This category contains 10 posts

Fashion is Most Glorious!

Walking on Chunxi Lu in Chengdu I passed a full sized advertisement which draws upon the imagery and language of the Cultural Revolution. Featuring a worker, peasant, soldier trio the text plays on slogans common during the CR. The CR slogans I’m familiar with, but I’m a bit unsure about the exact translation of the … Continue reading

Patrick Wilken’s Biography of Claude Lévi-Strauss

I just finished a very enjoyable read—Patrick Wilcken’s biography Claude Levi-Strauss: The Father of Modern Anthropology. I picked it up used at a local Minneapolis Bookseller, Magers and Quinn late last week. Billed as “the first biography in English” of its subject, it was not something I could turn down. For years I have enjoyed teaching Tristes … Continue reading

Moon Nostalgia

This past week there have been quite a few articles focusing on the breakthroughs, accomplishments and historical firsts of the manned Apollo missions. Among my favorites are a recent article in Slate telling the interesting, untold story of the first sculpture on the moon and coverage of the influential 1968 Earthrise photo and how it almost didn’t happen. … Continue reading

Old Red Books For Sale

Chinese Tycoon to Rebuild Crystal Palace, Remembers Glorious Historical Period

“Wonderful, amazing, fairylike, are the words that come uppermost in his mind as the full glories of that famous vista break for the first time on his astonished sight. For a few moments he is so lost in astonishment and absorbed in pleased wonder that he can do nothing but gaze upwards on the noble … Continue reading

Among Warm Objects

“These wild objects, stemming from indecipherable pasts, are for us the equivalent of what the gods of antiquity were, the ‘spirits’ of the place. Like their divine ancestors, these objects play roles of actors in the city, not because of what they do or say but because their strangeness is silent, as well as their … Continue reading

Mystery Object #12: Flesh Crayon

Antique stores are useful repositories for objects that evoke memories of the past. Nearly every time I visit an antique store I am confronted with a few objects that evoke things long forgotten. Sometimes I find objects from a time before I was born that confound me with their alien common-sense assumptions. About a week … Continue reading

TARDIS Value: Blue Box as Totem and Fetish

There is a lot of Doctor Who going around these days. My teenage self—the closeted geek who stayed up late on Fridays and Saturdays to catch episodes on my local public TV channel—would be very happy to see the show’s resurgent global popularity. I even found an advertisement that used his image on the streets … Continue reading

Beating Snake and the Memory of Video Games

Jesper Juul has posted a fascinating GIF, Tweeted by Brendon Sheffield  on his page at the Ludologist. The GIF, “beating-snake,” is instantly recognizable to anyone who has played a variation of the simple game. In my case, I watched with rapt fascination as the game progressed to its conclusion. The GIF promised something that I … Continue reading

Finding Red Flag Canal

One summer of my early graduate school career I made friends with the very large man who managed the audiovisual collection at the University of Washington. I don’t remember his name. He was friendly in a grumpy sort of way and loved quirky films and videos almost as much as he loved rollercoasters. I had … Continue reading


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