Rankings and Ratings in Our Lives


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I am guilty of this and so are most people these days. Our reliance on ratings and stars to make a decision or a judgment is progressively increasing. Today’s needull looks a little deeper into how the ratings are generated and should we blindly trust them.

On Zomato, a 29-year-old who is a ’13 connoisseur’ (having hit 20,000 points) says, “I am not a food critic. I am a food influencer.” He adds, “When we bloggers and microbloggers go to a restaurant, we are treated like gods. We get 15 dishes on the table, in the hope that we will like one. I am equivalent to five reviewers, so my rating matters more.” In the last year-and-a-half, he has been to more than 600 restaurants in NCR and says that he has two meals out nearly every day.”

The complete article

Nandini Nair — OPEN

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‘Sex and the City’ in Hell


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Based on the novel by Australian writer Liane Moriarty and adapted by David E. Kelley and Jean-Marc Vallée, Big Little Lies portrays a group of women whose privileged lives are, predictably, neither as easy nor as enviable as they might appear. As Madeline, Reese Witherspoon—projecting herself into the world like something shot from a cannon—faces a host of first-world problems: her tense relationship with her ex-husband and his sexy young yoga-instructor wife; her resentful teenage daughter; her sweet but boring second husband; and the resultant frustrations that she passionately channels into a community-theater production of the musical Avenue Q. Her friend Celeste (Nicole Kidman) has given up a law career to raise twin sons and placate her husband Perry (Alexander Skarsgård), a man whose attractiveness and charm conceals the soul of an abusive, controlling psycho.

The complete article

Francine Prose — The New York Review of Books

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When Pixels Collide


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This is one of the interesting experiments which showcase the power of creation and destruction playing out simultaneously at the hands of people. The end result is beautiful.

This was recommended by Ankit.

Last weekend, a fascinating act in the history of humanity played out on Reddit.

For April Fool’s Day, Reddit launched a little experiment. It gave its users, who are all anonymous, a blank canvas called Place.

The rules were simple. Each user could choose one pixel from 16 colors to place anywhere on the canvas. They could place as many pixels of as many colors as they wanted, but they had to wait a few minutes between placing each one.

Over the following 72 hours, what emerged was nothing short of miraculous. A collaborative artwork that shocked even its inventors.

The complete article

Sudoscript

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VERNON SULLIVAN: THE BESTSELLING WRITER WHO DIDN’T EXIST


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This is one of the most interesting needulls that I have come across in a long time. I am truly fascinated by writers who manage to create an authentic persona just on the basis of secondary research.

I Spit On Your Graves marked the emergence of a beautifully corrosive African-American author, given full expression, as Chester Himes later would be, in France, except that, as it turned out, there was no Vernon Sullivan. He didn’t exist. For all its bitterness about race and racism, the novel was the work of a white man, its supposed translator, Boris Vian. And Vian had never even been to the United States. In contrast to his fictional creation, a black man who passes as white, Vian adopted a black persona, and his literary hoax, at least at first, succeeded. French readers thought Vernon Sullivan was real. They didn’t suspect Vian had done more than “translate” and supply the book’s informative preface. But who was Boris Vian exactly, and why had he perpetrated the hoax? What lay behind what now would be rightly called an egregious act of cultural appropriation?

The complete article

Scott Adlerberg — Literary Hub

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Dressing Like Ladies


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Who do you wear your clothes for? For yourself or for others. Do your clothes say something about you. This needull forced me to ponder on these questions.

I’d deliberately, painstakingly crafted A Look. It was one that, I realize now, was perhaps less me and more a good mimic of a Stepford Wife. Once cleaved from me, I reflected on what it meant to dress like an old-fashioned housewife, a proper lady—always exact and constrained. Why did I like it so much? It was an uncomfortable line of inquisition. Part of me was defiant. Said to hell with it. It was my damn body, I could wear whatever I wanted. But I knew that was too easy. I wasn’t dressing passively. I wore vintage, at first, because I wanted that thing women aren’t supposed to want for themselves: to be seen. How much of it was really on my own terms? I worried it didn’t fit with my feminism, whether I could talk myself into believing it did, or whether it even mattered. Donning the clothes of women’s repressive past didn’t mean I supported it, or secretly yearned for it. If women could reclaim the word “bitch,” couldn’t we also reclaim pearl necklaces and lace gloves?

The complete article

Lauren McKeon — Hazlitt

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A Pause in Romance


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These days web series are very popular among youth in India. They speak the right language to connect with youth. Today’s needull looks at how romance is portrayed in these web series and how it reflects on the priorities of young people.

This self-satisfaction is seen at its starkest in Little Things, a web series devoted to the daily life of a young city couple. We watch as Dhruv and Kavya eat out, order in, go to house parties, binge-watch TV shows, and sleep late. Like beloved children, all their needs are met—by the favourite restaurants, the chosen salons, the entertaining friends, the good people at Netflix. So seductive is this vision of a relationship, that we almost forget that it makes a cipher of the couple—the man and the woman. What is exalted here are the restaurants and TV shows, to patronise which seems Dhruv and Kavya’s only reason for getting out of bed. Strikingly, the couple never really praise each another in any of these web series. From the fullness of their hearts, they admire material things. For each other, they have nothing to offer but grudging compliments, or the toning down of complaints. There is never that mutual thanks-giving, which, like flint struck on flint, sets the fire going.

The complete article

Aditya Sudarshan — Open

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How Catwalk Images Propel The Fashion Cycle


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Have you ever thought about why mannequins pose in a certain way? This needull is for you if you ever think of these questions.

But there was more to the mannequin’s pose beyond mere pragmatics. Fashion scholar Caroline Evans asserts that the mannequin’s pose was essentially a modernist phenomenon2 , arising alongside the modernist problem of representation – one that coincided with the rise of cinema.3 In an abstract sense, in Evans’ view, the pose imbued the garment, an essentially static object, with the motions of its wearer, thereby facilitating a dialectic between motion and stasis. By pausing to pose, the model allowed the garment to be captured as a fashion plate; but by gesturing the pose, the fashion plate came to reflect the entire flow of the mannequin’s walk, capturing her like a definitive singular frame in the moving image of film.

The complete article

Edwin Jiang — Vestoj

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