, chill, complex, psychedelic, trancy, spacey, and surprisingly deep music that was self-published and self-distributed, mostly on cassette tapes in a 1970s and early-1980s heyday of experimentalism. Of course, this was before major labels saw gold beside the crystals, wrapped the worst of the music in truly bad (as opposed to good bad) cover art, and unleashed marketing magick that forever stigmatized the genre. But the music on I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age Music In America 1950-1990 is something else entirely. This is the music of Laraaji (excerpt above), who Brian Eno discovered in Washington Square Park playing for spare change. It's the music of minimalist composer JD Emmanuel who could be easily be filed with Oneohtrix Point Never and Emeralds. It's the sound of Steven Halprin's "anti-frantic alternative" music from before he became a rock star of "healing music." Curator Douglas Mcgowan is the audio archeologist behind the collection and wrote the terrific liner notes. The beautiful cover art is by Gilbert Williams. I picked up my absolutely stunning 3LP vinyl copy at San Francisco's Aquarius Records. Check out the trailer below! The CD is also available from Amazon: I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age Music In America 1950-1990.

For more background, don't miss this excellent episode of the Expanding Mind podcast with Erik and Maja talking with Douglas Mcgowan about the compilation and "the hidden sublimity of a reviled genre."


03 Dec 09:02

Secret City Design Tricks Manipulate Your Behavior

Hidden in our streets and buildings are "unpleasant designs" that force us to make certain choices. Once you know what they are, it will transform how you see your city.
24 Nov 21:33

Buzzword shaming

by Dionna Hargraves
Johan Palme

I just think he's shaming shaming.

By Mark Peters

I recently wrote about the proliferation of the lexical formula “X-shaming,” launched by slut-shaming and body-shaming and taken to preposterous extremes by words such as filter-shaming and fedora-shaming. Everywhere you look, someone is talking about shaming. The hyphen is optional, but the topic is increasingly mandatory.

Maybe it’s my Catholic school education, but I can’t stop thinking about shaming. Though I pooh-poohed the overuse of shaming in Slate, the lexicographer in me can’t help but enjoy—and record—the giddy explosion of terms. So here’s a bunch of recent coinages I found since writing that article.

Some of these name an ugly action, like poor shaming. Others are meant to be jokes, like ghost shaming. Many are unintentionally funny, like celebrity shaming. A few require a little explanation, like reductive shaming: this term was applied to a journalist who was taking the shocking, audacious stand that people should vote. I think apathy shaming would be a better term, but it wouldn’t be half as whacked.

All these terms are part of a trend that is broadening the lexicon at a rapid pace. I hope you enjoy them, and I encourage you to use them in your tweets and rants.

aperture shaming
“Baha! Oh, and just so you know, my aperture is pretty much always open. Because I’m that kind of girl, and I don’t need to apologize for it, thank you… (No aperture shaming here.)
(Oct. 1, 2013, Pintester)

book shaming
“Though you may be terrified to admit it, we all have deep, dirty secrets we’d rather not share with others … No, not those! I’m talking about book shaming, the latest way to reveal things you might have denied otherwise.”
(Oct. 21, 2013, Vox Magazine)

butt shaming
“Many of the VMAs’ 5 million-plus viewers took to Twitter and Instagram after she left the stage, and used the hashtag #Mileyasssmallerthan to show and describe everything that can easily replace her non-existent backside. According to US Weekly, Miley’s team is officially ‘freaking out.’ Welcome to the butt shaming of Miley Cyrus.”
(Aug. 26, 2012, The Bookbox)

celebrity shaming
Jones fired off a series of celebrity-shaming tweets this week, complete with the hashtag “#stopactinglikewhores.”
(Oct. 22, 2013, CBS New York)

creamer shaming
“Definitely, considering I seriously heard someone talking about creamer shaming at a coffee shop the other day.”
(Oct. 21, 2013, Vanessa Boom Twitter)

fish shaming
“Fish shaming – I attack fish that come near my eggs…”
(Oct. 22, 2013, We Know Memes)

“Maria Kang, a very fit mom of three, is accused of ‘fit-shaming’ women in a Facebook photo she shared, and now refuses to apologize for.”
(Oct. 16, 2013, The Hollywood Gossip)

geek girl shaming
“’Fake’ Gamer/Nerd Girls and Why Geek Girl Shaming Needs To Stop”
(Oct. 10, 2013, Linksaveszelda)

ghost shaming
“Ghost shaming. Guys, it’s an epidemic — people shaming ghosts, ghosts shaming people. Okay, this one isn’t a real reason per se, but I do sincerely love the idea of a real haunted house where the ghosts feel offended by all the naked humans up in there home.”
(Sept. 23, 2013, The Gloss)

human shaming
“Remember Dog Shaming and Cat Shaming? Now it’s time for Human Shaming! Want to participate?”
(Oct. 8, 2013, Sad and Useless)

leggings shaming
“Cut The Leggings-Shaming, Already”
(Oct. 24, 2013, Bust)

mom shaming
“This Week in Tabloids: The Mom-Shaming of Kim Kardashian Has Begun”
(Oct. 9, 2013, Jezebel)

poor shaming
“Poor-shaming is the notion that people are destitute because we haven’t sufficiently stigmatized their misfortune—enough.”
(Aug. 1, 2013, Tina Dupay)

reductive shaming
“Keller @ Large: The ‘Reductive Shaming’ Of Those Who Don’t Vote”
(Sept. 26, 2013, CBS Boston)

salad shaming
“But now, I would like to discuss a different kind of salad shaming, even though you had not heard of any kind of salad shaming until this very moment.”
(Oct. 14, 2013, The Gloss)

senator shaming
“Senator shaming, debt fixes and other reader opinions about Shutdowngate”
(Oct. 21, 2013, Dallas News)

short shaming
“Short-Shaming: Fashion’s Dirty Little Secret”
(Oct. 21, 2013, Huffington Post)

tip shaming
“Have you ever been accused of ‘tip-shaming?’”
(Aug. 8, 2013,

trailer park shaming
“It sounds to me like the Establishment is looking down on people who live in mobile homes and making them feel ashamed. So I would like to come out against trailer park shaming.”
(Sept. 24, 2013, Salon)

Shame on!

Mark Peters is a lexicographer, humorist, rabid tweeter, and language columnist for Visual Thesaurus. He also writes the Best Joke Ever column for McSweeney’s. Read his previous OUPblog posts on topics such as the language of Batman and Arrested Development.

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23 Nov 00:01

Why are historians suddenly looking at Sweden’s colonial past?

by Johan Palme

It is, to a surprisingly large extent, a story that’s been going on since the Second World War. Sweden–it is said–is different from the rest of Europe. After all, “The world’s conscience” (as newspapers in the West sometimes describe Sweden in shorthand) had never been properly colonialist.

As the historian Gunlög Fur explains: “Colonialism was defined as control over other territories, and Sweden, it could claim, was a marginal player at most. It was made believable internationally that Sweden was not part of any mechanisms of oppression, and it could avoid being seen as a colonial power. Instead, Sweden saw itself as the moral equivalent of a great power, building up its sympathy with the marginalized and oppressed.”

Gunlög Fur is professor of history at the Linnaeus university in Växjö. Earlier this year, she had a historiographical survey published of how academics have treated Sweden’s relationship to its colonial past. To her, that post-war period was notable for the way Sweden’s colonialism was placed “beyond or outside of the nation,” explained away as not part of the nation’s identity.

The last dissertation on Sweden’s slave trade was written in the 1950s, for example – since then the subject has been considered unimportant, a failed historical period at best. Instead, an image of a benevolent, preternaturally anti-racist “good old Sweden,” spreading its perfect democracy around the world, has lingered and continually defined what it means to be constructed as Swedish, with the possible exception of a select few researchers from the eighties onwards.

But suddenly, in the last few years, that identity may have started to crackle in the public debate. The signs are suddenly everywhere: from the cake that shone a light on its ignorance of offensive imagery, via the revelation that middle-aged white culture editors are so painfully attached to their racist Tintin comics they will turn any analysis of them into a censorship debate, to the exposure of the very direct, structurally and personally impactful racism present in officially-condoned racial profiling and ethnicity-based police registration. In all of these discussions, Sweden’s colonial history has suddenly started to be discussed everywhere.

And, as if by startling coincidence, 2013 seems to be a year in which academic research has really started to examine Sweden’s colonial past again. Gunlög Fur’s overview was published in a major collection on Scandinavian colonialism that came out in February. In May, Uppsala University historian Fredrik Thomasson published a summary of his ongoing project about the justice system on the Swedish slave-trade colony of St. Barthelémy in a history teacher’s review, which generated enough interest to become a news item in major swedish media. And in September, historian David Nilsson* at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology published a long-form report on Sweden’s participation in the infamous Africa-dividing Berlin conference, which was followed up by a seminar on Sweden’s participation in the scramble for Africa. The timing is fortuitous: for a debate that is sometimes laughably mired in subjective judgements of the I’m-not-a-racist kind, this kind of evidence-laden chronicling is reinvigorating.

And it’s certainly notable how all of the researchers are covering ground that has essentially been abandoned for half a century – or never been touched at all. Gunlög Fur not only looks at the period after the war, but also compares and contrast sources from the preceding period – and uncovers an attitude that, in European terms, is rather more conventional: a nationalist pride, a feeling that the expansion of the nation’s territories was “natural”. Pride, in the very least, when it comes to some of the projects, like the North American colony of New Sweden.

For Fredrik Thomasson, his research taps into an archive that no historian had yet to source: The section about the courts on St. Barthelémy in the French Archives Nationales d’Outre Mer in Aix-en-Provence. (France both preceded and succeeded Sweden as the island’s colonial overlord.) Spanning over a time of several years, he and his assistants have managed to recover what amounts to intriguing insight from sometimes badly-damaged material, including a whole deal about the social life of the island, not least that of the slave population, and that of the highly segregated and legally discriminated “free blacks”.

“I’ve been able to access a great deal of both civil cases involving slaves and criminal cases,” says Thomasson. “I don’t see any real difference between the way slaves were treated in the Swedish colony compared to other colonies. The legal system was not the one used in Sweden, but rather similar to a common law system: it was ‘make it up as you go along’, reactive to the life on the island.”

Slaves were subjected to all the horrors associated with the practice: complete control over their lives, harsh physical punishment meted out by owners, and little legal protection. The few owners who over-flogged their slaves were merely forced to pass them on onto another master.

David Nilsson, too, has looked into correspondence and reports that have almost never been examined before, to try to get at the political motivation behind Sweden’s participation in the Berlin conference. While international sources mention Sweden’s presence in the proceedings, it turns up nowhere in Swedish history writing, and certainly is not mentioned when the Berlin Conference is brought up in schools and undergraduate courses.

Turns out Sweden was a keen participant in the conference, albeit as a marginal player on the outskirts of the negotiations between the great powers. “Sweden’s motivation for being part of the conference were fourfold,” says David Nilsson. “First, it was afraid of being left out, it wanted to show itself as having a stake in the future. Secondly, it wanted to ensure its trade fleet, the second largest in the world, would have access to especially the Congo free state. Third, it subscribed to the idea of spreading civilization, which is explicitly mentioned in the media at the time. And fourth, it was part of King Oscar’s desire for a closer relationship with Germany, with Sweden’s participation adding legitimacy to the proceedings as well as lending Bismarck a hand in his newfound colonial ambitions.”

None of these motivations, says David Nilsson, make Sweden unique. “It is true that Swedish interests in Africa were only marginal at the time, and Sweden remained a minor player. But qualitatively I see no distinct line between Sweden and other countries,” he says. “Sweden went to Berlin as a peer among nations, accepted and condoned the proceedings. It was a political justification of a social process that had already begun as Swedish officers and missionaries were already taking part in the colonization of Africa.”

This categorisation, of Sweden being very similar to other nations at the time, is a repeated theme that comes up in all of the conversations with the historians. Sweden is not an “exceptional” country, historically speaking; rather, it is part of the same system as all other countries.

“I think to an extent, focusing on Sweden alone is wrong,” says Fredrik Thomasson, “It supports an outdated model based on the Swedish nation state.” Instead, like many other historians in recent years, he supports models that look at history from a global, transnational perspective. Here, Sweden is no more or less important than any other nation state, but participates in global processes like colonization and the global slave trade as part of a bigger system. One intriguing manifestation of this, for example, is how Sweden’s iron industry was a pivotal participant in the material system of the slave trade, providing both shackles and the majority of the specifically forged voyage iron bars that were used to trade for slaves in Calabar and Bonny (in what is now Nigeria). Examining such connections are practically impossible when looking at just one country.

In an insular academic world, such theory shifts may explain in part the fact that historians have, relatively simultaneously, started to take on Sweden’s colonial history. And there’s also a frustration with the way the public debate sometimes seems painfully short on facts: “We tend to simplify our image of ourselves,” says David Nilsson. “We need to understand that our history is complex. If we had that understanding, we’d have a whole different self-image.” Fredrik Thomasson, likewise, calls the lack of knowledge an “amnesia” and criticizes the lack of basic research. There’s a palpable sense of the good old Swedish self-image being a significant motivator.

But of course, there’s also a factor of a changing economic, ideological and structural landscape that creates opportunities for this kind of research to take place. The economic crisis of the 90s or the changing cultural makeup of Swedish society are common touching points. David Nilsson, who has a background in the development aid community, points to the adoption in 2003 of a new government policy on global co-operation. This policy could be seen as a manifestation of the gradual shift: from Sweden’s international image of being driven by altruistic motives, to just one among the many nations focusing on trade and global public goods such as security and climate change. This, he speculates, has opened up a space for Sweden to tackle its own history relative to Africa and the colonial past as well. Gunlög Für points to the international community’s pressure to recognize Sweden’s treatment of its indigenous Sami population as colonial as an important factor.

Fredrik Thomasson is rather more skeptical of the stated motives: He believes Sweden is merely following a changing sense in what’s considered “good” and radical. “I think a lot of the Zeitgeist is a desire to be part of the post-colonial wound,” he says. “Unless you have colonial guilt, you’re not allowed to play with the big boys.”

And perhaps, structurally, that puncturing of the self-image is not so complete after all. Rather than radically re-engineering its relationships internationally, perhaps it is a mere cosmetic paint to appear good again, good by today’s standards. And it’s worth to contemplate whether perhaps Gunlög Fur is right, and admitting guilt in this public manner may actually strengthen Sweden’s already powerful position: “In this time of uncertainty about the nation and the role of the state, it’s important where a country positions itself. To be a colonizer is something negative – yet at the same time, it’s allowing yourself agency. Perhaps it strengthens you to see your past a colonizer, showing that you have power and a capacity to influence the world.”

* The top image is of David Nilsson (at the Ethnographic Museum in Stockholm) by Justine Balagade.

22 Nov 19:52

The Myth of ‘No Makeup’, Sierra McKenzie, Huffington...

The Myth of ‘No Makeup’, Sierra McKenzie, Huffington Post

This is hard for me to post but I feel like it is important.

I remember hating my face and hating my skin and looking at all the girls around me in middle school and on TV and in ads and feeling like I was a monstrosity in comparison. But I remember the first time I realized women plucked their eyebrows. And wore concealer. And foundation. And powder. I felt like I had been lied to about what women look like. After modeling and realizing when photographers asked for no makeup, they really meant the photo on the right. I started realizing that the photo on the right was what was in skincare ads and posted by people claiming in the caption to be wearing no makeup some of the time. The photo on the right is the bare minimum of what we expect women to look like when they wake up in the morning.

Thought this would be of interest to some people, especially since the topic of how women’s faces in video games, comics, etc being depicted as smooth with no lines (even for facial expressions) has come up before.  Also, how often women will be drawn with default eyeliner, eyeshadow, lipstick, etc even if there should be no reason for them to wear it because they have been living in the wild, or they’re warrior women who have expressed no interest in it, or etc…

It reminds me of the Nancy Drew comic books, where she specifically said that she doesn’t wear make up and has no clue how to use it, but she’s always drawn with mascara, eyeliner, and lipstick.

It’s part of how what women look like in people’s minds is constructed in our society and by our media; that what is supposed to be something we put on to ‘enhance’ appearance end up being part of the default way women are expected to look.  Even if the characters are supposed to be “plain” or “practical” in context, they’ll still be drawn as if they’re wearing some base amount of make up, because that’s how we’re conditioned to see women in our imaginations.  And stuff like airbrushing, photoshop, and advertisers using made up faces to represent ‘no make up’ can skew how we perceive what the ‘normal’ or ‘average’ woman is supposed to look like.

22 Nov 00:31


Johan Palme

I love this! Where is it from?

19 Nov 21:56

r-dart: Oh yeah, drawing. It’s fun!

Johan Palme

Possibly NSFW (due to gendered hypocrisy), but these are certainly some of the most badass-looking female character sketches I've ever seen.


Oh yeah, drawing. It’s fun!

15 Nov 22:54

Man makes explosives from things purchased in post-security-check airport stores

by Mark Frauenfelder

Matthew says: "Evan Booth builds weapons with materials purchased in an airport terminal, past the security screening. Here's a frag grenade built with a coffee mug, batteries, and a condom."


15 Nov 19:42

Black metal meets Benny Hill

by David Pescovitz

Black metal band Immortal meets Benny Hill! (Cherrybombed, thanks Patrick Kelly!)


15 Nov 10:35

watershedplus: Fishermen at the bottom of a dam overflow in...


Fishermen at the bottom of a dam overflow in Rayong, Thailand, picture by Anan Charoenkal.

via architecture of doom

15 Nov 08:53


Johan Palme

Evocative screencap