- How would you answer the charge that your self-experimentation is subjective and, therefore, unverifiable?
- Subjectivity is nonsense. Neither subjectivity nor objectivity exists in nature. That's the mind-contained-in-the-brain belief of some psychiatrists and other scientists. The subject is an object is a subject. In a cybernetic system, you go around in a circle, and subject and object have no reality. The only way to isolate subject and object is to cut off the feedback and destroy the system. It's a false dichotomy.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
"...included Cook impersonating the then Prime Minister Harold Macmillan. This was one of the first occasions that satirical political mimicry had been attempted in live theatre, and caused some considerable shock amongst audiences. During one performance, Macmillan himself was in the theatre, and having spotted him Cook departed from his script and directly attacked him verbally."*Ten years after his death Peter Cook was ranked number one most-talented comedian in a list entitled The Comedian's Comedian, a poll taken of more than 300 comics, comedy writers, producers and directors throughout the English speaking world (Morris was number eleven). All this to preface:
Why Bother: A comedy album comprising of five 10-minute long "interviews" between Chris Morris and Peter Cook, with the dialogue largely ad-libbed. Neither of these men had worked with the other before, though were able to take on a familiar role for these recordings: Morris as the penetrating interviewer, Cook as the supposedly knowledgeable expert on the given topic or experience (usually having his story/expertise humorously undermined). The question of preparation for this, Morris (CM) answered as follows:
CM: Just shoot from the hip, really. See what happens.They're both really, really good at these character roles. But what I find particularly skillful in these recordings is how fully they accept each others concepts/angles while still staying vitally true to their character. Cook projects knowledge and certainty while clearing wide spaces for Morris to lead him into a trap (for the sake of the listener's enjoyment), and Morris is strikingly deft, finding the potential for turning Cook's words against him or raising the stakes of the (likely ridiculous) premise. They connect easily, and how well they lead (and listen to) each other belies its ad-libbed creation. Cook died about a year after its first broadcast, making its recording even more serendipitous.
HD: No preparation?
CM: No. I think the preparation that existed, existed only in terms of the things we had already done. I was already quite used to going and imposing bollocks interviews on people anyway from any direction so it didn't seem much different, except with him, obviously, you could keep an idea going for much longer...It's trying to keep some sort of logic going.
Here's my favorite of the five recordings: in this Cook ("Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling") talks to Morris about the time he spent in a Japanese Concentration Camp in World War II. It is cued up to start at 1:30, but gets going around 2:20, when Morris starts turning the tables on him. Their exchange in the last minute of the recording is also exquisite...
-"...And I attempt to organize an escape."*Likely comparable to the controversy stirred from Morris' Brass Eye Special episode.
-"Yes, and then you told the Commandant 24-hours before it was put in operation."
-"...I...informed my superior, but I'd already told my men...to do it the day after so they wouldn't get caught."
"And yet they all did get caught-"
"They got caught, well, they went on the wrong day."
Friday, December 18, 2009
An investigation led to a strange discovery hidden in a storage room: a makeshift entertainment center, including three televisions, two DVD players, one VHS player, surround-sound speakers, a video game system, and DVDs, some of them pornographic, a transportation official said yesterday.
The equipment, slyly camouflaged within the commuter rail’s massive Somerville maintenance facility, even had an illegal cable television connection that came through a 1,000-foot cable...“This was very much concealed among maintenance parts and equipment,’’ said the official.
Which brings us to Albany, site of the great political tragicomedy of the summer, and last week’s news that state police had raided an illicit rec room in the Capitol complex. The Inspector General’s office, in a press release announcing the discovery, called it a “man cave,” conjuring up images of a dimly lit basement with stained upholstery and an overabundance of electronics. Using tarps, a couple of janitorial workers on the night shift had cordoned off a corner of a state-owned parking garage, which was stocked with sofas, fridges, a TV, and the latest copy of Cannabis Culture. There, while on the clock, they allegedly watched DVDs of “M*A*S*H,” rolled joints, and napped.Both Man Caves eerily similar. How to account for their existence? The New Yorker article also included one gentleman's postulation:
The architect Andrés Duany identified a budding crisis in American life: the decline of “male space,” which he defined as zones “where the enthusiasms of Super Bowl day are unchecked year-round,” and where “the men are not factually corrected when they exaggerate.” The den, with its knotty-pine panelling and mounted moose heads, used to suffice, before it was subjected to a cultural makeover and emerged as the “family room,” relegating Dad to the garage.Is there a crisis of lost man-space in modern America? -or just the North-East of it? Perhaps these sorts of spaces are being found now in part online, save for some older generations- likely including the cave-men who set these -oddly enviable, in their cozy secrecy...also kinda gross- spaces of escape up.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
A formative experience for In The Car Media. Another college happening to share the name of ours prompted this eventful quad-break road trip down the Eastern Seaboard. This was a "featured short film" at the 2007 Lowell Comedy Festival. Ignore (or adore) my wind-swept up-do in the first shot.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Being of Scottish origin, I sip a small whisky now and then. ‘Mainly medicinal’, I tell myself. ‘Traditional’, too, I tell myself –being a Scot. A “hot toddy” (Scotch whisky with hot water and honey) was the remedy for most ills when I was a child, so I suppose I teethed on the stuff. And when the going gets tough there is nothing like it for getting a small, serene smile back in place and sharpening the sense of humour.-Vivien Bryce writing in Finland's Helsinki Times, giving her "ExPats View" as a Scot living in Finland now. Gotta give it to her though on the 'going gets tough' line.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
People want to lose themselves in fiction.
And in football. Sport and art have that in common. “The anxiety and the anger, you know, all the conversational stuff that goes on. I think there’s a lack of self-consciousness in that—because people behave as if it really matters, and they don’t feel self-conscious about it.” Storytellers may have seven basic plots to work with but football fans have a more restricted set. At football matches, “Every conversation is a version of: ‘We need a goal; we need not to let in a goal,’ and that’s pretty much all it is but there are endless elaborations.”
He recalls a conversation with a friend at Arsenal’s title-clinching match with Everton at Highbury in 1998. “‘Everton need the points’ my friend says, ‘they could go down.’ So, we get an early goal and he relaxes for five minutes. ‘I’d really like to see another one go in before half-time,’ he says. We get another. He’s worried. ‘If it goes to 2-1,’ he says, ‘we’ll get panicky.’ So we score a third and he says, ‘be nice to get a fourth to wrap it up.’ And the moment the fourth one goes in he says, ‘If we don’t get two new centre halves next season we’re in trouble.’”
The perfect, egoless, moment of transcendence is when the ball hits the back of the net, as long as your team has put it there of course, but the moment soon expires and it’s back to the universal story. And there, crystallised, are the two dimensions of selfhood, the self of the present moment—GOAALL!—and the extended self, the narrative thread of subjective experience that gives us our sense of unity and continuity—our identity: We need a goal; we need not to let in a goal.What better sport narratives in the Boston area to sink into than the Red Sox "Curse" and Sox/Yankees rivalry?
P.S. Post not guaranteed to get you into following sports.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Obama & Medvedev in Singapore for APEC summit, Source
Physical signal interpretation: Their eyes seem friendly though Barack's clenched jaw-area seems telling. I can't tell who's squeezing whose hand tighter (though it's definitely an intense hand-shake - look at that grippin'). Medvedev appears somewhat more relaxed than Barack, with (what appears to be) confidence in his gaze towards him. Anything else you're picking up here?
Or as Lainey calls it, "Photo Assumption"
Sunday, November 15, 2009
This was put together over 3 days of filming in two locations (in Salem and Beverly). The original script had more lines and plot but needed to be edited down to its essentials to have it fit in a 30 second spot. Chris Peters (and David Ells/In The Car Media) did the major coordinating for this. Here's the link to it directly on the site (where comments & other videos can be viewed).
Monday, November 2, 2009
Žižek tells me a story about a friend of his going to meet Noam Chomsky, the "most influential public intellectual" in America. "My friend told me Chomsky said something very sad. He said that today we don't need theory. All we need to do is tell people, empirically, what is going on. Here, I violently disagree: facts are facts, and they are precious, but they can work in this way or that. Facts alone are not enough. You have to change the ideological background."From The New Statesman interview with Slavoj Zizek
Because of the amount of information out there available/accessable on the internet, what's important is no longer the information but the filtering systems we use to sort and understand it.
Our human filtering systems are our theories, how we choose to see the world. These we cannot help but process information and events through. Even before we consciously process a decision or opinion, the concept has become laden with associations and past-opinions held about it.
This is why it theory is important, contrary to Chomsky above (or Brian Eno here in Prospect Magazine). The vast "synergy of information" (Eno's term) does open innumerable possibilities, but the frame for us to process and view it though can't be made of the facts as well --you can't define something by using itself.
Two posts in two days! My god!
Click for Bigger- source
Sunday, November 1, 2009
1)As a Tool of Communication
The 2009 Iranian election protests and the Trafigura waste dumping case speak strongly to the internet’s basic strength as a tool of communication. Twitter was the platform predominantly used in these cases, which facilitated broad contact and information-sharing within an extremely rapid timespan.
Andrew Sullivan, reflecting on the Iranian election protests in The Sunday Times: After recounting his earlier skepticism regarding Twitter…
Well, the last laugh is on me. As I have spent the past week hunched over a laptop, channelling and broadcasting as much information, video and debate about the momentous events in Iran, nothing quite captured the mood and pace of events like the tweets coming from the people of Iran…The effect was far more powerful than I had expected. A mix of fact and feeling, rumour and message…Kinda dramatic, but makes the point well. Because information can be transmitted so simply (and the “transactions costs” of it are so low), some forms of attempting to suppress information are no longer as usable as they once were. With Trafigura, the issue was a "superinjunction," intended as a gag-order (with the intention to keep the issuer of the injuction secret as well.) After becoming aware of it, hundreds had...
When you review the Twitter stream of the past week, it reads like a stream of constantly shifting consciousness. It is a kind of journalistic pointillism. From a distance it gains heft. It is history rendered in the collective, scattered mind and it has never happened before - millions upon millions of tiny telegram messages sent to the world.
“…sleuthed down [the gag-order mystery], published the relevant links and were now seriously on the case. By midday on Tuesday "Trafigura" was one of the most searched terms in Europe.”The next day the gag-order was lifted and the details of the case came out.
2) As a Hub of Knowledge
What makes the internet particularly valuable as a hub of knowledge is not just its vast storehouses of it, the millions of pages of Wikipedia or the availability of experts, but the ease and immediacy of access to it.
Even questions of greater rarity or specificity can still be “crowdsourced” by a search, opening up several links that may lend information or value, giving insight as to what some of the general perspectives on a given topic may be. If nothing else, this gives some different frames of reference to better understand how ones’ self sees something. I’ve used the internet for several years of my life but I’m still amazed by the speed and breadth of information access.
3) As a Way to Relate To and Understand Other People
Yes, the fact that the internet has a multiplicity of sites gives one the option to stay tightly within a ring of websites that flatter and agree with their views (as Cass Sunstein’s book “On Rumors:..”, reviewed here, argues).
That said, the most racist, vengeful bigot imaginable on a houseboat in the Atlantic Ocean may, at this moment, google his way to a knowledgeable, well-curated blog about U.S. Civil War bayonets – his favorite subject – just to click on the profile of the blog owner and find him to be middle-management in the national government of the People’s Republic of China. Our bigot is confronted with a computational error- and either has to ignore what he has seen, or somehow combine his care, respect, and appreciation of Civil War bayonets with his racist, bigoted perspective towards Chinese (and Communists).
Perhaps this would be ignorable the first few times. But if the house-boater was confronted with this sort of computational error repeatedly, his perspective would have to adjust with awareness towards his feelings on bayonets to justify a new racist view of the group - if not a more significant softening taking place.
Volatile topics like politics will always gather like-minded people together (particularly when there’s something making the ‘gathering’ simple to do); there’s strength in numbers. It is through what we value idiosyncratically (our particular areas of interest) that seems to act as a more effortless bridge to first understand and then connect to others. The web acts as a platform that increases the likelihood of this sort of connection taking place more than it would otherwise.
(Click for large, source)
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
"What’s nice is that unless you need to be a multimillionaire, you don’t have to go after that mainstream audience,” Wareheim says. It’s a few hours after Awesomecon’s conclusion, and the two men are sitting at a poolside hotel bar. “We’ve carved out an audience. And that’s enough.”
“I feel like we’re too popular as it is,” Wareheim says.
He’s only half-joking. Years ago, the next step for comedians like Heidecker and Wareheim’s would have been to cash in their cult status for something more visible and bankable — a sitcom deal, maybe, or a role in some mawkish Jim Carrey comedy. Now, thanks to the devoted audience they’ve developed both on the air and online, they can bypass those comedic rites altogether and instead beam their grody capers straight to fans. At least for a while. “Later on, we’re going to have to conform to some standards,” Wareheim says. “We’re not going to be very funny together when we’re 45.”
...the point of this strategy is to say that you don't need a hit to survive. You don't need to aim for the short head of best-sellerdom to escape the long tail. There is a place in the middle, that is not very far away from the tail, where you can at least make a living. That mid-way haven is called 1,000 True Fans. It is an alternate destination for an artist to aim for.
(pic source: Jill Greenberg/Wired)
Saturday, October 10, 2009
What separates me feeling something (anger, say) and the actor performing that same feeling/experience is primarily the reason is was prompted. The difference is just the catalyst for the experience - me feeling anger is the same as the actor feeling angry. What is different is that I was betrayed (prompting anger), and the actor was not, but is compelled by the situation (and their choice) to feel betrayed and angry.
Of course there are other aspects that effect the actor's performance - which I say to concede a difference in the 'amount of anger felt;' a real-life outburst has effects that reverberate into your memories, relationships with others, etc.) - but are they feeling angry at that moment? The actor is in turmoil, gnashing his teeth - his body is expressing anger.
How to Feel Repulsed
To snarl a phrase at someone, you have to (Well) snarl it. Your snarling (TRY IT!) - even you beginning to pull up the side of your lip to snarl a word while reading this - that motion makes it notably easier to say the word in a way that makes it sound like you are repulsed. The movement triggered the feeling: external action prompted internal feeling.
This ties in with research that choosing to express something - even a facial expression - moves that individual's mood/feelings in the direction of what was expressed - smiling, frowning, frightened - whether or not it was prompted by a legitimate event that caused the expression.
Which brings me back to the difference between me feeling angry and the actor expressing/feeling anger: what caused it. The difference is outside of the individual's experience at that moment.
You, Even if it Isn't
'The social face' we put on is a performance. Though we might hold our cards close to our chest, we still experience what we express. Even if we're not feeling particularly genuine in what we're expressing it still affects us at that moment, beyond the presentational self.
The fact that (1) what we choose to express nonetheless still affects us, and (2) serves to be the means that we express ourselves to others, seems to show that 'the social face' we put out is, at least in part, our "true selves."
Expression is one of the few things we can attempt to control - but even that is thoroughly effected by who we are, and we're affected by how we do it. Who ho we express ourselves to be is part of our true self - performing is being.
I apologize for any and all misuse or reversal of the correct usage of 'affect' and 'effect' in the above. Here's MJ singing Man in the Mirror as recompense.
Monday, September 28, 2009
The Modern Age, along with its perks, increase the riskiness of things (the global financial crisis a "great" case study) - using Nassim Taleb terminology, modernity is increasing our exposure to "Extremistan." From Niall Ferguson's review of Taleb's The Black Swan:
Perhaps the most provocative of all Taleb's many provocations is his hypothesis that, as a result of globalisation and the speed of electronic communications, the world is becoming more like Extremistan and less like Mediocristan.
Yes, the integration of international markets seems to reduce economic volatility. But by magnifying the effects of herd-like behaviour (another of our evolved traits), it also increases the tendency for winners to take all - the Harry Potter phenom-enon - and for disasters, when they strike, to be comparably huge. Just as there will be fewer but bigger bestsellers, Taleb argues, so there may also be "fewer but bigger crises" in the realms of finance and geopolitics.
The internet is one of the defining offspring of Modernity as well as a major reason for this global interconnectedness. Though, as Kevin Kelly's concept of 1,000 True Fans shows, the Internet can also serve as a leveling tool.
Artistic fields like film, visual art, music are subject to Extremistan-like tendencies: winner-takes-all tendency, high degrees of randomness as far as which participants in these fields will achieve "Superstar" level (the rare but dominating leaders of the field). since the distribution isn't even but extreme, high success is rare.
"1,000 True Fans", on the other hand:
Other than aim for a blockbuster hit, what can an artist do to escape the long tail? One solution is to find 1,000 True Fans. While some artists have discovered this path without calling it that, I think it is worth trying to formalize. The gist of 1,000 True Fans can be stated simply:The opportunity for escape - to an alternate path of success for a creator - is something the internet is beginning to usher in (I don't believe the 1,000 True Fans model has yet reached near its full potential).
A creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, videomaker, or author - in other words, anyone producing works of art - needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.
A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They can't wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans....Let's peg that per diem each True Fan spends at $100 per year. If you have 1,000 fans that sums up to $100,000 per year, which minus some modest expenses, is a living for most folks.
One thousand is a feasible number. You could count to 1,000. If you added one fan a day, it would take only three years...The technologies of connection and small-time manufacturing make this circle possible...You don't need a million fans to justify producing something new. A mere one thousand is sufficient.
But the point of this strategy is to say that you don't need a hit to survive. You don't need to aim for the short head of best-sellerdom to escape the long tail. There is a place in the middle, that is not very far away from the tail, where you can at least make a living. That mid-way haven is called 1,000 True Fans. It is an alternate destination for an artist to aim for.
My previous post on the internet highlights another leveling factor. Modernity brought the means of mass communication (1984-style), but the web allows the option of less "clumping" around a few, most prominent voices. Experts (and varied opinions) are easier to find - hopefully also lessening our exposure to Extremistan (in the form of singular, top-down instead of bottom-up guidance). More on this point in a later post.
(Click for larger - source: Flickr)
"Clumping." You know, like an efficient kitty litter.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
"I sincerely believe I am by far the best prime minister Italy has had in its 150 year history (since unification in 1861)," Berlusconi said in televised news conference in Sardinia with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.---------------------------
"A tailor at work resembles the poet cutting, trimming, and stitching his verse. The needle is the sudden penetration of insight, while the flexible thread, assuring continuity and shape, is dragged in the rear as a secondary process. The result is “my misshapen son”: Art-making by men is an appropriation of female fertility. The end product, like Frankenstein’s “monster” with his stitched-up face, may seem ugly or distorted (in an avant-garde era). But the artwork is the artist’s true posterity, a child of the intellect rather than the body—a distinction made by Plato. "Thanks to Foreign Policy Passport blog for photo
- Camille Paglia
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
As to the generating, (and the expectation of having to create something "original"): Keith Johnstone writes in Impro:
"The improviser has to realize that the more obvious he is, the more original he appears. I constantly point out how much the audience like someone who is direct, and how they always laugh with pleasure at a really 'obvious' idea. Ordinary people asked to improvise will search for some 'original' idea because they want to be thought clever...The mind can immediately generate a response for what something (imaginary) is - it is more one's desire to appear imaginative (or the fear that an immediate, subconscious response will negatively reflect on oneself) that slows its expression. Our imagination, then, (*without prompting*) is a near-infinite generator of what something could be. Johnstone again:
'What's for supper?' a bad improviser will desperately try to think up something original...he'll finally drag up some idea like 'fried mermaid.' If he'd just said 'fish' the audience would have been delighted. No two people are exactly alike, and the more obvious an improviser is, the more himself he appears."
"...I explain that I'm not interested in what they did, but how their minds worked. I say that either they can put their hand out, and see what it closes on; or else they can think first, deciding what they'll pick up, and then do the mime [of the object]. If they're worried about failing, then they'll have to think first; if they're being playful, then they can allow their hand to make its own decision."Johnstone goes on to show this at work - having a student repeatedly take something from an imaginary box, continually changing the context so they can't plan what (potentially 'clever thing') to take next. J-stones:
"If I make people produce object after object, then very likely they'll stop bothering to think first, and just swing along being mildly interested in what their hands select. Here's a sequence that was filmed...I said:Note this student is not planning these things, but they are being supplied instinctually. I've done this same exercise as a director and the results are the same - eventually the mind supplies its own items without them being consciously planned or strictly supervised.
Keith: 'Put your hand into an imaginary box. What do you take out?'
'A cricket ball.'
'Take something else out.'
'Another cricket ball.'
'Unscrew it. What's inside?'
'What's written on it?'
'Put both hands in. What have you got?'
'What's written on it?'
'Open it and take something out.'
'A pair of rubber corsets.'
'Put your hands in the far corners of the box. What have you got?'
'Leave them. Take out a handful of something.'
'Feel about in it.'
'Taste it.' What's it taste of?'
Take something off a shelf.'
'Reach for something behind you.'
'What is it?'
Notice that I'm helping him to fantasise by continually changing the 'set' (i.e. the category) of the questions."
If that's the Generating, then where does its counterpart Justifying come in?
We'll call this instinct The Justifier, which responds to the question "why" of "why do i have this thing/how do i justify it's presence?" This is instinctual in a scene because it's the same one we use in everyday life to situate ourselves.
This Justifying instinct can be nearly as responsive and usable as the generating, particularly following Johnstone's creed of "Be Obvious! Don't try to be clever" -
If you were in a scene, attempting to justify why you're holding the doggie bag that, say, your scene partner just said you'd brought home, The "Obvious" is: one has a doggie bag from just coming back from a restaurant. No clever "an alien from Saturn's Rings gave me this doggie bag, its got soup recipes in it.
'The obvious' also serves as a much stabler, stronger platform to build the scene on. Doggie Bag's presence could lead to revelation of him having eaten with someone, which could cause tension upon returning home, which could lead to something all the more dramatic. An interesting scene has been created with minimal stress or 'i have to be clever!' pressure on the part of the performers.
That is all that is needed to improvise - generating, and justifying. To build the story and progression, reincorporation is important - as well as other things that can be done to make a better, more interesting scene - including Johnstone's concept of Status, mentioned in this previous post, accepting ideas, etc. - but the above creates the base of all the rest. The fact that improvising is simply what our brain does on its own, means that anyone can improvise. It's not about your funniness, cleverness, or brainpower - all it takes is awareness and using what you have already.
The Justifier is, I believe, our innate pattern-searching and pattern-recognition mental instincts. "Why would i have this?" is searching for a pattern, and Johnstone's 'Be Obvious' injunction reminds one to be comfortable picking the obvious pattern.
"To live is to crochet according to a pattern we were given.from The Book of Disquiet
But while doing it the mind is at liberty, and all enchanted princes can
stroll in their parks between one and another plunge of the hooked ivory needle."
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Worthwhile excerpt from an article on a presentation by Chris Anderson (editor of Wired Magazine) to the Smithsonian on how best to confront and utilize the digital age:
Anderson:"If you're given infinite choice and the tools to help you find stuff, then we will start to diversify our choice, and define our communities of interest," he told the audience. "It often turns out that the stuff we love the most is the stuff that's not the blockbuster. The stuff that we all like collectively -- the Super Bowl -- are things we don't feel as passionately about. Less popular things are actually more meaningful to us as individuals."As Anderson points out, the "Passionate Expert" on a subject is not necessarily the most visible or easiest to find. With the connectivity that's now facilitated by the internet, that platform allows an opportunity for others interested in a topic to find their way into communities (such as the Smithsonian archive) instead of the Smithsonian having to necessarily seek them out.
Anderson's fetish, for example, is Lego robots. In what might be a mammoth understatement, he revealed that there is no place for this interest in his magazine. But online, he has found a community of people like him.
..."The Web is messy, and in that messiness comes something new and interesting and really rich," he said. "The strikethrough is the canonical symbol of the Web. It says, 'We blew it, but we are leaving that mistake out there. We're not perfect, but we get better over time.' "
The problem is, "the best curators of any given artifact do not work here, and you do not know them," Anderson told the Smithsonian thought leaders. "Not only that, but you can't find them. They can find you, but you can't find them. The only way to find them is to put stuff out
there and let them reveal themselves as being an expert."
Take something like, oh, everything the Smithsonian's got on 1950s Cold War aircraft. Put it out there, Anderson suggested, and say, "If you know something about this, tell us." Focus on the those who sound like they have phenomenal expertise, and invest your time and effort into training these volunteers how to curate. "I'll bet that they would be thrilled, and that they would pay their own money to be given the privilege of seeing this stuff up close. It would be their responsibility to do a good job" in authenticating it and explaining it. "It would be the best free labor that you can imagine."
Not only are 'expert types' easier to find, contacting and working with them is simpler too. Expert Example: Col. Pat Lang - Green Beret, Vietnam Vet, Middle East Intelligence Specialist. His knowledge and insight on M. E. topics (and of course, viewpoint) is openly available to those interested.
North America's City-to-City Internet Connections via Chris Harrison
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Freedom of speech and protection of a counterculture are more than just abstract features of a Western liberal morality. Freedom of speech and protection of "deviants" comprise essential economic infrastructure in the twenty-first century. As we move into an Information Age, societies that offer strong protection of freedom of speech and individual expression will trump those Confucian societies that emphasize obedience and silent submission to authority. As unlikely a winner as oft-benighted India may seem to be, I would still put good money on India and the individualistic U.S., in collaboration with the European Union, as the future leaders of the non-local sphere of Information and Cyberspace, leaving the Confucian societies not yet visited by glasnost far behind. Freedom of information should be treated by Khanna as one of the most important traits of an economic superpower, far more important than good roads, canals, and oil rigs. Confucianism, as it exists today, is a mimicry engine producing only commodities; free societies such as India have the potential to become creativity engines, producing entirely new economic niches.Economies open to harnessing the (positive) Black Swans, as Taleb would say.
Unless we are driven into a new Dark Age by war or resource disasters, the relentless Information Age will reward societies with strong creative classes (Richard Florida's term); reward societies with a protected counterculture and bohemia; and will punish societies ruled by conformity and fear of "deviance"; will punish societies without their equivalent of Mad Magazine; will punish societies that imprison dissidents. Until Chinese glasnost emerges, the United States, Europe and India will rule cyberspace, and hence the future.
Miller's points are compelling. Global access to a global pool of knowledge (and, so far, an unlimited amount of output able to be put in to it) -- the effects of this have yet to be really sifted out to their long term implications.
Related is this Nature article entitled "Conformists may kill civilizations."
"Whitehead and Richerson's models highlight the perils of cultural conformism in red-noise environments, particularly when populations are small, but also show how other styles of learning can mitigate the problems. For instance, 'prestige bias' means that people only copy successful role models, rather than simply imitating what everyone else is doing.
"Societies should promote individual learning and innovation over cultural conformity, and the models for social learning should be individuals who have demonstrated that they understand how to live with the current environmental trends," says Whitehead."
clik for bigger- source: Flickr
PS- Is "entitled" more pretentious than "titled"? hopefully
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
AVC: So do you know what the immediate next step is in your life?Copley speaks to the psychology of acting; him changing fields in his life matched how he was forced to "strip away" what he had been holding on to as defining himself.
SC: No. It’s the first time in my life… Before, if you’d asked me that, there was always a definite master plan and sub-plan and plan linking into that plan. So I’m just really trying to live differently for a bit. It’s a very different world. The acting world is a humbling experience, I find. It very much, for me, it shut me up. This whole thing. It was like, “Well, you think you can be a hotshot because you started this company and you started a television channel when you were 24, or whatever.” And it’s really… [Pauses.] The process of finding a character—stripping everything off, all those things you have to protect yourself, that you think are your clever things, was in a sense mirrored in my work life. I let go to see what’s actually out there, or what I’m meant to really do, if there is such a thing. And certainly this experience leads me to feel like maybe it is."
2. Excerpt from interview with Peter Capaldi, regarding his character (Malcolm) from the BBC Show The Thick of It and now the film In The Loop:
AVC: On The Thick Of It, Malcolm is a fire-breathing Scot in a world of posh Englishmen whom he can generally run right over, but the Americans in In The Loop give back as good as they get. How did it change things to have Malcolm taking on enemies in his weight class?Peter's intuition of what's "more interesting, and funnier for the audience" falls in line Keith Johnstone's framing of the concept of Status for performers. (The goal of the exploration of this being keeping an audience interested.)
PC: I think for me, that was a wonderful thing. Malcolm is largely the top dog on the TV show in terms of power. So to have people who were superior to him, and cleverer than him, and darker, was great, because then it gives you somewhere to go. So for me, that was a good development. I’d be happy to see more of that. It makes it more interesting. There’s only so long that you can go on screaming and shouting and swearing. There’s a sense of diminishing returns about that. But if you actually have to engage with somebody who’s superior to you and actually battle with them, struggle with them, I think it’s more interesting, and funnier for the audience."
Snipped from a summary of Impro's chapter on Status:
As Peter says, Malcolm's character is generally higher status than the others on the TV show. To have him engaging those equal or near equivalent to his status in the film can be more interesting.
"When played in this way, conflict transpires on an almost invisible plane which the audience will unconsciously pick up: the most mundane gestures and casual behaviors -- where to sit, who speaks first, what the choice for dinner will be, etc. -- become sites of struggle in virtually imperceptible ways. Every sound and posture implies a status, and recognizing this leads to a change in one's worldview.
A great deal of the comedy or tension [is derived] from the tiny ways that people vie for power by trying to raise their own status or lower the status of others in an implicit rather than explicit way."
3. Excerpt from interview of Ken Jeong, comedian/actor (from Knocked Up, The Hangover, The Goods), regarding upping the quality of the comedy work being put on film (and what he's learning from working with some "pros"):
"Keeping it grounded" helps signal to the audience that whatever happened, just happened in the real world - the reaction shots help put to the screen the incredulity the audience is feeling at that moment. The reaction shot can be a tension releaser as well - letting the audience can enjoy the previous moment through the reaction shot.
AVC: What kind of subtle moves?
KJ: Just reaction glances. Both of those guys [Paul Rudd, Jeremy Piven], I think alot of comedic actors, on their close-up they can deliver. But when it comes to reacting to other people being funny, that’s work in itself. I hate to sound so Comedy Theory 101—I know it’s sounding really boring—but for me, Rudd in Role Models, when he reacts to things that Seann William Scott does, he does certain things that help stretch the scene a little more, and it makes Seann look better. I felt like Piven would do the same thing. He would make all of us look better by his reactions. It’s a very subtle thing, but when the movie comes for a close-up, and they show that quick shot, it makes it funnier. Because we’re trying to dunk and do fancy moves to the basket, but what you really need is a point guard who can direct the flow. I really realize the more movies I do just how important—it’s so cliché when people say it, because everybody says it nowadays—but it’s so important to keep it grounded. I totally understand what that means.
Thanks to A.V. Club for these thorough interviews! Picture sources here, here, and here
Sunday, August 16, 2009
. They combine organic with the electronic, complimenting each other. The group is a combination of American (songwriter/lyricist) and Swedish (production/songwriting).
As this Guardian (UK) new band review puts it, "intelligent pop music that has the ability to cradle taste-making purists and reach anthemic heights."
Friday, August 14, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
The modern atheist thinks he knows that God is dead; what he doesn't know is that, unconsciously, he continues to believe in God. What characterizes modernity is no longer the standard figure of the believer who secretly harbors intimate doubts about his belief and engages in transgressive fantasies; today, we have, on the contrary, a subject who presents himself as a tolerant hedonist dedicated to the pursuit of happiness, and whose unconscious is the site of prohibitions: what is repressed are not illicit desires or pleasures, but prohibitions themselves. "If God doesn't exist, then everything is prohibited" means that the more you perceive yourself as an atheist, the more your unconscious is dominated by prohibitions which sabotage your enjoyment. (One should not forget to supplement this thesis with its opposite: if God exists, then everything is permitted - is this not the most succinct definition of the religious fundamentalist's predicament? For him, God fully exists, he perceives himself as His instrument, which is why he can do whatever he wants, his acts are in advance redeemed, since they express the divine will...)- Slavoj Žižek
Sunday, July 26, 2009
"When you write humor, it’s not funny to you. It’s not even really that funny when you first think of the idea. There may be a glimmer of humor because it still seems vaguely original, but after a couple of days it’s not funny at all. You’re just trusting that it was, at some point, funny, and that your honing and tweaking is really improving it. I would eventually reach a point where I would just think, This feels old, even though nobody’s seen it but me."
from And Here's The Kicker
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Let us go one step further. It is high time to recognize that we humans are far better at doing than understanding, and better at tinkering than inventing. But we don't know it. We truly live under the illusion of order believing that planning and forecasting are possible. We are scared of the random, yet we live from its fruits. We are so scared of the random that we create disciplines that try to make sense of the past--but we ultimately fail to understand it, just as we fail to see the future.
The current discourse in economics, for example, is antiquated. American undirected free-enterprise works because it aggressively allows us to capture the randomness of the environment--the cheap Black Swans. This works not just because of competition, and even less because of material incentives. Neither the followers of Adam Smith nor those of Karl Marx seem to be conscious of the prevalence and effect of wild randomness. They are too bathed in enlightenment-style cause-and-effect and cannot accept that skills and payoffs may have nothing to do with one another. Nor can they swallow the argument that it is not necessarily the better technology that wins, but rather, the luckiest one. And, sadly, even those who accept this fundamental uncertainty often fail to see that it is a good thing.
Random tinkering is the path to success. And fortunately, we are increasingly learning to practice it without knowing it--thanks to overconfident entrepreneurs, naive investors, greedy investment bankers, confused scientists and aggressive venture capitalists brought together by the free-market system.
We need more tinkering: Uninhibited, aggressive, proud tinkering. We need to make our own luck. We can be scared and worried about the future, or we can look at it as a collection of happy surprises that lie outside the path of our imagination.
(clicker for even larger..ooo)
Friday, July 17, 2009
Several things i enjoy about this video:
- The sincerity of his performance and the sincerity of the audience's enjoyment of it. No money's changing hands here - he's enjoying performing for them, this dance he's worked on, and they're enjoying the fruits of that.
- the beginning of the video establishes his relationship to the audience - he gets song demands shouted at him, his shrug asserts so little in return. Nonetheless his asides make the crowd laugh with him - sort of an equal with them; "he's one of theirs". I think this makes their very vocal enjoyment of the dance all the more satisfying - and i would think that they would know what they were getting, but they still sound stunned (sss) and astonished at a few moments in the performance.
- Reminded me of a David Byrne quote m'grandpappeh told meh...
What I took away from the whole Talking Heads experience was the idea that if you know the kinds of restrictions you have to work within - budgetary restrictions, or creative restrictions or whatever - that can be great, that can even be a spur to creativity. That old idea of, 'Oh, I don't want anybody telling me what to do', or 'I want my creative freedom' - that's bullshit. What you need is to be told clearly what the parameters are. Because, if you allow them to do anything, most people will just waffle about.M'boy here is using the constraints that he's gotta deal with. He's "making the work work for him". I'm sure he can do some of these moves when he's not playing the game, but its workin' on hittin' them pads thats keeping the dance grounded - he creates around that. He glows at points.
PS - i realized this may be video from a competition/event...the mix of the crowd's familiarity with the dancer and their enjoyment of the performance is still enjoyable, though they may not be as close knit as i first construed. "construed." yeah ill run with that
Saturday, July 11, 2009
GoPo: Gordon Police
BoPo: Border Police (ie, into Canada) or Boat Police (as in, "snap, the boat police", a.k.a. Coast Guard)
GroPo: An abuse of their status
BroPo: Police force populated by bros ("Bro!")
MoPo: High amt. of anti-depressant use in police force
BoGo: Buy One Get One ("Free?" "Yes, questioner.")
Friday, July 3, 2009
Brooke hasn't aged in the conventional sense. Dr. Richard Walker of the University of South Florida College of Medicine, in Tampa, says Brooke's body is not developing as a coordinated unit, but as independent parts that are out of sync. She has never been diagnosed with any known genetic syndrome or chromosomal abnormality that would help explain why.
In a recent paper for the journal "Mechanisms of Ageing and Development," Walker and his co-authors, who include Pakula and All Children's Hospital (St. Petersburg, Fla.) geneticist Maxine Sutcliffe chronicled a baffling range of inconsistencies in Brooke's aging process. She still has baby teeth at 16, for instance. And her bone age is estimated to be more like 10 years old.
"There've been very minimal changes in Brooke's brain," Walker said. "Various parts of her body, rather than all being at the same stage, seem to be disconnected."
Kinda messes with our perception of the passage of time, as far as what one may think would be the sort of irreversible impact this passage would have on the body. Brooke's seemingly unaffected...
In her first six years, Brooke went through a series of medical emergencies from which she recovered, often without explanation. She survived surgery for seven perforated stomach ulcers. She suffered a brain seizure followed by what was diagnosed as a stroke that weeks later left no apparent damage.
At 4, she fell into a lethargy that caused her to sleep for 14 days. Then, doctors diagnosed a brain tumor, and the Greenbergs bought a casket for her.
"We were preparing for our child to die," Howard Greenberg said. "We were saying goodbye. And, then, we got a call that there was some change; that Brooke had opened her eyes and she was fine. There was no tumor. She overcomes every obstacle that is thrown her way."
...The visual evidence of that unpredictable future is always there in the family pictures -- photographs in which everyone but Brooke is aging.
In the long term, the idea that the aging process might somehow be manipulated raises serious questions about what human beings might do with that knowledge.
"Clearly, that's the science fiction aspect of it," said Walker, describing the social and ethical dilemmas that would arise. "We can't have continued reproduction and people who don't age."
One possible reason to slow the aging process, Walker suggested, would be to allow astronauts to travel in space for long periods of time. "But right now, it's only conjecture," he said.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
This girl knows how to perform and is in control. good lookin out
Here's her singing "Sincerely Jane" live
(video is supposed to jump to 1:40 into clip - recommended)
Here's a guy's review of her set at SXSW ("Monáe displayed the range of her multi-octave voice...Thursday night’s set showcased Monáe defining the new musical movement as she transcended the typical genre trappings of R&B, soul, hip-hop, pop and rock as she combined them all into her deconstruction")
Here's a real nice track - Metropolis - vox (vocals) & mux both enjoyable [this is probably my favorite of hers to date]
btw, here's Sincerely Jane on a TV show - vocals/lyrics bit clearer on this vid
Saturday, June 20, 2009
"Unified knowledge is constructed by the mechanics of duplication, printing, postal networks, libraries, indexing, catalogs, citations, tagging, cross-referencing, bibliographies, keyword search, annotation, peer-review, and hyperlinking...Knowledge is thus a network phenomenon, with each fact a node. We say knowledge increases not only when the number of facts increases, but more so when the number and strength of relationships between facts increases. It is the relatedness that gives knowledge its power."
As a follow up to this post (about the connective nature of knowledge/ideas)
Sunday, June 7, 2009
YOUTUBE LINK HERE - Brass Eye, Crime Episode
"Kids 'burst shops' by filling them with rice, and pouring in water...then standing back and laughing, while the bricks are ripped apart by the swelling food."
...And last year, the mayor gave them a gold mine. "It actually worked for a bit, this, until someone clogged it up with sick."
Brass Eye is a British spoof/satirical news program created by/featuring Chris Morris. Wiki here
Friday, June 5, 2009
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Historians Caro and Dallek consider Lyndon Johnson the most effective Senate majority leader in history. He was unusually proficient at gathering information. One biographer suggests he was "the greatest intelligence gatherer Washington has ever known", discovering exactly where every Senator stood, his philosophy and prejudices, his strengths and weaknesses, and what it took to win him over... Central to Johnson's control was "The Treatment",described by two journalists:
- The Treatment could last ten minutes or four hours. It came, enveloping its target, at the LBJ Ranch swimming pool, in one of LBJ's offices, in the Senate cloakroom, on the floor of the Senate itself — wherever Johnson might find a fellow Senator within his reach.
- Its tone could be supplication, accusation, cajolery, exuberance, scorn, tears, complaint and the hint of threat. It was all of these together. It ran the gamut of human emotions. Its velocity was breathtaking, and it was all in one direction. Interjections from the target were rare. Johnson anticipated them before they could be spoken. He moved in close, his face a scant millimeter from his target, his eyes widening and narrowing, his eyebrows rising and falling. From his pockets poured clippings, memos, statistics. Mimicry, humor, and the genius of analogy made The Treatment an almost hypnotic experience and rendered the target stunned and helpless.
- from LBJ's Wiki
IMG from here
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
God Talk, Part 2 - Stanley Fish builds on his previous post and responds to commenters.
"By the same analysis, simple reporting is never simple and common observation is an achievement of history and tradition, not the result of just having eyes. And while there surely are facts, there are no facts (at least not ones we as human beings have access to) that simply declare themselves to the chainless minds Hitchens promises us if we will only cast aside the blinders of religion.
Indeed, there are no chainless minds, and it’s a good thing, too. A chainless mind would be a mind not hostage to or fettered by any pre-conceptions, a mind that was free to go its own way. But how could you go any way if you are not anywhere, if you are not planted in some restricted location in relation to which the directions “here,” “there” and “elsewhere” have a sense?"
(click for large - taken at St. Francis Cathedral in Santa Fe, NM)
Saturday, May 23, 2009
This is different. This is national. We're all witnesses to The Incident. And I don't know about you, but I'm finding the tension unbearable. I can't wait for the general election - not because I want to see Prime Minister Wormface Cameron smugging his way into Downing Street, because I don't - but just because I don't think I can bear this mishap-strewn landscape a moment longer. It's like being trapped in a hot room filled with an overpowering fart smell, waiting for someone outside to come along and open the window.
I like Charlie Brooker because he worked with my boy Chris Morris on Brass Eye. i also have a fascination wif British politics, being able to ogle it as closely as i like but have no responsibility for the outcome or having to participate. Gordon Brown, he's somethin' - i do feel like he's working, but, not really sure 100% of the time what he's doing or why he's doing what he's doing. ...Still, would be my pleasure to meet you, Gordon B...
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Ny Times Magazine article
Leno and Letterman have been rivals since NBC chose Leno to be Johnny Carson’s successor and Letterman moved to CBS. Letterman was Carson’s pick — when Carson retired, he appeared twice on Dave’s show and never on Jay’s — and he’s revered in the tight-knit community of comedy writers, many of whom, like O’Brien, grew up watching him. Letterman’s cool irony (especially when compared with Leno’s genial demeanor) can make him seem unkind, but it can also create thrilling comedy out of unexpected situtations. On Feb. 11, Letterman’s interview with a heavily bearded, quasi-comatose Joaquin Phoenix not only offered up Letterman at his best but demonstrated why talk shows endure even as the TV audience becomes increasingly fragmented. By allowing Phoenix, who was unable to speak for stretches at a time, to dictate the pace of the interview, Letterman created strange, uncomfortable and riveting live television. “When Dave is good,” [Conan] O’Brien told me the day after the Phoenix episode, “no one is better. At moments like that, I can’t touch him.”
Monday, May 11, 2009
Plants vs. Zombies (offical site) (Steam site)
Here's a link to several positive reviews and a few (medium) positive reviews
God Talk, Stanley Fish on Terry Eagleton's new book, "Reason, Faith, and Revolution."
"...the basis for what Eagleton calls “the rejection of religion on the cheap” by contrasting its unsupported (except by faith) assertions with the scientifically grounded assertions of atheism collapses; and we are where we always were, confronted with a choice between a flawed but aspiring religious faith or a spectacularly hubristic faith in the power of unaided reason and a progress that has no content but, like the capitalism it reflects and extends, just makes its valueless way into every nook and cranny."
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Upped on Funny or Die Here...
Our submission for the 48 Hour Film Project. All writing, shooting and editing had to take place within 48 hours. The criteria was:Cast: Dan Stevens, Brett Johnson, Audrey Claire Johnson, Tim Lewis
Character: Mary Quinzani, 2nd in command
Prop: a magnet
Line: "Yes. I mean, I hope so."
Crew: Ed Rand, Jessica Sullivan, Phil Nichols, Pink Brian
Director: David Ells; Written by Brett Johnson, Phil Nichols, and the above collaborators
This project was awesome to work on and am very pleased with how good it came out. I had written a comedy sketch called "The Interrogation" a couple of months before, and when we were given the genre of Detective/Cop we came to realize parts of that could be incorporated. Dave (Ells) was the real sculptor of this - we turn in good performances and he applies his surgeon/editors knife and out comes a beautiful High Definition baby. (As cinematograper/filmer as well, he played the role of the mother and surgeon, carrying the video camera in his womb for nine months).