The FADER Weekend Reading List
The glamorous leader of a UFO cult, a brain-hacking neurologist, and the doomsday clock are the stars of this week’s roundup.
Marie Lodi, Racked
Beyond the fascinatingly kooky surface of the Unarius (UNiversal ARticulate Interdimensional Understanding of Science) cult is an "impressive DIY ethic." In this piece for Racked, Marie Lodi went down to El Cajon, CA to check out the Unarian headquarters and explore the weird, kitschy fashion of the group's late leader Uriel (who Lodi says is "like Endora from Bewitched crossed with Glinda the Good Witch—a septuagenarian goddess in glittery gowns and candy-colored wigs"). What a world!
Ruth Saxelby, The FADER
Performance art duo Monica Mirabile and Sigrid Lauren are FlucT—two women in two bodies exploring what it means to have a body and "fluctuating in and out of emotions, in and out of definitions, and in and out of ideas about ourselves and the world around us," as Mirabile put it. "Looking and being looked at, and the ways in which these two distinct acts bind us to both ideas and one another, is what underscores FlucT’s art," Saxelby writes. Accompanying the story are tweaky, glitchy GIFs of Mirabile and Lauren's movements. Experience this ASAP.
Laurent Fintoni, The FADER
In her most recent Signal Boost column, Laurent Fintoni tells us about Afro-Cuban poet and activist Aja Monet and her partner umi selah, who are opening the Smoke Signals studio in Miami this February. Fintoni asks the question, "In an age when the day-to-day has become life or death for many Americans facing systems that are inherently, and too often silently, discriminatory, where does art end and activism begin?" and Monet and selah answer.
Daniel Engber, Wired
This is a truly, truly nutso story about a neurologist named Phil Kennedy who, after dedicating his life to building cyborgs and finding a way to digitize human thoughts, decided to use his own brain for the experiment. His goal was to crack the neural code of human speech by implanting electrodes in his brain. What unfolds after Kennedy wakes up from his 2014 surgery includes an inability to form or write words, but even that didn't stop his determination to achieve his dream of computerizing thoughts. Read it to believe.
Amos Barshad, The FADER
With a little help from historian and author of author of The World Hitler Never Made: Alternate History and the Memory of Nazism, Gavriel D. Rosenfeld, The FADER's Amos Barshad dives deep into what the deal is with fictional/alternate narratives of Hitler and Nazi history. Get really into it with him, from 1940s comic books up until this year's Amazon series (based on a Phillip K. Dick novel) Man In The High Castle.
Lawrence M. Krauss, The New Yorker
You may have heard talk of The Doomsday Clock hasn't moved this year, staying right where it was at three minutes to midnight. "In the past sixty-nine years," Krauss explains, "the clock has been changed twenty-two times, giving the world an easy way to gauge the likelihood that our species will destroy itself." So, why is it cause for concern that the clock's hands haven't been moved? Well, for one, Krauss writes, "The last time the clock was this close to midnight was in 1983—the height of the Cold War." Krauss is on the committee that decides whether the Doomsday Clock's hands move backward or forward or not at all, so he's qualified as hell to tell us about it. Basically, if we (humans) don't change the way we think about the world (and each other), we're literally doomed.