A still from Godard’s Histoire(s) du Cinéma (1988). / Liquid Bonez
The Baffler,  July 8, 2015

Daily Bafflements

A still from Godard’s Histoire(s) du Cinéma (1988). / Liquid Bonez


• The $5 iPhone cover that looks like a gun was unsurprisingly called “a terrible idea” by police, according to the the Times. High demand from nonetheless-undeterred consumers has led shipping to slow and developers to add more features to enhance this “terrible idea,” such as “advertising a Russian roulette app that turns the phone’s screen into a gun barrel, making the phone case part of a game.” (As though Russian roulette wasn’t already an unspoken feature of an imitation gun that you pull out at intervals.) Only one manufacturer, aptly named John Lazarus, “said he would no longer sell it.” 

• According to studies, “vintage” Instagram filters that imitate Kodak and poloroid film make pictures more likely to be viewed. Yet they slot into a tradition of racism by lightening skin: “When director Jean-Luc Godard was sent on an assignment to Mozambique in 1977,” writes Morgan Jenkins in Racked, “he flat-out refused to use Kodak on the grounds that its stock was ‘racist.’ Only when the candy and furniture industries began complaining that they couldn’t accurately shoot dark chocolate and brown wood furniture did Kodak start to improve its technology.”

• Alleged to have been assembled from the skins of 160 donkeys and written in one night by a monk who had entered into a Faustian pact with the devil, the world’s most enormous medieval manuscript sets the bar very high for publications. Full of satanic curses and images of the gluttonous Beelzebub, its range is admirable, containing “everything from practical instructions for exorcisms to seventh-century grammar tips written by Isidore, the scholar-turned saint of Seville.”

• “Hong-Kong battle over innovation lacks innovation,” bemoans the South China Morning Post: “Let’s set up a bureau for more bureaucracy.”


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Further Reading

 January 17

Gary Indiana's Vile Days revisits his Village Voice art column from the 1980s, which found him skewering the art world's grotesque superficiality.

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