What I Read This Week - 19th August

Long, hot, quiet week. The city always feels deserted in August. Everywhere, come to think of it, always feels deserted in August. - Stupid For Art (Mark Mann at Maisonneuve)

There is nothing wrong with a little self-glory, and I wouldn’t deny anyone a pleasure I personally find so rewarding. But pretending to be smart is less fun if it means paying twenty dollars to stand around for two hours, wishing for a chair. Sometimes, pretending to be smart is actually pretty stupid.

- The Inverse of the Animated GIF May Be the Real 'Instagram for Video' (Alexis Madrigal at The Atlantic)

Looking at "picles" is initially disconcerting. When you hit the play button and start to hear sound, it's almost as if the image is broken because it is not moving in time with the soundtrack.

But, then the experience started to change. The unsyncing of the sound and image helped me concentrate on the photograph. You can't just flip past the image with another thumb flick. You have to really look at it while the sound finishes playing.

- The Writing Life: From Beirut and Cambodia to New York, Florida, and Parts Unknown (Nathan Deuel at The Millions)

It wasn’t easy. I wanted to finish a book. Be a good dad. Get an MFA. Be a good husband. I’d lined up a teaching job at a university in Beirut. Got an essay in a publication that might impress you. Called my mom as much as I could. I couldn’t call my dad, he was dead. When do you know if it’s actually starting to add up, when you can say, OK, yes, this is real, it’s actually happening.

- How to Become an Ancient Olympic Ruin (Matt McCann at the New York Times)

Unlike the Acropolis or the Temple of Zeus, these modern-day ruins recall a recent past, and reveal how a lack of planning, foresight and effective leadership put billions of dollars’ worth of new construction on a path to decrepitude.

- A Dancer's Demons (Julie Kavanagh at More Intelligent Life)

He had adopted “the Apple guy’s remark” as his motto: Steve Jobs said that if you think of each morning as the last day of your life, and don’t like what you’re doing, then you should give up now. Which Polunin did—and all in one week. As he put it: “Girlfriend, Royal Ballet, tattoo parlour: deleted.”