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June 27, 2009

Why couldn’t a pop song also contain an enormous, barn-burning guitar solo? Why couldn’t a dance hit verge on Afropop? Why did a creamy ballad about human nature have to sound like humans were singing it? Pop has in no way exhausted all the questions he and Quincy posed.

Michael Died Today: Sasha Frere-Jones: Online Only: The New Yorker

June 25, 2009

This is where everyone I knew first saw the moonwalk, and if you weren’t there or didn’t watch it or maybe weren’t a kid at the time, you cannot imagine what a big deal it was. I was in middle school, and I think we all tried it. You can hear the crowd scream when he does it here — it’s not a scream of recognition, like it would be when he did it later. It’s a scream of shock.

NPR: Michael Jackson: The Moment That Made Him The King Of Pop

June 23, 2009

language shapes the way we think

One obvious consequence of speaking such a language is that you have to stay oriented at all times, or else you cannot speak properly. The normal greeting in Kuuk Thaayorre is “Where are you going?” and the answer should be something like “Southsoutheast, in the middle distance.”

Edge: HOW DOES OUR LANGUAGE SHAPE THE WAY WE THINK? By Lera Boroditsky, my new hero. I’ve long been fascinated by the question, but I had no idea there was a history of debate about this — I was plain shocked to learn that most people thought language does not affect the way we think. It just seems so obvious to me, and I love the research Lera Boroditsky has done to demonstrate the many ways it’s true. See also: NPR: Shakespeare Had Roses All Wrong.