•How much do some people at ABC News hate each other? As seen a month or two ago when one reviled exec left that company and ABC vets unloaded about her in a comments thread, quite a bit. Perhaps that’s why people leave ABC for Fox.
•A friend who had herself tattooed with an ancient cuneiform symbol meaning, roughly, “liberty” (not the only person I know tattooed with that symbol) forwarded this article about a study showing that people who get tattoos are more symmetrical (a property tending to correlate with physical attractiveness) than the general population. I do not take this to mean that tattoos, which I usually oppose as akin to graffiti, are a good or sexy thing but merely that bold and brawny types tend to get them.
•The same friend (who also recently had a dream she moved in with a bespectacled hipster girl and got into a protracted knife fight over closet space) also reminded me how hard it is to speak freely in academia, by forwarding this piece about a male professor being chastised for pointing out to a female colleague an article on oral sex among bats. (My visiting evolutionary psychology Ph.D.-possessing pal Diana Fleischman would likely be more understanding.)
•An imminent album of covers of David Bowie will feature Carla Bruni doing the excellent song “Absolute Beginners,” clearly cementing Bruni’s status as la plus coolest first lady anywhere ever, as if her albums, pin-ups, and sexual adventures weren’t proof enough.
Speaking of music, sex, and sexual adventures, remember to let me know (at the e-mail address on the About/CONTACT page) if you’re a volunteer to argue on July 7 that burlesque is not art (or want to demonstrate the genre). To compensate for all this bawdiness and badness, though, I will post a commentary soon about the book Victorian Vista by James Laver.
And if that’s a sufficient dose of the nineteenth century for this month, that’ll spare us all having to go see Megan Fox as an Old West whore in Jonah Hex, which looks awful, making it the second DC Comics movie of the year, after The Losers, not to set the world on fire. You might instead consider going to see the biotech thriller Splice, which manages to allude, Cronenberg-like, to such touchy biological topics as bad parenting, incest, retardation, gender-switching, and maternal insanity all while being a pretty straightforward — yet disturbing — Frankenstein story. Not bad. And a bit conservative, like Frankenstein, Cronenberg, and for that matter David Lynch (a Reagan fan), since all suggest that there are rules rooted in biology one cannot escape. Both Roger Ebert and Humanist magazine have strongly condemned Lynch for that implicit assumption.
(Of course, nowadays you’d think conservatives believe the world can be changed with a few focus groups, some brainy studies, and some management-seminar pep talks, to judge from the here’s-how-we-fix-the-movement tone of, say, David Brooks, Ross Douthat, David Frum, and a few others — better the radicalism of the Tea Parties if you want to have an impact, says I.)
We keep being told the world is changing rapidly, but there’s nothing I’ve seen in my lifetime — not the Internet, not biotech — that can compare to the transformation in the world people saw in the nineteenth century. We bicker over whether colleagues can handle raising the issue of bat sex, while they watched the masses go from being peasants to reading by electric light. Is it any wonder I find myself growing disillusioned with our debt-saddled, cowardly era and more sympathetic to steampunk, young lady? I may need to go on the Brown alums tour of the converted old High Line train track this Thursday.