There is a kind of lazy pleasure in useless and out-of-the-way erudition.
The only people who read everything are those with too much time on their hands (a low-value demographic).
Hu Yang's Shanghai Living is a work of great empathy. Pain and poetry, dreams and disappointments, the rich and the poor, are framed in photographs and snippets of text that are both social documents and mixed media literature.
All images portray one or more people in their homes. In each text the person being photographed expresses a brief summary of their condition. Hope and happiness. Struggles and sadness. Taken together they form an amazing tapistry of intricate connections and dickensian differences.
The old and the new is atemporally present. The clutter collected as artifacts of a personal archaeology, the designed emptiness that is filled with ambition, the eternal TV set that transcends class and generations.
The BBC reports on alleged babies for auction on Chinese eBay.
"Chinese police are investigating a report of attempted baby trafficking on an internet auction site, according to a state-owned newspaper. The advertisement was reportedly placed on eBay's Chinese website, Eachnet. Boys were advertised for 28,000 yuan ($3,450) while girls were offered for 13,000 yuan ($1,603), Eachnet manager Tang Lei told the China Daily. The offer could have been a hoax, but it comes as baby trafficking is seen as an increasing problem in China."
Following a recent post dedicated to a wonderfully extensive and eclectic collection of Saint Sebastian iconography, here's two more I stumbled across. The one on the left is the cover of issue 3 of the Italian punk fanzine Lamette. The one on the right is the cover of issue 4 of Spanish magazine Abuse.
Forbes looks at the cost of material well being in the USA. Phyllis Curott discusses pagan publishing and the growing threat of the American theocracy. Xeni Jardin sticks the boot into Yahoo's battle blog and the company's role in the incarceration of Chinese journalist Shi Tao.
"For specialists in pharmaceutical marketing like Vince Parry, the story of PMDD and Sarafem is a great example of a company "fostering the creation of a condition and aligning it with a product." He worked for Lilly on the campaign, which he describes as helping to "build awareness for both the condition and the drug." To kick it off, he says, the company sponsored a "pre-launch initiative" to raise awareness of the condition. "By changing the brand name from Prozac to Sarafem--packaged in a lavender-colored pill and promoted with images of sunflowers and smart women--Lilly created a brand that better aligned with the personality of the condition for a hand-in-glove fit." Lilly's market research investigated how best to brand both the drug and the condition to come up with language women felt most comfortable with."
Dumped in the desert could be read as the concept behind a reality show.
Imagine you are driven from your home by the utter lack of prospects and the poverty to undertake the long, perilous, dangerously expensive journey towards the freedom and finance of fortress Europe.
At its outermost perimeter, still in Africa, you must force your way over the fence. When you don't make it the production dumps you in the desert, without food or water.
Imagine this is television. Then try imagining it is not.
It broke all of a sudden, unexpectedly. The air became pungent with promise and crisp with clarity. No one had ever seen so far. Dizzy, dizzy, dizzy. Everyone began to walk away, sit down or start to play. Then a shot rang out.
"Yet North Korea is pathologically suspicious of outsiders. In this country of 23 million people, there are only 300 foreign residents. Normally, there are so few visiting tourists and business people that overseas consular and Koryo airline offices are empty. Arirang, however, is part of a propaganda offensive on a scale that would make a big-spending Hollywood mogul envious. The stage is the 150,000-capacity May Day stadium in Pyongyang, and the cast is 100,000 strong. The performance is a technicolour mix of entertainment: a floorshow by 1,000 dancers; a military tattoo; a martial arts display; hordes of waving, smiling children; an aerial ballet by dancers on bungee ropes... It is an awesome product of political control and economic weakness. Starved of energy, and economically retarded, the only resource North Korea has in abundance is its people - and they are often employed in places where richer countries would use electricity. Just as policewomen direct Pyongyang's traffic rather than automated lights; in Arirang, tens of thousands of children are used to create a giant screen."