Tuesday, December 21, 2021

The Joy of Six 1037

Richard Sears examines research suggesting that the overuse of psychiatric drugs is worsening public mental health in America.

"Each day on Twitter someone is held up for widespread public ridicule, and you want to make sure that it’s not you, because your job in life is never to do anything that might result in you getting made fun of by others." Freddie deBoer suggests we should not spend all day ridiculing others from afar on social media.

In the post-war era, Coventry was rebuilt as an optimistic, modernist city. But the selling off of the city centre since the 1980s has made this year's City of Culture feel more like a City for Developers, says Owen Hatherley.

"The gaze of the elf on the child’s real world (as opposed to play world) resonates with the purpose of the panopticon, based on Jeremy Bentham’s 18th century design for a model prison (a central tower in a circular structure, surrounded by cells). Backlighting in the central tower made it impossible for prisoners to discern whether or not they were being watched." Laura Pinto and Selena Nemorin uncover the sinister side of The Elf on the Shelf.

"Eardley’s short career is one of the most fascinating of her generation. She is a feverish, romantic successor to Goya and Soutine, and in these Glasgow pictures she is essentially a storyteller, capturing a community as it vanishes. The other pole of her painting life had nothing to do with urban Glasgow, but was situated among the seascapes and fields of Catterline, a village on the Kincardineshire coast that she began to visit in the early 1950s." Andrew O'Hagan celebrates the artist Joan Eardley.

Ed Simon on the rediscovery of the work of Thomas Traherne: "Circumstances surrounding the occasional rediscovery of the poetry of the 17th-century divine Thomas Traherne are as something out of one of his strange lyrics. Intimations of the allegorical, when in the winter of 1896—more than two centuries after he’d died—and some of his manuscript poetry was discovered in a London book stall among a heap that was 'about to be trashed.' ... How eerily appropriate that among that refuse was Traherne’s Centuries of Meditation, which included his observation that the “world is a mirror of infinite beauty, yet no man sees it.” Not until he chances upon it in a London book stall."

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