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People often remark "[some form of art] isn't as good as it used to be." That's untrue. Film, music, architecture, and the rest inherently improve over time.
Why? The more that came before, the more we can assess what worked and what didn't—and iterate.
Improvement isn't inevitable, but it is the norm. Only nostalgia and over-indexing on novelty are inevitable.
However, all that's new isn't universally better than what came before. Economic and cultural pressures divert art into optimizing for vanity metrics. But the best art of each era trends to being better than the best art of the prior era.
- Make Happy — A truly original comedy special that doesn't forget to be funny
- True Detective (S1) — Atmospheric, intellectual, and exhilarating storytelling
- Rick and Morty — Inspired, inventive storytelling that pulls no punches
- Making a Murderer — Masterful affinity-building and long-term storytelling
- Jones vs. Gustafsson — Two great UFC fighters going toe-to-toe for 30 min
- Between Two Ferns — Wildly bold and inventive self-indulgent comedy
- Counterpart — Brilliant plotting, brilliant character study, and very slick
- The Boys — Rich characters, rich perversion of culture, and unafraid
- Others — Sherlock, Barry, Altered Carbon, Westworld, Death Note, Daredevil, The Newsroom, The Office, Who Is America?, Patriot, Star Trek: Discovery (S1)
- Pod Save America — An informed and insightful (heavy) liberal skew of politics
- Joe Rogan — The best interviewer of all time: curious, patient, and sincere
- Searching for Sugarman — A triumph of documentary narrative storytelling
- The Matrix — Intellectual, philosophical, and visually dazzling storytelling
- The Prestige — A great example of stimulating plotting and character building
- Whiplash — A great example of character-based, emotional arc storytelling
- Free Solo — The filmmaking is fine, but it's Alex Honnold who's fascinating
- Finding Frances — An absurd documentary about the human condition
- Into the Spider-Verse — A dazzling feast for the eyes, and original fun
- Others — Heat, Edge of Tomorrow, Nightcrawler, 500 Days of Summer, Man on Wire, Moon, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Collateral, MacGruber (for gleefully not giving a sh**)
- Two Dancers — Atmospheric, melodic, and original indie rock
- Transatlanticism — Ditto
- The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me — Inventive, moody alternative rock
- Continuum — Perfect contemporary blues rock with pop rock catchiness
- After the Gold Rush — The original folk rock album that others aspire to
- Ctrl — An inspired alternative R&B album with back-to-back earworms
- Every Kingdom — A melodic, emotive, and impassioned folk album
- Others — Carnavas, Better Nature, Channel Orange, Dawn, Emergence, For Emma Forever ago, The Garden, Simple Things, When It Falls, In Between Dreams, In Rainbows, OK Computer, The King of Limbs, Landmark, Miike Snow, The North Borders, Plans, A Rush of Blood to the Head, Scorpion, Starboy, Till the Sun Turns Black, Voodoo
People with consistently great output
- "Relax, no one else knows what they're doing either." — Ricky Gervais
- "If you gave him an enema, you could bury him in a matchbox." — Christopher Hitchens
- "Step 1: Wonder at something. Step 2: Invite others to wonder with you." — Austin Kleon
- "You're telling me I can dodge bullets?" "I'm trying to tell you that — when you're ready — you won't have to." — Morpheus
- "If you play a Nickelback song backwards, you’ll hear messages from the devil. Even worse, if you play it forwards, you’ll hear Nickelback." — Anonymous
- "If you paint the leaf on a tree without using a reference, your imagination will only supply you with a few leaves. But, nature offers you millions — all on the same tree. The artist who paints only what is in his mind must very soon repeat himself." — Renoir
How I consume media
- My primary news source is Google News "For You."
- For analysis on anything intriguing, I read Washington Post.
- I don't pay attention to social media — except to post to Twitter.
- I pay for Spotify, YouTube Premium, Netflix, and HBO Now.
- I only watch Netflix when something exceptionally interesting pops up.
- I listen to podcasts through Spotify while exercising.
- I watch YouTube interviews on my iPad while winding down at night.