Friday Link Love

Tonight we celebrate Robert's birthday with a trip to the Arlington Drafthouse to see this guy:

We're pretty psyched.

In the meantime, here are some links to keep you busy:

Don't Give Up: The Inspirational Letters Project

The eternal truth of a lot of creative work: 3% of the time you are on fire, and 97% of the time is a messy slog. The key: persist, despite all the difficulties…

These are letters from animators at Pixar and elsewhere to an aspiring animator... the response prompted him to start a spinoff called the Inspirational Letters Project. As you would expect, they are visually interesting.


King's God: The Unknown Faith of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

King denied the ontological divinity of Jesus, didn't think heaven/hell were literal places, saw the Bible as myth, rejected the bodily resurrection of Jesus (beginning at the age of 13), rejected original sin, and more. In other words, a liberal theologian.

On that topic, I'm sympathetic with James McGrath, who laments that many of the "new atheists" are putting forth criticisms of Christianity and the Bible as if they are new and original, when in fact many theologians have been saying similar stuff for centuries, including MLK, it would seem. (I also note that the comments on McGrath's post are largely substantive and respectful. Kudos to him.)


Don't Just Do Something: Stand There


Numerous writers, artists, poets and musicians have testified to the virtues of such idleness in their own creative lives. It was when he was completely alone, Mozart wrote in a letter, "say traveling in a carriage, or walking after a good meal, or during the night when [he] could not sleep," that his ideas flowed best and most abundantly...

Such testimony is not just plain good sense; it is good science too. In a recent article in Discover magazine, the journalist Stephen Johnson reported on a conversation with neuroscientist Antonio Damasio. The cognitive part of our brain works very fast, Damasio explained. "So you can do a lot of reasoning, a lot of recognition of objects, remembering names in just a few hundredths of a second." But the emotional part of our brains works very differently, and there is precious little evidence that this is going to change. Tasks that have to do with empathy and imagination, with slow-growing qualities like love and fidelity and ethics, will continue to develop in their own sweet time.


Kurt Andersen: Our Politics Are Sick

I love Kurt Andersen's Studio 360; it's one of my favorite podcasts. "Creativity, pop culture and the arts": what's not to love?

He nails this metaphor in my opinion:

The American body politic suffers from autoimmune disorders.

It’s a metaphor, but it’s not a joke. I’ve read a lot about autoimmune diseases — the literal, medical kinds, also disconcertingly on the rise — because several members of my family have them. At some point, our bodies’ own immune systems went nuts, mistaking healthy pieces of our anatomies — a pancreas, a thyroid, a joint — for foreign tissue, dangerous enemies within, and proceeded to attack and try to destroy them. It’s as close to tragedy as biology gets.

Which is pretty much exactly what’s been happening the last decade in our politics. The Truthers decided the U.S. government was behind 9/11. Others decided our black president is definitely foreign-born and Muslim. Tea Party Republicans are convinced his administration is crypto-socialist and/or proto-fascist. The anti-Shariah people are terrified of the nonexistent threat of Islamic law infecting American jurisprudence. It’s now considered reasonable to regard organs and limbs of the federal government — the E.P.A., the education department, the Federal Reserve — as tumors that must be removed. Taxation itself is now considered a parasitic pathogen rather than a crucial part of our social organism.



The Procrastination Flowchart

I resemble that.


And finally, Steve Job's 2005 Commencement Speech to Stanford. Wise and touching. I wish him well.