“All power is one in source and end, I think. Years and distances, stars and candles, water and wind and wizardry, the craft in a man’s hand and the wisdom in a tree’s root: they all arise together. My name, and yours, and the true name of the sun, or a spring of water, or an unborn child, all are syllables of the great word that is very slowly spoken by the shining of the stars. There is no other power. No other name.”
— Ursula K. Leguin, A Wizard of Earthsea
11:27 pm • 15 July 2014 • 2 notes
We won a hackathon.
In semi-related news, Andrew Sullivan blogged about us and we didn’t notice.
4:29 pm • 14 May 2014
“There’s a lotta things about me you don’t know anything about, Dottie. Things you wouldn’t understand. Things you couldn’t understand. Things you shouldn’t understand.”
— Pee-Wee Herman
11:04 pm • 27 April 2014 • 4 notes
The Ballad of Geeshie and Elvie
"For the preserving of that force we have to thank not the foresight of those recording companies but their ignorance and even philistinism when it came to black culture. They knew next to nothing about the music and even less about what new trends in it might appeal to consumers. Nowhere was this truer than at Paramount. These were businessmen, Northern and Midwestern, former salesmen. Their notions of what was a hit and what was not were a Magic Eight Ball. So, when the mid-1920s arrived, and Paramount went looking farther afield for new acts, they compensated by recording everything and waiting to see what sold. Not everything, but a lot. A long swath of everything. The result was an unprecedented, never-to-be-repeated, all-but-unconscious survey of America’s musical culture, a sonic X-ray of it, taken at a moment when the full kaleidoscopic variety of prerecording-era transracial forms hadn’t yet contracted. Hundreds of singers, more thousands of songs. Some of the greatest musicians ever born in this country were netted only there. It was a slapdash and profit-driven documentary project that in some respects dwarfed what the most ambitious and well intentioned ethnomusicologists could hope to achieve (deformed in all sorts of ways by capitalism, but we take what we can get)."
10:50 am • 18 April 2014
Punishing Propagandists, Covering Climate Change, and More
- On The Media
The NPR story on Sad YouTube has “gone national” on the main On the Media show. Check it out if you haven’t heard it yet, they did a great job.
11:46 am • 5 April 2014 • 12 notes
After I finished making my short The Decelerators a couple of years ago, I asked my friend Ohara Hale, who appears in the film, to design a poster for the movie. This is what it looks like:
Only a couple were printed up (by Ohara herself, to sell) and the image was mostly used online.
Yesterday, I noticed that I had been tagged in a comment thread on Instagram. Clicking through, I was surprised to find the picture at the top of the post. Reading further, I found out that it was taken by a fan of Ohara’s in the Philippines (who she doesn’t know personally) who took the picture at a store called “Landmark,” which appears to be a popular Filipino department store. It’s of a rack of bootleg Decelerators t-shirts; never mind that there were never any official Decelerators t-shirts.
As my friend Aaron, who also appears in the film, commented, “The world is a really small and strange place sometimes.”
Clearly, some designer found Ohara’s image online, thought it looked cool, and threw it on a shirt to be sold at Landmark (and who knows where else). Now a poster of my short film is on a piece of clothing for sale halfway across the world, and that just seems… normal. The weird thing about this story is how not weird it seems to me.
11:30 am • 21 March 2014 • 5 notes
Video: Why This Man Started Sad YouTube
When archaeologists want to know how a civilization lived before them, they might research by digging in the trash. That’s why Mark Slutsky says he created Sad YouTube, a website that highlights touching, melancholy moments found among the heaps of comments left on the video sharing platform.
You really have to watch this, mostly for the huge splashy Sad YouTube backdrop on their set.
12:22 pm • 18 March 2014 • 10 notes
Profiles: Fifteen Years of the Salto Mortale
It is thirty minutes later. Carson is sitting at a table by the pool, where four or five people have joined him. He chats with impersonal affability, making no effort to dominate, charm, or amuse. I recall something that George Axelrod, the dramatist and screenwriter, once said to me about him: “Socially, he doesn’t exist. The reason is that there are no television cameras in living rooms. If human beings had little-red lights in the middle of their foreheads, Carson would be the greatest conversationalist on earth.”
Kenneth Tynan’s brilliant 1978 profile of Johnny Carson is one of my favourite pieces of non-fiction writing ever. Doesn’t matter if you ever watched his Tonight Show or care at all about the man; it’s a great piece of writing that I still think about all the time, some 10 years after I first came across it.
11:35 am • 5 March 2014 • 1 note
MyTube: Internet Explorer Mark Slutsky Digs Up 5 Youtube Masterworks
This is the third installment of our new series, MyTube, which asks some of our favorite web dwellers to escort us through their own personal YouTube hall of fame.
I picked five of my favourite vidz (+one bonus) for Fiona Duncan over at Bullett.
9:56 am • 4 March 2014 • 7 notes
a little valentine’s gift for you and yours
2:49 pm • 14 February 2014 • 10 notes