The first half of this week was another one of those times when things just pile up out of my hands. The end of any production cycle is often super-stressful, but I’ve had enough experience to know such stress is amplified by the notion that it doesn’t always have to be that way. And I’m acutely aware of the affect it has on the quality of my work. So that’s what was on my mind Wednesday afternoon.
Wednesday evening I was at the IFI for Breadcrumb Trail, the new documentary on Slint and the making of their classic album Spiderland, with director Lance Bangs in attendance for a Q&A afterwards. I liked the film quite a bit, and wrote about it here.
First there was snark, the "hostile, knowing, bitter tone of contempt"; bullshit criticism of anything that doesn't fit one's own flimsily constructed worldview. But as Gawker's Tom Scocca posits, it's a reaction to smarm, an equally odious posture of self-satisfaction; the notion of being above criticism of any kind, which is built on similarly shoddy foundations. Both are as smug, selfish and ignorant as each other. #link
Or, how the mainstreaming of the video game industry reinforced gender stereotyping. First there was this: "Knowing that you have limited funding, you can't just market shotgun. You can't just go after anybody," says [marketing firm president] Rodger Roeser. "You need to have a very clearly differentiated and specific brand because that's going to play into where you're running your ads and what kind of ads you run. That niche-ing, that targeting makes it easier for marketers to have a very succinct conversation with their target without overspending and trying to reach everybody." That led to this: "The industry did the math. Companies like Nintendo aggressively sought out people who played their games ... Publishers traveled to cities, held tournaments and got to see firsthand who was playing their games ... The numbers were in: More boys were playing video games than girls. Video games were about to be reinvented." And somehow that got written in stone, and society at large has simply accepted it without question. Which says a lot about us, quite frankly. #link
Gonna make a renewed effort to be more disciplined about my working/living week and keep weeknotes here on an actual, y’know, weekly basis. Not that I need to guilt myself into working (I’m pretty much doing something every day) but I could be Getting Things Done a lot more efficiently, if not better as such. And that’d leave the rest of my time for living better, too.
Even if I don’t have much to write about for any given seven days, I think even that is worth mentioning, so that I can look back later and see how things pattern week to week. So that’s what I’m doing right now.
Perceived impunity, maybe? The divorcing of actions from their consequences? But you can say the same about school bullies, gaslighters, whatever: the notion's not unique to the internet. But it is amplified by it -- hyperbole to a ridiculous degree -- which makes its effects so much more damaging. At the same time, I disagree with Skepchick's summation that wanting power and wanting attention are mutually exclusive; giving the latter gives trolls the former, so never underestimate the power of turning the other cheek. There are other, more effective ways to undo them (though I know that's easy to say when I'm not at the receiving end of a barrage of hate). #link
The story of Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning is an interesting one as it really seems to be the case of an individual coming to terms with their conscience and acting upon it, not that I agree with the way the leaked data was handled (too much information, especially unfiltered, can be a dangerous, volatile thing). Compare to Edward Snowden, who comes across to me not so much a whistleblower as a mole, someone with an agenda from the outset who sought out positions where he could achieve his goals. It saddens me that Snowden's become the poster boy via his deliberately spun James Bond bullshit, while Manning stews in prison unjustly, and for all intents and purposes forgotten. #link
This is what happens when you mix politics and policing: it becomes all about image, about looking tough on crime, without the necessary training to support it. And the result is that innocent people suffer on a widespread basis, and justice is completely undermined. Nice job, America. #link
Music like this is still inscrutable to me; it's really a mystery how these sounds are manipulated so. Is it live? Looped? Analogue or digital? Improvised or composed? What equipment? What software? How could I, if I wanted to, even begin to make something like it myself? #link
I never had Stinkor, so I can't vouch for the smell. But I do love the notion that he was such a D-list character (repurposed from other's body and accessory moulds) that even the cartoon writers wouldn't touch him! #link
Around about this time last year, I surprised the hell out of myself by walking the 25km or so from Howth to Dun Laoghaire. Yeah, you might run marathons in your sleep or whatever, but it was a big deal to me. And I’m sure Aware were pretty happy with me too, seeing as I raised €200 in sponsorship for the charity in my first Harbour 2 Harbour Walk.
This coming Monday is St Patrick’s Day and I’m doing it all again, hoofing it from one side of Dublin Bay to the other on the 2014 Harbour 2 Harbour Walk — this time hopefully in less rubbish weather!