#3 In a time of seahorses lugging q-tips

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1. Justin Hoffman, nature photographer: "It’s a photo that I wish didn’t exist but now that it does I want everyone to see it. What started as an opportunity to photograph a cute little sea horse turned into one of frustration and sadness as the incoming tide brought with it countless pieces of trash and sewage. This sea horse drifts long with the trash day in and day out as it rides the currents that flow along the Indonesian archipelago. This photo serves as an allegory for the current and future state of our oceans. What sort of future are we creating? How can your actions shape our planet?" 

Follow Justin Hoffman's Instagram



2.  I'm still sweating profusely from my experience with the film mother! and reflecting on how widely divided people's reactions are. Some of my most trusted film friends call it the best movie of the year (by far), while others call it the absolute worst. When we engage a work of art that's uninhibited in its vision, our reactions and interpretations reveal more about our own internal plumbing and ways of understanding the world than they do about the objective reality of the art itself. Don't miss seeing this film to catch a glimpse of how your own internal world is structured. Wear safety goggles and rubber gloves, please. 

Two sample reviews:

A) Mother! is an amazing piece of work. Like all great art, it's complex, complicated, beautiful, ugly, underwhelming, overwhelming, irritating, satisfying, confusing, enlightening all at the same time. It smacks you upside the head with its intensity. Sort of like a Francis Bacon painting. It has been a long time since I've been to a movie that has affected me in such deep and weird ways and has left me thinking about it for days afterwards. The religious overtones, the commentary on the state of the world, the power dynamics in relationships, love, sex, creativity, inspiration, chaos and rebirth. There were so many ideas going on my head felt it would explode, but in a good way. Mother! is not for those seeking escapist entertainment, but I would urge people to go, watch it and then spend time arguing about it afterwards. It's worth your time.

B) Well, I took my husband to see the film last night to celebrate our 20-year anniversary. Couldn't figure out what the film was about based on the reviews. But the NYT critic, Scott, called it a hoot. So I figured it couldn't be that bad. My husband walked out when the mobs started eating the baby and hitting the JLo character in the head. He won't talk to me today. I hope we have another 20 years of marriage, if I never take him to see a movie like this again.

Read the New York Times article "Making Mother!, the Year's most divisive film." 

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3. Speaking of art and the role it has in the cultivation of character:

“This society, like decadent Rome, is an amusement society. Art cannot and should not compete with amusement. It has business at the heart of humanity. The artist must be a prophet, “not in the sense that he foretells things to come, but that he tells the audience, at the risk of their displeasure, the secrets of their own hearts.” That is why he exists. He is a spokesman for his community. This account of the artist’s business is old, very old. But in modern times this truth, which we all feel, is seldom expressed. No community altogether knows its own heart, and by failing in this knowledge a community deceives itself on the one subject concerning which ignorance means death. The remedy is art itself. Art is the community’s medicine for the worst disease of the mind, the corruption of consciousness.

~Saul Bellow, Nobel Prize in Literature, from his essay “Culture Now.” 

Bonus Wisdom Pin-Up:

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This week I'm most curious about people's reactions to the film mother! So if you've seen it, speak! Or if the little seahorse carrying human garbage made you sad, let's commiserate. Ot it might be Saul Bellow calling ours an "amusement society" that made you wonder what your own life's compass is. Let's discuss in the comment section below. 


Do people still give a shit about character? Please forward this newsletter to anyone who wants to be less of a dick to others, to the animals, to the planet or to themselves.