A recent study served to confirm the patently obvious: song lyrics for the most popular genres of music are ridiculously obtuse — and getting worse over time. Though this might not be a revelation, the figures are distressing indicators of both an intellectually vapid societal and cultural future as well as its apparent inevitability. [more inside]
The American Reader makes a critique of TED talks and then uses it to bootstrap a critique of cultural criticism itself.
A decent strategy with TED might be to reclaim our teenage capacities and treat these videos as hopelessly passé—ignore them to death. Critiquing them, even as I have done, will do what criticism has done for television: creating an added enjoyment as you go on consuming the crap you despise. I know what I am watching is disgraceful, but aren’t I great at seeing why it’s disgraceful? I only watch it to keep up-to-date with the unwashed masses.Previously, previously, previously
In Japan, people applying to work at Nintendo are given an amazing company guide (2015), bursting with color, that they remake every year. 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 ( via Simon Carless [Twitter], thnx)
The Onion Is Not a Joke [The Atlantic] How a fake newspaper is turning into a real media empire.
"Almost all media coverage depends on a rehash of several myths about this election. Let’s look at them – in no particular order – one by one. -- Eight media myths about the 2015 election and why they're wrong by Alex Grant.
The Words the Media Industry Prefers MeFi's own Paul Ford ( previously, a few times )writes another article about the internet and media and data and meaning.
Six PEN Members Decline Gala After Award for Charlie Hebdo [New York Times]
“The decision by PEN American Center to give its annual Freedom of Expression Courage award to the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo has prompted six writers to withdraw as literary hosts at the group’s annual gala on May 5, adding a new twist to the continuing debate over the publication’s status as a martyr for free speech. The novelists Peter Carey, Michael Ondaatje, Francine Prose, Teju Cole, Rachel Kushner and Taiye Selasi have withdrawn from the gala, at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan.”[more inside]
In an interview with Lucky Peach, Lockhart Steele (previously) talks about "flooding the zone" in the blog era:
One of the things that I try to say to the team at all of our sites is, Hey, let’s not be afraid to still be weird. Because as you get bigger, you can get forced to just be so mainstream. You have more people coming to your site, so you have more readers who are going to be confused by your obsessions, who are going to be like, What’s the joke, I don’t get it. And you have to be okay with people not getting it.via Super Punch
Hundreds Feared Dead After Boat Filled With Migrants Capsizes in Mediterranean [New York Times]
"For the past several years, Europe has been confronted with hundreds of thousands of migrants arriving illegally from Africa and the Middle East, many of them fleeing war and poverty. Italy has been in the vanguard of rescue efforts, with its Navy and Coast Guard ships rescuing more than 130,000 people last year in a widely praised program known as Mare Nostrum."[more inside]
A New Whitney It has been interesting to watch the High Line progress from nothing more than a dream to its current wonderful reality mixing green, gleam and grit. Jason's early unauthorized foray introduced many around these parts to the High Line. Now the Whitney moves in.
Having trouble finding the right condo? Moving from colleting art to collecting passports? Feeling left behind in yacht purchases? Or are you having to budget your 500k a year? (previously) Or worried about pied-a-terre owners changing your neighborhood?
Or maybe the Times coverage of the super-rich is alienating millennials. [more inside]
Or maybe the Times coverage of the super-rich is alienating millennials. [more inside]
"Things Left Unspoken: Erasure in Online Discussion of Domestic Violence" - Trigger Warning: Domestic violence, mentions of violent actions, physical abuse, sexual assault. By Catherine [Kiran/Rin] Oliver at Model View Culture. [more inside]
In the video, Michelle Rodriguez offers a few choice words on diversity in casting: “Stop stealing white superheroes.” It caused a bit of an uproar in some circles, and Michelle made a video clarifying her statements. But first, let’s address the premise itself. Are all of these superheroes, “originally” white, whose races are being changed, being stolen?
Fictional user interfaces in film, TV and games. Kit FUI UI BAKA SciFi Interfaces VisualPunker: UI FakeUI Screens on screen [more inside]
The Final Rhapsody of Charles Bowden by Scott Carrier [Mother Jones] [warning, descriptions of graphic violence] [more inside]
That's the argument made by Ben Thomas earlier this week. Thomas charges that overenthusiastic viral sharing of half-baked scientific projects can make it more difficult for more well-planned projects to achieve success, particularly when high-profile crowdfunded projects go on to flop badly. Worse, the public backlash when real, messier science fails to live up to the flashy, unrealistic claims that media and social media hype blows up can have repercussions even for scientists who are funded by traditional grants. Signe Cane has a useful criticism of Thomas' piece with advice for non-specialists on how to try to separate cool things in real scientific work from cool things that are mostly hype and exaggerations. On the flip side of crowdfunding, Jacquelyn Gill shares her experience of using crowdfunding to fund her scientific research, ultimately concluding that it was a hell of a lot of work for relatively minimal payout. And Terry McGlynn, another ecologist, expresses some reservations about the effects of crowdfunding and other publicly marketed initiatives on science more broadly.
When it comes to getting news about politics and government, liberals and conservatives inhabit different worlds. The project – part of a year-long effort to shed light on political polarization in America – looks at the ways people get information about government and politics in three different settings: the news media, social media and the way people talk about politics with friends and family. In all three areas, the study finds that those with the most consistent ideological views on the left and right have information streams that are distinct from those of individuals with more mixed political views – and very distinct from each other. [more inside]
"Or don’t. But please. Detox. Throw your phone in the fucking East River. DELETE YOUR TWITTER." The Concessionist, an advice column for the Awl written by Choire Sicha, fields "the letter that encapsulates the millennial age": I Hate Myself Because I Don't Work For BuzzFeed. [more inside]
John Pilger describes a 'Faustian Pact' that allows the suppression of a modern fascism in the West and its reliance on propaganda as news, and the beckoning of a war that rarely speaks its name. A follow on from War by media and the triumph of propaganda.
Mother Jones reports on Bill O'Reilly's claimed experience in combat zones, reaching conclusions like one of his claims "is at odds with news reports from the time—including the report from his own bureau." O'Reilly responded, and Mother Jones factchecked his monologue. Meanwhile, a veteran CBS News reporter weighed in, backing the work by Mother Jones.
Todd McFarlane's Spawn aired on HBO from 1997-99. A faithful depiction of McFarlane's popular action-fantasy-horror comic, this groundbreaking, (NSFW,) animated series won an Emmy for 'Outstanding Animation Program' during its third and final season. [more inside]
Why I have resigned from the Telegraph; an open letter by Peter Oborne, until now the chief political commentator of the Daily Telegraph, alleging that the conservative-leaning British broadsheet has allowed advertisers to veto its editorial policy, a process which culminated in the suppression of stories about the recent tax avoidance scandal involving the HSBC bank, itself a major Telegraph advertiser.
Wind chill is vitally important information. Or is it a meaningless number useful only in making weather forecasts more dramatic? [more inside]
2 Deadly Shootings Within Hours in Copenhagen; 5 Wounded [New York Times]
A shooting at a free speech event featuring an artist who had caricatured the Prophet Muhammad and a second shooting hours later outside a synagogue left two dead and five police officers wounded in Copenhagen, stirring fears that another terror spree was underway in a European capital a month after 17 people were killed in Paris attacks.[more inside]
David Carr, journalist and media columnist for the New York Times passed away suddenly earlier tonight. [more inside]
A look at Emma Sulkowicz's (The Columbia University student who carried a mattress around campus as a statement and art project) accused rapist, Jean-Paul Nungesser (who was found innocent by the university, but branded as guilty by the public) and the messy intersection of colleges handling assault cases themselves, instead of police dealing with the reported crimes. The Columbia University student newspaper weighs in.
On Trial for Rape by Ann Brocklehurst [The Walrus Magazine]
"Late last year, in a Toronto courtroom, a young woman faced off against the university student whom she accused of raping her in a school parking lot. The media ignored the story. This is a series about a criminal rape trial that took place in Toronto late last year. The trial lasted eight days; the judge announced his verdict earlier this month." —Ann Brocklehurst[more inside]
Face-Stabbing and Cop-Killing: Inside 2015's Most Controversial Video Game [VICE]
"Destructive Creations' Hatred has drawn plenty of criticism for the fact that its main character, a big hairy man, seems intent on killing innocent civilians for no particular reason."[more inside]
"From the pictures and videos that accompany the NBC News and Buzzfeed stories, the crowd appears to have been predominantly white... which explains why they're described in the media as 'celebrating' rather than 'rioting'. But every time this happens – that is to say, every time sports fans, predominantly of the white variety, go on rampages after wining (or losing) various championships – many of us with a few gray hairs on our heads are reminded of the Clash's seminal punk anthem, 'White Riot,' which was released as a 7-inch single (that would be on vinyl, kids) in March 1977, and was later included on both the UK and the US versions of the band's debut album, The Clash." Whites Riot: That’s Not What Joe Strummer Had in Mind, by David Von Ebers (TwiB! / Valid magazine).
On The Fetishisation Of Gay Men By Women In The Slash Community by Kiri Van Santen [more inside]
We all know printed photos, properly stored, have an extended shelf life; as many of us likely have at least a handful of family photos that are 75+ years old. Will our grandkids be able to read the DVDs they find in the attic, or the thumb drive full of jpg files that had been sitting in a box for 50 years? Will the media even be readable that far in the future? Maybe we should all be printing to paper the photos we really care about.
Bret Victor talks about media, abstraction, and the richness (and neglect) of human experience (slvimeo) [more inside]
I was surprised when I saw this photograph in a colour supplement a few days after the demonstration. It was captioned “A West End shopper argues with a protester”, but that’s not what happened at all: I was trying to calm him down. I wrote to tell them truth, and to my astonishment they published my letter.The truth behind one of the more famous photos taken during the 1990 London Poll Tax Riot. [more inside]
Poynter's List of the Best (and Worst) Corrections, Retractions and Apologies in Media in 2014 Previously. Previouslier.
Nick Quah of Hot Pod briefly interviews Jesse Thorn about how the rest of the media world reports on podcasting. "The recent boom in podcast coverage that we’ve been seeing over the past few weeks, while wonderful, has also tended to gravitate around a few shows: Serial, Radiolab, Marc Maron, Comedy Bang Bang, etc. That coverage has also exhibited a tendency to frame podcasting as experiencing something of a renaissance, or revival. [But] this isn’t the case. Podcasts have been steadily and quietly growing for the past decade [...] So why has the revival narrative stuck?"
Today, The New Republic's editor-in-chief Franklin Foer and literary editor (and thirty-year veteran of the magazine) Leon Wieseltier both resigned in a shake-up that also includes moving the magazine to New York from Washington and reducing its number of print issues from 20 to 10 per year. Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker reports that "the top editors are gone & mass resignations are imminent." The impetus for the resignations, according to Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine, is apparently that Chris Hughes, a Facebook co-founder who purchased the magazine in 2012 at age 28, and Guy Vidra, its new CEO, "are afflicted with the belief that they can copy the formula that transformed the Huffington Post and BuzzFeed into economic successes, which is probably wrong, and that this formula can be applied to The New Republic, which is certainly wrong." [more inside]
"China’s Web Doorkeeper", Lu Wei, may be the most powerful man on the Internet (NYT), and he has "ratcheted up restrictions in what is already the world’s most sophisticated system of online censorship." He addressed the 7th China-US Internet Industry Forum yesterday and everybody was listening (SCMP). But there is one big question: Will he joining the country’s print and broadcast watchdog's new campaign to “crack down on the irregular and inaccurate use of the Chinese language," specifically puns and wordplay (Grauniad)? If so, he may have issues with Google searches that match up his name with a new category of take-away food in Taiwan called "lu-wei" (“lu” means braised and “wei,” flavors) (Inquirer).
Guardian: Alexei Sayle’s Marxist demolition of Strictly Come Dancing. In which the English Marxist-Leninist comedian and author details his dislike of the British version of Dancing with the Stars.
On Monday, the Supreme Court (with a recovering Ruth Bader Ginsburg) will hear argument in Elonis v. United States, a case where a man was convicted for posts and messages on Facebook that prosecutors treated as threats of actual violence. (trigger warning: descriptions of violence) [more inside]
How to play the game of life when you are Black. Mike Sholars, associate editor at the Huffington Post Canada, on what it takes to "win". [more inside]
Part I: Bee Deaths Mystery Solved? Neonicotinoids (Neonics) May Actually Help Bee Health.
Reports that honey bees are dying in unusually high numbers has concerned many scientists, farmers and beekeepers, and gripped the public. There have been thousands of stories ricocheting across the web, citing one study or another as the definitive explanation for a mystery that most mainstream experts say is complex and not easily reducible to the kind of simplistic narrative that appeals to advocacy groups. We explore the claims by Harvard School of Public Health researcher Chensheng Lu, heralded by anti-pesticide and anti-GMO advocacy groups, for his research that purportedly proves that the class of chemicals known as neonicotinoids are killing bees and endangering humans.Part II: Bee Deaths And CCD - Flawed Chensheng Lu Harvard Studies Endanger Bees.
Here we examine the specific claim that neonics are responsible for Colony Collapse Disorder—the centerpiece of Lu’s assertions and again see how influential media manipulate quotes and selectively present information to ideologically influence trusting readers.[more inside]
Last night, a 28 year old man named Akai Gurley was shot to death in a stairwell by an NYPD officer who was patrolling the Pink Houses in East New York. Gurley and his girlfriend had decided to take the stairs because the elevator was taking too long. Police Commissioner Bratton said today that the victim was “a total innocent” and called the shooting "an unfortunate accident." [more inside]
"With the fifth series of Downton Abbey having recently drawn to a close, I have taken some time to consider why domestic service dramas fascinate me so much." [more inside]
Keira Knightley, among other stars, is sick of being Photoshopped. She posed topless in Interview Magazine in protest of the unfair body image standards thrust upon women. [more inside]
In the wake of accusations that Lena Dunham sexually abused her sister (who denies the allegations) The Daily Beast looks at Dunham as an icon of feminism and whether that role means she receives less criticism. [more inside]
Audio recordings show that airspace restrictions over Ferguson following the killing of Mike Brown, supposedly due to shots fired at helicopters, were actually to keep the media out. Meanwhile federal charges against Darren Wilson are looking increasingly unlikely.