- 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]
- “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]:
- Zombie Font Generator. Presumably, when the zombie apocalypse comes, all correspondence will be written in this. It’ll be like Dawn of the Dead meets The Postman. [via]
- Clint Eastwood’s family will star in a reality show. And, in other news: Wait, wha–?!
- Willard Asylum Suitcases:
In 1995, the New York State Museum staff were moving items out of The Willard Psychiatric Center. It was being closed by the State Office of Mental Health, and would eventually become a state run drug rehabilitation center. Craig Williams was made aware of an attic full of suitcases in the pathology lab building. The cases were put into storage when their owners were admitted to Willard, and since the facility was set up to help people with chronic mental illness, these folks never left.
I’m really not sure how I feel about this. Are these photographs art? [via]
- Dubai: come for the human rights violations and widespread corruption, stay for the sewage trucks and typhoid and hepatitis!
- And finally, Theodora Goss on H.P. Lovecraft’s racism and the World Fantasy Award:
Did Lovecraft intend that message? I seriously doubt it, and yet it’s there. The story is not the writer. The story is always, if it’s a living story, smarter than the writer.
- PTSD’s Trauma Symptoms Ring Out Through Ages. (Bookslut remains slightly skeptical.)
- Quite late to post this, but Whole Foods instructs stores not to promote Ramadan. As always, it’s couched in non-racist soundbites, but can you imagine Whole Foods deciding not to market kosher foods or Passover because a neo-Nazi group wrote them an angry letter?
- A boy with a compromised immune system sends a robot to school in his place. [via]
- Noel Murray on nostalgia, the pop culture of our youth:
On one level, they call to me, in the way so much popular culture of the past does, as a doorway to the half-remembered. But there’s a melancholy there, too—deep, powerful and true.
- And finally, Monsters of Grok. Cute T-shirt ideas. [via]
- This story of Prussian Blue, five years later, makes me happy: you can teach hate, but you can’t necessarily make it stick. [via]
- The Incredible Magdeburg Water Bridge in Germany [via]
- 10 Buildings Shaped Like What They Sell [via]
- Along similiar lines, Product Packaging #2:
Surely there must be a name, in advertising parlance, for the figure of the anthropomorphized food item that happily consumes a non-anthropomorphized version of itself? [via]
- And finally, Le Flaneur: Time Lapse Video of Paris Without the People [via]