Welcome to this week’s edition of our Friday Quality Linkage column. Please enjoy this week’s collection of interesting and entertaining links. Brew a fresh cup of coffee, find a comfortable place, and relax.
Okay, there’s very slim chance any of our readers would have missed this news by now, but just in case anyone out there has been living under a rock… The second official teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been released. To say that we’ve been freaking out since yesterday afternoon would be a gross understatement.
Pete Docter — director of such Pixar films as Monsters, Inc. and Up — shares with Disney Insider how his daughter Elie inspired the story behind upcoming film Inside Out:
He talked about how outgoing and silly she was as a child, the friendly sort of girl who would introduce herself to strangers without fear: “Hi, I’m Elie! What’s your name?” At age 11, however, Pete observed that Elie’s “childhood joy took a vacation.” As he reflected on the changes that every parent must see in their growing children, he couldn’t help but wonder what was going on in inside her head, and thus, the world of Inside Out was born.
On a related note, Disney/Pixar just released a new clip from the film that has me even more excited to see it when it hits theaters:
Earlier this week, I wrote about a lovely leather satchel, which led to me discovering the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi. It goes something like this:
Pared down to its barest essence, wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature, of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death. […] It celebrates cracks and crevices and all the other marks that time, weather, and loving use leave behind. It reminds us that we are all but transient beings on this planet-that our bodies as well as the material world around us are in the process of returning to the dust from which we came.
There’s an aching poetry in things that carry this patina, and it transcends the Japanese. We Americans are ineffably drawn to old European towns with their crooked cobblestone streets and chipping plaster, to places battle scarred with history much deeper than our own. We seek sabi in antiques and even try to manufacture it in distressed furnishings. True sabi cannot be acquired, however. It is a gift of time.
I have previously heard the folks at Saddleback Leather express a similar philosophy about leather, but I never knew of any term for such feelings. Now I am aware, and I have a feeling this knowledge will impact my worldview in subtle ways over time.
Speaking of imperfections, a few months ago Sean McCabe published an article — which included the video above — encouraging those of us in the creative world to be okay with releasing “90% perfect” work sometimes. To wit: It’s better to release something than obsess over details to the point we quit in frustration when it doesn’t meet our internal standards.
If your idea of the perfect workout is being able to curl a 50 lb dumbbell and you’re not yet strong enough to pick it up, how do you get closer to that goal? You can’t just keep attempting to curl the 50 lb weight and when you can’t even make it budge and saying, “Well, I guess I’m not going to work out until I can someday do this 50 lb weight.”
In this excerpt, titled Lazy: A Manifesto, Kreider humorously speaks out against our modern society’s addiction to busyness:
Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day. […] I can’t help but wonder whether all this histrionic exhaustion isn’t a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn’t matter.
I’m reminded of Bertrand Russell’s controversial essay, In Praise of Idleness:
[Leisure] contributed nearly the whole of what we call civilization. It cultivated the arts and discovered the sciences; it wrote the books, invented the philosophies, and refined social relations. Even the liberation of the oppressed has usually been inaugurated from above. Without the leisure class, mankind would never have emerged from barbarism.
…and David Cain’s piece, Working For the Man Should Be a Last Resort:
According to my critics, even if you find your standard weekday boring, painful or unfulfilling, you ought to embrace it, simply because a third-world coal miner would kill for your benefits package. When so many have so little, attempting to escape a situation in which you can reliably feed yourself and fund a retirement could only be an act of the utmost ingratitude.
A minority of us believe the opposite is true — that escaping from an unfulfilling mainstream lifestyle isn’t a moral failing, but rather a moral imperative. It’s precisely because we have all the necessary freedoms at our fingertips (and because others don’t) that spending our lives in the stable isn’t just foolish, but wrong. To remain, voluntarily, in a life where your talents are wasted and your weekdays are obstacles is to be humble in all the wrong ways.
While I’m sure some readers will disagree with these essays entirely (I would never presume otherwise about anything I link in these columns), perhaps they will at least provide some food for thought for everyone this weekend.
Jason Kottke recently dug up several interesting links related to the specialized visual memory of famous footballers like Lionel Messi:
Judging by interviews, neither Wayne Rooney or Lionel Messi seems like the smartest tool in the shed, but they both possess a keen mind for football as Simon Kuper explains. Messi, who appears to listlessly sandbag his way through the early part of matches, is actually using the time to size up his opponent:
It was a puzzling sight. The little man was wandering around, apparently ignoring the ball. The official explained: “In the first few minutes he just walks across the field. He is looking at each opponent, where the guy positions himself, and how their defense fits together. Only after doing that does he start to play.”
Even as a guy who is generally not into watching sports, I find this sort of analysis fascinating.
Can’t sum this project up any better than Jim Coudal:
Ingenious papercut building models by Charles Young. One every day.
Got any suggestions for articles, videos, stories, photographs, and any other links you think we should be posting in our weekly Quality Linkage? Please do let us know on Twitter.