Saturday, February 20, 2010

February 20

Continuing this week's (unplanned) theme of international unemployment, here is a piece from the Los Angeles Times on the "Young, educated and jobless in China":,0,4022980.story

Planners believed a rise in college rolls would help China transition from a largely export-driven, low-wage manufacturing economy to a more balanced one populated by upwardly mobile white-collar workers. Undergraduate enrollment quintupled to 20 million students by 2008; last year 6.1 million Chinese earned diplomas, up from 1 million in 1999. But it soon became clear there weren't enough suitable jobs for these freshly minted graduates.

This goes some way towards confirming a suspicion that I have that the world -- not just the United States, not just Europe -- simply isn't creating many new "upwardly mobile" careers. And there is always downward pressure on low-paid grunt work; how long before India and China are too expensive for outsourcing, and that work starts moving toward Indonesia and Nigeria, where you can pay even less? Actually, maybe that is already happening.

Axolotl Roadkill, the as-yet-untranslated novel by Helene Hegemann that I mentioned a few days back because I liked the title, has already become a cause celebre because of plagiarism accusations:

Since there are never enough scientist/artists out there -- there were more in the 18th and 19th centuries, frankly -- we need to pay attention to those like Harold Edgerton, the revolutionary high-speed photographer who captured the unseeable for our eyes. He disclaimed artistic intent, yet his images are beautifully composed, utterly memorable. Edgerton is currently the subject of a show at the Delaware Art Museum. There is a nice selection of "Fast Facts" about him at the bottom of this announcement:

Steve Donoghue at stevereads "love[s] a good biography," and presents nine excellent ones for your reading consideration:

Thanks to a reference at The Rumpus, I recently discovered the ArchDaily blog, and cannot get enough of its posts on exciting new buildings around the world -- "architecture porn," as The Rumpus's Dan Weiss says. Here is an example, the not-yet-built Taiyuan Museum of Art designed by Preston Scott Cohen:

This recital by three singers of late Romantic songs sounds like a very appealing program -- “dissolute, drugged out and, dare I say, horny,” in the words of the accompanist Steven Blier. So many interesting composers were represented -- Mahlers (both Gustav and Alma), Berg, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninoff, Szymanowski, Schreker, Medtner, Wolf, Strauss, Joseph Marx:

And may I self-indulgently say that the tenor, Joseph Kaiser, would have had my complete attention, since he is quite a handsome young chap? (A search at Google Images more than confirms it.)

Among notables born on this date are film directors Robert Altman, Mike Leigh, Claude Miller (France), and Danis Tanovic (Bosnia), conductor Ricardo Chailly, MST3K host Joel Hodgson, "song stylist" (her preferred description) Nancy Wilson, seaman Joshua Slocum, singer/songwriters Kurt Cobain and Buffy Sainte-Marie, Steely Dan member Walter Becker, photographer Ansel Adams, novelists Richard Matheson, Georges Bernanos (France), and William Carleton (Ireland), and actors Brenda Blethyn, Lili Taylor, Lauren Ambrose, Peter Strauss, and Sidney Poitier. An unusual number of celebrants today whose work matters enormously to me! Certainly no one compiling an honest list of representative American artists of the second half of the 20th century could leave off Robert Altman or Kurt Cobain, one artist who happily lived long enough to have what seemed like several careers, another who was just starting his journey and could have shared so much more if the fates had been kinder.

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