Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

Perhaps then it’s no surprise that the idea of preening on social media makes Ruth Wilson physically recoil. In some respects, Instagram would be useful – somewhere her fanbase could find her smaller projects, for instance. But the very idea fills her with dread. She dramatises an imaginary feed: “Oh, heyyy guys. It’s Ruth Wilson herrre.” Then shudders. “The self is so important on social media, it’s created a very narcissistic society. Everyone is their own famous person; everyone can be the centre of their own world.” She jabs a finger at her phone. “But it isn’t human. It’s a constructed world. It lacks actual connection or feeling.”

What’s more, she’s watched friends become “obsessed. You can’t have a conversation because they’re looking for the next shot. Everything is, ‘What can I put out there?’ When they don’t get hits, they feel low, not validated.” She clicks her tongue at the performative feminism, the performative activism; the fact that everyone rushes to post on national whatever-whatever day. “Nothing is real. I don’t believe any of it. No one has real or strong beliefs. They are just dictated to.”

Quite apart from anything, being a slave to her phone would intrude on the things she loves best – “thinking. Just thinking” is one. She has a “restless mind”. Also, reading. […]

“I think back: brilliant, you made people so uncomfortable they had to leave. I think it’s important to face things you don’t want to see. Because only then will you grow. Only then will you live properly…Art should change the way you think. Art should change your life. Art can save you.” Wilson wants her work to be art. […]

Standing on that hinge between pre- and post-#MeToo was, Wilson says, “extraordinary. To actually witness Hollywood” – she makes a whistling sound – “shift like that.” The most disappointing aspect was the volte-face hypocrisy. “To see the survival instinct. You realise how fickle that industry is. There’s no moral backbone.” Attitudes, habits, the way people spoke changed, yes – but only out of fear of being caught. “People were like, ‘We’re going to have a meeting about how badly we’ve behaved and then we’ll all be fine.’ It blew my mind.

“It made me understand a whole swathe of human behaviour. So many people don’t really believe anything – only what makes them money.” Weinstein knew “how to get people Oscars”, so his behaviour was ignored. “They’re opportunists. You see that. But it makes you sage about what you want, what’s important. Do you want to live in that world? Or would you prefer to be doing something else, like this weird 24-hour play, where you can explore things in a safe environment?” […]

This is her safe environment, among artists who challenge. I’m not surprised that Katharine Hepburn – who won Oscars, but “paid no heed to the awards system” – is one of Wilson’s heroines. “I love her. What a legend.” She didn’t play the Hollywood game? “No. And I’m useless at playing the game. I don’t want to play the game. Like, what game? What does that even mean? That’s my answer. I can’t. I physically can’t.”

— Charlotte Edwardes, ‘So many people don’t believe anything – only what makes them money’: Ruth Wilson on being a Hollywood outsider ‘ (The Guardian · May 6, 2023)

Walking Cross-Town. Or, on the Highway to Hell?

It’s late evening, the sun is setting, the end of a long day. I’m sitting in a Metro North train car on my commute home reflecting on the day. Cool air streams down from the overhead vents.

Summer has arrived in Manhattan, and despite this 23 square mile piece of land being surrounded on all sides by water, the Island can be 10-20° F hotter than it is at home in the suburbs – billions of tons of concrete, steel and asphalt broiling under the late day Sun.

I had read his essay the prior week, and it was still rooting its way into my core, into the marrow of my bones.  I flip open my e-reader to re-read the passages that I have highlighted in George Yancy’s “Is Your God Dead?” where he speaks to leaving our God in our places of worship or in our good intentions.  [Read more…]





“You know, some people say life is short and that you could get hit by a bus at any moment and that you have to live each day like it’s your last. Bullshit. Life is long. You’re probably not gonna get hit by a bus. And you’re gonna have to live with the choices you make for the next fifty years.”

~ Chris Rock, as Richard Cooper in the movie “I Think I Love My Wife


Portrait of Chris Rock: Trending Topics

You must go at it with monastic obsession…

John E. Smith @ strategiclearner is a frequent inspiration stop for me.  Here’s another one of John’s great shares.  Henry Rollins speaks to college students in this clip however I believe his remarks are inspirational to all of us.  He shares an important message that needs to be heard, shared and passed along. It’s worth 5 minutes of your time.  You’ll find the transcript below.

Transcript of Henry Rollins’ remarks:

Young person, you’ll find in your life that sometimes your great ambitions will be momentarily stymied, thwarted, marginalized by those who were perhaps luckier, come from money, where more doors opened, where college was a given–it was not a student loan; it was something that Dad paid for–to where an ease and confidence in life was almost a birthright, where for you it was a very hard climb.

You cannot let these people make you feel that you have in any way been dwarfed or out-classed. You must really go for your own and realize how short life is. You got what you got, so you have to make the most of it. You really can’t spend a whole lot of time worrying about his. You really have to go for your own. If you have an idea of what you want to do in your future, you must go at it with almost monastic obsession, be it music, the ballet or just a basic degree. You have to go at it single-mindedly and let nothing get in your way. You’re young. That’s why you can survive on no sleep, Top Ramen noodles and dental floss and still look good.

All the people you admire, from Mohamed Ali to any politician, they work and work and work. Your president right now is a man who got where he is through very hard work and scholarships, mainly hard work and application and discipline. If these people can do it, why not you? [Read more…]

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