- 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]
- tudent receives free cocaine with Amazon textbook order. Is this where we’ve going wrong with our textbook sales? [via]
- How College Football Bowls Earn Millions In Profits But Pay Almost Nothing In Taxes. Are you ready for some economic disparity?! [via]
- The Texans who live on the ‘Mexican side’ of the border fence: ‘Technically, we’re in the United States’ [via]
- Roger Ebert on why movie revenue is dropping:
The message I get is that Americans love the movies as much as ever. It’s the theaters that are losing their charm. Proof: theaters thrive that police their audiences, show a variety of titles and emphasize value-added features. The rest of the industry can’t depend forever on blockbusters to bail it out.
- And finally, Scott Tobias on why 2011 was secretly a really good year for movies:
I don’t mean to be bullying or schoolmarmish about it, only to point out that when great films get pushed to the margins in our technology-rich times, far more than just a handful of self-selecting New Yorkers have a chance to see them. The key is to not let awards-season hype color your perception. We consider 2007 a monumental year because its strongest achievements—movies like There Will Be Blood, No Country For Old Men, and Zodiac—happened to have healthy budgets and the backing of major studios. Compare that to a 2011 where a pleasant-but-disposable trifle like The Artist is leading the charge, and it’s little wonder that perception marks it as a weak year. (The Tree Of Life may be the only 2011 film high in both ambition and visibility, and will almost certainly top every critics’ poll as a result.) But for the adventurous—and again, you don’t have to venture off the couch to be among them—2011 was an embarrassment of riches, full of lively, diverse, form-busting visions across all genres and around the world. And the best of them ask something of the viewer, offering rewards in exchange for an active engagement. Just don’t expect all the question marks to turn into exclamation points: To quote some advice to Michael Stuhlbarg’s spiritual seeker in A Serious Man, “Accept the mystery.”
- “The body of a Massachusetts woman went unnoticed for two days in a Fall River public swimming pool, which remained open to the public and was even visited by health inspectors, generating outrage and calls for an investigation.” More here, including how such a bizarre and awful thing could actually have happened. [via]
- I think this song by Paris Hilton is, predictably, dreadful, but I actually prefer when Hilton does stuff like this, when she’s at least doing something. The paparazzi paying attention to a lousy pop star is marginally better than its paying attention to a do-nothing heiress, right?
- Well I for one am shocked — shocked! — that drug trials aren’t conducted realistically in the world of superhero comics!
- Roger Ebert on Transformers: Dark of the Moon:
I have a quaint notion that one of the purposes of editing is to make it clear why one shot follows another, or why several shots occur in the order that they do.
- And finally, Improv Everywhere’s latest mission is just lovely:
I used to work right around the corner from that park. (We’re now maybe 10 minutes away.) [via]
- Scholars beware!
Experts on the various fungi that feed on the pages and on the covers of books are increasingly convinced that you can get high–or at least a little wacky–by sniffing old books. Fungus on books, they say, is a likely source of hallucinogenic spores. [via]
- I have to admit, I didn’t immediately understand this video (a collaboration with NPR’s Radiolab), but I liked it enough to re-watch from the beginning once my brain kicked in. [via]
- I have no idea if the new Scott Pilgrim movie will be any good or not. Some say awesome, some not so much. I know this will lose me some indie geek cred, but I’ve been stuck halfway through the first volume for several months, not particularly loving it. That said, I can totally get behind this:
There’s no reason to be angry at the people you imagine a movie will make happy just because you didn’t like the movie. [via]
- Oh come on, it’s an honest mistake. [via]
- And finally, I need to start riding the subways more often!
- Can video games be art? Roger Ebert sure doesn’t think so.
- Support for keeping marijuana illegal in California may be coming from an unlikely source: pot growers. [via]
- Meanwhile, why am I not at all surprised by revelations that Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld covered up that hundreds of innocent men were sent to the Guantánamo Bay? [via]
- Brian K. Vaughan’s “post-apocalyptic heist movie” does sound very cool. [via]
- And finally, xkcd: “Stop spoiling my future with your slightly more distant one.”