Hello, world. I’m MacDara Conroy, and this is my blog.


The Movie List 2011

Salon's ranking of last year's (American) movie releases, from best to worst, which I'm linking to because I've pretty much forgotten what came oyt last year and I need to catch up. #link


Paul Simon's Graceland: the acclaim and the outrage

The outrage, of course, stems from Simon's breaking of the cultural boycott of the later apartheid years. But he wasn't playing his own music to white audiences for a fat paycheque: he was helping to bring the music of black South Africans to wider attention. And I disagree completely with Jerry Dammers that it did "more harm than good". Billy Bragg pretty much sums up the whole kerfuffle when he says Simon was on "the wrong side of the argument" -- as if this unique situation fitted into the manichaean nature of the apartheid struggle. Also note Jonas Gwangwa's smartalec racial politicking about how it took "another white man to discover my people". Spare me, please. #link


Waxy.org Turns 10

Andy Baio celebrates a decade of his pioneering weblog. Congrats! (Also, it's weird to think that my blog is older than his.) #link


Fanfare for the Comma Man

Thankfully an article about the sensible use of commas; that Oxford comma rubbish is for people who can't be bothered rewriting their sentences to remove potential ambiguities. They're usually the same kind who are prejudiced against the semi-colon. But I digress. #link


This is what online harassment looks like

On the deplorable treatment being meted out to blogger Anita Sarkeesian for having the temerity to express her opinions. Even the comment thread on this post is depressing; where did all this sexism and misogyny come from lately? Or did these fucking frat bros only just discover the internet or something? #link


There’s Always A Better Answer

An Irish woman with direct experience of abortion responds to those disgusting Youth Defence billboards, which reflect a general lack of understanding or even empathy among the Irish populace as a whole. #link


On The End Of An Era

Chloe Lum of Montreal neo-no-wavers AIDS Wolf writes about the demise of her band. I can see how it can be demoralising to invest so much "in something that gets next to no feedback". But maybe we just need a new attitude to these things. Like, making the noises you want on your own terms, with no expectation that an audience will appreciate it. There's a presumption that music is inherently commercial, insofar as artists at every level of the game produce art (whether on record or on stage) that an audience pays to consume, but I don't buy it. #link


An Essay on the New Aesthetic

According to Wikipedia, the New Aesthetic is a term used to refer to the increasing appearance of the visual language of digital technology and the internet in the physical world, and the blending of virtual and physical. James Bridle is more succinct when he calls it "technologically enabled novelty in the world". Bruce Sterling, however, describes it here as a "genuine aesthetic movement with a weak aesthetic metaphysics" -- and I can kind of see his point. But then, much that is aesthetic in the postmodern age is devoid of any substantive metaphysical aspect. #link


Chaton Sessions, Part Two: Mirage

Derrick Bostrom's recollections from the sessions for the Meat Puppets' breakthrough that wasn't to be -- plus a bunch of outtakes, run-throughs and rehearsals for download. What a resource. #link


City Walks by Chronicle Books

This looks like a great series for exploring new places on foot. Will come in very handy the next time we go away on a big city holiday. #link


Mail Supremacy

The New Yorker on The Daily Mail: the closest media outlet in the UK and Ireland to Fox News in terms of reality distortion. #link