The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusettes opened in 1799 and has been exploring the intersections of art, culture, and technology across various disciplines over its tenure as one of the longest continuously operating museums in the United States. The French artist and composer, Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, created an exhibition that is right at home at the PEM. “From here to Ear" is a composition that utilizes space, sounds, and 70 zebra finches interacting with their surroundings. Learn more about this unique sonic art experimentation from from Céleste himself andTrevor Smith, the Curator of the Present Tense at the PEM. Watch a video featuring Céleste with footage from the exhibition below:
This American Life: Harper High "Five months and two hour-long episodes devoted to telling the story of one inner-city high school in Chicago. Immersive and important storytelling at its best." — Joe Richman, Founder, Radio Diaries
“The press still thinks [global warming] is controversial. So they find the 1% of the scientists and put them up as if they’re 50% of the research results. You in the public would have no idea that this is basically a done deal and that we’re on to other problems, because the journalists are trying to give it a 50/50 story. It’s not a 50/50 story. It’s not. Period.”—Neil deGrasse Tyson, podcast interview (via we-are-star-stuff)
“I think online culture could be vastly improved if people just said “I disagree with you” rather than asking insanely specific “Why do you think…” questions. You don’t want to know the rationale behind my thoughts, you want to tell me what I think is incorrect… which is the sad, modern version of disagreeing.”—(via emilyvgordon)
When you are hurting, there will always be people who find a way to make it about themselves. If you break your wrist, they’ll complain about a sprained ankle. If you are sad, they’re sadder. If you’re asking for help, they’ll demand more attention.
Here is a fact: I was in a hospital and sobbing into my palms when a woman approached me and asked why I was making so much noise and I managed to stutter that my best friend shot himself in the head and now he was 100% certified dead and she made this little grunt and had the nerve to tell me, “Well now you made me sad.”
When you get angry, there are going to be people who ask you to shut up and sit down, and they’re not going to do it nicely. Theirs are the faces that turn bright red before you have a chance to finish your sentence. They won’t ask you to explain yourself. They’ll be mad that you’re mad and that will be their whole reason alone.
Here is a fact: I was in an alleyway a few weeks ago, stroking my friend’s back as she vomited fourteen tequila shots. “I hate men,” she wheezed as her sides heaved, “I hate all of them.”
I braided her hair so it wouldn’t get caught in the mess. I didn’t correct her and reply that she does in fact love her father and her little brother too, that there are strangers she has yet to meet that will be better for her than any of her shitty ex-boyfriends, that half of our group of friends identifies as male - I could hear each of her bruises in those words and I didn’t ask her to soften the blow when she was trying to buff them out of her skin. She doesn’t hate all men. She never did.
She had the misfortune to be overheard by a drunk guy in an ill-fitting suit, a boy trying to look like a man and leering down my dress as he stormed towards us. “Fuck you, lady,” he said, “Fuck you. Not all men are evil, you know.”
“Thanks,” I told him dryly, pulling on her hand, trying to get her inside again, “See you.”
He followed us. Wouldn’t stop shouting. How dare she get mad. How dare she was hurting. “It’s hard for me too!” he yowled after us. “With fuckers like you, how’s a guy supposed to live?”
Here’s a fact: my father is Cuban and my genes repeat his. Once one of my teachers looked at my heritage and said, “Your skin doesn’t look dirty enough to be a Mexican.”
When my cheeks grew pink and my tongue dried up, someone else in the classroom stood up. “You can’t say that,” he said, “That’s fucking racist. We could report you for that.”
Our teacher turned vicious. “You wanna fail this class? Go ahead. Report me. I was joking. It’s my word against yours. I hate kids like you. You think you’ve got all the power - you don’t. I do.”
Later that kid and I became close friends and we skipped class to do anything else and the two of us were lying on our backs staring up at the sky and as we talked about that moment, he sighed, “I hate white people.” His girlfriend is white and so is his mom. I reached out until my fingers were resting in the warmth of his palm.
He spoke up each time our teacher said something shitty. He failed the class. I stayed silent. I got the A but I wish that I didn’t.
Here is a fact: I think gender is a social construct and people that want to tell others what defines it just haven’t done their homework. I personally happen to have the luck of the draw and am the same gender as my sex, which basically just means society leaves me alone about this one particular thing.
Until I met Alex, who said he hated cis people. My throat closed up. I’m not good at confrontation. I avoided him because I didn’t want to bother him.
One day I was going on a walk and I found him behind our school, bleeding out of the side of his mouth. The only thing I really know is how to patch people up. He winced when the antibacterial cream went across his new wounds. “I hate cis people,” he said weakly.
I looked at him and pushed his hair back from his head. “I understand why you do.”
Here is a fact: anger is a secondary emotion. Anger is how people stop themselves from hurting. Anger is how people stop themselves by empathizing.
It is easy for the drunken man to be mad at my friend. If he says “Hey, fuck you, lady,” he doesn’t have to worry about what’s so wrong about men.
It’s easy for my teacher to fail the kids who speak up. If we’re just smart-ass students, it’s not his fault we fuck up.
It’s easy for me to hate Alex for labeling me as dangerous when I’ve never hurt someone a day in my life. But I’m safe in my skin and his life is at risk just by going to the bathroom. I understand why he says things like that. I finally do.
There’s a difference between the spread of hatred and the frustration of people who are hurting. The thing is, when you are broken, there will always be someone who says “I’m worse, stop talking.” There will always be people who are mad you’re trying to steal the attention. There will always be people who get mad at the same time as you do - they hate being challenged. It changes the rules.
I say I hate all Mondays but my sister was born on one and she’s the greatest joy I have ever known. I say I hate brown but it’s really just the word and how it turns your mouth down - the colour is my hair and my eyes and my favorite sweater. I say I hate pineapple but I still try it again every Easter, just to see if it stings less this year. It’s okay to be sad when you hear someone generalize a group you’re in. But instead of assuming they’re evil and filled with hatred, maybe ask them why they think that way - who knows, you might just end up with a new and kind friend.
By telling the oppressed that their anger is unjustified, you allow the oppression to continue. I know it’s hard to stay calm. I know it’s scary. But you’re coming from the safe place and they aren’t. Just please … Try to be more understanding. /// r.i.d (via inkskinned)
I brought one carry-on. Not one plus a “personal item.” There was even enough room for my overcoat, hat, and gloves in my luggage.
That luggage came with me to work. It made more sense to take a cab to the airport and try to sleep there than it did to try to go home, sleep for a bit, and catch a cab in a few hours anyway. We hit the highway and I tapped the imaginary brake pedal in the backseat with my foot. I grew tense as we accelerated by trucks with “Flammable” signs posted on their sides.
Every ticket counter that I could see was closed. I went to the food court in the hopes of finding something to eat. I didn’t feel like sleeping yet. One place was open and, just my luck, they served breakfast all day. Egg and cheese sandwich. That’ll work.
"Can I get an egg and cheese sandwich, please?"
"Ummm…would you not rather have one of these sandwiches?"
It turns out that it is *possible* to get breakfast at any time, but it would require some amount of effort and preparation that is unusual at 2am in an airport. I’m not one to raise a fuss. I’m also not one to get the sandwich in this particular situation.
I lost my appetite looking through the selection of pre-packaged sandwiches. I just grabbed a bottle of juice without really considering what it was.
Did it look wet? Check.
Did it feel cold? Check.
Did it resemble something moderately healthy? Sure.
He rang it up. Despite scanning only one item, our interaction was long enough for me to divulge my destination and rationale behind this trip. I didn’t tell some friends about it or even post about it on Facebook, but I told a stranger at the airport as he was ringing up that $4 juice I didn’t really want .
I found an outlet next to a man sleeping on one of the tables in the food court. I charged my phone and sipped the mango/banana/whatever else juice. People were sleeping on benches, chairs, the floor, and ledges. Nearly everyone was alone.
One exception was a couple who was arguing while coming down the escalator. By this point, I was a participant in the LGA slumber party. I lifted my head from my luggage on the table as they bickered their way to a table near me. The had a funny way of resolving disagreements.
The woman would say something to antagonize the man and he would get out of his chair and storm off towards the escalator. She would start using her phone until he made his way back down the escalator when she hadn’t bothered to pursue him. He would sit down and the cycle repeated. Snap. Retreat. Snap. Retreat. It was as if I was witnessing an exhibition of Cupid’s mediocre yo-yo tricks.
I drifted off for 15 minutes before deciding to go up the escalator again. The TSA lanes were open. I printed my boarding passes and made my way over. Jackets, shoes, hoodies, purses, phones, jewelry, computers, and clothing, accessories, and electronics of all shapes and sizes were removed, stuffed, adjusted, and re-packed. I put one piece of luggage on the rollers followed by one plastic tub containing my boots.
The scan was finished and trouble-free, but I was selected for a random search. Usually I get the pat-down in the random searches. This time they tested my hands for the residue of any nefarious substances. It took about a minute. I saw my luggage and my boots sliding down the conveyor. For some reason, I always think they’ll find something. I was given the all clear.
I found my gate, but kept walking to the Au Bon Pain. It took a few hours, but I grabbed my egg and cheese sandwich and found a seat. More people were streaming in as I finished the sandwich and I began to really notice the sound of luggage rolling around. Most people choose to carry so much on their trips. Most people probably don’t need it all. They could probably cut back and get by without any issues.
Maybe all of the luggage lets us feel prepared. Maybe bringing all of those things along gives us some relief in an uncomfortable place or situation. Maybe the more time we spend packing, the more excited we become about what’s to come.