pop culture

/Tag: pop culture

Not the man now.

Speaking of Ye Historye of Ye Internete… whatever happened to You’re the Man Now, Dog?

I still unironically love the YTMND format—it’s pretty much the distilled essence of neo-dada—and its ignominious demise is a lesson in the damage the follows in the wake of libertarian-style un-moderated “social media-ification”…

2018-12-03T09:53:04+10:0024th April, 2019|Tags: internet, meme, pop culture, tech|

A history of the internet, in 100 sites.

How we got to where we are, from goatse to Club Penguin.

(This is, unsurprisingly, a very US-/English-language-focused list, so… commence arguments about the rankings, I guess.)

2018-12-03T09:18:49+10:0023rd April, 2019|Tags: internet, pop culture, tech|

If by “prisons” you mean “Hell.”

I mean, on the one hand. I don’t disagree with this analysis of either The Good Place or the broader critique of the purpose of prisons.

But, like. On the other hand? How do you write like an entire article about this subject without once mentioning that the modern Western concept of punitive incarceration is pretty much drawn directly from Christian notions of Hell and eternal damnation? I mean, it’s literally the show’s set-up and its central conceit, as well as being very, very specifically Christian. Islam has a similar concept of Hell, and Judaism… sort of does, although its logistics are far more vague.1 Meanwhile, versions of Hell exist in Hinduism and Buddhism—as well as the various traditions influenced by both—but are usually more like a place of tribulation where a soul can “work off” its karmic debt with a little light oil boiling before being reborn into its next life. If you’re thinking, “Hm… that sounds an awful lot like the point of s2 and s3 of The Good Place…” then, yes! Which honestly is one of the reasons I find the show way more interesting than most other things that draw on Christianity’s “eternal damnation” shtick.2

And, y’know. Watching too much Monkey as a child has made me a huge sucker for a reformed-demon story. So… there’s that, too.

  1. One assumes that fact Judaism is a non-proselytizing religion means it doesn’t need the whole “convert or be DAMNED TO HELL!” angle adopted by its descendants.
  2. A show about reforming a Christian-style Hell into one more like those described in Asian literature? Go on. I’m listening…
2018-11-27T08:46:21+10:0010th April, 2019|Tags: pop culture, religion|

His story.

This inability of rich, usually white, usually straight men to see that there are stories beyond their own has been at the center of the #MeToo movement more broadly. Rather than seeing the world as a series of interlocking tales that occasionally feature them in a major role but mostly feature them as extras (if at all), they are primed to see it as a series of stories about them, moving forward through their lives, attaining their goals, crushing those who would oppose them. #MeToo has complicated that narrative for at least some men, but one needs only to read news reports of Louis C.K.’s comeback standup sets to understand that many of these figures will come to see the revelation of their misconduct as a minor adversity to overcome, not something that shattered their entire lives.

Straight white men in America are taught that they are the protagonist of the story from birth.

  Todd VanDerWerff on protagonists.

Content warning at the link, which deals with misogyny and sexual assault in real life and in media.

Also this, incidentally, is why I don’t write books about white boys…

2018-11-26T15:20:10+10:007th April, 2019|Tags: culture, pop culture|

Like and subscribe.

What does the murky history of [the novel 1984‘s] telescreen tell us about the way we live now? The hints about an old man’s reluctance and television’s power suggest that totalitarian overreach might not start at the top – at least, not in the sense we often imagine. Unfettered access to our inner lives begins as a choice, a decision to sign up for a product because we ‘feel the need of it’. When acting on our desires in the marketplace means signing over our data to corporate entities, the erosion of choice is revealed to be the consequence of choice – or at least, the consequence of celebrating choice.

Henry Cowles on what Orwell knew.

As someone who first read 1984 relatively recently, the telescreen was definitely something that struck me as being one of the book’s more eerily prescient elements.1

  1. I’m assuming here, perhaps overly kindly, that no one at, sat, Apple or Facebook was trying to intentionally recreate the technology…
2018-11-26T14:40:57+10:004th April, 2019|Tags: books, culture, pop culture, privacy, sff, tech|

Video Game: The Video Game.

Given that I don’t play the sort of “parkour action console game” that’s apparently So Hot Right Now,1 I managed to not notice that, well, everything is kind of the same nowadays. On the other hand, I do remember back in the mid 2000s when Every Game Was World of Warcraft,2 so I guess this is kind of just the rinse-repeat of that.

  1. Or own a PS4, for that matter.
  2. Or the early 90s, when Every Game Was Monkey Island, or the mid-90s, when Every Game Was Myst, or the late 90s, when Every Game Was Doom, or…
2018-09-25T07:59:32+10:0012th March, 2019|Tags: gaming, pop culture, video games|

Horoscopes for the professional classes.

Corporate personality testing is, um, not… good.

My most recent encounter with Myers-Briggs was at a “women in IT leadership development” type lean-in nonsense thing, unfortunately run by a True Believer who chose Myers-Briggs specifically because it was developed by women and thus, apparently, “empowering”. There was another woman in the group who’d studied psychology, and who remarked—in the sort of uncertain, hedging way a lot of women float criticism—that she was “surprised” they’d “never studied” this apparently “revelatory” system at university. The course functionary took this almost as a kind of existential threat, which I guess it is, in the sense that being confronted with the notion that your entire world outlook is pseudoscientific rubbish is threatening…

2018-09-20T14:34:52+10:008th March, 2019|Tags: pop culture|

Problematic things.

“And you can’t judge the past by the standards of the present.”

Yes you can.

Really, you can.

Watch me.

“In 1952, Alan Turing was tried in a criminal court and given libido suppressing drugs as a punishment for being gay. This was wrong.”

“In 1900 in the UK, women were not allowed to vote in elections. This was wrong.”

“Until 1954 black children were not allowed to go to the same schools as white children in some parts of America. This was wrong.”

That wasn’t so difficult, was it?

Andrew Rilstone thinks it’s not so hard at all, really.

From a long-but-excellent essay looking at enjoying (or not so much) problematic things from the past, in the context of today.

It’s specifically talking about the Doctor Who episode, “The Talons of Weng-Chiang”, so content warning for examples of yellowface and blackface, an image of a popular 20th century racist doll (yes, the one starting with “g”), plus discussions of orientalism and sinophobia and other harmful tropes.

2018-09-20T12:12:56+10:007th March, 2019|Tags: culture, pop culture|

High concept.

So apparently someone uploaded Escape from Tomorrow (the surrealist horror film stealth-shot at Disney World) to YouTube and… that was… a film. That I just watched.

2019-03-02T17:25:04+10:0028th February, 2019|Tags: film, pop culture|