Hi everyone. I’ve decided to try doing a weekly round-up of what I’ve been reading, listening to and watching. I’m going to try to post it to the blog every Saturday, which means it will go out to the mailing list on Sundays. It probably won’t always be so long. We’ll see if I actually keep it up or not.
I usually post what I’ve read and found interesting lately to my Twitter account and/or here on Twitter, but apparently I didn’t find much of interest this week other than Jacob Kaplan-Moss’ takedown of Jeff Atwood’s perhaps well intentioned, but still pretty awful, post on what men can do about sexism in the industry.
I also read “Leftism and the Banausic Thinker: From Plato to Verso” by David Auerbach. TL;DR: Auerbach says leftist groups fixate on vaguely defined grand conspiracies like “neolibralism,” and tend to be more about forming cliques based perceived ideological purity than about getting shit done in their communities. Not exactly a new argument. A more interesting question, to me anyway, is whether the right is much different. The vast conspiracy angle is always there, be it communism, godlessness, or The Cathedral. But is there less in-fighting on the right? Is there anything to learn about solidarity from the right, or is all politics and activism doomed to pointless factionalism and the narcissism of small differences?
I was going to write for Wired about the FCC’s new proposed internet rules that would, apparently, do away with net neutrality, but we didn’t really end up having anything to add to the conversation. Jon Brodkin at Ars Technica, though, pointed out what a departure the reported proposal is from what the FCC has previously advocated, and Stacey Higginbotham at GigaOM got some details I haven’t seen anywhere else, including confirmation the original Wall Street Journal story that started this whole thing was accurate. (If you don’t know at all what I’m talking about, maybe start with the WSJ story).
Oh, and speaking of the WSJ, they are, oddly enough, hosting a website on the Kowloon Walled City. It’s exactly the sort of Flash-driven, pointlessly pseudo-interactive type of site that drives me nuts: music that autoplays, CPU-gobbling animations that add nothing to the stories, confusingly organized content. I haven’t started exploring it, but there’s probably some interesting stuff in there.
Even though I co-host one, I don’t really listen to podcasts. I’m not sure to fit them into my life now that I hardly ever drive. But I wanted to mention that Justin Picard and Georgina Voss started a podcast about design, futurism and high weirdness called Gin and Innovation that has guests like Deb Chachra, Scott Smith and Eleanor Saitta.
I recently finished reading The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. I liked it, though sometimes the dense prose got in the way of the story telling, and the female parts are at best underdeveloped and at worst, well, bad. But there’s brilliant world building here and some challenging characters. Bacigalupi also published two short stories set in this world, which I haven’t read yet: “The Calorie Man” and “Yellow Card Man,” both of which you can find for free on his website.
I thought this little web comic by Steve Schaberg was great:
I’m way behind on my comics reading, but I’ve been thinking about how series like Sandman, The Invisibles and Transmetropolitan really represented their respective zeitgeists in some way. They were just so plugged into cultural currents.
So I asked on Twitter which contemporary ongoing creator owned series was the most zeitgeisty. My candidates were: Zero, The Movement, The Private Eye, Prophet, Saga and Templar, Arizona. I’ve not actually read any Saga yet, so I’m not actually sure about it, and though Prophet feels really “now” for some reason, it’s not exactly plugged into contemporary cultural trends. And I hadn’t realized that The Movement has been cancelled.
The crowdsourced recommendations were: COPRA (which I’ve mentioned here before), Lazarus, Manhattan Projects … and even though it’s not creator owned, a couple people mentioned Hawkeye (actually, neither is Prophet, really, nor was Sandman). Of these, I’ve only read COPRA and the first few issues of Hawkeye.
Television and Films:
I’ve not been watching many new movies lately, but a couple months ago I watched Electrick Children on Netflix and liked it. It’s one of those films where the acting and execution carry a weakly developed plot.
I’m catching up season five of Justified right now.
Weirdly, I’ve not been listening to much music at all lately. Not since December, when The Soft Moon (I prefer their first album) and Chrome (who put out a lost tracks compilation last year) were in heavy rotation.