Alan Jacobs


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The price of liberty from squirrels is eternal vigilance.

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Wonderful meal tonight at Segovia Wine Bar — a tiny family-owned place in downtown Waco. If you’re in the area, do please check them out.

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Charlie Warzel:

I put that question — why should people trust you? — to the pair at the end of my interview. [Arianna] Huffington said that the difference with this AI health coach is that the technology will be personalized enough to meet the individual, behavioral-change needs that our current health system doesn’t. [Sam] Altman said he believes that people genuinely want technology to make them healthier: “I think there are only a handful of use cases where AI can really transform the world. Making people healthier is certainly one of them,” he said. Both answers sounded earnest enough to my ear, but each requires certain beliefs.

“Earnest”? They didn’t answer the question! Good grief, Charlie. Follow up.

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Matt Milliner: “Never trust an image — or a savior — without wounds.”

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Escaramuza charra sounds, and looks, amazing.

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On Hume’s History of England as literature.

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I love seeing that this style of SF cover art — so familiar to me from the paperbacks of my 1970s youth — isn’t yet dead.

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And perhaps the most contemporary of all, this 1931 portrait of Kay Francis, who, though largely forgotten today, was a huge star at the time.

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But Steichen could also do more casual portraits, as in this wonderful shot of G. B. Shaw — an early one.

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Sometimes he would use this formal-but-not-theatrical mode for Hollywood stars, as in this portrait of that paragon of elegantly sexy manhood, Gary Cooper.

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And here’s Thomas Mann.

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For literary figures, Steichen would stage his portraits formally, but not theatrically. Here’s W. B. Yeats.

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Or this one of Gloria Swanson. (“Mr. de Mille … I’m ready for my closeup!")

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Or this one of Charlie Chaplin.

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But Steichen is most famous for his portraits, some of which are theatrically staged, almost a tableau vivant, like this one of Fred Astaire.

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If I had to name the greatest photographer of all time, I’d say Henri Cartier-Bresson. But close behind would be Edward Steichen, who is, I believe, the most versatile photographer of all time. One of his most famous photos is this one, of the Flatiron Building in Manhattan.

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I updated my post on England’s non-football. ⚽️

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Best use ever of the dramatically overplayed “Mr. Brightside”?

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All praise to Sir Ollie of Torquay!! 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿⚽️

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Here in the second half against 🇳🇱, 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 has gone back to non-football. The announcers are flipping through their in-case-of-nothingness talking points. ⚽️

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In the Dictionary of National Biography, Davidson is identified as “Church of England clergyman and circus performer.” The account of his adventures in Ronald Blythe’s The Age of Illusion is brilliant.

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Sometimes you come across people whose stories you think simply must be made up — but aren’t. Ladies and gentlemen, please meet Harold Davidson, the Rector of Stiffkey

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This young fella struggled a bit last year, but our rainy late spring has done wonders for him.

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pointillisme

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Jim Groom: “The archaeology of knowledge on the web over the last 25 years is dominated by the gravitational darkness of broken link errors created by individuals and organizations that fail to understand, or care about, the cultural importance a link might represent.” Too true.