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Stop Trying to Make TV Smart, Mow Your Own Lawn, and Good Neighborhoods

Nicolas Cage talks [1] to The New York Times: “I put this line in Mandy: ‘The psychotic drowns where the mystic swims.’ You either have the proclivity to open up your imagination or you don’t. If you have that propensity and are on camera about to do a scene, what would make you believe in what you’re about to do? Say you’re playing a demon biker with an ancient spirit. What power objects could you find that might trick your imagination? Would you find an antique from an ancient pyramid? Maybe a little sarcophagus that’s a greenish color and looks like King Tut? Would you sew that into your jacket and know that it’s right next to you when the director says ‘action’? Could you open yourself to that power? . . . I did that.”

Stop trying to make TV smart [2]: “Your favourite show probably doesn’t have a deeper meaning. That’s okay.”

Bill Berkson’s Frank O’Hara Notebook provides [3] “a dual portrait—of O’Hara and of Berkson—while also evoking the cultural and artistic life of New York City in the early 1960s.”

The Guardian breaks even [4] with over 50% of its revenue generated by digital products.

Opinion: Mow your own lawn, man [5]. “Whether or not one is supposed to, I’ve always admired Jay Gatsby, the eponymous hero of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece. Yet I never fully understand the character until I come to the scene in which he arranges to have his neighbor’s yard mown, lest the visiting Daisy Buchanan lay eyes upon an unkempt blade of grass. The gesture is meant to reveal Gatsby’s insecurity and materialism, as well as the working-class striving that prevents his ever truly joining the aristocracy. But I sympathize with the man. The lawn next door is a disgrace and ruins the prospect of Gatsby’s flawless green. My only criticism is that he ought to have put on an old T-shirt and done the job himself.”

Essay of the Day:

Most people want to live in a good neighborhood, but what do they mean by “good”? Salim Farth tries to answer the question [6] in National Affairs:

“A neighborhood is not a strictly defined good, but it is a good nonetheless. People work to produce good neighborhoods, and some pay handsomely to live in the best ones. Residents who skip out on election day sometimes become activists if their neighborhood’s character is at stake.

“But despite the evident value that people place on neighborhoods, the barriers to an intelligible economic analysis are obvious: Neighborhood strength is not quantifiable, and different people mean different things when they use the term. Nor would we expect a market for neighborhoods to have the efficiency properties of a free, competitive market, with many buyers, many sellers, and few externalities. It is not that a ‘free market’ in neighborhoods cannot exist; it’s that we have few clues as to what such a market would look like.

“Scholarship on the economics of neighborhoods is sparse. But sketching the contours of what an economics of neighborhoods would look like can help us figure out what makes a strong neighborhood and how individuals, organizations, and policymakers can work together to allow neighborhoods to thrive.”

Read the rest. [6]

Photos: Ducky Derby [7]

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