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Biographer Walter Isaacson explains what made Leonardo da Vinci a genius - The Globe and Mail
RUSSELL SMITH
SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
PUBLISHED DECEMBER 4, 2017

What we can learn from Leonardo constitutes the peculiar last chapter of this otherwise sober and cautious biography. At its end Isaacson moves from his role as historian into something closer to self-help guru. He lists a set of Leonardish attributes for us to emulate that sound a lot like advice to tech startups: "Retain a childlike sense of wonder… Think visually… Avoid silos… Collaborate…" Add this to repeated comparisons to Steve Jobs, a previous biographee of Isaacson's, and one is reminded that this is a very American biography (Isaacson was managing editor of Time magazine for years), one that sees "creativity" as primarily a corporate asset.
Russell_Smith  books  biographies  genius  Leonardo_da_Vinci  Walter_Isaacson  Steve_Jobs  polymaths  foxes  hedgehogs  renaissance  cross-disciplinary  cross-pollination  generalists  curiosity  creativity  collaboration  silo_mentality 
december 2017 by jerryking
Are book publishers blockbustering themselves into oblivion? - The Globe and Mail
RUSSELL SMITH
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Nov. 28 2014

Whatever they mean, they certainly cannot mean a shrinking talent pool.

So they must mean that they are not, in fact, interested in the real talent pool, or in a wide variety of literature. What they are looking for are bestsellers, which tend to be particularly narrow kinds of books. Most of the gargantuan advances that have made headlines in the U.S. recently are for science-fiction and fantasy books. Every publisher is looking for exactly the same book – basically, they are looking for The Hunger Games again and again. When they say “quality,” they mean “mass appeal.”...But in concentrating on bestsellers to the detriment of other literature, the publishers are simply following the model of all the entertainment industries. Providing an eclectic variety of entertainments to please a diverse audience, as the free Internet can do, just hasn’t been lucrative for the conglomerates that own film studios and recording labels. They are in constant search of blockbusters.

As they grow larger and concentrate their efforts and investments on massive, sure-fire hits – the next Marvel movie, the next Taylor Swift album – the cultural landscape seems paradoxically smaller. It becomes even more difficult to get an indie film made – the huge projects suck the oxygen (financing, distribution, media coverage) out of the biosphere.

In following this larger trend, book publishers are shortsighted. By reducing their involvement in original and challenging art, they relinquish literary fiction to the tiny presses and online magazines, and so become artistically irrelevant and, in the long run, uninteresting even as suppliers of entertainment. Pursuing mainstream popularity with ever-larger sums of money is ultimately self-destructive....Yes, such high-mindedness is all very well for someone who doesn’t have to keep a money-losing, employment-providing company afloat. And Le Guin’s vague rejection of capitalism is not a solution to the immediate problems facing publishers. But her point about taking the long view – about concentrating on valuable literature for the sake of the industry’s general health – is surely a practical one as well.
books  publishing  Russell_Smith  literature  blockbusters  art  short-sightedness  conglomerates  indie  winner-take-all  Amazon  writers  long-term  self-destructive  talent_pools 
november 2014 by jerryking
What kind of scent should a man wear? - The Globe and Mail
RUSSELL SMITH
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Jul. 30 2014

Summery scents tend to be lighter – that is, they stick more to the citrusy-soapy side than to the musk-spice-leather side. Your body’s natural odour will be stronger in hot weather, so you need to lighten up the scent. Scent will smell stronger in humid weather, too.

Here’s a new one that I really like: Michael Kors For Men, which will be on sale at The Bay in September. It’s actually constructed of spicy and woody scents, including barely perceptible patchouli and a little musk, that are generally thought to be earthy or wintery, but I have found it to be light enough – and noticeably soapy – for warm-weather wear.
Russell_Smith  fragrances  mens'_clothing  personal_care_products  personal_grooming  smell 
august 2014 by jerryking
Is it okay for a man to wear ankle boots with a suit? - The Globe and Mail
RUSSELL SMITH
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, May. 14 2014
shoes  mens'_clothing  stylish  Russell_Smith 
may 2014 by jerryking
Artists struggle to survive in age of the blockbuster
Nov. 28 2013 | The Globe and Mail | RUSSELL SMITH.
In the artistic economy, the Internet has not lived up to its hype. For years, the cybergurus liked to tell us about the “long tail”....People in publishing bought this, too....In fact, the blockbuster artistic product is dominating cultural consumption as at no other time in history....The book Blockbusters: Hit-making, Risk-taking, and the Big Business of Entertainment, by business writer Anita Elberse, argues that the days of the long tail are over in the United States. It makes more sense, she claims, for entertainment giants to plow as much money as they can into guaranteed hits than to cultivate new talent...There are big winners and there are losers – the middle ground is eroding. Publishers are publishing less, not more. Everybody awaits the fall’s big literary-prize nominations with a make-us-or-break-us terror. Every second-tier author spends an hour every day in the dismal abjection of self-promotion – on Facebook, to an audience of 50 fellow authors who couldn’t care less who just got a nice review in the Raccoonville Sentinel....What does any artist do in the age of the blockbuster? Nothing, absolutely nothing, except keep on doing what you like to do. Global economic changes are not your problem (and are nothing you can change with a despairing tweet). Think instead, as you always have, about whether or not you like semicolons and how to describe the black winter sky. There is something romantic about being underground, no?
Anita_Elberse  artists  blockbusters  books  copyright  creative_class  creative_economy  creative_types  entertainment  entertainment_industry  hits  niches  publishing  piracy  Russell_Smith  The_Long_Tail  winner-take-all 
december 2013 by jerryking
One final ignominy for a pioneer of abstract art
Sep. 26 2013 | - The Globe and Mail | RUSSELL SMITH

We Canadians shouldn’t be shocked – we ourselves have little concept of placing historical markers of cultural grandeur in our cities. We don’t name our streets after our artists, even when a great artist lived there. We don’t even put up plaques on their former houses. Our municipal governments have no interest in turning our dull concrete grids into a series of references to fantasy – as the streets of Paris and London, for example, are; there, you can walk and meet ghosts of both authors and fictional characters; not only can you see who died of consumption in a garret upstairs, but also whose character did. These plaques lay a fictional city over a real one. (Oh well, you might say, Canada is not famous for its art anyway. And I would say, yes, and this is why.)
Russell_Smith  art  Russia  ideacity  culture  history  overlay_networks  fantasy  wayfinding  artists  cities  virtual_worlds  cityscapes  iconic  street_furniture  landmarks  metaphysical  London  Paris  imagination 
september 2013 by jerryking
Maybe corporate guys should mind their business
November 17, 2001 | G&M |Russell Smith

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/maybe-corporate-guys-should-mind-their-business/article1034666/

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1FOmbxn4lK9kAF2nPKH151NSwTik0aFKNGvxX8OSIY6k/edit

Business people should be way more humble and not act as know-it-alls when dealing with artists and academics.....A blind faith in the efficiency of commerce goes hand in hand with a faith in technology.
Russell_Smith  public_speaking  platitudes  critical_thinking  skepticism  contrarians  speeches  artists  academia  sponsorships  humility  hubris  businessman_fallacy 
march 2013 by jerryking
Can a man be fashionable in a tuque?
Jan. 05 2013 | The Globe and Mail | Russell Smith.
Russell_Smith  hats  winter  mens'_clothing 
january 2013 by jerryking
Jonah Lehrer: Brilliant. Successful. Impossibly handsome. Liar
Jul. 31 2012 | - The Globe and Mail | Russell Smith.

Lehrer has joined the ranks of the disgraced: the high-profile journalists who make stuff up or plagiarize, the Stephen Glasses and the Jayson Blairs.
Russell_Smith  Jonah_Lehrer 
august 2012 by jerryking
Donna Summer, German artist
Russell Smith

From Thursday's Globe and Mail

Last updated Wednesday, May. 23, 2012

Russell Smith

From Thursday's Globe and Mail

Last updated Wednesday, May. 23, 2012
Russell_Smith  tributes  disco  Germany  obituaries 
may 2012 by jerryking
How art’s vision heals when eyesight fails - The Globe and Mail
Russell Smith: On Culture
How art’s vision heals when eyesight fails
From Thursday's Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2011

One. Architecture aids healing.
Two. There is not much entertainment for the sightless
Three. I call bullcrap on audio books.
Russell_Smith  art  architecture  blindness 
november 2011 by jerryking

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