Peter Fonda RIP, the easy rider who tested the hippy dream

EXCERPT:

Easy Rider’ was the 35mm celluloid Woodstock; it was the reckless hippy gypsies’ manifesto of endless asphalt ribbon. Of course it has dated, the fact that the road trip was funded by smuggling cocaine from Mexico has lost its romance, as has the whole – in retrospect grotesque – glorification of drugs. On the other hand, Peter Fonda’s film was the first to portray LSD as a horror show. Either way, people my age watched Fonda on the edge of our seats, wanting to be him; to feel that liberation through wind and speed across America’s boundless space, to be by that camp fire. But we didn’t want to be attacked by club-wielding rednecks, we didn’t want the bad trip, and certainly didn’t want to be gunned down on a lonely road.

In this way, Fonda was the cautionary tale in all that summer of peace and love. He took the 1960s dream out of the comfort zone, away from Haight Ashbury, Sunset Boulevard and Greenwich Village, out into real America – where it twisted into nightmare.

Wild gorillas compose happy songs that they hum during meals

Gorillas sing and hum when eating, a discovery that could help shed light on how language evolved in early humans.

Singing seems to be a way for gorillas to express contentment with their meal, as well as for the head of the family to communicate to others that it is dinner time.

Christianity, capitalism, and white supremacy are what bind conservatives together: CNN host

Americans are in a political cold war against one another. In the age of Trump this conflict all too often feels as though it will inevitably turn hot. Americans increasingly do not talk to one another across divides of political party and values; they live in information bubbles that are self-confirming, where prior ideas and beliefs — however incorrect — are nurtured as inexorable unassailable permanent truths. This is especially true of conservatives. Donald Trump has simply taken the status quo ante of anti-intellectualism, ignorance and simple binary thinking which typifies the modern American conservative moment and amplified it for the world to see and without any shame or apologies for doing so.

Radio silence: how the disappearance of rural stations takes America’s soul with them

At a time when local newspapers are vanishing, the loss of a radio station leaves a community with another cultural and informational deficit

‘Son of Saul’s László Nemes: ‘Our civilisation is preparing for its own destruction’

INTRO:

The day before we met, László Nemes went to see a superhero movie. He didn’t last long. “I found it unwatchable and false, boring and self-referential, a world of ideal people who don’t behave as humans but more like machines.”

He smiles. It’s tea-time in the Islington, north London branch of Caffè Nero and Nemes gently explains that such films infantilise viewers in two ways. The plots let them defer responsibility for the fate of the world to demigods; the way they are shot – lots of signposting, everything carefully controlled – offers a false sense of omniscience.