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Netflix's Luke Cage is Stronger, Faster in its Second Season

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The second season of “Luke Cage” walks a familiar path. That path isn’t just the streets of Harlem, though they’re as much a part of the show as ever—that tired old chestnut about the city as a character definitely applies. Instead, in his second at-bat, showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker revisits many of the same wells that “Luke Cage” frequented in season one. For another series, that might seem like a complaint. For this show, and this season, however, it’s acknowledging a bit of a breakthrough. Coker and company identified what worked in that first season and ran with those things, making “Luke Cage” the only Netflix Marvel series to easily top its first season with its second. The first was uneven, but promising. This one is stronger, faster, and infinitely more compelling—all things it has in common with its hero. 

That would be Luke Cage himself, of course (Mike Colter), the once-reviled, now-adored Hero of Harlem whose (mostly) bulletproof skin and super strength have helped him save lives and brought him almost nothing but trouble. As the season begins, though, things are looking up for the former Carl Lucas. He’s asked to take selfies with kids everywhere, spending time strategizing drug busts in the newly restored Pop’s with Bobby Fish (Ron Cephas Jones), and spending long, leisurely meals chatting about life, love, and superpowers with paramour Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson). But soon Luke’s quest to clear the streets of a strain of heroin bearing his name brings him back to the doorstep of Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard), who aims, with the help of Shades (Theo Rossi), to sell off the last of her cousin’s dirty business, do some insider trading, and go legit. Very little, of course, goes to plan.

Some of the havoc that ensues comes from one of the oldest, purest forms of making-shit-way-more-complicated: family ties. Much of this terrific season of “Luke Cage” concerns itself with family—the families you’re born with and those you choose, the damage you can bury and the damage you can’t, the importance of family history and the power of the future; the complexities of those histories, relationships, and choices. It’s there in Luke’s relationship with his father (the late Reg E. Cathey in his final, excellent performance) and Misty’s (the predictably terrific Simone Missick) connection to the police force. It’s in Mariah’s ongoing quest to both seize power and keep her name clean, as she conquers with Shades and reconnects with estranged daughter Tilda (Gabrielle Dennis). And it’s there with Bushmaster (Mustafa Shakir, pictured above), a new villain whose drive to embrace what he believes to be his destiny—his “birthright”—makes him an idea foil, not just for Luke, but for Mariah as well.

Of all the great ground that “Luke Cage” revisits in season two, it’s this triangular structure that’s perhaps best. With the death of Cottonmouth (Mahershala Ali), the first season began to stumble a bit, spinning its wheels and turning to some plot devices that felt more than a bit creaky—the three-way tug-of-war between Luke, Mariah, and Cornell was compelling stuff, and it was never topped. It seems as though Coker and company learned the best possible lesson from that, which was to make sure they had three gripping figures, with needs and desires that were sometimes opposed and sometimes aligned. Then they let them loose in this playground and allowed chaos and tension to ebb and flow. 

That’s possible because all three performances are, frankly, electric. In his earlier appearances in the Marvel TV Universe, Mike Colter wasn’t always the most engaging performer. Charming, absolutely; endearing, to be sure. But the heavy-hitting stuff didn’t always land in the way one might hope. That’s no longer the case. Colter’s turn this season now feels right at home in conversation with the performances of Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones), David Tennant (Kilgrave), and Jon Bernthal (Frank Castle). There’s thought, empathy, restraint and the lack of it, a cunning sense of timing and an underlying, ever-present bite. As Luke struggles with anger, remorse, shame, and ego, Colter draws you further and further in; as a result, when the season hits its inevitable Netflix slump (much less pronounced here than in perhaps any but the first season of “Jessica Jones”), it’s easy to stay wholly committed to the narrative, even if the mind wanders just a bit.

Newcomer Shakir is equally good, a figure of menace who crackles with intelligence, but if this season has an MVP (and it does), it’s Woodard, and Black Mariah. Here’s another place where “Luke Cage” took notes on what worked and went all-in on those things: Mariah is always, always more than one thing at once. She reconnects with her daughter for political expediency, but her longing and and joy at the reunion are sincere. She proudly trumpets her role as a nurturer for her community, takes genuine pride in it, all while looking clear-eyed at the damage she has done, and continues to do. She’s regularly a mix of rage and sorrow, flint and steel, fear and fury, love and its opposite. The ice in her blood that Shades identifies in her first, harrowing killing creeps out in ever greater quantities, but even as she marches toward a new life—as a crime lord, a legitimate philanthropist, or both—she remains a study in contradiction, brought to vibrant, frightening, and often playful life by Woodard. 

There are other outstanding performances—Missick, as mentioned above, remains a standout among standouts, and Rossi’s Shades has far more to do in this season than the last—but they all shine the brighter because they’re so well-served by the crop of directors and writers that bring this season to life. That word playful applies here as well, a strange thing to say about a series with so much acid tucked into its cheek, but “Luke Cage” has perfected the level of self-referential winking needed to add a sense of fun to some truly dark shit. This is especially true of many of the combat sequences, as Luke squishes guns, chucks giant tires, holds people high over his head with a single hand, and even chucks one unlucky protectee from one rooftop to another, much higher rooftop. This is a superhero show that enjoys being a superhero show, and knows it doesn’t have to sacrifice substance to gain style.

And my oh my, is there plenty of style. As with the first season, the score, by Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Adrian Younge, is perhaps the show’s most invaluable asset; the recurring musical guests are used even better here, particularly in its use of reggae and reggae-inspired music, which might play as clichéd in less savvy hands. The colors are rich, the costuming often surprising, and the excellent cinematography makes nearly everyone seem to glow from within (even a bionic arm has a certain appealing lustre). But all the style in the world couldn’t make up for lackluster writing, and luckily, this season has little that could be described as such. By honing in on what made the first season exciting, “Luke Cage” far surpasses that initial outing. Luke emerged from that bath in season one tougher, and more formidable. It seems as though his series did, too.

Full series watched for review.

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digdoug
2 days ago
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damn. that's good news!
Louisville, KY
etwilson
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Chinese vase carried in a shoebox to huge payday

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An 18th century imperial Chinese vase carried by its owner to Sotheby’s Paris office in a shoebox sold for €16,182,800 ($25.1 million) at an auction on Tuesday. That’s more than 20 times the pre-sale estimate ($775,000 to $1.1 million) and is the highest price ever paid for a single object at Sotheby’s Paris and sets a new record for Chinese porcelain sold anywhere in France.

The sellers inherited the vase from their grandparents who had inherited it from an uncle. An inventory of the uncle’s apartment after his death in 1947 records the vase and several other Chinese pieces, including a bronze mirror in a carved lacquer box that the sellers also consigned to Sotheby’s for sale. The family treasure was kept in the attic for years until the sellers decided to have some of the old stuff appraised.

“This person [the seller] took the train, then the metro and walked on foot through the doors of Sotheby’s and into my office with the vase in a shoebox protected by newspaper,” Sotheby’s Asian arts expert Olivier Valmier said.

“When she put the box on my desk and we opened it we were all stunned by the beauty of the piece.”

A red stamp on the bottom of the vase is the seal of the Qianlong Emperor (r. 1736 to 1796), avid collector of Chinese traditional and Western art who had both Chinese and Western artists at his court. The fusion of styles produced innovative designs, colors and perspective particular to his reign.

The vase is a unique artwork, the only known example of its kind. It is a Famille-Rose or yangcai porcelain made in the imperial workshops of Jingdezhen . The whole category is extremely rare, found almost exclusively in museums, and the decoration of this one has no comparables. Around the center of the vase is a beautiful hilly landscape dotted with pine trees, a waterfall and incredibly detailed deer and cranes. Around the neck and bottom are brocade-like borders of floral and pearl designs with gold accents. This kind of object was not part of the workshop’s regular production lines. They were either one-offs or part of a pair, the absolute cream of the artist crop.

The sellers knew it was of some value, but had no idea that it was the antiquities version of a winning lottery ticket. Nor did they know that it was as old as it was or that it bore the imprimatur of a Quin dynasty emperor.

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digdoug
4 days ago
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Louisville, KY
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Smart kids eventually grow up

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I posted this on Twitter yesterday and it resonated with a lot of people, so I’ve reproduced it here for ease of access. I’ve also added a few postscripts based on responses.

* * *

Hey, friend. Were you a smart kid who always heard about how smart you were and are now not feeling so smart? Are you, in fact, feeling fairly shitty about yourself? This thread is for you.

It can be extremely difficult for smart kids to decouple their sense of self-worth from external validation. Especially praise for supposedly innate qualities instead of hard work. You grow up hearing how smart you are from parents and relatives and teachers and other authority figures whose opinions you’re pretty sure matter. They’re in charge, after all!

But praise is a fleeting high, and when you get too much of it too early, it takes more and more to get your emotional fix. And the older you get, the less praise you probably get, because frankly fewer people give a shit, and just being smart only gets you so far.

Worse, if you haven’t managed to get a handle on the whole “hard work” thing instead of coasting on your smarts, chances are you’ve started to fail in ways you never did as a kid. You used to be able to do most things quickly and competently because the bar was low. Crap out an essay/project/whatever in a few hours, get an A+ and impress your teacher, bask in praise, repeat.

Now you start projects but never finish them, or you talk about them but never start them, or you finish them and then discard them because they’re not good enough. You start to question a lifetime of compliments. You think maybe you aren’t so smart after all. You wonder whether you’ve been lied to all this time by people you trusted.

So you end up with this awful combo of craving praise, getting very little praise, and doubting the truth of the bits you do get. It is, to use highly technical jargon, incredibly pooptastic.

“But how do I overcome this problem?” Well, you can buy this book that explains my foolproof method for entirely changing your outlook in 113 easy steps haha just kidding, I have no idea. I mean, I have some ideas, but they don’t all work. Some work once, or you can rotate them with limited success, or they’re not for you. They’re tools, not solutions.

  • You can practice accepting compliments with some variation of “thank you so much, I appreciate it” instead of reacting with reflexive self-deprecation.
  • You can pause whenever you notice you’re talking shit about yourself in your own head and say, “ah, this again,” and shift your attention to something else.
  • You can distance yourself from people who always drain your well instead of filling it–or worse, ones who straight up shit in it. They can go shit in their own wells.
  • You can make goals that are generally within instead of beyond your control, like “submit one short story a month” instead of “sell one short story a month.”
  • You can break big tasks into smaller ones so the big task doesn’t feel like a baseball-sized kidney stone you’re trying to pee out all at once. It can’t be done, friends. IT IS TOO BIG.
  • You can celebrate every time you accomplish something, even if it’s a minor or partial success, instead of freaking out about what’s still left to do. TREAT YO SELF.

What you’re trying to do is gently, lovingly wean yourself from reliance on external validation and instead find fulfillment from internal validation. Self-satisfaction instead of praise. Secondary goal: teach yourself to enjoy process rather than end product. It can’t all be magical unicorn fun times, but laser-focus on a destination can make the journey a slog.

Remember: you’re not alone, and you’re not a failure. Forgive yourself, every day if you have to. Being smart is great, but it isn’t everything. It never was, you just didn’t know it until now.

Anyone else have advice? Tell me things! Seriously, I can always use more tools in my toolbox for coping with this stuff, and I’m sure other folks can, too.

* * *

P.S. Many people have recommended Carol Dweck’s mindset language work, so maybe give that a gander? And here are some other tools that might help you on this journey:

  • Practice giving sincere compliments to other people. This can help you be more receptive to accepting and believing in the praise you receive from others.
  • Go into new things with the expectation that you won’t be good at them. Embrace the suck. If this works, it alleviates the pressure to be perfect and ideally lets you have fun doing the thing instead of worrying about outcomes.
  • Remind yourself that while you shouldn’t give up on things just because you’re not immediately good at them, or because the journey is long and difficult, you do get to choose what you spend your time on. It’s okay to choose NOT to do a thing because there is other stuff you’d genuinely rather be doing.

I’ll add more as I find them. Thanks for reading, and may you be as well as you’re able.

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digdoug
4 days ago
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"Now you start projects but never finish them, or you talk about them but never start them, or you finish them and then discard them because they’re not good enough. You start to question a lifetime of compliments. You think maybe you aren’t so smart after all. You wonder whether you’ve been lied to all this time by people you trusted."
Louisville, KY
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The Quietus | Features | Anniversary

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Writing about the past is a free hit. You don’t have to risk anything. You know how it turns out.

At any rate, you used to think so.

Lately, I’ve been unable to read books or watch documentaries about recent European and American history with the same dispassionate fascination I once did. The comfortable sense I had that its worst horrors were safely in the past, its best lessons well learned in the present, has dissolved into vapour, into anxiety – into, often as not, dread.

Yet at least, when it comes to the past, popular culture, popular music, remain solid enough. When, for instance, I settle down to begin one of these anniversary pieces, I invariably have a clear picture in my mind of what my subject is, what it stands for, where it fits. This will invariably alter in the writing, as it should; but I know where to begin, and I will discover where to end.

Not here, though. Not with this one. For so many reasons. And those reasons are intimately and intricately connected both with the greatness and the significance of the work at hand, and with the grotesque and straight-up terrifying state of things. In particular, the state of the nation of millions.

It’s a damn shame that Public Enemy’s second album still matters so much. Or at least that it still matters so much in the way that it does. Chuck D indicated as much to tQ on the record’s 20th anniversary: “Yeah, it’s [still] radical politically. The message is radical today because it’s not really being said a lot. You want it to not be radical, but it is...” 

On the face of it, what Chuck D meant is that it remained radical within hip hop, because radical hip hop remained relatively scarce: “...because it’s totally different from Soulja Boy,” is how he concluded that thought. There is another, broader and equally applicable interpretation, which is that you wanted it not to be radical because you wanted radical hip hop, 20 years on, to no longer be such a necessary and urgent reaction to the way things are. That, 20 years on, It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back should not still have been so applicable to the lives of black Americans. That the long arc of the moral universe, bending towards justice, should have rendered its righteous fury redundant; should have relegated that aspect to its own time, left the record to be valued for its stunning artistry.

And that was ten years ago. When America was months away from electing a black president. On its 30th anniversary, Nation Of Millions feels even more relevant than it did then. Perhaps even more relevant than it did in 1988. As much as that testifies to the album’s brilliance, it testifies even more to the abysmal realities of 2018.

In making Nation Of Millions, PE set out with the conscious aim of making their own What’s Going On – an album that, in keeping with their conception of rap as “the black CNN”, would communicate both widely and directly with black America; that would echo Marvin Gaye’s “Talk to me” plea not only in taking it to the streets, but taking it from there in the first place, acting as a conduit, a means to cohere, articulate, analyse and disseminate that reality.

They far surpassed this ambition. Which is not to say that Nation Of Millions is necessarily the better album – although as a political piece, and a polemical one, it is in another league, one of its own making. Rather, that they created a new category; a thing that was sui generis. Nation Of Millions was not an updated or even upgraded version of something else. It was something else. Nobody had ever heard anything like it, because there never had been anything like it. PE approached hip hop as science, and made it into astounding art.

 As it goes, PE’s next album, Fear Of A Black Planet, would come much closer to being a rap iteration of Gaye’s record. It also happens to be my favourite album of theirs, the one I find most musically satisfying as a whole; but there is no question in my mind that while Black Planetis also a masterpiece, Nation Of Millions is much their most radical and important work. I can think of no rap albums that could challenge it on those counts, and very few of any other genre, either. It is one of the indisputable peaks of popular music.



To understand how Nation Of Millions became what it was, it might help to start with what Public Enemy themselves were. If you go to see PE today, you’ll find a first-rate showband arranged around the remaining duo of Chuck D and Flavor Flav. Which is enormous fun, and also very far away from the group’s origins. PE did not conceive of themselves – or perhaps it would be more accurate to say PE, the collective, did not conceive of itself – as a hierarchy of priorities, or a musical core with additions bolted on. It conceived of itself as an organisation constructed to fulfil simultaneously a host of equally necessary functions. PE was a device of interlocking parts. All its components – the MCs, the production team, a security crew doubling as a stage act, a “Minister Of Information”, a “Media Assassin” – were vital to its operation. Granted, some participants might be more interchangeable than others, but the roles were all essential to delivering the message. Indeed, not just to delivering a message, which any paperboy or postman could do, but to driving home a message. Public Enemy set out to be unignorable, and by Christ did they succeed in that.

Nation Of Millions was put together the same way the organisation itself had been. It wasn’t simply a matter of setting beats to rhymes, or vice-versa. Like the band, it was an entire machine that had to be assembled, with both fierce commitment and meticulous care, to do a job. They had in mind not only what the album itself would be, but how they would perform it live; to which end they agreed it needed to move relentlessly and at breakneck pace. It opens with a recording of the band being introduced onstage at Hammersmith Odeon: what follows is, it is implied, a show in itself. It might be very far from a live recording, but it is very much an alive one. It is intended to feel as if it’s taking place onstage in real time before your eyes as well as your ears.

Sometimes great records result from a singular vision, superbly realised (or even mis-realised, but with wonderful results). At others, they result from the happy situation of having exactly the right combination of talents to bring them about. Nation Of Millions is the Platonic ideal of the latter. Effectively, it was created by six people: Chuck D, the lead MC; Flavor Flav, the hype man and holy fool; the members of The Bomb Squad (Hank and Keith Shocklee, Eric Sadler – Chuck D was also credited as “Carl Ryder”, and Bill Stephney as production supervisor); and DJ Terminator X. Chuck D’s voice was the central element, as it had to be: when you have at your head the most powerful and authoritative MC anyone’s ever heard, you’re going to make sure people do hear him. Hank Shocklee, foreman of The Bomb Squad, famously and unimprovably described his intention as making “the voice of God” emerge from a “thunderstorm of sound”.

Hank Shocklee’s peers are not so much the other great hip hop producers as they are the likes of Brian Eno and John Zorn. Chuck D has described him as a “daredevil” and an “antimusician”, and it’s hard to overstate the importance of this to Public Enemy’s magnum opus, which is as magnificent a work of sustained antimusic as any I know. The obvious sources for PE’s sound, as for so much hip hop, may be James Brown and fellow masters of the more rhythm-centric school of funk and soul. But the spiritual forebears of Nation Of Millions are the hard-boppers, the avant-garde- and free-jazzers; artists with the imaginations and the chops to detonate black American music and reassemble the atoms into novel and shocking forms. What PE had that those artists did not was access to a sudden onrush of revolutionary technology that allowed them to turn the means of recording into their most significant instrument. If anyone has ever capitalised more brilliantly on such timing and opportunity, I can’t think who.

The other Bomb Squad members were variously skilled at creating rhythm, feel and movement, using vocal and instrumental samples as riffs (while Flavor Flav played the drum machine track on ‘Rebel Without A Pause’ by hand, giving it a live rather than looped feel; Liam Howlett of The Prodigy later incorporated that kind of variation into his programming to similar effect.) Hank Shocklee’s gift, or one of them, is his ability to hear and arrange things in a mode that is not, to use his own term, “linear”. One of the most extraordinary things about Nation Of Millions is the way everything seems to happen at once. Not just the density of the sound, which is itself astonishing, but the baffling, jaw-dropping, pulse-quickening juxtaposition of chaos and coherence across the whole album. If one thinks of it as a machine built for a purpose, at times it seems that purpose is, as with Jean Tinguely’s mechanical sculptures, to destroy itself in the most spectacular fashion imaginable. But at the end, the work remains intact and it’s the audience that’s in pieces.

A run-through of the tracks feels redundant here. Nation Of Millions is one of the founding documents of contemporary left-field music and its associated sensibility; there can hardly be a reader, a writer or indeed a subject of tQ who is not closely familiar with it. It contains a clutch of tracks – one hesitates to call them songs, because the word doesn’t seem adequate to describe them – which one automatically files among PE’s “hits”: ‘Bring the Noise’, ‘Don’t Believe the Hype’, ‘She Watch Channel Zero ?!’ All of these are incisive, punchy, and feel shorter than they are. But the track that has over time become most emblematic of the album is the extraordinary ‘Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos’, a title which not only summarises its story, but also encapsulates its sound. (It bears noting here, too, that Nation Of Millions was intended to run for almost exactly one hour.) It’s an anomaly on the album as a whole, slower and sprawling, thumping and twisting, almost a blueprint for their next LP but one, the super-heavy, much underrated rap-rock piece Apocalypse '91... The Enemy Strikes Black. Yet its narrative cuts right to the heart of the theme on Nation Of Millions, as so concisely captured in the album’s own title: the intrinsic alienation of black Americans from the country in which they live. It is a fantasy, but not an implausible one, of unjust imprisonment, escape and guerrilla warfare. It could be the story of Muhammad Ali’s run-in with the draft, expanded to a more modern nightmare, and its essence is certainly to be found in the phrase misattributed to Ali (although he may well have shared the sentiment), that “No Viet Cong ever called me n*gg*r.” That is, it categorically rejects the claim upon a black person’s loyalty and service of a country that structurally oppresses that person, and all of their race.



All? Well, that depends on who you ask. Martin Luther King Jr’s dream was that black people would become equal citizens of their own country, and it was towards that end that the liberal impulses of Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society were directed. With civil rights on the one hand, and economic progress on the other, surely equality was only a matter of time. 

It is a bitter lesson when the letter of the law is at last wrested towards fairness, and prosperity (at least to some degree) comes your way, yet equality remains a mirage. 20 years on from King’s assassination, PE might have been seen as pessimists, or at least extremists. True, black people were disproportionately represented among the poorest; but was there not now a burgeoning black middle class? (There was.) Did the nation’s laws not forbid the discrimination King had led the fight against? (They did.) There was that arc of the moral universe, duly bending. Who knows, maybe in another 20 years America could have a black president. (It had.)

So much for the pessimism; were PE not just fighting yesterday’s battle? As for the extremism, well: PE were overt black nationalists. Their figurehead, it was once noted, seemed never to have met a conspiracy theory he didn’t like. They championed Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader whose noxious anti-Semitism (still prevalent in radical and black power movements today, where, for instance, his poisonous lie that Jews were the principal financiers and beneficiaries of the slave trade remains in circulation) would soon be publicly echoed by PE’s “Minister for Information”, Professor Griff.

The irony is that Jewish people could have told black people this: it doesn’t matter whether you climb the ladder economically and politically. If you belong to a race of which there is widespread, deep-rooted, longstanding fear and suspicion, it will never go away. It’s always there lurking, festering, waiting until conditions favour a resurgence. (Many Jewish people had themselves succumbed to the delusion of security at that point, which would bring its own bitter lessons. But that is another, parallel story.)

And now, 30 years on, with an American president overtly supportive of white supremacism, and a Black Lives Matter movement that, whether or not one agrees with specific politics of its leadership, is unquestionably born of dire necessity, the idea the Public Enemy were overly pessimistic is liable to induce mordant laughter. If anything, it feels as if they understated the matter. America is a country in which even its wealthy black citizens understand very well that their skin makes them – literally so – targets; that it puts their children in jeopardy when they walk down the street; that status is no protection from threats supported and often inflicted by its institutions.

In its themes and its rhetoric, Nation Of Millions prefigures the thesis of Ta-Nehisi Coates, in his book We Were Eight Years In Power, that slavery is America’s original sin, and can never be eradicated; that white supremacism is not an aberration to be eventually fixed by progress, but a structural foundation that will persist for as long as that structure does. The American Civil War paid for slavery in blood, yet the debt remained unsettled, because the compact America struck with its white citizens is that, no matter how low they sunk, their birthright would raise them above the nation’s black population.

Coates’s writing on race in America has a despairing, nihilistic tone, originating in those deep, dark waters where weariness meets rage. The same may be said of ‘This Is America’, the horrifying and (in every meaning) sensational tour-de-force song and video with which Donald Glover, as Childish Gambino, delivered such a shock earlier this year. Yet Glover is not PE’s direct heir. ‘This Is America’ is a righteous gonzo howl hurled into the internet bearpit that is contemporary American culture. PE, working in the pre-wired days, sought to create their own communications system. Their fury was more than matched by their focus. Nation Of Millions could probably have happened only exactly when it did: at a moment when technology permitted its creation and did not yet make redundant its conceptualisation as both medium and message; and when Western societies by and large abided by the idea that overt racism was somehow distasteful, and unrespectable – meaning its better disguised forms required intense scrutiny. All bets are off now, and polemical art feels like so much shrieking into a hurricane. Which is no reason not to do it, but every reason to think it can’t possibly have the impact for which PE plotted Nation Of Millions.

There it is, then. The greatest, really the only thing of its kind, and one of the greatest things of any kind. And here we are, sliding down the chute to Hell, with those at the forefront braying to the rest of us, dragged behind them, that paradise waits below. What so many black people have long known about the world, perhaps the rest of us are about to discover. Where nations of millions turn upon one or another race, they will inevitably turn upon themselves.


Public Enemy - It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back

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Public Enemy - Fear Of A Black Planet

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digdoug
8 days ago
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"Lately, I’ve been unable to read books or watch documentaries about recent European and American history with the same dispassionate fascination I once did. The comfortable sense I had that its worst horrors were safely in the past, its best lessons well learned in the present, has dissolved into vapour, into anxiety – into, often as not, dread."

Same. Way too much Same.
Louisville, KY
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On Paying for Software

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Seth Godin (Hacker News):

I like paying for my software when I’m buying it from a company that’s responsive, fast and focused. I like being the customer (as opposed to a social network, where I’m the product). I spend most of my day working with tools that weren’t even in science fiction novels twenty-five years ago, and the money I spend on software is a bargain–doing this work without it is impossible.

To name a few, I’m glad to use and pay for: Overcast, Feedblitz, Discourse, Zapier, Dropbox, Roon, WavePad, Bench, Nisus, Zoom, Slack, SuperDuper, Mailchimp, Hover, TypeExpander, Tidal, and many others. I wish I could pay for and get great support and development for Keynote.

afarrell:

One of the reasons that I switched from Linx to OSX was so that I could pay for more of my software. Why? Because then I more of the software I used could be maintained by someone who had the time to dig into bugs and UI problems and to fix them. But in Linux, couldn’t I just edit the source myself? Realistically, no. It takes a tremendous amount of effort to source-dive in a totally new project in a language I never use, especially without someone willing to give me a walkthrough of the architecture and fundamental models of the program. It is waaaay more efficient for these to be fixed by an engineer working not in their spare time, but as their full-time job.

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jepler
10 days ago
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I love using software that is consciously built with the idea that software should be free for anyone, everyone, to use forever, without cost. That's why I use Debian GNU/Linux. I personally choose to give back by writing and contributing to Free software software; but even if that's not your thing you should still use Free software when it suits you, because it's there for everyone.

All that said, it sure is true that SOME paid software gets you support "from a company that's responsive, fast and focused". I don't have direct experience with any of the companies or packages that Godin mentions in the quoted text, but I don't doubt that only a tiny fraction of Free software communities are as fantastic as these companies are at end-user support. (and when it comes to community support, you need a better sense of good vs bad advice, compared to first-party support; I wish I knew for certain whether Godin is thinking purely of first-party support in all these cases, or is thinking of community support in some cases)

It's too easy for me to forget that the vast majority of users, even a substantial majority of users who have some experience "programming", that it is terrifying to jump into a large, unknown codebase. I should remember how I feel about APL or Forth and imagine that when people look at C++ or Python they're seeing something just as alien...
Earth, Sol system, Western spiral arm
digdoug
10 days ago
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Happy software *and* software as a service customer.
Louisville, KY
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Ridiculously Photogenic Baby Wombat

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digdoug
10 days ago
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Paint me like one of your french naked mole rats
Louisville, KY
MaryEllenCG
10 days ago
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Greater Bostonia
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