- A lot has been written recently about the “film,” Innocence of Muslims, notably its offensiveness to Muslims (and film lovers), the violence that’s erupted in its wake, and the duplicitous nature with which it was made. Now, via Neil Gaiman one of the actresses speaks out:
It’s painful to see how our faces were used to create something so atrocious without us knowing anything about it at all. It’s painful to see people being offended with the movie that used our faces to deliver lines (it’s obvious the movie was dubbed) that we were never informed of, it is painful to see people getting killed for this same movie, it is painful to hear people blame us when we did nothing but perform our art in the fictional adventure movie that was about a comet falling into a desert and tribes in ancient Egypt fighting to acquire it, it’s painful to be thought to be someone else when you are a completely different person.
- I’m not quite sure I buy into the idea of Breaking Bad as a “White supremacist fable” entirely — it’s probably true the show doesn’t get the drug trade right, but, then, it’s not really about the drug trade, is it? — but there’s some interesting food for thought here:
White-washing the illegal drug market involves depicting it like markets wealthy viewers are more comfortable and familiar with, namely those of the farmers market or the local pharmacy. Walter White combines the ostensible moral complexity television audiences demand in a post-Soprano protagonist with a cleanliness that allows him to market expensive cars. The U.S. is still very much a white supremacist country, but classic cowboys-kill-Indians narratives don’t play with wealthy viewers or the critics who help determine those tastes. And Jack Bauer can drive only so many cars. For the credulous viewer who likes to imagine he’s a couple of life crises from being the Larry Bird of meth — and for the people who sell him stuff — White is right.If nothing else, the article makes me want to re-watch The Wire.
- John Green on self-publishing and Amazon:
Here’s my concern: What will happen to the next generation’s Toni Morrison? How will she—a brilliant, Nobel-worthy writer who doesn’t have a huge built-in audience—get the financial and editorial support her talent deserves? (You’ll note that there’s no self-published literary fiction anywhere near the kindle bestseller lists.) Amazon will have absolutely no investment in that writer, and they won’t need to. Over time, I’m worried this lack of investment will hurt the quality and breadth of literature we actually read, even if literature remains broadly available.
- This isn’t new, but: Jonathan Coulton on the future of music, 3D printing, and scarcity:
This is my bias: the decline of scarcity seems inevitable to me. I have no doubt that this fight over mp3s is just the first of many fights we’re going to have about this stuff. Our laws and ethics already fail to match up with our behaviors, and for my money, those are the things we should be trying to fix. The change is already happening to us, and it’s a change that WE ARE CHOOSING. It’s too late to stop it, because we actually kind of like a lot of the things that we’re getting out of it.
- And finally, PBS asks, “Can fandom change society?” [via]
- I’m not sure I love this idea enough to actually follow them, but Matthew Baldwin did a neat thing: he created two Twitter bots, one playing Zork, and the other responding as the game. I’m actually more interested in replaying the game itself, but still, it’s pretty neat.
- Why Nigerian e-mail scams are so crude and obvious? Turns out, it may be on purpose. [via]
- So the hitchhiker who said he was writing a book about human kindness only to be shot by a driver…actually shot himself. So, um, I guess that’s one for humanity then…? [via]
- I’m not convinced any of these sounds are necessarily worth preserving, but the Museum of Endangered Sounds is an intriguing idea. [via]
- And finally, Three Simple Tips to Writing Your Own Aaron Sorkin Character Name. He must have hated writing a character named Mark Zuckerberg.
What can you say? The man has a formula.
I took the day off from work for a pair of doctor’s appointments. The first was a follow-up chest x-ray to see if my lungs are all clear from the pneumonia. They’re not quite, despite improvement, so I go back for another x-ray in a month. What fun. The second appointment was just a physical, which I was supposed to have a couple of weeks ago, but which got cancelled when my doctor was sick. Aside from the obvious fact that I need to diet and exercise more, it was a clean bill of health.
I spent the rest of the day watching three seasons of The Guild online.
- With Coffee, the Price of Individualism Can Be High. We have these K-cups at work, with a Keurig machine. And beyond most of the coffee blends not being especially good, I think the convenience for a largeish workplace is definitely worth it. I drink so little coffee I’d feel a little annoyed if I had to help remake a fresh pot regularly. (The Keurig also makes tea and cocoa, so there’s that.) [via]
- One word: Megafishes. [via]
- Breakthrough: The first sound recordings based on reading people’s minds [via]
- ‘Huffington Post’ Employee Sucked Into Aggregation Turbine. I think I would like HuffPo more if it wasn’t a huge content farm fronted by unexceptional celebrity essays and stories from other websites, where millions of dollars go to line the pockets of Arianna Huffington but not a cent goes to the writers. Or at least if people on Twitter would stop linking to it as much.
- And finally, the real question: does anyone have sixty-thousand dollars I could borrow? [via]
- “Local business owners say Yelp offers to hide negative customer reviews of their businesses on its web site…for a price.” [via]
- The GOP’s Blatant Racism:
The problem with the illusion of a postracial society is that at almost any moment the systemic nature of racism, its legacy, methods and impulses, might have to be rediscovered and restated as though for the first time. If the problem has gone away, those who point it out or claim to experience it are, by definition, living in the past. Those who witness it in action must be imagining things. Those who practice it are either misunderstood or maligned. [via]
- The Tragedy of the Smurfs:
Imagine what that must feel like, to be forced into a single role at birth, a role that not only defines what you’ll do for the rest of your life, but what you’ll be. Trapped. Unchanging. Your name is a black hole, and no matter how hard you try, you’ll never escape its pull. And then to see in humans a freedom that you yourself will never know.
That’s the true dystopian horror of the Smurfs. [via]
- Zack Handlen on the most recent Supernatural episode:
As a straight dude, I have a sneaking suspicion I missed out on one of the main appeals of 1944 for a large part of Supernatural’s audience, but an outfit isn’t really enough. If Mad Men did an episode called “Christina Hendricks Goes To Bikini Island,” I wouldn’t automatically praise it. I’d watch it, sure, but c’mon.
- And finally, Philip José Farmer’s calling card [via]: