Brain Pickings

Noam Chomsky Explains the Cold War in 5 Minutes

By:

What the gist of the Cold War can teach us about the nature of international violence, peace, and democracy.

The projects of art photographers notwithstanding, the Cold War was no Wonderland. It was, rather, arguably the most significant nonviolent political conflict in modern history. In this rare footage from a 1985 discussion, Noam Chomsky — one of our era’s greatest living thinkers — explains the whole complex phenomenon of the Cold War in just over five minutes, without resorting to reductionism and oversimplification.

Through history, there has been no correlation between the internal freedom of a society and its violence and aggression abroad. For example, England was the freest country in the world in the 19th century, and in India it acted like the Nazis did. The United States is the most open — politically speaking, forget any social issues — and freest society in the world, and it also has the most brutal record of violence and aggression in the world.”

For an intelligent history of the Cold War, you won’t go wrong with The Great Cold War: A Journey Through the Hall of Mirrors by former British diplomat Gordon Barrass, and for a more controversial take, see David Hoffman’s Pulitzer-winning The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy, the first comprehensive account of how the Cold War arms race finally came to an end and what its legacy means for today’s concerns about nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.

Donating = Loving

Bringing you (ad-free) Brain Pickings takes hundreds of hours each month. If you find any joy and stimulation here, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner:





You can also become a one-time patron with a single donation in any amount:





Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s what to expect. Like? Sign up.

Savoy Cocktail Book: Retro Recipes for Drinks from the 1920s-1930s

By:

Derby Fizzes, Gin Daisies, Harvard Coolers, and other Prohibition-era treats for your next dinner party.

For all its blessings and fascinations, retromania is easily at its most delicious when it comes to vintage food and drink, from the cocktails of Mad Men to yesteryear’s bizarre food concoctions. But there’s hardly a better way to add some vintage class to your life than with the Savoy Cocktail Book — a compendium of drink recipes from the 1920s and 30s when Prohibition-dodging Americans visited London’s iconic Savoy bar for “tea-dances” and “mixed drinks” shaken and stirred by iconic American barman Harry Craddock, who invented the White Lady and popularized the Dry Martini. Originally published in 1930, the book features 750 of Craddock’s most beloved recipes, from Slings to Smashes, Fizzes to Flips, alongside stunning art-deco illustrations that capture the era’s elegance and sophistication.

Currently out of print but snaggable used on Amazon, the Savoy Cocktail Book is at once a priceless time-capsule of a long-gone era and a powerful weapon for impressing your guests at your next dinner party.

via How To Be A Retronaut

Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter and people say it’s cool. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s an example. Like? Sign up.

Mod Odyssey: How The Beatles Revolutionized Animation in 1968

By:

From Homer to John Lennon, or what the “psychedelic 60s” can teach us about creativity in animation.

Animated music videos are about as common today as photos of cats on the internet and, tragically often, not that much more original. But there was a time when they were a pinnacle of creative innovation, breaking entirely new ground. Earlier this year, we looked at the work of 5 early animation pioneers who changed the course of animated storytelling, and today we turn to the intersection of film and music with Mod Odyssey, a fascinating featurette on the making of The Beatles’ groundbreaking 1968 animated feature film, Yellow Submarine. More than a decade before Pixar, the film was not only a technical feat of animation execution but also a seminal work in bringing more attention to animation as a serious art form, both for audiences and for creators.

For the first time in screen history, extremely real and enormously famous people were going to be animated into a feature film.”

‘Yellow Submarine’ breaks new ground in the art of animation. Just as Swift and Carroll changed the history of literature, as Chagall and Picasso brought new life to art, The Beatles are revitalizing the art of animation. It’s a truly mod world, where medium and message meld — the new art of the psychedelic 60s.”

For more on animating Lennon, don’t forget the excellent and timeless I Met The Walrus, recorded the year after Yellow Submarine and animated 39 years later.

via Dangerous Minds

Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter and people say it’s cool. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s an example. Like? Sign up.