Critical Linking: October 18, 2015

Kapell has leaned into the vulgarity of the herd, and the deepness of their urges, making sure his kits include words where “one of the meanings is kind of naughty” (like “rose” and “sausage”). He’s also very aware that he’s part of a legacy. “Who knows how long people have been cuttin’ stuff up?” he asks rhetorically. “I guess my innovation was to put it on magnets.”

Whatever you want to call it—innovation, accident, stroke of capitalist genius—this decision was key. By removing the messiest step from the cut-up technique, it made the barrier to entry knee-high. It boxed up the creative process, putting it in the checkout aisle and then, once on the fridge, directly at eye level. It let us indulge all these instincts at once—toward communication, creation, jokes, profanity—and layered the results on the domestic experience. From the end of the 20th century to the beginning of the 21st, it turned kitchens everywhere into an inescapable id pastiche. 

This is a fascinating look at the invention of magnetic poetry and why it seems to be disappearing in today’s world.


While newsstands didn’t take kindly to people reading without purchasing, Barnes & Noble was an early advocate of letting customers stretch out and relax a bit. Riggio found the sales annex so large that it was easy to install benches, telephone booths, and bathrooms, making it easier for people to linger. Although he received criticism from people thinking his stores would become glorified rest stops, Riggio was right: People would browse longer if you let them pee. He later added armchairs, coffee, and cooking demonstrations.  

Huh. Some interesting facts about Barnes & Noble.


“These pieces are made of Japanese mulberry paper and the gilded edges of old books,” artist Lisa Nilsson explains.

“They are constructed by a technique of rolling and shaping narrow strips of paper called quilling or paper filigree.”

These anatomical cross sections made out of books are incredible.


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