Friday High Five: John Green, Dogs’ Brains and Old People on Film

Why ‘man’s best friend’ really gets us

A new brain imaging study has found that dogs process voice and emotion in a strikingly similar way to humans. Like humans, dogs' brain systems are devoted to making sense of vocal sounds, and are sensitive to their emotional content. ‘Humans and dogs last shared a common ancestor 100 million years ago. If a voice-attuned region could be found in dogs too, the trait would truly run deep in our shared biology.’

Why movies for (and about) old people are all the rage

Film writer Rochelle Siemienowicz wrote a piece for us last year lamenting the lack of movies for grown-ups these days, with Hollywood chasing the teen dollar (grown-ups can make out at home; they don’t need the back row of their local multiplex). This week, at Killings, she’s observing a changing tide - the current wave of movies not just for grown-ups, but about old people. ‘It says something about our culture that I spent a good ten minutes trying to find a polite word to use instead of ‘old’, ‘elderly’ or ‘aged’. But why not tell the truth and stare age in the face, the way the movies themselves are doing it?’

Why Dead Poet’s Society is the literary equivalent of fandom

Is Dead Poet’s Society a symbol of everything that’s wrong with the humanities - and why it’s failing as a discipline? At the Atlantic, a literature professor argues that it is. ‘I think I hate Dead Poets Society for the same reason that Robyn, a physician assistant, hates House: because its portrayal of my profession is both misleading and deeply seductive. For what Keating (Robin Williams) models for his students isn’t literary criticism, or analysis, or even study. In fact, it’s not even good, careful reading. Rather, it’s the literary equivalent of fandom.’

The intern subculture - they even have a magazine

The culture of interns - and the question of how long people should work without pay (or with substandard pay and conditions) and to what end - has been simmering awhile. The New York Times has taken an in-depth look at the growth of interning as a subculture, and even a lifestyle. ‘The poor job market is not the only reason that recent graduates feel stuck in internships. Millennials, it is often said, want more than just a paycheck; they crave meaningful and fulfilling careers, maybe even a chance to change the world.’

John Green on Making Things

John Green, author of Wheeler staff favourite The Fault in Our Stars, gave a terrific lecture at his almer mater, Kenyon College, about his ‘Thoughts on How to Make Things and Why’. He talked about the point of writing, why dull is painful, why you should read Jane Austen instead of The Fault in our Stars at college (because it’s a better book), and that ‘the pursuit of capital-G greatness makes for terrible, terrible writing’. And you can watch it online.