Friday High Five: Against Beautiful Journalism, Porn Studies, Animal Instincts and Night Life

Against beautiful journalism

If you’ve been tracking the internet’s passionate embrace of longform journalism over the past couple of years, you’ll know that alongside the celebration of beautifully designed media-rich pages, deep investigative reporting and ‘future of journalism’ proclamations, the movement has also worn its share of criticism.

The latest voice to resonate amongst critics is Felix Salmon’s. This week in ‘Against beautiful journalism’, he wrote of his ‘soft spot for ugly’, his frustration with a ‘one-size-fits-all approach to stories’ and his appreciation for the role that newspapers' page designers play in communicating the importance of a story –through its relative size and positioning on newsprint.

Reading Playboy for the articles

Claiming to be the world’s first ‘dedicated, international, peer-reviewed journal to critically explore those cultural products and services designated as pornographic’, Routledge this week launched Porn Studies. As Huffington Post reports, the first issue is open-access for a limited time.

(Coincidence? Let’s Talk About Sex begins next week at the Wheeler Centre.)

Buffalo soldiers

In the news this week were reports that Russia had, in reclaiming the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine, inadvertently inherited the latter’s combat dolphin program.

That may sound outlandish to some, but as fans of War Horse know too well, humans have long made a habit of putting animals into military service. Read more in io9’s fascinating (and photo heavy) account of When Pets Get Drafted: The Bizarre History of Animal Soldiers.

Hello, kitty.

Hello, kitty.

‘According to science’

On the subject of animal instincts (and, maybe, minefields) – science has determined which dance moves capture women’s attention. Evolutionary biologists (who else?) from Northumbria University and the University of Gottingen found that ‘women rated dancers higher when they showed larger and more variable movements of the head, neck and torso’.

Keep that in mind when you hit the clubs this weekend, gents.

The article is worth a look for the videos alone, in which you can enjoy a ‘featureless, gender-neutral’ animated avatar demonstrating ‘good’ and ‘bad’ dancing. Be warned, though. If you recognise yourself as the ‘bad’ dancer, you might be kicking the weekend off with a little soul searching.

Arms don't matter: 'What am I doing here?' (Image credit: *Washington Post*)

Arms don't matter: 'What am I doing here?' (Image credit: Washington Post)

Night life

Let’s stay on the dancefloor to finish this week off. In a comprehensively researched piece published on music website Resident Advisor earlier this year, Luis-Manuel Garcia explores the history of club culture’s queer roots – and why we need to be reminded of them in an era when dance music has become part of the furniture.

Terre Thaemlitz, aka DJ Sprinkles. (Photo: [Hannah Briley](http://www.residentadvisor.net/profile/ovalspace/contrib))

Terre Thaemlitz, aka DJ Sprinkles. (Photo: Hannah Briley)

“The belief in the power of music to overcome differences can give us a lot of comfort and hope, especially in difficult times. But Thaemlitz warns against allowing this to blind us to the problems happening here and now: "Organizing around hopes and dreams is how we get to absurdly abstract notions like ‘love is the answer,’ and that dancing or making music is enough to change the world. We end up distracted by our own mechanisms of desire, while violence and murder continues. ”

You can check out this standout piece of music journalism in full at Resident Advisor.

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