What Russians really think - "Many in the west see Russia as aggressive and brainwashed. But its citizens have a different view." Meanwhile,[1,2] in Moscow and Lviv...
recently on Aeon: not only do stories shape our thought processes in many ways similar to lived experience, they may also strengthen empathy as readers map the narratives of authors.
…H’it all happened along back ’bout jes’ afore’n th’ depression … mebbe 1931…Bad Year in Bear Lake: a semi-coherent-supercentenarian-hillbilly-recollecting-long-forgotten-hard-times simulator. [more inside]
Welp, Doc Wilson, he bottled it up ’til one day, he finally snapt. He had a farmer’s shotgun he was allus wavin’ at folks. Ever’ tub must stand on its own bottom … don’t wanna talk ’bout that no more. H’it’s sartain Melvin was as strong’s a wolf. Man – he might like t’ been fit t’ be tied, but he’d make th’ trip over t’ th’ fish house ever’ day anyhow. Those were th’ days. An’body c’da tol’ yuh Clarence run fer mayor. I ’member th’ circus along yonder near th’ lake. He come up an’ he – or was’t t’other time? … Well, I reckon he tripped an’ fell plumb over his’n chair. I tell yuh, too late now, though. He sure as hell din’t win. I reckon that was when that slimy Delbert McCoy holed up at Bent Creek. He made sev’ral enemies. Had a bowie knife on ’im, too. Later, we shot ’im in th’ left eye way out at th’ pharmacy. Not much choice, really.
A Day of Speaking Truth to Power - Quinn Norton visits the Office of the Director of National Intelligence
David Chase finally answers the question he wants fans to quit asking. (Agita warning: spoilers. Whaddya, nuts? ) [more inside]
My Cousin is Not a Hero: "But it’s not fiction, it’s real life. It’s the night of his dad’s funeral and we’re standing there together, and neither of us is a hero. Neither of us is on an epic journey... Our plot points are weird ones, and our stories don’t add up to some amazing narrative of personal growth and enlightenment — but they do matter, because they’re ours." [more inside]
Big Game Theory! Board games that tell stories. The Bored Gaymer. A girl likes games. HiveGod's Yell Matrix. QWERTYUIOP. 365 Days of Gaming. Those are a few of the most favorited current blogs on BoardGameGeek, and these are a few of their most favorited posts. [more inside]
Supposed Histories: meet a genetic terrorist, someone with equitrichosis, and a professional suicide-note writer. [more inside]
I had done all the research I was going to do, assembled enough material to fill a silo. And now I had no idea what to do with it - John McPhee, on narrative structure. [more inside]
The FBI files on being and nothingness. "From 1945 onwards, J Edgar Hoover’s FBI spied on Camus and Sartre. The investigation soon turned into a philosophical inquiry…" [Via]
I Married A Jew. Published January 1, 1939 in the Atlantic.
Since the first stirrings of the Nieman Foundation’s narrative writing program nearly 20 years ago, the staff has tended a treasure trove of resource material devoted to excellence in journalistic storytelling. Much of that material went online first via the Nieman Narrative Digest and, in 2009, here at Nieman Storyboard. Storyboard 75 represents some of the most popular posts from our archive so far. Essays, interviews, how-to’s and analyses of narrative journalism.
Fiction and Real Life are Different, You Moron. A cartoon about sports.
On the importance of Magical Girl Heroines & Weaponized Femininity: "The Magical Girl genre is essentially a genre which explores the female Heroine’s arc, the female coming of age story, and the womanhood narrative with varying degrees of success or failure — but it gets explored. I’d be hard pressed to name a whole lot of series that allow women to play every single archetypal role in the heroic book the way say, Sailor Moon does."
A SPOOKTACULAR ADVENTURE - Alex Roberts' charming mostly-ghostly obscenity-laden, Choose Your Own Adventure game is just filled to bursting with spooks, ooks, and skeletons.
A month after its release, Naughty Dog's sweeping interactive epic The Last of Us is being hailed as one of the best games of all time, with perfect scores even from notoriously demanding critics. Inspired by an eerily beautiful segment from the BBC's Planet Earth, the game portrays an America twenty years after a pandemic of the zombiefying Cordyceps fungus (previously), leaving behind lush wastelands of elegant decay teeming with monsters and beset by vicious bandits, a brutal military, and the revolutionary Fireflies. Into this bleak vision of desperate violence journey Joel, a gruffly stoic Texan with a painful past, and his ward Ellie, a precocious teenager who may hold the key to mankind's future. Boasting tense, immersive gameplay, compelling performances from a diverse cast, a movingly minimalist score from Oscar-winning Gustavo Santaolalla, and an array of influences from Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men to Cormac McCarthy's The Road, it's already being slotted alongside BioShock Infinite and Half-Life 2 as one of modern gaming's crowning achievements. And while it's hard to disentangle plot from action, you don't have to buy a PS3 to experience it -- YouTube offers many filmic edits of the game, including this three-hour version of all relevant passages. And don't miss the 84-minute documentary exploring every facet of its production. [more inside]
Sarah Polley, previously, is a Canadian actress and director whose new documentary Stories We Tell is about her own family's story. Or stories. And how storytelling shapes us. Sarah Polley's Meta Masterpiece [more inside]
Legends Never Die Two decades after a low-budget film turned Washington Square skaters into international celebrities, the kids from "Kids" struggle with lost lives, distant friendships, and the fine art of growing up. Caroline Rothstein writes about the cast of the Harmony Korine / Larry Clark film twenty years on for narrative.ly.
Bioshock Infinite (previously) has been hailed as brilliant by many but others, even while enjoying it, have questioned the way the game deploys violence and whether this limits the audience that may otherwise have enjoyed the fascinating narrative put forth by the game. While not directly implicating the game's violence others have suggested that Bioshock Infinite might be the last of a dying breed (the Triple A, big budget, narrative game) due to the lack luster returns of such fare in the face of cheap, accessible indie and mobile games.
Frequently dismissed as trivial or unimportant because untrue, rumors are a potent in the information war that characterizes contemporary conflicts, and they participate in significant ways in the struggle for the consent of the governed. As narrative forms, rumors are suitable to a wide range of political expression, from citizens, insurgents, and governments alike. The authors make a compelling argument for understanding rumors in these contexts as "narrative IEDs," low-cost, low-tech weapons that can successfully counter elaborate and expansive government initiatives of outreach campaigns or strategic communication efforts.Narrative Landmines - The Explosive Effects of Rumors in Syria and Insurgencies Around the World [more inside]
About a week ago a series of tweets began to appear promoting a new TEDx conference taking place with all the normal social media bluster and back-patting - but was it? The event's isolated location should've set off warning bells (previously) when the tweets from "TedxSummerisle" because increasingly worrisome as the conference tumblr began posting videos with titles like "Our Friends the Bees, and Nanotech" and "The Secret Science of the Ancients". (via)
The lack of female road narratives and why it matters Whereas a man on the road might be seen as potentially dangerous, potentially adventurous, or potentially hapless, in all cases the discourse is one of potential. When a man steps onto the road, his journey begins. When a woman steps onto that same road, hers ends.
Anne Helen Petersen, the voice behind "Scandals Of Classic Hollywood" (previously) and "doctor of celebrity gossip" gives us an academic rundown of the hows and whys of the last hundred years of Hollywood Star Making, celebrity, PR, marketing, fandom, and scandal management.
"The screenplay keeps so many balls in the air that everything feels lively and inventive and fun, even when the plot isn’t being forwarded, or especially when the plot isn’t being forwarded. " Todd Alcott, director, actor and screenwriter, is known for his exhaustive analysis of screenplays (previously, previously) turns his eye to the modern Superhero Genre with a complete break down of Marvel's The Avengers Part 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 16 / 17
With cities, it is as with dreams: everything imaginable can be dreamed, but even the most unexpected dream is a rebus that conceals a desire or, its reverse, a fear. Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else. December 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of Invisible Cities -- the sublime metaphysical travelogue by author-journalist Italo Calvino. In a series of pensive dialogues with jaded emperor Kublai Khan, the explorer Marco Polo describes a meandering litany of visionary and impossible places, dozens of surreal, fantastical cities, each poetically reifying ideas vital to language, philosophy, and the human spirit. This gracefully written love letter to urban life has inspired countless tributes, but it's just the most accessible of Calvino's fascinating literary catalogue. Look inside for a closer look at his most remarkable works, links to English translations of his magical prose, and collections of artistic interpretations from around the web -- including this treasure trove of essays, excerpts, articles, and recommended reading. [more inside]
As the conversation about the state of games criticism continues, there is a site that acts as a platform for some of the best writing in the field by theorists, critics, and independent developers: Nightmare Mode dot net. [more inside]
She sat zazen, concentrating on not concentrating, until it was time to prepare for the appointment. Sitting seemed to produce the usual serenity, put everything in perspective. Her hand did not tremble as she applied her make-up; tranquil features looked back at her from the mirror. She was mildly surprised, in fact, at just how calm she was, until she got out of the hotel elevator at the garage level and the mugger made his play. She killed him instead of disabling him. Which was obviously not a measured, balanced action--the official fuss and paperwork could make her late. Annoyed at herself, she stuffed the corpse under a shiny new Westinghouse roadable whose owner she knew to be in Luna, and continued on to her own car. This would have to be squared later, and it would cost. No help for it--she fought to regain at least the semblance of tranquillity as her car emerged from the garage and turned north. Nothing must interfere with this meeting, or with her role in it. "Melancholy Elephants," an enthralling, Hugo Award-winning short story by Spider Robinson about a disciplined operative, a powerful senator, and a crucial mission to preserve humanity's most precious resource. (some spoilers inside) [more inside]
"You are a cat. You don’t know your name, or where you are, or how you got there. You are sitting on a pile of clothes that smell familiar, and the room around you is quiet and dark." So begins A Stray In The Woods, an online collaborate comic/illustrated interactive fiction about being an amnesic cat. Take control of the story by suggesting things for the cat to do. [via mefi projects]
2012 Vimeo Awards Nominations — There are 13 categories including four new ones. The Experimental category is lots of fun. [previously]
"If you strung all of the opening scenes from the various seasons [of Breaking Bad] together in chronological order, would the show's basic narrative make sense?" [more inside]
On 11/11/11, Homestuck entered Act 6 (of 7). This follows an explosive 13-minute finale to Act 5, which brought down its host Newgrounds on the day of its unveiling and was released with a fantastic companion soundtrack. In the two and a half years since it was created, Homestuck has become a full-blown epic, approaching the length of War and Peace, but with hours of accompanying animation, several interactive games, a loop machine, and a baffling 19 soundtrack albums, ranging from VG-inspired soundtrack to jazzy mood music to solo piano to parody kids TV show soundtrack. It also has an obsession with Nic Cage and Betty Crocker, and comes with a metawebcomic called Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff which is in and of itself pure gold. Intimidated? You probably should be! But it's hilarious, epic, and surprisingly addictive, so if you've got nothing else on your plate, you can either start from the beginning, or, if it seems too daunting, you can learn... [more inside]
Wanwanlink weaves together a sequence of motion in realtime, using fragments of archival footages that are being collected daily. When a human figure appears on the screen, the sound is deliberately distorted into a slow 'wan wan.' This project, with a theme linking to classification and dependency, shall continue to be developed for a very long time. (Footages featured on this website belong to the public domain. Clips were downloaded from http://www.archive.org/).
Coming Apart: After 9/11 transfixed America, the country’s problems were left to rot. "No national consensus formed around 9/11. Indeed, the decade since has destroyed the very possibility of a common narrative."
A year ago this August, 72 migrant workers -- 58 men and 14 women -- 'were on their way to the US border when they were murdered by a drug gang at a ranch in northern Mexico, in circumstances that remain unexplained. Since then, a group of Mexican journalists and writers have created' a "Day of the Dead-style Virtual Altar" Spanish-language website, 72migrantes.com, to commemorate each of the victims, some of whom have never been identified. The New York Review of Books has English translations of five of their profiles. [more inside]
What's Catwoman's deal, anyway? dr_von_fangirl has a fantastic, exhaustive answer, cobbling a coherent, newbie-friendly origin story together from a variety of comic sources.
On April 8, the Pentagon released a report entitled: "A National Strategic Narrative" written by two senior members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a 'personal capacity'. [more inside]
Elizabeth Warren on setting up the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection - lecture starts here, but really starts getting good here: "I feel like this is a boring speech." stay for the Q&A.
One Hello World is a collection of voicemail set to music. In a sort of This American Life meets Post Secret twist, these messages cover life, love, death, and just about anything else you can think of.
Juko Martina Holliday is a psychology doctoral student who uses multimedia projects in her dissertation research process. She explores how creating visual narratives of one's personal experience with mental illness might hold value as a therapeutic tool. [more inside]
Chris Crawford (previously) has released the beta version of his Storytron engine. The first demo? Balance of Power: 21st Century. [more inside]
Ice:A Victorian Romance, is an exhibition of fifty-five rare books and journals, with lovely illustrations. [more inside]
It was a dark and stormy campaign... A film theorist's thoughts on the narratives of Barack Obama and John McCain. [more inside]
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