The Monday Media Diet with Bana Haffar
On synthesizers, Lebanon, and Jodorowsky
Hi there. If you like our original pieces happening every weekday, consider upgrading to a paid plan. You’ll get a weekend edition super boost and our sincere thanks. Either way, totally appreciate the support and readership. CJN and NRB.
Bana Haffar (BH) was introduced by some of my oldest friends when I was asking around for interesting folks. She’s an electronic musician, field recordist, and bass player. She recently got back from Lebanon and filed this very interesting MMD. Have a great week. -Colin (CJN)
Tell us about yourself.
A meandering sound worker whose output ranges from releasing and performing music made with modular synthesizers, sound design, beta testing, field recording, composing graphic scores, building community around synthesis and experimental music, and hosting a monthly radio show on dublab.
Describe your media diet.
For obvious reasons, music is the main portion of my media diet. I spend a lot of time perusing Bandcamp and obscure Soundcloud pages. Music is closely followed by a steady influx of articles sent to me by friends; everything from neuroscience findings to poetry, political analysis to academic research, and bizarre in-betweens. I usually pluck the ones of interest out of my email, save them on my desktop in a “to read” folder, and get to them in the evenings or on weekends. I like having media-related ongoing exchanges with friends to reflect on articles together.
…and podcasts, my current favorites are:
More or Less: Behind the Stats – really puts into perspective the barrage of numbers thrown at us by the media and succinctly explains why they’re BS
How to Survive the End of the World – relevant and comforting reflections of the complex times we’re living through
Desert Oracle – creepy comedic meanderings through California’s high desert. Highly recommended late-night listening.
What’s the last great book you read?
The Disobedience of the Daughter of the Sun by Martin Prechtel. A magically woven indigenous fairytale designed to expand the calcified adult mind and remind us of our watery souls.
What are you reading now?
A tad embarrassed to share that I’m reading The Artist’s Way, again. It’s a somewhat self-indulgent 90’s self-help book that I revisit every couple of years to help release dense accumulated energies that inhibit the creative process.
What’s your reading strategy when you pick up a print copy of your favorite publication?
I can’t say that I have a favorite publication in print form anymore. I recently canceled a bunch of magazine subscriptions because I found myself craving a more varied diet in terms of format and subject. Getting the same print publication in the mail every month or quarterly isn’t my thing.
Who should everyone be reading that they’re not?
The Poetry Foundation’s email list is an easy way to incorporate a bit of poetry into your day.
What is the best non-famous app you love on your phone?
I have a pretty utilitarian connection to my phone, so fun aside, Scanner Pro is probably the app I use the most. It’s the best scanner app I’ve found.
Plane or train?
Both. Any form of movement and travel is equally exciting to me.
(Although my real answer is astral projection)
What is one place everyone should visit?
Beirut – painfully beautiful and alive in a state of constant collapse and rebirth, simultaneously. There’s nothing like it.
Tell us the story of a rabbit hole you fell deep into.
I spent the second half of 2020 in a Jodorowsky miasma. It started with Santa Sangre then El Topo… The Holy Mountain, and continued until I had watched almost every single Jodorowsky film I could find. When I ran out of films I read his (ridiculous) autobiography, truly the writings of a megalomaniac, I was mesmerized by the absurdity of his stories and didn’t care if they were real or not.
The madness of Jodorowsky’s world somehow lifted the heaviness of the pandemic by drawing out my imagination to uncomfortable unexplored edges.
I’m grateful for the experience and have thankfully moved on! (BH)
WITI x McKinsey:
An ongoing partnership where we highlight interesting McKinsey research, writing, and data.
Funding climate action. Philanthropy can be a powerful source of funding pitched at addressing societal problems: in 2020, US-based grant makers alone disbursed nearly $64 billion. How much of that targeted the climate-change challenge? Just $320 million. That's not enough, given the scale of the problem and the urgent need for climate action. A new article goes deeper on how philanthropy can step up, especially in three focus areas.
WITI reader offer: Atlas Bars
Our friend and longtime WITI subscriber Jylle at the protein bar company Atlas reached out with an offer for our crew. It’s a unique product: Organic ashwagandha to reduce stress. Grass-fed whey to fuel performance. Zero added sugar. Clean, real-food ingredients. We’ve tried them and dug them. If you want to try, there’s a code for WITI readers to get you 20 percent off. Try the sample pack.
Thanks for reading,
Noah (NRB) & Colin (CJN) & Bana
Why is this interesting? is a daily email from Noah Brier & Colin Nagy (and friends!) about interesting things. If you’ve enjoyed this edition, please consider forwarding it to a friend. If you’re reading it for the first time, consider subscribing.