Cultrface is a blog about culture and how it can enrich our lives.

Mangle - The Random LiveJournal Image Generator

But why does LJ have such a strong Russian following? Well, the company was sold to Russian media group SUP Media in 2007 and around half of LiveJournal’s audience are from or around Russia. In fact, Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin had a blog there until recently. It seemed the potential for the platform was squandered as Steven T. Wright surmised for Ars Technica:

But, as many of its former employees attest, LJ ultimately had the opportunity to become one of these “second-generation” social behemoths. Instead, a stubborn userbase and questionable business decisions harried those ambitions.

Mangle’s random image generation captures the essence of Russian life. From memes to old Soviet architecture to NSFW photos, it offers a look into a private country with a rich history. And like we said, there may be some NSFW images so discretion is advised.

Try it for yourself.

Play 3 Video Games Featured On The Simpsons

Rumours of Homer and Marge splitting up were quickly refuted but they sounded believable and caused an outrage (not least because the person who was slated to split them up was a pharmacist voiced by Lena Dunham). While the writers try and get the series back on track, its fans continue to breathe life into Simpsons-related nostalgia.

Developers GumpyFunction have created playable editions of three games that featured in the series, including:

Prizes for anyone who can remember which episodes they come from without having to look them up. It’s a pity Disembowler IV, Bonestorm and Lee Carvallo’s Putting Challenge weren’t included but we can’t expect miracles. For more in-show games, head to the Simpsons Wikia page and check out The Column of All Cosmos’s Fake Simpsons Video Games, Ranked.

(via A.V. Club)

17 Proverbs and Phrases from Jamaican Culture

Jamaican man

Coming from Jamaican heritage, I have been exposed to a plethora of proverbs and phrases from my mother.

And while they may seem like broken English to many outside the Caribbean sphere, they have resonated with me since childhood. Perhaps the most striking characteristic of Jamaican people isn’t the “cool” stereotype the West love to perpetuate but their no-nonsense approach to life lessons. This should come as no surprise given the nation’s history of enslavement and the horrific ordeals suffered by not only the original natives but its “newer” generation from Western Africa.

Below are seventeen proverbs and phrases from Jamaican culture, some of which I live by and have heard in my household from the moment I was lucid enough to understand.

If yu cyaan ‘ear, yu mus’ feel

(If you cannot hear, you must feel)

Put simply, if you don’t heed the warnings of others, you must deal with the consequences. These can be emotional or sometimes physical so be careful!

Let fart be free wherever you be, ‘cos that was the death of poor Mary Lee

This is a silly rhyme my mother often said to me whenever someone broke wind. On a deeper level, it could be interpreted as not holding onto worries or fears or it will cause you harm.

What is joke to yu is deat’ to I!

(What is a joke to you, is death to me!)

Be mindful of who you play jokes on as the recipient could misinterpret your jovial intentions.

Finger never seh “look ‘ere,” ‘im seh “look yonder.”

(The finger never says “look here”, it says “look yonder”)

We never like taking the blame for things or acknowledging we’ve done wrong, but it’s important to do so otherwise we’ll continue to make the same mistakes and never grow.

Peacock hide ‘im foot wen ‘im ‘ear ’bout ‘im tail.

(A peacock hides his feet when he hears about his tail)

Much like above, if our weaknesses are exposed, we look to hide them and feign an aura of strength. It’s okay to be vulnerable at times; it shows you’re human.

Nuh wait till drum beat before yu grine yu axe

(Don’t wait for the drum to beat before you grind your axe)

Always be prepared. Not as punchy as the Scouts’ motto but a useful proverb nonetheless.

Dawg nuh hol ef im ha bone

(The dog does not howl if he has a bone)

You might think bad times in life are more prominent around you when you seek help but the truth is people who are happy and content rarely exclaim their joy. As a society, we moan and complain a lot and make our voices heard rather than being grateful for what we have and saying as such.

Yu cyaan siddung pon cow back n cuss cow ‘kin

(You can’t sit on a cow and insult it’s skin)

Following on from the last proverb, don’t take help from someone and insult them. You’ll soon find people help you less if you’re ungrateful afterwards.

Me come yahd fi drink milk, mi nuh come yahd fi count cow

(I came to drink milk, not count cows)

Similar in ways to “curiosity killed the cat”, don’t worry about details which do not concern you.

Chubble deh a bush, Anancy cyah l’kum a yaad

(There is trouble in the business, and Anancy takes it home.)

Anansi is a spider from West African folk legend and features heavily in Jamaican culture. He is never satisfied with leaving things in their proper place and much the displeasure of his family, he often likes to pillage the places he explores. The moral to learn here is to not concern yourself with things you should leave alone.

Wanti wanti cyaan getti, an’ getti getti noh wanti

(Those who want it can’t get it and those who get it don’t want it)

You tend to find people who want things so desperately can’t get them (at least immediately) and those who get it all the time don’t fully appreciate it when they have it. Two lessons to learn here. Nothing comes before its time and appreciate what you have when you have it.

Poun’ ah fret cyaan pay ownse ah dett

(A pound of fretting can’t pay an ounce of debt)

Worrying will only make your troubles worse and won’t solve anything. Use this time to find a solution. In the words of Bobby McFerrin, “don’t worry, be happy”.

Yuh spread yuh bed haad, yu haffi liddung pan it haad

(If you spread your bed hard, you half to lay down on it hard)

A variation of “you’ve made your bed, now lie in it”. Be accountable for your actions.

Ev’ry dawg hav’ ‘im day, n ev’ry puss ‘im 4 o’clock

(Every dog has his day and every cat his 4 o’clock)

Things might be riding high now, but they won’t always last so don’t laud it over people as the roles could soon be reversed.

Tek whey yuh get tell yu get whey yu want

(Take what you get until you get what you want)

When I was unemployed, this was a regular phrases uttered by my mother and it’ll always ring true. An ideal situation may come to you but not immediately (unless you’re lucky). In the meantime, take another opportunity until that perfect job or situation comes about.

If yu cyaan get turkey, yu haffi satisfy wid Jancro

(If you can’t get turkey, you have to be satisfied with John Crow)

There will be times when you can’t have what you want and you have to settle for what you’re given. More often than not, these times come when you least expect them so, again, be grateful and appreciate what you have while it’s here.

Good frien’ betta dan pocket money

(A good friend is better than money)

Money is a tool, not a saviour. People can provide better assistance than financial aids so if you have the choice of both, consider your options carefully.

The Ad Hominem Fallacy Fallacy

One particular phrase uttered by cocky know-it-alls is “ad hominem” or, in full, “argumentum ad hominem”. They also like to say things in other languages to sound more intellectual.

What is ad hominem?

Ad hominem is a logical fallacy whereby someone tries to undermine a person’s argument by attacking them rather than addressing the argument made.

But those on the losing side tend to throw it around when they’ve been backed into a corner and think they’ve won “something” and ad hominem is being used incorrectly pretty much every time.

Two wrongs don’t make a right

That’s where writer Stephen Bond comes in with his brilliantly written article on the fallacy’s fallacy. Once you’ve read it, you’ll see just how difficult it is to call “ad hominem” and in fact, there’s not much point because you’re arguing on the internet.

Follow the link and read The Ad Hominem Fallacy Fallacy here.

(image via Skepchick.org)

Man submits 52,438-word dissertation without punctuation & passes

However, for one man the latter was one load off his mind. His 52,438-word thesis contained absolutely no punctuation whatsoever. Quite a contrast to the Tyler the Creator thesis we featured a while back.

Patrick Stewart wrote ‘Indigenous Architecture through Indigenous Knowledge’ without any commas, full stops or other such marks for a reason: to raise awareness about the “blind acceptance of English language conventions in academia” as well as making a point about Aboriginal culture and colonialism (his first draft was initially rejected because he wrote it in the Nisga’a language).

“There’s nothing in the (UBC [University of British Columbia] dissertation) rules about formats or punctuation”, Stewart told the National Post. Well played, sir. If only I could have got away with that at university.

Indigenously related: A Native American superhero exhibit at The Heard Museum in Arizona.

(via Time)

The Super Realistic Art of Charles Bierk

His work includes large-scale portraits of his friends that you’d swear were actual photographs. They aren’t. Charles Bierk has been painting since childhood and is the son of late painter David Bierk. Photorealism is one of my favourite branches of art. I’m engrossed by the detail and dedication to every stroke. The longer you look, the more photographic they appear.

My eyes refuse to believe they’re not photographs and that’s the beauty of Bierk’s work. It’s fair to say Canada knows a thing or two about great art.

(via Booooooom, full work can be found at charlesbierk.com)

Jonpaul Douglass - Pizza In The Wild

LA photographer Jonpaul Douglass has worked with the likes of Google, Facebook, and Apple but for this project, entitled Pizza In The Wild, he used the popular dish as the focal point.

As the title suggests, Douglass photographed pepperoni pizzas in different places involving road signs, shire ponies, tanks and his pug. There’s certainly something enchanting about them, especially the pug shots.

Pizza in the Wild is a personal project I started when I first moved to Los Angeles in 2013. It was essentially a product of having the free time to create something purely for fun. I had about 15-20 pizza images up on my Instagram account when it started to get featured all over.. thus kickstarting my creative life in LA. Thank you pizza. 

Jonpaul Douglass’

The idea of uneaten pizza is usually a bad sign in my book but I don’t mind it in this case (and sometimes it’s comical, like in that episode of Breaking Bad.) The inclusion of Jonpaul’s pug is also a cute touch and I’m a sucker for a pug. But who isn’t?

Head over to Jonpaul Douglass’ Pizza In The Wild series on his website.

Superheroes In Native American Culture Explored By Exhibit At Arizona Museum

Superheroes In Native American Culture Explored By Exhibit At Arizona Museum

“Super Heroes: Art! Action! Adventure!” gave children the opportunity to become superheroes of their very own, choosing their special powers and their costume. From there, they embarked on “exciting adventures, including an animal companion interactive experience, a Native video game and other adventures along their ‘super’ journey”.

There are many similarities between the Westernised stories of superheroes – from Batman to Wonder Woman – and tales of Native American legends such as Crazy Horse and Sacajawea, but in many cases the multi-cultural origins are lost amongst the rhetoric of fighting for American justice. Exhibits like these open up new worlds of Native American culture. Heroes and heroines aplenty.

The exhibit is now closed but you can find out more about it on The Heard Museum website.

Madison Moore Gives Lectures on "How to be Beyoncé"

It’s not going to happen but her influence in pop culture is strong enough to warrant emulation. This admiration hasn’t gone unnoticed, however, as Madison Moore, a postdoctoral research associate from King’s College London, has started a public seminar entitled “How to be Beyoncé”. Moore gives tips on how to replicate Beyoncé’s success and delves into her stance within pop culture alongside Moore’s own research.

“I’m all about taking popular culture seriously,” he said. “I believe you can take any pop cultural text and open it up and see what’s happening on the inside.”

Beyoncé related: An essay on why Jaap Kooijman writes about Beyoncé

(via The Telegraph)

A Cheatsheet of Typographic Characters and How To Use Them

Do you know the difference between a hyphen, an en dash, and an em dash? Or when to use single or double quotation marks? If the answer is no, then you’re not alone. Fortunately, Jeremiah Shoaf of Typewolf is at hand to help with this brilliant “cheatsheet” dedicated to those little known typographic characters. The guide features a variety of characters and their respective keyboard shortcuts for Mac and Windows as well as a mini-FAQ for each category.

You can read the full typographic list on the Typewolf website or download the condensed 1-page printable PDF.

(Fact: Did you know the @ symbol is known as an arroba in Spanish and an arobase in French?)

A Thesis Discussing Hip Hop, Skate Culture & Web Culture In Tyler The Creator's Music

Thesis Discussing Hip Hop, Skate Culture & Web Culture In Tyler, The Creator's Music

This one piqued my interest. It relates to the multicultural facets of controversial rapper Tyler, The Creator. The thesis, written by Brazilian producer and musicologist Gustavo Souza Marques, discusses the ways Tyler, the Creator “shifts, but also maintains, some frames of gangsta rap discourse in his use of ‘hip hop mentality, skate culture, nihilism and Web 2.0 platforms to promote his art has made him one of the most prominent hip-hop artists from 21st century'”. That’s a lot. But also very insightful.

Check out the abstract below.

This article came from the homonymous PhD proposal submitted and accepted by Music School of University College Cork (UCC, Ireland) to be started in September 2015 under the guidance of Dr. J.Griffith Rollefson. It aims to point out and discuss the articulations made by rapper, producer, actor and video director Tyler Okonma, known by the stage name Tyler, the Creator, to shift, but also maintain, some frames of gangsta rap discourse. Noticed by his rape fantasies lyrics and ultraviolent shouts, most present in his two first albums, Tyler has been acclaimed for his notable musical talent but criticized for its misogynist themes. Despite this outrageous aspect of its music, his confessional and often self-deprecating lyrics have been a novelty for constant self-pride and powerful hip-hop lyrics. Moreover, it works as a compensation for his aggressiveness since it could be seen as a demonstration of fragility rather than sexual domination. The way he uses hip-hop mentality, skate culture nihilism and Web 2.0 platforms to promote his art has made him one of the most prominent hip-hop artists from the 21st century. Based on related authors on hip-hop topics like gangsta, misogyny, media and racial stereotypes this article discusses the ways in which Tyler, the creator reflects but also denies the most known and commented frames of rap music.

The abstract from Beyond Gangsta: Hip-Hop, Skate Culture and Web Culture in the Music of Tyler, The Creator

Academically related: The man who submitted a 52,438-word essay without punctuation and passed and Madison Moore’s lectures on “How to be Beyoncé”.

It's Not Hip To Be Square: What Is A Hipster Really?

But has it always been that way? Well, the truth is they aren’t the first hipsters to walk the earth.

A quick search of the term “hipster” on Wikipedia brings up two examples: one from “contemporary subculture” and one from “1940s subculture”. By definition, the former relates to the hipsters we know today, described as coming from a “mutating, trans-Atlantic melting pot of styles, tastes and behavior”. From this perspective, the term first came into prominence during the 90s before gaining a new life in the past five years but looking at the term’s previous history in the 1940s, everything changes.

In 1948, American literary critic Anatole Broyard wrote an article called A Portrait of the Hipster where he described the hipster as a “the illegitimate son of the Lost Generation” longing “to be somewhere”. Brossard’s article continued, describing terminology of the hipster such as “jive” – described as “a philosophy of somewhereness”, “solid”, “out of this world, and “drag” amongst others.

Norman Mailer in his essay “The White Negro” described hipsters as “philosophical psychopaths living on the fringe of society” but the crux of the essay depicted them as white people appropriating black culture through their adoption of black styles, vernacular and jazz music as their own as well as their choice of living in abject poverty. He also discussed the idea of hipsters living a life surrounded by death and choosing to disconnect from society with their own brand of existentialism.

Looking at the two produces stark contrasts in definition and subculture but in some cases, there are similarities. There’s a sense that the current hipster (or as I like to call them “fauxhemians”) chooses to look dishevelled and absent from the mainstream culture as do the hipsters of the 40s.

But getting into the nitty-gritty of their motives is where the likenesses branch off. Fauxhemians are more aligned with indie music while hipsters were lovers of cool jazz and the former’s association with organic produce is a unique development. The reason I call them fauxhemians is because their lifestyles seem to be closer to those of the bohos of pre-20th Europe (although they are said to be descendants of the 40s hipster) rather than their appropriating American counterparts.

Their disconnect from mainstream society isn’t related to a life centred around death; rather it seems to be a choice purely in the name of paradoxical individualism, as perfectly depicted on 2000s TV series Nathan Barley. They even have their own brand of racism and sexism, involving “ironic” Kill Whitie Parties and appropriation of Native American headdresses supposedly to satirise political correctness and repeated uses of the terms “bitch” and “slut” amongst others.

Truth be told, it’s a complicated subject to form a complete picture of how the movements are all related and what they truly mean to those involved. But one thing’s for sure – the new hipster isn’t going away any time soon and they’re not quite as cool as their 1940s cousins.

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