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Planet Funny: How Comedy Took Over Our Culture
Where once society’s most coveted trait might have been strength or intelligence or honor, today, in a clear sign of evolution sliding off the trails, it is being funny. Yes, funniness.Consider: Super Bowl commercials don’t try to sell you anymore; they try to make you laugh. Airline safety tutorials - those terrifying laminated cards about the possibilities of fire, explosion, depressurization, and drowning - have been replaced by joke-filled videos with multimillion-dollar budgets and dance routines. Thanks to social media, we now have a whole Twitterverse of amateur comedians riffing around the world at all hours of the day - and many of them even get popular enough online to go pro and take over TV.In his “smartly structured, soundly argued, and yes - pretty darn funny” (Booklist, starred review) Planet Funny, Ken Jennings explores this brave new comedic world and what it means - or doesn’t - to be funny in it now. Tracing the evolution of humor from the caveman days to the bawdy middle-class antics of Chaucer to Monty Python’s game-changing silliness to the fast-paced meta-humor of The Simpsons, Jennings explains how we built our humor-saturated modern age, where lots of us get our news from comedy shows and a comic figure can even be elected President of the United States purely on showmanship.
Punk Tees: The Punk Revolution in 125 T-Shirts
For fans of music and edgy fashion, this is the story of punk, told by the people who lived it and the shirts on their back.The punk revolution wasn’t just music - it also shaped fashion, especially the ripped, often handmade T-shirts emblazoned with provocative slogans. Punk Tees captures this youthful revolt through the people who lived it and the clothing they wore. It charts the evolution of punk, T-shirt by T-shirt, from the genre’s roots in the 1960s through its zenith in the mid-1970s/early 1980s, to its legacy today. Moving from the Ramones in New York, to their British counterparts the Sex Pistols, to Metal Urbain in Paris, to bands in Germany, Australia, Scandinavia, and Japan, this book illuminates what punk culture really meant. Included are original interviews with fans discussing their own customized punk T-shirts, as well as with punk’s key influencers.
8-Bit Apocalypse: The Untold Story of Atari's Missile Command
Before Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and even Super Mario Bros., the video game industry exploded in the late 1970s with the advent of the video arcade. Leading the charge was Atari Inc., the creator of, among others, the iconic game Missile Command. The first game to double as a commentary on culture, Missile Command put the players’ fingers on “the button,” making them responsible for the fate of civilization in a no-win scenario, all for the price of a quarter. The game was marvel of modern culture, helping usher in both the age of the video game and the video game lifestyle. Its groundbreaking implications inspired a fanatical culture that persists to this day. As fascinating as the cultural reaction to Missile Command were the programmers behind it. Before the era of massive development teams and worship of figures like Steve Jobs, Atari was manufacturing arcade machines designed, written, and coded by individual designers. As earnings from their games entered the millions, these creators were celebrated as geniuses in their time; once dismissed as nerds and fanatics, they were now being interviewed for major publications, and partied like Wall Street traders. However, the toll on these programmers was high: developers worked 120-hour weeks, often opting to stay in the office for days on end while under a deadline. Missile Command creator David Theurer threw himself particularly fervently into his work, prompting not only declining health and a suffering relationship with his family, but frequent nightmares about nuclear annihilation. To truly tell the story from the inside, tech insider and writer Alex Rubens has interviewed numerous major figures from this time: Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari; David Theurer, the creator of Missile Command; and Phil Klemmer, writer for the NBC series Chuck, who wrote an entire episode for the show about Missile Command and its mythical “kill screen.” Taking readers back to the days of TaB cola, dot matrix printers, and digging through the couch for just one more quarter, Alex Rubens combines his knowledge of the tech industry and experience as a gaming journalist to conjure the wild silicon frontier of the 8-bit ’80s. Missile Command: The True Story Behind the Classic Video Game offers the first in-depth, personal history of an era for which fans have a lot of nostalgia.
Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman's Guide to Why Feminism Matters (Second Edition)
Newly revised and updated, the #1 must-read book for a new generation of feminists who refuse to accept anything less than equality and justice for all women.Now in its updated second edition, Full Frontal Feminism embodies the forward-looking messages that bestselling author Jessica Valenti propagated as founder of the popular website, Feministing.com. Smart and relatable, the book serves as a complete guide to the issues that matter to today's young women, including health, equal pay, reproductive rights, violence, education, relationships, sexual independence and safety, the influence of pop culture, and more.
Hollywood's Eve: Eve Babitz and the Secret History of L.A.
The goddaughter of Igor Stravinsky and a graduate of Hollywood High, Eve Babitz posed in 1963, at age twenty, playing chess with the French artist Marcel Duchamp. She was naked; he was not. The photograph made her an instant icon of art and sex. Babitz spent the rest of the decade rocking and rolling on the Sunset Strip, honing her notoriety. There were the album covers she designed: for Buffalo Springfield and the Byrds, to name but a few. There were the men she seduced: Jim Morrison, Ed Ruscha, Harrison Ford, to name but a very few.Then, at nearly thirty, her It girl days numbered, Babitz was discovered—as a writer—by Joan Didion. She would go on to produce seven books, usually billed as novels or short story collections, always autobiographies and confessionals. Under-known and under-read during her career, she’s since experienced a breakthrough. Now in her mid-seventies, she’s on the cusp of literary stardom and recognition as an essential—as the essential—LA writer. Her prose achieves that American ideal: art that stays loose, maintains its cool, and is so simply enjoyable as to be mistaken for simple entertainment.For Babitz, life was slow days, fast company until a freak fire turned her into a recluse, living in a condo in West Hollywood, where author Lili Anolik tracked her down in 2012. Hollywood’s Eve, equal parts biography and detective story “brings a ludicrously glamorous scene back to life, adding a few shadows along the way” (Vogue) and “sends you racing to read the work of Eve Babitz” (The New York Times).
Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong about Everything?: When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash
Over the past few decades, celebrity culture's grip on our society has tightened. For Timothy Caulfield, a health science expert, this culture has a measurable influence on individual life choices and health care decisions. In typical Caulfield manner, it isn't enough to just interview experts and read all of the current studies (which he does). He tries celebrity-recommended beauty routines and diets. After attending a modeling competition, he enrolls in an assessment/audition for a modelling agency in Hollywood. He follows celebrity Twitter feeds, reads gossip blogs and forces himself to read every issue - cover to cover - of People magazine, for an entire year, in his quest to understand the relationship between celebrity culture and our individual health choices. In this fun, factual book, Caulfield separates sense from nonsense and provides usable and evidence-informed advice about what actually works and what is a waste of money and time.
Uncharted: Big Data as a Lens on Human Culture
Our society has gone from writing snippets of information by hand to generating a vast flood of 1s and 0s that record almost every aspect of our lives: who we know, what we do, where we go, what we buy, and who we love. This year, the world will generate 5 zettabytes of data. (That’s a five with twenty-one zeros after it.) Big data is revolutionizing the sciences, transforming the humanities, and renegotiating the boundary between industry and the ivory tower.What is emerging is a new way of understanding our world, our past, and possibly, our future. In Uncharted, Erez Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel tell the story of how they tapped into this sea of information to create a new kind of telescope: a tool that, instead of uncovering the motions of distant stars, charts trends in human history across the centuries. By teaming up with Google, they were able to analyze the text of millions of books. The result was a new field of research and a scientific tool, the Google Ngram Viewer, so groundbreaking that its public release made the front page of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Boston Globe, and so addictive that Mother Jones called it "the greatest timewaster in the history of the internet."Using this scope, Aiden and Michel - and millions of users worldwide - are beginning to see answers to a dizzying array of once intractable questions. How quickly does technology spread? Do we talk less about God today? When did people start "having sex" instead of "making love"? At what age do the most famous people become famous? How fast does grammar change? Which writers had their works most effectively censored by the Nazis? When did the spelling "donut" start replacing the venerable "doughnut"? Can we predict the future of human history? Who is better known - Bill Clinton or the rutabaga?All over the world, new scopes are popping up, using big data to quantify the human experience at the grandest scales possible. Yet dangers lurk in this ocean of 1s and 0s - threats to privacy and the specter of ubiquitous government surveillance. Aiden and Michel take readers on a voyage through these uncharted waters.
Hip: The History
The story of how American pop culture has evolved throughout the twentieth century to its current position as world cultural touchstone. How did hip become such an obsession? From sex and music to fashion and commerce, John Leland tracks the arc of ideas as they move from subterranean Bohemia to Madison Avenue and back again. Hip: The History examines how hip has helped shape - and continues to influence - America's view of itself, and provides an incisive account of hip's quest for authenticity.
I LEGO N.Y.
I LEGO N.Y. is an imaginative look at life in New York City constructed entirely out of LEGOs. Designer and illustrator Christoph Niemann was inspired to create a series of miniature New York vignettes out of his sons' toys after a few cold and dark winter days in Berlin. The former New Yorker then posted photographs of his creations along with his handwritten captions on his New York Times blog. Resident and honorary New Yorkers around the world responded enthusiastically to the clever and minimalist inventions, which captured both the iconic (the Empire State Building) and the mundane (man standing on a subway platform) in fewer LEGO pieces than one might think possible. This book includes all of the original images, plus thirteen new creations. The resulting collection is delightful in its simplicity and moving in its ability to capture the spirit of life in New York in so few strokes.
1968: Radical Protest and Its Enemies
A major new history of one of the seminal years in the postwar world, when rebellion and disaffection broke out on an extraordinary scale.The year 1968 saw an extraordinary range of protests across much of the western world. Some of these were genuinely revolutionary - around ten million French workers went on strike and the whole state teetered on the brink of collapse. Others were more easily contained, but had profound longer-term implications - terrorist groups, feminist collectives, gay rights activists could all trace important roots to 1968.1968 is a striking and original attempt half a century later to show how these events, which in some ways still seem so current, stemmed from histories and societies which are in practice now extraordinarily remote from our own time. 1968 pursues the story into the 1970s to show both the ever more violent forms of radicalization that stemmed from 1968 and the brutal reaction that brought the era to an end.
Keanu Reeves (For Your Consideration, Bk. 2)
This illustrated collection of humorous essays and fun extras makes the case for one of our most iconic celebrities, from Bill and Ted to John Wick.For an actor who's been in so many mega-hits and equally mega misses, it can be tough to track Keanu Reeves's accomplishments. But true fans know that Keanu is so much more than his Bill and Ted persona, both onscreen and off. During his long career - over 30 years, though you wouldn't know it from his immortal looks - he has constantly subverted Hollywood stereotypes and expectations. He's the type to start his own publishing company, reread Hamlet, write a grown-up children's book, photobomb people's weddings, eat lunch alone in the park while looking very sad, and give away his salary to the film crew.For Your Consideration: Keanu Reeves examines the ways in which Keanu strives to be kind and excellent in work and in life. The authors also explore various Internet conspiracies about his age, help you identify which Sad Keanu meme you are, give you the Keanu and Winona Ryder fanfic your heart desires, and much, much more.
Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries
Jon Ronson has been on patrol with America's real-life superheroes and to a UFO convention in the Nevada desert with Robbie Williams. He's met a man who tried to split the atom in his kitchen and asked a conscious robot if she's got a soul.Fascinated by madness, strange behaviour and the human mind, Jon has spent his life exploring mysterious events and meeting extraordinary people. Collected from various sources (including the Guardian and GQ) Lost at Sea features the very best of his adventures.Frequently hilarious, sometimes disturbing, always entertaining, these fascinating stories of the chaos that lies on the fringe of our daily lives will have you wondering just what we're capable of.
Sequential Drawings: The New Yorker Series (Pantheon Graphic Novels)
Sequential Drawings gathers together more than a decade of McGuire's witty and endlessly inventive spots—a veritable short-story collection—each drawing given its own spread, which, in turn, assures for the reader the experience of surprise and delight that the drawings unfailingly deliver. Richard McGuire's first series of "spot" drawings debuted in The New Yorker in February 2005 for the magazine's 80th anniversary issue. Spot drawings, scattered among the magazine's text, had been a long-running feature of The New Yorker, and over the years, many artists had contributed them. But McGuire was the first to conceive them as a sequence, and his drawings were something altogether new: deceptively simple images that imbued the series with movement and narrative, telling their own unexpected stories.
Skipping Towards Gomorrah: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Pursuit of Happiness in America
In Skipping Towards Gomorrah, Dan Savage eviscerates the right-wing conservatives as he commits each of the Seven Deadly Sins himself (or tries to) and finds those everyday Americans who take particular delight in their sinful pursuits. Among them: Greed: Gamblers reveal secrets behind outrageous fortune. Lust: "We're swingers!" - you won't believe who's doing it. Anger: Texans shoot off some rounds and then listen to Dan fire off on his own about guns, gun control, and the Second Amendment. Combine a unique history of the Seven Deadly Sins, a new interpretation of the biblical stories of Sodom and Gomorrah, and enough Bill Bennett, Robert Bork, Pat Buchanan, Dr. Laura, and Bill O'Reilly bashing to more than make up for their incessant carping, and you've got a very provocative book.
Smithsonian Treasures of American History
Kendrick, Kathleen M.
The National Museum of American History--our country's largest history museum and one of the Smithsonian's most visited--preserves three million objects that capture the American story. From this vast collection, curators have handpicked more than 150 of the Museum's most valued and amazing treasures--from the hat Lincoln wore the night he was assassinated to Jacqueline Kennedy's inaugural gown and Dorothy's ruby slippers; from Alexander Graham Bell's telephone to Edison's light bulb and Albert Einstein's pipe; from an early box of Crayolas to one of the oldest pairs of Levi's. Four separate sections devoted to "Creativity and Innovation," "American Biography," "National Challenges," and "American Identity" reveal fascinating juxtapositions and startling connections on every page. This visual cornucopia of the material culture of American history reveals the familiar, the famous, and the unexpected at every turn.
Like most Americans, Steve Ettlinger eats processed foods. And, like most consumers, he didn’t have a clue as to what most of the ingredients on the labels mean. So when his young daughter asked, "Daddy, what's polysorbate 60?" he was at a loss - and determined to find out. From the phosphate mines in Idaho to the oil fields in China, Twinkie, Deconstructed demystifies some of the most common processed food ingredients - where they come from, how they are made, how they are used - and why. Beginning at the source (hint: they're often more closely linked to rock and petroleum than any of the four food groups), we follow each Twinkie ingredient through the process of being crushed, baked, fermented, refined, and/or reacted into a totally unrecognizable goo or powder - all for the sake of creating a simple snack cake. An insightful exploration of the modern food industry, if you've ever wondered what you're eating when you consume foods containing mono- and diglycerides or calcium sulfate (the latter a food-grade equivalent of plaster of paris), this book is for you.
The Women Who Made New York
Read any history of New York City and you will read about men. You will read about men who were political leaders and men who were activists and cultural tastemakers. These men have been lauded for generations for creating the most exciting and influential city in the world.But that's not the whole story.The Women Who Made New York reveals the untold stories of the phenomenal women who made New York City the cultural epicenter of the world. Many were revolutionaries and activists, like Zora Neale Hurston and Audre Lorde. Others were icons and iconoclasts, like Fran Lebowitz and Grace Jones. There were also women who led quieter private lives but were just as influential, such as Emily Warren Roebling, who completed the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge when her engineer husband became too ill to work.Paired with striking, contemporary illustrations by artist Hallie Heald, The Women Who Made New York offers a visual sensation--one that reinvigorates not just New York City's history but its very identity.
Best. Movie. Year. Ever.: How 1999 Blew Up the Big Screen
From a veteran culture writer and modern movie expert, a celebration and analysis of the movies of 1999—arguably the most groundbreaking year in American cinematic history.In 1999, Hollywood as we know it exploded: Fight Club. The Matrix. Office Space. Election. The Blair Witch Project. The Sixth Sense. Being John Malkovich. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. American Beauty. The Virgin Suicides. Boys Don’t Cry. The Best Man. Three Kings. Magnolia. Those are just some of the landmark titles released in a dizzying movie year, one in which a group of daring filmmakers and performers pushed cinema to new limits—and took audiences along for the ride. Freed from the restraints of budget, technology (or even taste), they produced a slew of classics that took on every topic imaginable, from sex to violence to the end of the world. The result was a highly unruly, deeply influential set of films that would not only change filmmaking, but also give us our first glimpse of the coming twenty-first century. It was a watershed moment that also produced The Sopranos; Apple’s Airport; Wi-Fi; and Netflix’s unlimited DVD rentals.Best. Movie. Year. Ever. is the story of not just how these movies were made, but how they re-made our own vision of the world. It features more than 130 new and exclusive interviews with such directors and actors as Reese Witherspoon, Edward Norton, Steven Soderbergh, Sofia Coppola, David Fincher, Nia Long, Matthew Broderick, Taye Diggs, M. Night Shyamalan, David O. Russell, James Van Der Beek, Kirsten Dunst, the Blair Witch kids, the Office Space dudes, the guy who played Jar-Jar Binks, and dozens more. It’s the definitive account of a culture-conquering movie year none of us saw coming…and that we may never see again.
Death Punch'd: Surviving Five Finger Death Punch's Metal Mayhem
From the cofounder of Five Finger Death Punch, a fascinating inside account of one of the most successful heavy-metal bands of the past decade, and a revealing personal journey through the wild highs and terrifying lows of the rock and roll lifestyle - a wry and rollicking tale of music, addiction, and recovery.Hailed by the New York Times as one of the most unexpectedly consistently popular bands on the rock charts, Five Finger Death Punch has become the new heavyweight champ of the metal scene. In this high-energy memoir, Jeremy Spencer, the band’s cofounder and drummer, takes us onstage and behind the scenes, on tour and into the studio to tell the band’s story and his own.Death Punch’d is a detailed in-depth account of the group’s origins and influences, as well as the infighting and tensions that, when channeled properly, result in the music fans love. It is also the hard-charging, laugh-out-loud tale of how a mischievous boy rose from small-town Indiana to rock royalty - and how he nearly destroyed it all for a good time.Told in his unique, self-deprecating voice, filled with his twisted and humorous take on living the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll dream turned nightmare, and including dozens of photos, Death Punch’d is a lively, no-holds-barred ride and an inspiring cautionary tale that offers lessons for us all.
Last Night at the Viper Room: River Phoenix and the Hollywood He Left Behind
At the dawn of the 1990s, a new crew of leading men--Johnny Depp, Nicolas Cage, Keanu Reeves, and Brad Pitt--was rocketing toward stardom. River Phoenix, however, stood in front of the pack. But behind Phoenix's talent and beautiful public face was a young man who had been raised in a cult by nonconformist parents, who was burdened with supporting his family from a young age, and who eventually succumbed to addiction, dying of an overdose in front of the Viper Room, West Hollywood's storied club, at twenty-three. Last Night at the Viper Room is part biography, part cultural history of the 1990s, and part celebration of a Hollywood icon gone too soon. Full of interviews from his fellow actors, directors, friends, and family, Last Night at the Viper Room shows the role River Phoenix played in creating the place of the actor in our modern culture and the impact his work still makes today.
Rebel Talent: Why It Pays to Break the Rules at Work and in Life
Do you want to follow a script — or write your own story? Award-winning Harvard Business School professor Francesca Gino shows us why the most successful among us break the rules, and how rebellion brings joy and meaning into our lives.Rebels have a bad reputation. We think of them as troublemakers, outcasts, contrarians: those colleagues, friends, and family members who complicate seemingly straightforward decisions, create chaos, and disagree when everyone else is in agreement. But in truth, rebels are also those among us who change the world for the better with their unconventional outlooks. Instead of clinging to what is safe and familiar, and falling back on routines and tradition, rebels defy the status quo. They are masters of innovation and reinvention, and they have a lot to teach us.Francesca Gino, a behavioral scientist and professor at Harvard Business School, has spent more than a decade studying rebels at organizations around the world, from high-end boutiques in Italy’s fashion capital, to the World’s Best Restaurant, to a thriving fast food chain, to an award-winning computer animation studio. In her work, she has identified leaders and employees who exemplify “rebel talent,” and whose examples we can all learn to embrace.Gino argues that the future belongs to the rebel — and that there’s a rebel in each of us. We live in turbulent times, when competition is fierce, reputations are easily tarnished on social media, and the world is more divided than ever before. In this cutthroat environment, cultivating rebel talent is what allows businesses to evolve and to prosper. And rebellion has an added benefit beyond the workplace: it leads to a more vital, engaged, and fulfilling life.Whether you want to inspire others to action, build a business, or build more meaningful relationships, Rebel Talent will show you how to succeed — by breaking all the rules.
Red Card: How the U.S. Blew the Whistle on the World's Biggest Sports Scandal
The definitive, shocking account of the FIFA scandal—the biggest international corruption case of recent years, spearheaded by US investigators, involving dozens of countries, and implicating nearly every aspect of the world’s most popular sport, soccer, including its biggest event, the World Cup.
When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: A Hip-Hop Feminist Breaks It Down
A new voice of the hip-hop generation speaks out about the reality of being a black woman in America today. In this fresh, funky, and ferociously honest book, award-winning journalist Joan Morgan bravely probes the complex issues facing African-American women in today's world: a world where feminists often have not-so-clandestine affairs with the most sexist of men; where women who treasure their independence often prefer men who pick up the tab; and where the deluge of baby-mothers and baby-fathers reminds black women who long for marriage that traditional nuclear families are a reality for less than 40 percent of the African-American population.
90s Bitch: Media, Culture, and the Failed Promise of Gender Equality
To understand how we got here, we have to rewind the VHS tape. 90s Bitch tells the real story of women and girls in the 1990s, exploring how they were maligned by the media, vilified by popular culture, and objectified in the marketplace. Trailblazing women like Hillary Clinton, Anita Hill, Marcia Clark, and Roseanne Barr were undermined. Newsmakers like Monica Lewinsky, Tonya Harding, and Lorena Bobbitt were shamed and misunderstood. The advent of the 24-hour news cycle reinforced society's deeply entrenched sexism. Meanwhile, marketers hijacked feminism and poisoned girlhood for a generation of young women.Today, there are echoes of 90s “bitchification” nearly everywhere we look. To understand why, we must revisit and interrogate the 1990s—a decade in which female empowerment was twisted into objectification, exploitation, and subjugation.Yarrow’s thoughtful, juicy, and timely examination is a must-read for anyone trying to understand 21st century sexism and end it for the next generation.
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