You Might Like… a Few Selected Diversions on Retro, Bismarck, Japan, Lomax, Opposites, Hong Kong, and More

This is a post in a series appearing each Friday, setting out some articles, videos, podcasts and the like that contributors at Slaw are enjoying and that you might find interesting. The articles tend to be longer than blog posts and shorter than books, just right for that stolen half hour on the weekend. It’s also likely that most of them won’t be about law — just right for etc.

Please let us have your recommendations for what we and our readers might like.

Vanity Fair – From Fashion to Housewares, Are We in a Decades-Long Design Rut? – Kurt Andersen – “The past is a foreign country, but the recent past—the 00s, the 90s, even a lot of the 80s—looks almost identical to the present. This is the First Great Paradox of Contemporary Cultural History.”


The Atlantic – Various texts – Prince Otto von Bismarck – You can listen to an Edison wax cylinder recording of some nonce verse spoken by Bismarck. (There is another of Helmuth von Moltke, the only known recording of someone born in the 18th century.) The article in the Atlantic explains. And the US National Park Service has a transcription of the recording which makes it almost possible to understand Bismarck.

Discover Magazine – While temperatures rise, denialists reach lower – Phil Plait – The “Bad Astronomer” dissects an error-laden WSJ article entitled “No Need to Panic About Global Warming.”

YouTube – Official 2012 Honda CR-V Game Day Commercial: “Matthew’s Day Off” Extended Version – Honda and Matthew Broderick – The car company brings back Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in a delightful reprise of that great flic.

berfrois – Psychiatry and Japan’s “National Disease” – Junko Kitanaka – The author, a medical anthropologist, takes a look at Japan’s vexed relationship with psychiatry and the country’s problem with depression and suicide, often resulting from overwork.

CulturalEquity.org – A sampler of 5 Lomax recordings of American folk singers – Various artists – The link takes you right into a playlist of five songs of different styles, all recorded by the great Alan Lomax and released recently on CulturalEquity‘s new label, Global Jukebox. The Bright Light Quartet is my fave.

The New Yorker – Private Inequity – James Surowiecki – “How private equity firms like Bain Capital earn profits.” A critical look at a company once graced with Mitt Romney’s presence.

Wired – Opposites Don’t Attract (And That’s Bad News) – Jonah Lehrer – “[O]ur ancient social instincts lead us in the wrong direction, so that we end up trapped within a bubble of homogeneity.” Look to your left, look to your right: say hello to yourselves.


IHT Rendezvous – One Country, Two Systems? Not Lately – Mark McDonald – Hong Kongers and Chinese mainlanders feud and spit in a series of spats recently that reveal some lack of harmony. The video in the article, and the cellphone video referred to, tell the story quite graphically, even to someone who doesn’t have Cantonese or Mandarin.

The European Magazine – A Future Without Cars? Shifting the Paradigm – Felix Creutzig – “Can the car be retired? Hardly so. But in cities that conceive of mobility as a public good, cars can be integrated with other forms of transportation to create a versatile and flexible system of transportation.” Hear that, Mayor Ford? And from a German, too.

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