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Conversation Pieces: 5 New Articles Worth Discussing This Weekend

Welcome to the debut of Conversation Pieces, a new Friday feature in which Flavorpill curates five articles from the past week that you should read. Some are long, others are short. Some are from major publications, others aren’t. The only thing all these articles have in common is that they’re interesting. This week we discuss the search for originality in the art world, what fictional characters can teach us about our non-fictional lives, the role new media plays in revolutions, the Super Bowl — because sports can be culture, too — and more.

Take the leap, and find something exciting to discuss at the bar this weekend, after the jump.

1. Creating Original Art Isn’t Easy, Or Desirable

Andy Warhol once said, “Art is anything you can get away with.” In the wake of renegades such as Warhol and Marcel Duchamp, we are still negotiating what this statement means in terms of both authentic artistic expression and the law. With Jeff Koons of all people claiming others are stealing his balloon-dog design, the debate marches on toward the absurd.

The New Republic: “Copy Cats: Where does modern art end and plagiarism begin?”

2. Harper Lee Teaches Men How To Be Men

When you look at a man, what do you see? More importantly, what do you want to see? Settling for neither the alpha-male jock nor the pushover nice guy, The Art of Manliness delves into the character of Atticus Finch from Harper Lee’s classic, To Kill a Mockingbird, to find positive qualities worth embracing.

The Art of Manliness: “Lessons in Manliness from Atticus Finch”

3. Remembering Aretha Franklin Before She’s Gone

Aretha Franklin: American icon. Read a personal essay by Nell Boeschenstein about what this means, has meant, and will likely mean in the future.

The Morning News: “A Song for Aretha”

4. Equality, Liberty and Fraternity via Web 2.0

Last fall, Malcolm Gladwell wrote about how Twitter and Facebook affect social change, if at all. He questioned the extent to which new media has been hailed as the missing component of revolution, and wondered if all the online social networks combined amount to any more than a momentary feel-good distraction. Well, with the current political unrest in Egypt and the surrounding areas, Gladwell raises this question once again.

The New Yorker: “Does Egypt Need Twitter?”

5. Producing the Super Bowl

Imagine watching the big game this Sunday. You’ll sit there on a couch or chair or carpet while a steady stream of images and sounds come surging at you from your screen of choice. Ever wonder what it takes to transform a bunch of men running around in helmets and shoulder pads into a coherent narrative, with drama, tension, and commercials? If you do, you should ask Bob Fishman. He knows. He does this sort of thing every weekend.

The Atlantic: “The Hardest Job in Football”

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