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Arnold Layne? No. Anthony Lane.

Here's the New Yorker review I mentioned in class last week.

Mind you, how Padmé got pregnant is anybody’s guess, although I’m prepared
to wager that it involved Anakin nipping into a broom closet with a warm glass
jar and a copy of Ewok Babes.


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BloggingOn x.1 - "Evolve(d) Beyond Crude Flesh to Become a Being of Pure Light and Energy"

A few thoughts after reading this "very germane thing that Colin mentioned".

Perhaps Res Publica picks up on the
"conflict-averse, iPod-wearing metrosexual MBA’s from Planet Starbucks, who think podcasting is activism" for good reason. And perhaps the "MBA's from Planet Starbucks" is the really significant bit. That is to say that I think there is a little more than nothing to the whole idea of generational divide, though it's probably not how Kos (or Res Publica) characterize it. Which is to say - and bear with me here, cuz' I'll get to the point some time or other - what distinguishes this "new" generation from the "old" (or at least a certain subset of the "new" generation) is their ability to market a certain idea of themselves, more successfully than they are able to make their "selves" match that marketed ideal.

Take Kos for example. His real achievement is not any contribution that he has made (or is making) to the democratic party by being a policy-maker or a leader-of-men. His real achievement is that he created a relatively successful (and by successful I mean both active and lucrative in a strength-of-the-brand-name sort of way) online forum for the "exchange of ideas".

But that's not it. The "exchange of ideas" part. Even that is a front. The exchange of ideas is really just a foil for an internet brand name that offers "belonging" to those who are willing to leap through the fire it takes to get inside the inner circle. Becoming part of the Kos community is not being part of a "movement", it's another "affiliation" for your Friendster profile. It's a t-shirt.

So what does this have to do with the particular adaptations of the
"conflict-averse, iPod-wearing metrosexual MBA’s from Planet Starbucks, who think podcasting is activism" set? They belong to a generation who are no longer concerned with crises of "authenticity". They (we?) are more concerned with perceieved authenticity.

The idea of "coding" may strike some as insidious, but consider that the consumer is now the one doing the coding. That is to say, it's not just Corporate America, but corporate Americans who are asking these questions:
Who is my target audience? How can I present myself to my target audience them in the most enticing (lucrative?) way? What (self) image will yield the maximum profit (happiness, companionship, sense of belonging)?

Perhaps having a successful (widely read and copiously linked-to) blog is just a way of proving your net-worth to your target audience.

Jason Kottke? Dooce? Wonkette?


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Mental Note

There's a deleted scene included on the special edition VHS copy I have of Pulp Fiction. One of those scenes that's really interesting, but you can easily see why it didn't make the final cut.

Mia Wallace, camcorder in tow, is interviewing Vincent Vega pre-date.

Elvis or the Beatles?

Boxers or briefs?

And here's the really good one...

Do you listen, or do you wait to talk?

Granted, coming from the pen of Quentin Tarrantino, that's a funny one (not like ha-ha funny), but I can't tell you how many times I've remembered it since the first time I saw it.

Do you listen, or do you wait to talk?

Um, wait to talk. Mostly. Yes.


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My Mind's Got A Mind Of Its Own

Up early, hoping to take advantage of brahma muhurta, I sit and try to focus my consciousness on transcendental sound vibration, but DAMN YOU DAMN BLOG! It's Friday morning and all I can think about is Colin's blog class, and all the stupidclever things I could (or should have) post(ed). This damn blog thing is worse than being obsessed with a tv show, or falling in love, or getting a horrible song stuck in your head.

If I just get up now, walk away from the computer and never come back, will you give me my peace of mind back you stupid blog?

Will you!?










(sigh) I didn't think so.


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BloggingOn 6.5 – Two More Tropes…

Interactivity
Self-Importance


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BloggingOn 6.4 – The Link

Is it…

A footnote?
An elucidation?
A red herring?
The whole story?
Or just a part?

Apolly-logies for more Neddie, but dig this post and the first comment. What if that link had been included in Ned’s original post? What’s so cool, if anything, about the fact that it’s not?


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BloggingOn 6.3 – The Blog As “Literature”

While his buddies are clearly going for Colin’s jugular (don’t miss the comments), and while our worldviews clash in more quadrant than one (you people and you’re flying spaghetti monster!), I’d like to think this guy has the market cornered on “blog as litrerature.”

Check out this post.

His delivery alternates (rather delectably) from conversational informality to conspicuous formality (“it would be churlish to carp”). His humor is one of his more characteristic traits. I would imagine that it filters out a good portion of the audience that would wander into Nedsville by chance (“My effect on them must have been about like that of a Belgian kid in Manhattan who speaks with a proud Australian accent.”).

No college degree? Back to plastic for you. Never even heard of Ayn Rand? Shouldn’t you be perusing the double-boing?


That being said, I wouldn’t doubt that Neddie is equally familiar with Jean-Paul Sartre and John Paul Jones.

It is also to his credit that he persistently almost-but-not-quite officially refers to himself in third person (and convincingly, not creepily, I might ad). And then there’s this:

the Official Deputy Assistant Emergency Back-up to the Mechanical Lawn Sprinkler of the United States Ambassador Plenipotentiary to the Spanish Crown in the Year of Our Lord Nineteen Hundred and Seventy Nine

Douglas Adams meets... er... well, somebody else?

I think Neddie consistently produces content that is readable (and re-readable). He has a unique voice, and a well-honed yet unrestrained style (or perhaps it's restrained in-all-the-right-places).

P.S. Anyone who considers meeting Wallace Shawn a notable event is ok by me.


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BloggingOn - For Clarity's Sake

Now that I've posted about him twice, I don't want Aldon to get the impression that I dislike him or something. I've been meaning to toss this up here since last class...

Aldon told us about (possibly) the neatest thing I've seen on the internet in a while: archive.org

For posterity's sake, or so they say, old webpages (and their different versions and updates) are stored online. Just type the URL into the "wayback machine"TM. Me ol' webpage (offline since '03) is even there! WTF!? No one ever looked at it when it was online, but now they can use the "wayback machine"TM to check it out now.

I'm not sure if it's cool, or creepy, or just a little too much.


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BloggingOn 6.2 – Aldon Hynes said…

“Does the blogosphere have its own writing aesthetic? I think, as illustrated by the drawing on the board about different communities within the blogosphere, it may be useful to think about writing aesthetics within the blogosphere on a more community by community basis. Political blogs are going to have a very different writing aesthetic than teen angst blogs.”

True dat. But so what? Which is to say… what’s observation without careless generalization? I think we can say something about the blogosphere as a whole without having to get mired in specificity.

Let’s throw out some words that might just be worth putting up on the ol’ dry-erase board, shall we? The following tropes* seem to exist somewhat ubiquitously in blogland:

Blogs are (often)…

Informal
Humorous
Conversational
Anecdotal
Comprehensive(?)

It seems like any and all of those links are interchangeable with the others (except, perhaps, "comprehensive", but I'm not sure that's the word I'm looking for anyway). Regardless of the "community" (or perhaps genre is a better word), at least one of these character traits seems to operate. I vote for "informal" and "conversational" as the alpha-trope blog traits.

*I happened upon this while fleshing out a useful definition of tropes (thanks wikipedia!). It is fabulously entertaining.


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BloggingOn 6.1 - Blo-etry? Blog-etry? Plog?

Is this some sort of streamofconsciousness (pause) blogbeatpoetry? The answer is probably dissapointing, but read it nonetheless...

RainbowChugBandit. RainbowChugBanditBomb.


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The Blogger's Anthem

Because "Life Is Random"TM, I happened on this old favorite by Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers. Strikes me as a definite contender in the bid for best blogging anthem.


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BloggingOn 5.7 - Closing (absurd) thoughts

Aldon Hynes visited class last night. He was super-friendly, intelligent and insightful. He was also a wellspring of strange mannerisms and vocal idiosyncrasies. I spent a good deal of class trying to figure out who he reminded me of...

Before the break, it was a tie between the comic book guy from the Simpsons and George McFly vintage Crispin Glover.

After the break, this guy and I agreed: Aldon bears a striking resemblance to Emo Philips. (And, I think, Crispin Glover playing Andy Warhol in Oliver Stone's "the Doors").


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Best spam subjectline to date...

"just superordinary maidens"


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BloggingOn 5.6 - A Late Entry

This guy is one of the most brilliant people I have the privilige to know. Technically, he is a CT blogger, though he rarely (if ever) writes about CT. His blog brings music geekery to an astute and penetratingly insightful new level. There's some non-music geekery in there as well, but everything he writes about is touched by his superlatively unique brand of insight and humor.


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BloggingOn 5.5 - East Krum?

I don't much care for politics. Nationally or internationally. I sure has hell don't give a moroccan fig for local politics. So I've been looking at a lot of "proto-bloggers" this week. Which has led me to wonder... is there a Sarah Green out there in CT somwhere?

Maybe Sarah will be a bit like (8) when she grows up. Maybe (8) is nothing like SG. But speaking of obsession, pay attention to (8)'s comments. Who's this character, and what does he really want?

Btw, (8) is one of Trinity's own. Check out the Trinity livejournal community here.


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BloggingOn 5.4 - PWNZORZ!!!

I'm not sure if Justin is a Nerd, Geek or Dork. (He can get tested here*.)

Justin is a CT expat who likes video games quite abit, and is apparently obsessed with a discontinued soft drink. He also has a couple bull dogs (Fred and Ethel).

*For those of you keeping score at home, I got tested. I'm a... "Modern, Cool Nerd" 60 % Nerd, 56% Geek, 39% Dork (A true sign of my nerdiness, no doubt, but them there numbers don't adds up to a hunnert.)


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BloggingOn 5.3 - Some Conn-extistensial Questions

Duh... forgive the pedant in me, but here goes...

What makes a CT blogger? Is he/she a CT native (born and raised), or just a CT resident? Do transients count (college students, temporary employees)? What about a CT resident blogging from somewhere else? Does he/she have to blog about CT? If I wrote a great blog about my eternal love for Patrick Swayze, but never mention CT, but I live in CT, is that a CT blog?


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BloggingOn 5.2 - Well, sort of...

CT Weblogs, huh? Colin may be dreading the class about cross-platform multi-media sound video nonsense. I was dreading this one. But then, last wednesday I started thinking that maybe it wouldn't be so bad after all... I would just have to embrace it, with patience, compassion and love (or rather, luv).

Maybe I could do my own little CT blog. A daily account of the goings-on on New Britain Ave: the 3am deliveries at the dominos next door (and their ubiquitous cadre of boisterous middle-eatern deliverymen), the crazed nocturnal leafblower... I could borrow a friend's digital camera and take a photo-a-day from my third floor apartment window, maybe even interview some of the folks at the puppy center or jerry's art-O-rama...

Screw that CT. You blew it! Just when I thought I might be charmed by your crisp fall air and your falling leaves, you went and did the only thing I can ever count on you to do... deliver unto me endless-mindless-beauraucratic frustration.

My tale-of-woe begins around this time last year... I was just about to leave for a few months in the Indian subcontinent. I decided that , as I would be out of the country for a bit, it would probably be best to store my car in good ol' NJ (you've never dissapointed me, Garden State) at el casa de parentes. My dad would be driving the car, so I cancelled the insurance in CT so he could add it to his policy in NJ.

At some (completely unspecified time) between last October and this, the CT DMV noticed that my car was no longer insured in CT and CANCELLED THE REGISTRATION. Though they seemed to have no trouble delivering important information regarding automobile property tax and required emissions testing, this particular tidbit of information was apparently not the sort of thing I should be aware of. So it was with some suprise that I came to find out, after my friendly neighborhood po-po randomly ran my plates and pulled me over last Saturday, that I had been driving without valid registration for quite some time.

As you might imagine, this is a relatively serious offense. The sort of offense that involves confiscating your liscense plates and towing your vehicle. It also involves that special double squad car action (that my friend EMiller informs me spells f-e-l-o-n-y), which I believe is designed to embarass as much as intimidate. Honestly, it did neither. I mean, it was actually pretty amusing. The idea that two police officers are required to subdue scrawny, milkfed (or, rather, underfed... or maybe milquetoast?) me, myself and I. I hope the rubber-neckers got as big a kick out of that as I did.

At any rate, several days later and still no satisfying denoument. However, there have been several un-satisfying expenditures... the towing fee, the rental car, the new insurance, the "delinquent" auto tax... and I can look forward to the re-registration fee, the delinquent insurance fine, and whatever else the judge decides will best serve the public interest when I have to go to court next Wednesday.

So... CT? Screw you (and your pathetic little blogs, too).


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BloggingOn 5.1 - Mike D

This is Mike D. He lives in CT. He has a blog.

I went to college with Mike D's sister. Alicia D. I had no idea. I mean, that Alicia D was mike D's sister. I was aware that we went to college together. Alicia D doesn't have a blog. Alicia D lives in MA. She doesn't count.

Mike D writes about stuff like this in his blog. His friends comment. I wonder if these conversations are better had OUT LOUD, with persons you would otherwise not feel the need to talk to... "Damn, it's raining again, and the price of gas... I tell you what!"

Mike D says his house has gameboys in all the bathrooms. Hmmm.

Mike D held an MSPaint drawing contest. You won't find that shite just anywhere.

Did I mention that Mike D is just a guy? Oh, and he's not that Mike D.


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Shining

Brilliance turns up in some unexpected places sometimes. The Association of Independent Creative Editors (AICE) put together this little contest. The winning entry is apparently "taking the internet by storm." The trailers for Titanic and West Side Story are a little crazy-go-nuts, too. (Be-est thou advised, those links will take you directly to quicktime files.)

For some history, and links to other (interesting though not quite as good) entries, click here.


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BloggingOn 4.5 – It’s a long way from Winter Soldier to...

In case you’ve missed it out there on the net… articles have been appearing online about a website that gives free memberships to US soldiers in Iraq in exchange for pictures of, well… here, read an excerpt from an article in the nation:

Originally created as a site for men to share images of their sexual partners, this site has taken the concept of user-created content to a grim new low: US troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan are invited to display graphic battlefield photos apparently taken with their personal digital cameras. And thousands of people are logging on to take a look.

The website has become a stomach-churning showcase for the pornography of war--close-up shots of Iraqi insurgents and civilians with heads blown off, or with intestines spilling from open wounds. Sometimes photographs of mangled body parts are displayed: Part of the game is for users to guess what appendage or organ is on display.


There is a far more explicit article on eastbayexpress, which I mentioned a while back. Coturnix pointed me toward some similar articles and asked me to investigate the strength of this story as a meme. I’m not exactly sure how to go about doing this, but following Corturnix’s advice, I did several google searches for the individual articles, and here’s what I found:

My initial hesitation to dig any deeper into this was the fear of what I might find if I entered “war” and “porn” as keywords in Google. The first search I tried was an attempt to make the boundaries as narrow as possible. Entering the following: ("chris wilson" nowthatsfuckedup iraq porn) turned up 627 hits (Chris Wilson is the creator of NTFU). A random sampling shows that almost all of these hits (if not all of them) are directly related to the desired search. The first hit is the article I originally read on eastbayexpress (that has since been updated).

I’m not sure how Google’s “find pages that link to…” search option works, but it has yet to turn up any results for the URLs I have. (If anyone knows how this works, please advise.) Instead I tried searches for each of these articles that refer to this story…

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20051010/the_porn_of_war

This search: ("the nation" "the porn of war") turned up 430 hits.

Again, most of these hits appear to be topical. If the one heading I found in Cyrillic is any indication, this meme is getting around.

Here's the URL for the article on eastbayexpress:

http://www.eastbayexpress.com/Issues/2005-09-21/news/news.html

A search for (eastbayexpress “war pornography”) turned up 994 hits.

I have to apologize that I really have no idea to go about conducting this search. My computer skills cover only what I’ve needed so far, and I can always fake the rest. If anyone has suggestions on how I can take this a little further, please let me know. It would be interesting if we could find out: when and where this meme first appeared, which are the most popular sources for it (which article has the most links to it… the nation? eastbayexpress?, at what point the meme started to pick up speed, whether or not it has reached “main stream media,” etc., etc.)

When I first discovered this I thought it would be the sort of thing to blow up in national media. Abu Ghraib II, perhaps. While I tend to be (willfully) ignorant of what’s going on in the news, I haven’t noticed any signs of this one trickling down to me like most things do. As a meme, this seems to have some strength on the internet. It certainly plays into some current strengths that a news story might hope to have: another entry in the ongoing race to deliver the silver bullet that will put an end to the Iraq War or the Bush Administration. Perhaps the graphic nature makes it unfit for national media attention? Perhaps no one wants to give this website any more free publicity than it’s already received? I don’t know. Why has this not caught on? Why does this not have the momentum it needs to gain national attention in the way Abu Ghraib did?


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Camambert,

Starbucks and Coldplay? Touche.

More like Wild Oats and the Velvet Underground (and Pavement and Radiohead and Miles Davis and too many others to possibly mention and, ok... maybe Coldplay just a little bit).

And you? Cosi and Sex in the City? Still rooting for Brad and Jennifer? Forever 21? The Notebook, perhaps?


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BloggingOn 4.4 - Wonkette

I suppose this is the sort of thing that has earned Wonkette her repuation as "profanity-laced and sex-obsessed...[a] vain, young, trash-mouthed skank." Then again, maybe it has (at least) a little to do with that secret of her overnight success.

Fair enough. That next post isn’t really news, but it has more character (er... spunk?) than most of the stuff I’ve been reading this week. Here’s the polling page, if you want to cast your own vote (for a limited time!).

Wonkette also has a little more sex appeal than Andrew Sullivan or (cough...) James Wolcott. I only mention it, because I think Wonkette would want me to mention it. The blogosphere has been (in my experience) a decidedly un-feminine place. Unless, of course, you count all the scantily-clad whatnot offered up by FARK and boingboing. Speaking of appeal, Wonkette openly solicits for "sponsorship."


Gawker Media – Wonkette and seven other weblog titles – brings a young and influential audience to brand advertisers. Click here to find out more about sponsorship opportunities...

Wonkette - like Ailes, Sullivan, Wolcott - is less a blogger than a media filter or "content provider." Her (recent) blogs (at least) tend to call attention to stories elsewhere in the media or on the net, albeit with her own personal flair (er... sass?). Maybe she’s spending more time on her novel these days. Or her drinking.


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BloggingOn 4.3 - Roger Ailes and Andrew Sullivan

Yeah, I know. It looks like “allies,” doesn’t it? Funny, that. He has no blogroll, but an “enemies list” as long as your arm. Then again, I think those them there are friendlies. Aren’t they? Who the hell knows? This guy can’t seem to form a sentence without being f-thingy.

In fact, Ailes’ blog seems to be the land of the clever one-liners. Check out the comment string on this post. Mystery Science Blogosphere 3000? I have a feeling this is the sort of post that Ailes lives for.

Ailes shares at least one similarity with Andrew Sullivan… they both post about every ten minutes or so. Each of these guys, by-their-lonesome, could turn out more posts in a day than the entire community of Metafilter (almost). But then, their posts are also typically scant. Ailes’ are heavily quote-laden with a few lines before and after for maximum humorous and or cynical effect. While Sullivan’s are heavily quote-laden with a few lines before or after for almost no effect at all.

Sullivan gets points for making links open in a new window, and for the generally attractive format of his site. He loses points for the lack of comments. However, I appreciate the back-catalogue of news articles. It provides some much needed perspective. Most of Sullivan’s posts are barely more than lengthy quotes with links to the original article, or single lines of text with links to the article referenced: “The News I Read Today” By Andrew J. Sullivan… Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking for official credentials. I could care less that so-and-so writes for such-and-such. I’m far more interested that they have something to say.


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BloggingOn 4.2 - Forefathers of the Blog

While reading Thoreau's "Plea for John Brown" for my other class, I couldn't help but think that it would have made for a perfect, proto-blog. Furthermore, were it a blog, it would fit nicely into this week's class discussion: well known man-of-letters offers his astute perspective on current events, in an attepmt to redress what he feels is (to put it mildly) an unfair situation. Imagine that the many places where Thoreau quotes contemporary accounts of John Brown , could easily be hyperlinks to cnn, msn and the like. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this line of thought: not only has Thoreau's account survived (while other's have not), but it seems to have shaped the historical perspective on John Brown to some degree. Will any of today's blogs be as essential to forming the historical record?



3 comments

BloggingOn 4.1 – Wull-kuht. James Wull-kuht.

Or is it Wall-kaht? Tee-vah ot The-vah? Hun-tah or June-tah?

My first foray into all-things-wall-cot, was this post, right here. It seemed more like a short Vanity Fair article with hyperlinks than your run-of-the-mill bloggy-blog blog post. I was reassured to find that JW doesn’t suffer from the same lack of vision that his colleagues over at HuffPo tend to fall victim to… He’s not just some lame old Journalist blogging, while wishing he weren’t. How do I know? He also writes about less-than-consequential crap. Like, how Law & Order just isn’t as good as it used to be, and other pop culture perfunctories.

Speaking of pop culture, what can you say about making an obscure pop culture reference, and then hyperlinking to its explanation? (I already did it in this post, and back in my first post, too). Isn’t this sort of like having the cliff-notes to a conversation? Or hyperlinked editions of James Joyce?

It seems that the primary purpose of most blogs is to act as a filter. This is most visible in terms of pop-culture, but applies just as readily to politics, news and current events. Megablogs like boingboing and metafilter act as gateways to the web, guiding the webuser around the unbelieveably vast quantity of information available on online, by presenting (what they deem to be) the most essential destinations. Links are accompanied by commentary (or at least some general context) often providing the “author’s” own personal view on the content in question.

Even the blog-my-life blogger’s perform the function of filter. They may not address world events, or prime time tv, but they present the world around them. The choice bits. Leaving the boring/embarrassing/tedious real-daily-life bits aside.

Can we apply this distinction to all blogs? Are blogs simply filters of various shades and sizes? Changing the tint and contrast, altering size and proportions. Or are they screens? Blocking various perspectives, revealing only outlines where there should be full-color three-dimensional objects on view. Are they ever mirrors?


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