Written by

Chris Gonzales


Simon Zhu

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.

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Featured Links

Top: The Temple of Death (a cenotaph for Isaac Newton) by Étienne-Louis BoulléeBottom: The Traveler, Destiny

Top: The Temple of Death (a cenotaph for Isaac Newton) by Étienne-Louis Boullée

Bottom: The Traveler, Destiny

The Impossible Architecture of Video Games »

Last month, Ewan Wilson of Eurogamer wrote a fantastic essay about the weird, cosmic, and dreamlike buildings of video games and the often-centuries-old artists they were inspired by:

There is a saying in architecture that no building is unbuildable, only unbuilt. Structures may be impossible in the here and now, but have the potential to exist given enough time or technological development: a futuristic cityscape, a spacefaring megastructure, the ruins of an alien civilisation. However, there are also buildings that defy the physical laws of space. It is not an issue that they could not exist, but that they should not. Their forms bend and warp in unthinkable ways; dream-like structures that push spatial logic to its breaking point.


If paper liberated minds, the screen can surely open up further possibilities. There’s no shortage of visionary structures within the virtual spaces of video games. These are strange buildings that ask us to imagine worlds radically different to our own.

  + On the subject of cities and video games, Neil Gaiman once had a hidden essay in SimCity 2000 (from 1994) on the personalities of cities: “Don’t ever take a city for granted. After all, it is bigger than you are; it is older; and it has learned how to wait…”

Photo: Katie Harp

Photo: Katie Harp

The Problem of Writing and Money »

Tim Carmody, writing for kottke.org about what it’s like to be a writer who is also poor:

I would not say I am devoted to writing, with my poverty a consequence of that devotion. This entire time, I have simply not known what else to do. I have been writing for my life.

There are a lot of us. We don’t always show it.

If you’ve ever asked someone what they do for a living and they reply “writer” or “blogger”, don’t picture some sort of glamorous lifestyle free of the burdens of society. The truth is often grittier than that.

Jason Kottke himself had this to say about the piece (or rather, Carmody):

One thing I’ve always appreciated about [Tim] is how he tries to be his whole self online & in his work w/o it feeling self-exploitive. Modern society often struggles with what to do with people fully expressing themselves. But trying to express & listen is important.

  + Here’s also Jason Kottke ruminating on the weird permanence of the web and figuring out what to do with old writings of your own that you no longer agree with.

Photo: Christopher Payne for The New York Times

Photo: Christopher Payne for The New York Times

Still At It »

Wonderful portraits by Christopher Payne of The New York Times Magazine, featuring New Yorkers who’ve been doing the same jobs for 50, 60, 70 years — and love them too much to stop:

Founder, Tom’s Sons International Pleating
Garment district, Manhattan
Years in the job: 76

“My mother was doing pleating when I was very, very young. Every chance I get, I am in the factory — I was 6 years old. I have to work. I cannot stay at home. I have to do something. I have to be around people. Someday they ask you: ‘When the pleating is not in fashion, what will you do?’ I do pleating! For me it never goes out, the pleating. Every day I can create a new style.”

Bel-Air: A Fresh Prince Fan Film »

Actor and filmmaker (and podcaster) Jerry Madison stars in this fanmade trailer for a modern remake of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air:

What would happen if Will Smith made The Fresh Prince today? Bel-Air, a story of a kid from Philly whose life got turned upside-down… in 2019.

I would unironically watch this show. Somebody please make it happen.

Miscellaneous Links

  • Here’s one of those things I thought was common sense, and yet thousands of bicyclists have been injured (or worse) due to its negligence by drivers exiting vehicles: the “Dutch Reach”, in which a driver exits the car by reaching for the door with their far hand, which naturally puts them in a position to check if anyone or anything is barreling toward them from behind.

    Ingrain this action in your bones so you don’t cause accidents, especially if you live in a bike-heavy city.

  • What might today’s most famous logos look like in the minimalist style of the Bauhaus movement started a century ago? Well, thanks to 99Designs, you can see for yourself. (I would actually respect Walmart a little if they adopted this logo.)

  • [Video:] From Mashed, the real reason we bake everything at 350°F. #themoreyouknow 💫

  • [Video:] You know that new “Wasteland, Baby!” album by Hozier I recently wrote about? Here he is performing “Almost (Sweet Music)” in an NYC subway. Have fun clapping along to that background rhythm!


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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.