Thursday, April 25, 2013

Et tu, Mr. Destructo?: Destructo Salon: Does Matthew Yglesias Enjoy Murder?:

Writing off the death of 161 people with 370 words of vacuous unconcern requires the machine-like efficiency we've come to expect from places where pre-teens assemble Air Jordans. Yglesias' thesis, what little exists, is that the Bangladeshis are a people squalid enough that death is an acceptable randomly applied career path, and that dead Bangladeshis are what keep flat-front chinos at $29.99 at the outlet store. Our pants are cheap because their lives are, and cheaper things are innately good. Just think how much Upton Sinclair saved on hamburger as a young man. What an ingrate.

At best, one could chalk Yglesias' attitude up to the neoliberal worship of free trade, but ascribing any ideology to Yglesias is like trying to pin a Bad Citizenship medal on fog. He differs sharply from his Slate colleague Dave Weigel, who takes pains to acknowledge his affiliation with Koch-owned Reason. While Weigel seems like an affable guy who delights in mocking the ridiculous—and, with the GOP the party that forgot math, science and history, he finds common cause with the left—it's clear that liberals probably would not enjoy handing the budget over to him. This is how honest compromises are struck.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Thank you. Over the last six months we premiered NINE new full-length monologues at the Public Theater.


It has been a life-changing season for me, and I'm immensely grateful to everyone at Joe's Pub and the Public Theater with whom we've made an artistic home, and to the fantastic audiences who made every single performance of every show completely sold out. Without you none of this would be possible.

This season has been transformative—I've learned more about my craft in six months than I have in the last six years. This fall we'll use everything we've learned this year to make ALL THE FACES OF THE MOON. That story would not be possible without this season and everything it has made possible. I would not have been able to imagine it.

Again: thank you. I will see you on the other side.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Life Without Economics: Part Two | Slog:

Scarcity, Abbott states, happens on two levels: one is the individual level and the other is the social. The reason why this distinction is so important is because it clearly explains the political/ideological function of promoting individualism in ACSs. It is not so much about generalizing the values of the rich, who do not need social supports, public assistance, and so on; instead, it's about enforcing scarcity on poor subjects. If a society has an abundance of wealth and does not want to distribute it fairly, then it desperately needs the category of the individual—a single person on whom scarcity can be imposed. Poor countries do not need or depend on the culturally fabricated category of the individual because scarcity is real on both the level of the subject and the state. But because scarcity is nonexistent in rich countries, those in power, those who refuse to distribute wealth in a meaningful way, have to invent it. The invention of scarcity is linked with the promotion of the individual. The society is rich but you yourself are poor.
Actor Grant O’Rourke reveals all about The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs | Bristol24-7:

And what of the political comment element, how much research went into the play? O’Rourke said: “The writer Mike Daisey went to China and spoke to the workers who made the products that he loved so much. This is Mike Daisey’s story and it’s an account of what happened to him. Although I’m not playing Daisey as such, the story is based on fact and real life events collated from a number of sources and is weaved together into a single story. It’s written in a style that Daisey calls ‘poetic journalism’: many, but not all of the events happened to him but everything in the story is absolutely true.”

Viewers can expect to come face to face with a surprising conclusion. O’Rourke says: “What seems to have startled audiences most frequently is the reality of how our electronic products are made. The factory that the character visits makes almost 50% of all the electronics in the world. This is a story that genuinely affects you and I and everyone we know. If you grab any random piece of electronic technology in your house and take it apart, there’s a strong chance that there will be a stamp with this factory’s name on it. We’re all complicit, even if it is unknowingly, in this gigantic, global issue and thats something that stays with you.”
The 8 Hottest Tech Start-Up Perks You Wish You Had: Gothamist:

Editors at SheeBloop, which is compiling a supercut of all the scenes in movies in which a crying person taking a shower punches the wall, need time to rest their weary eyes. So CEO Farg Donaldson installed a special weeping willow made to exacting Fern Gully specifications that emits dopamine instead of pollen. Mangoes are freshly cut with machetes in SheeBloop's lobby, but Donaldson encourages workers to use their feeding tubes. "Chewing just slows us down," one editor rasped behind his hermetic mask. "And it's bad for team building."

Friday, April 12, 2013

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Our national pastime: Press criticism | Jack Shafer:

In early 1946, Albert Camus emptied into New Yorker press critic A.J. Liebling’s ear his plan for a new newspaper.

“It would be a critical newspaper, to be published one hour after the first editions of the other papers, twice a day, morning and evening,” said Camus, who knew a thing or two about journalism, having recently resigned his editorship of the Paris daily Combat.

“It would evaluate the probable element of truth in the other papers’ main stories, with due regard to editorial policies and the past performances of the correspondents. Once equipped with card-indexed dossiers on the correspondents, a critical newspaper could work very fast. After a few weeks the whole tone of the press would conform more closely to reality. An international service,” Camus told Liebling.

Camus never found a backer for his “critical newspaper” and eventually left journalism. But the idea stuck to Liebling like duct tape, and he cited the interview in his 1948 book, The Wayward Pressman, as well as his 1960 Camus obituary in the New Yorker. Camus spoke of compiling complete records of “the interests, policies, and idiosyncrasies of the [newspaper] owners” and “every journalist in the world.” Then, the contents of news stories could be gauged for credibility, he explained.

“But do people really want to know how much truth there is in what they read?” Camus asked. “Would they buy the control paper? That’s the most difficult problem.”

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Jean Baudrillard - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

In his early books, such as The System of Objects, For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign, and The Consumer Society, Baudrillard's main focus is upon consumerism, and how different objects are consumed in different ways. At this time Baudrillard's political outlook was loosely associated with Marxism (and situationism), but in these books he differed from Marx in one significant way. For Baudrillard, it was consumption, rather than production, which was the main drive in capitalist society.

Baudrillard came to this conclusion by criticising Marx's concept of "use-value". Baudrillard thought that both Marx's and Adam Smith's economic thought accepted the idea of genuine needs relating to genuine uses too easily and too simply—despite the fact that Marx did not use the term 'genuine' in relation to needs or use-values. Baudrillard argued, drawing from Georges Bataille, that needs are constructed, rather than innate. He stressed that all purchases, because they always signify something socially, have their fetishistic side. Objects always, drawing from Roland Barthes, "say something" about their users. And this was, for him, why consumption was and remains more important than production: because the "ideological genesis of needs"[18] precedes the production of goods to meet those needs.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Honey, we’re praying for you -

That’s the tricky thing about bullies: They’re often telling the truth. It’s not what they’re saying — that you’re fat, or black, or feminine — it’s how they’re saying it; it’s the hate behind their words, the fact that they see the truth of the situation as a problem.
Lawmaker Testifies NYPD Commissioner Wanted to 'Instill Fear' in Black and Brown Men with Stop and Frisk:

Today, a New York legislator testifying in a class-action suit against stop and frisk confirmed that those suspicious of the program's racial motivations are correct. Doubling down on an accusation he made in 2011, New York State Senator Eric Adams said on the record that he heard Commissioner Kelly tell then-Governor David Paterson and a room of other lawmakers that stop and frisk targets minorities because "he wanted to instill fear in them that any time they leave their homes they could be targeted by police."

Adams said he was "amazed" and "shocked" by Kelly's alleged remarks, adding: "I told him that was illegal."

He said Kelly responded by asking: "How else are we going to get rid of guns?"

It should be noted that 88 percent of the the people stopped and frisked turn out to be totally innocent, and that many others are guilty only of possessing a small amount of marijuana. But tough talk about guns is how Bloomberg and Kelly have been able to sustain stop and frisk despite near constant protestations.

You Didn’t Make the Harlem Shake Go Viral — Corporations Did:

Who wins? The "Harlem Shake" originated with a drunken man named Albert Boyce dancing at Harlem's Rucker Park basketball court in 1981. It was sobered up by children in the bleachers and became a popular dance in the hip-hop community. When Boyce died in 2006, the dance had found its way into some rap songs and videos. In 2012, Harry "Baauer" Rodrigues sampled one of these songs, Plastic Little's "Miller Time," and dropped it onto a piece of electronic dance music made in a style called "trap" that is only somewhat related to hip hop. The song was a commercial failure until student George Miller included it in his YouTube video. As the "Harlem Shake" moved from the Rucker to Al Roker, Alice Rivlin and beyond, money moved too: to Google, where more searches and more views mean more dollars, and its large investors like Fidelity, T. Rowe Price, Blackrock, and J.P. Morgan Chase; to Warner Bros, which owns global distribution rights for the recording; and to Time Warner, with its part ownership of Maker Studios.

Relatively little went to Philadelphia, where Thomas Wesley Pentz, the minor Svengali who signed Harry Rodrigues, collects royalties from Warner Bros., every time a recording is purchased, and from Google, every time the song sells an ad. Harry Rodrigues will benefit, although not as much as many may assume, and he will have to share what he gets with the people whose work he sampled. Boyce, the no-collar black man on the corner who gave world culture a twist, gets a little credit and no reward. George Miller, the originator of the whole thing, gets nothing.

The technology may have changed, but the money still flows the same way: to creators of contracts, not creators of content.