J. T. Zealy
Jack (driver), Guinea 1850
Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, Cambridge, Massachusetts
In 1850, the Harvard professor Louis Agassiz, perhaps the most famous geologist and scientist in America, commissioned J. T. Zealy, a daguerreotypist in Columbia, South Carolina, to take a series of photographs of slaves from nearby plantations. The goal of the series was to provide evidence for the theory that Africans were not direct descendants of Adam and Eve but products of a separate, “second” creation. The doctrine of “separate creation” was intended to justify white racism and slavery. Zealy photographed African-born slaves whom he regarded as specimens or “types.” The portraits he sent to Agassiz stand today as perhaps the most haunting and painful images to emerge from the era of the daguerreotype. They show naked or partially clothed figures facing the camera head-on. They also reveal whip-marks, scars, and other disfigurations from slavery. What rage, pain, humiliation, or resistance the making of the daguerreotypes provoked among the sitters goes unrecorded. We are left instead with their stares, stoic and impassive, masking worlds of feeling that the viewer can only imagine.
—Angela L. Miller, et al., American Encounters: Art, History, and Cultural Identity (2008)
The Decline Of Western Civilization
A documentary made about punk rock in America during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.
Wanda Jackson- “The Queen of Rockabilly”- performing Hard Headed Woman in 1958.
She a bad bitch.
Maybe this is already too talked about but…
Totally, utterly, absolutely despicable. Those were my immediate thoughts on U.S Skins. Fuck, America, I am so fucking ashamed of you. As I bow my head in discomfort, sitting across from the television, all I can think of how this spectacle is unforgivable. America, you did SO GOOD with The Office. But here…. here is a different, much more degraded realm. My question is: if you’re gonna be shitty and Americanized, why can’t you at least invent an entirely different plot? Everything and everyone was so fabricated and strained that it almost caused me pain. These characters that were so poorly, so disrespectfully replicated. They are complete twats. They lack everything that was good and wonderful and unique about the kids from British Skins.
Why is it that Brit teens are allowed to be authentic but America has to portray American teens as dumb assholes?
Sadness. A bad time for American teen culture. Bad bad bad.
Why I Love The Sopranos So Goddamn Much
How many years late am I in finally noticing this show’s genius?
The first time I heard the term ‘goomah’ mentioned on this show, suddenly realizing tortured mafiose wife Carmela Soprano was using a phrase coined for ‘mistress’, I knew this show and I would get along. As the days of my winter break draw to a close, I have polished off two seasons of The Sopranos. And thanks to the internet’s bountiful spoils of illegally uploaded t.v episodes, I have completely submerged myself into this show.
It is so engaging, like… I can’t.
What is so great about The Sopranos is two things: it is wonderfully simple, and was the first of its kind. Goodfellas, The Godfather or not, here came a television show that didn’t simply give a saturated hour and a half-long snapshot of a Cosa Nostra plot. It is an odyssey. It goes on and on, a feast of six seasons. It provides that much more realism, which makes it that much more awesome. The Sopranos’s simplicity lies in the fact that it gives us everything we like; a satisfying amount of classic mafia antics, but all of a sudden, something new. We get sensitivity and humanity in the self-destructive, violent oaf that is Tony Soprano. Authors and screenwriters take note- this is an example of perfection reached in creating a great, three dimensional character.
And it’s not just Tony. As you watch, you realize it’s everyone. This kind of attention to detail, mirroring of real-world people, is what gets me off. As each episode unfolds, you see more and more sides to, for instance, Carmela. At first she is pained, gritting her teeth through the day, putting on smiles. Then you see she is religious, but genuinely so (probably the only character on the show who is.. which is another point of interest). It goes on and on. Just when you think she could leave Tony at any moment, she speaks to him with almost nonchalant awareness about his infidelity, as if it’s a truth she’s accepted long ago.
Okay so dear world of T.V: bring THIS kind of stuff back. Not all shows today lack expertly crafted plotlines and characterizations, but alright, I only have four more seasons of the New Jersey mafia left..