Archive for October, 2007

Hedge!

I find it strange, the way people can hedge their bets when they’re talking.

The “can” in that sentence? A prime example.

Here’s the one that inspired this post: “I think it would be distracting if a lot of people knew what the sounds were originally…” This comes from a electro-pop musician who was describing how he takes various samples and manipulates them in his music. The weirdness in this example is the “a lot”.

Would it still be distracting if only a few people knew what the sounds were originally?

I think that he said “a lot” because he doesn’t want to accuse any specific listener of his music of being potentially distracted by sample-sound recognition. Or generalize about his audience’s distractability. I guess it’s good that he’s not characterizing the experience of listening to his music as only being one way or another. But still – this is a weird thing to be non-judgmental about.

I’ll try and think of others, and post them here, because I KNOW that you readers are interested.

(Does “I’ll try” count as hedging, because I want you to know that I’m not making any promises?)

This cucurbit terror is nothing compared to the Power of the Force

It’s not arbitrary, you know

I’d just like to point out that it’s not as if being a democrat or a republican is an arbitrary choice.  And being “partisan” isn’t bad.  Being wrong is bad.  Say, for example, on the Iraq war.  It’s not that the republicans were partisan, it was that they were wrong. 

Just like its not that faith is bad, it’s just faith in God that’s bad.  Believing things that are plainly untrue is bad!  Regardless of the pragmatic utility of having the social support of religion, self-deception is bad. 

 Faith in things like science isn’t bad – we have to have a certain faith to start off with, like there is some reason to believe that what we observe is a reflection of reality.  Fire away, call it the religion of science, sure, i don’t care.  But reminding us that because science rests on some assumptions doesn’t change the crucial differences between science and religion.  One is right and one is wrong.  We don’t need assholes like Dawkins and Hitchens to tell us that, it’s pretty simple! 

A new vision of the feminine, at last!

Gucci finally shows us a woman we want to see: the sad-looking waif who can barely lift her perfume. Who will be first in line to help her?

American Anthem

Because of John Williams, I got interested in famous performances of it. Check out the one of the most infamous, Rosanne’s, when she tried to cover her horrible singing with worse singing, like the class clown who finally gets called up to do his thing in front of the class.

next up in Marvin Gaye. This incredible performance at the 1983 NBA All-star game is gorgeous. You think you’ve figured him out after about 2 bars, but the tune just unfolds, so slowly, and I think its really touching. It doesn’t feel overly “american!” or overly patriotic, which is what kills me about the super-heartfelt ultra earnest renditions by Whitey-white blond girls.

Thats all really. there are other famous performances, like jimi hendrix or feliciano, or whitney houston, but think those are old news compared with these two. Maybe just because I didn’t know these too, and I did know the other ones.

epitome of our culture

Maestro John Williams!!!

this may actually be true. What will Jon Stewart say?

Public Libraries. Gee Wow.

I just want to mention how amazing public libraries are. I didn’t really realize how great they were until this summer, when I got my first library card. It’s pretty obvious to most people, but I didn’t really get that having a library card means that I have free access to pretty much anything published by a major press in the last 100 years, and plenty of other stuff too.

The internet “democratizes”, or whatever. Content was King, and the likes of google, youtube, and amazon have made it as plebeian as freaking barn dances. But so much of the internet’s content is meta-content. Youtube has lots of videos “about” movies and TV shows. You can’t *quite* watch whatever you want. Even the most popular of you-tube posted TV shows, The Simpsons, is only available as part 1, 2, 3, 4, that kind of crap, and then its taken down. There are only very rarely full length movies on You Tube. Yeah, I know that you can steal anything you want, anytime you want from filesharers or BitTorrent, but there are still barriers. (the legal one being the wimpiest, as far as I can tell.)

People comment. And Comment, and comment. The NYtimes is probably one of the best examples of a company finally coming around to offering its content for free and making it easy to get, to boot. Comedy Central just FINALLY did that with a decent Daily Show video browser. Public Radio, too, with free podcasts on Itunes. But lots of other people want to keep charging. Weird.

Back to the original point. Whereas on the internet, you get meta-content, at a library you get content-content. Instead of reading about “The Abstinence Teacher” on NYtimes.com, I’ll have read the real thing, without paying for it, by the end of the week. That just Cool! I reserved my copy from home, on the library website.

How do libraries fend off charges of copyright infringement? Seriously, don’t libraries cut into booksales? I don’t understand how its legal. Do they pay publishers for the right to publicly distribute materials? or do they only have to pay for the physical copies?

Or do publishers think that libraries serve an important try before you buy function? Or is it just that libraries are negligable, as evidenced by the fact that I’m just realizing now, at 24 years of age that libraries exist and perform this cool-ass function of giving me what I want, when I want, for free?

what the hell?