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Miraculous

A can opener must seem miraculous to a dog.

Graham, P. (2002, February). Taste for Makers. Retrieved from http://www.paulgraham.com/taste.html


brick-wall-frame-damaged-300pxBrick Walls

Brick walls are there for a reason; they let us prove how badly we want things.

Pausch, R. (2007, December 20). Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji5_MqicxSo


desklamp-300pxMediocrity

If you have a good idea and you give it to a mediocre group, they’ll screw it up. If you give a mediocre idea to a good group, they’ll fix it, or they’ll throw it away and start with something else.

Catmull, E. (2009, July 28). Ed Catmull, Pixar: Keep Your Crises Small. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2h2lvhzMDc


WolfFallibility

The revelation of fallibility is no longer a revelation at all; it ought to be a given at this point in story-telling, but people still think it’s novel to retell Goldilocks from the Wolf’s point of view. I remember the first time I realized this was not only tired, but said something wrong about the people making movies: Mission Impossible, when they revealed that Jim Phelps was the bad guy. Wouldn’t it be great if the hero of all those old TV shows was shown to be corrupt? Wouldn’t it be great if he wasn’t?

Lileks, J. (2014, April 7). The Bleat. Retrieved from http://lileks.com/bleats/archive/14/0414/040714.html


SimpleGrave-300pxTwenty-Five

Many people die at twenty-five and aren’t buried until they are seventy-five.

Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790)


SaladControlled by Quisenberry

“Trend Junky’s articles and slideshows, with titles like Celebrity Prom Pictures and ObamaCare Facts for Young Adults, draw traffic from MyTurnOns and other accounts directly controlled by Quisenberry and from an affiliate network of about 175 Twitter users. They promote the site’s content for a share of ad revenue.”

You know, I do a fair amount of digital media for a living, and I am continually amazed at how the English language can support such utterances. Those are definitely words, assembled in sentences, most likely syntactically correct, but it’s goddamn word salad. Word salad!

Hollywood Upstairs Medical College (2014, Apr 30). Re: A Eulogy for Twitter [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from https://www.metafilter.com/138732/A-Eulogy-for-Twitter#5524914


3D-Infinity-SymbolCargo Cults

And that, in a nutshell, is what’s wrong with everything from Fox News and the Tea Party to anti-vaxxers and #gamergaters. These cargo cults of thoughtful discussion all exist in closed systems of stupidity, in which their preferred errors and falsehoods are recycled endlessly in what appear to the outside observer to be a parody of rational discourse.

Doktor Zed (2014, Oct 28). Re: The trouble with ignorance is that it feels so much like expertise [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from https://www.metafilter.com/143978/The-trouble-with-ignorance-is-that-it-feels-so-much-like-expertise#5793534

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torn-map

Timeless Poverty

After scouting locations with Walon Green and John Box, the production designer, they chose La Altagracia village as the main location. Friedkin described the place as “a prison without walls” with a “sense of timeless poverty and persecution.”

Sorcerer (film). (2017, June 19). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 20:31, June 19, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Sorcerer_(film)&oldid=786489978

leaf-book

Unburdened

young (adj.): Unburdened by the knowledge that it would be better to never have been born.

Sottek, T. (2015, April 5). The New Devil’s Dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.theverge.com/a/new-devils-dictionary

small-television-retro

Ideally Psychotic

Reality TV is about placing dumb and ideally psychotic but physically attractive people in ridiculous, contrived situations and feeding them alcohol and scripted lines until they fight or sleep with each other with commercials in between for energy drinks, diet pills and tanning products featuring people from other reality shows. It’s a glorious feedback loop in which entertainment becomes even more mean-spirited and shit. Yes, I hear you say, but isn’t that a bad thing? Well, not if you’re making money out of it, hand over fist. Production companies love reality TV because it’s cheap. A few shirtless douchebags, a fresh batch of yeast-infected sluts, a few bottles of bottom shelf liquor and you’ve got yourself a show.

From Grand Theft Auto V in-game parody website: www.therealitymill.com/about

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Disappointed

Repeat until disappointed in mankind.

Rio, C. (2016, June 1). 6 Bands Who Followed Up Their One Hit With Drooling Insanity. Retrieved from http://www.cracked.com/blog/mmmbop-to-aliens-insane-songs-albums-one-hit-wonders/

3D-factory

Nail Cutters

Marx might have called this kind of work “estranged labor,” but the phrase isn’t quite right. My experience working in fine dining was marked by hard, repetitive and often meaningless work. But it wasn’t completely “estranging,” not at first. To the contrary, I found that hard, repetitive work, however “estranged” in some abstract or theoretical sense, could be incredibly affirming. Executing the same tasks with machine-like precision over and over and over again, like one of Adam Smith’s nail-cutters, offered a special kind of enjoyment. There was no reflection, no question about what my job required of me, and I could indulge, for hours, in the straightforward immediacy of action.

Frame, E. (2015, August 22). Dinner and Deception. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/23/opinion/sunday/dinner-and-deception.html?ref=opinion&_r=0

book-stack

Of What Use Would I Be?

At the time of the story, the region was largely agrarian and peasant, and many were skilled craftsmen, artisans, and laborers. I thought, ‘I’m also an intellectual. Of what use would I be in the forest?’ The film works in a way as a cautionary tale. Most of us live in a precarious balance above the bedrock of physical labor.

Ebert, R. (2009, January 14). Review: Defiance (2009). Retrieved from http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/defiance-2009

police-cruiser-retro

Motel Shootout

The class clown, the guy that gets up and sets the clock ahead twenty minutes, that guy always dies in a motel shootout.

The Howard Stern Show. (2015, February 25). Sirius XM Radio.

file-cabinet-with-files

Lawsuit Avoidance

The videos seem well-made and valid, and I wish we did far more unpacking of bias in our lives. Perhaps I am being uncharitable, but this (at least in a vacuum) feels more like corporate lawsuit-avoidance than it does a meaningful set of resources. I’d personally think that a proper treatment of biases in decision-making would be a little broader than this list, if only because it feels like “these are some lawsuits we keep getting hit with because we could be doing better in this space.”

(2015, July 28). Managing Unconscious Bias. Comment posted at 9:44 AM by Phyltre. Retrieved from http://www.metafilter.com/151616/Managing-Unconscious-Bias

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Rails of Celluloid Cocaine

Sex was okay—so was an R rating. Adults were treated as adults rather than as overgrown children hell-bent on enshrining their own arrested development.

Then came Top Gun. The man calling the shots may have been Tony Scott, but the film’s real auteurs were producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, two men who pioneered the “high-concept” blockbuster—films for which the trailer or even the tagline told the story instantly. At their most basic, their movies weren’t movies; they were pure product—stitched-together amalgams of amphetamine action beats, star casting, music videos, and a diamond-hard laminate of technological adrenaline all designed to distract you from their lack of internal coherence, narrative credibility, or recognizable human qualities. They were rails of celluloid cocaine with only one goal: the transient heightening of sensation.

Harris, M. (2011, February 10). The Day the Movies Died. Retrieved from http://www.gq.com/story/the-day-the-movies-died-mark-harris

🍝

One Way to Feel Special

The narcissism of minor differences finds expression in the food-intolerance explosion: Having a special dietary requirement is one way to feel special in the prevailing “me” culture. But I don’t want to show the intolerance of the omnivore for faddish food particularism, however overblown it may be. There’s a lot that’s good in food fetishes.

Cohen, R. (2015, October 19). This Column Is Gluten-Free. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/20/opinion/this-column-is-gluten-free.html?action=click&contentCollection=Books&module=MostPopularFB&version=Full®ion=Marginalia&src=me&pgtype=article&_r=0

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Blur of Traffic Passing On the Highway

sonder, n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

Johnny Wallflower (2016, April 3). Re: Haters gonna hate, baby. Retrieved from http://www.metafilter.com/158345/Haters-gonna-hate-baby#6468195

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Lazy Excuse

The term “hater” is just a lazy excuse to avoid having to address any criticism. It ends up hurting yourself, too, because if you refuse to engage with any criticism you’re never going to get any better.

Sangermaine (2016, April 3). Re: Haters gonna hate, baby. Retrieved from http://www.metafilter.com/158345/Haters-gonna-hate-baby#6468083

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I am right and have always been right because I’m a member of a victimized sex/race, and therefore hold no responsibility for my actions.

Amazom.com customer (2001, January 18). Re: The way forward is with a broken heart (1st ed.). Random House. Retrieved from https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R2STFIIZ9IP5IA/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_viewpnt?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0345407954#R2STFIIZ9IP5IA

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Hear it Panting

The wolf isn’t at the door, but you can hear it panting out there in the woods.

Garner, D. (2016, April 5). ‘Disrupted,’ a Tech Takedown by Dan Lyons, a.k.a. Fake Steve Jobs. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/06/books/review-disrupted-dan-lyons-fake-steve-jobs.html?action=click&contentCollection=Book%20Review&module=RelatedCoverage®ion=EndOfArticle&pgtype=article%3E

🔫 🔫

Permanent War

The movie offers no answers to the problems it presents—rampant street crime in poor neighborhoods; a gun-worshiping American culture tied to capitalist rapaciousness that’s hooked into the country’s culture of Permanent War; the lure of machismo, which makes violent confrontation seem “sexier” than negotiation and de-escalation.

Seitz, M. Z. (2015, December 2). Review: Chi-Raq (2015). Retrieved from http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/chi-raq-2015

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Impeccable Mediocrity

Into his classroom every autumn come several dozen would-be Harvard law graduates, who fall into the categories we all remember from school: (a) the drones, who get everything right but will go forth to lead lives of impeccable mediocrity; (b) the truly intelligent, who will pass or fail entirely on the basis of whether they’re able to put up with the crap; (c) those with photographic memories, who can remember everything but connect nothing; (d) the students whose dogged earnestness will somehow pull them through; and (e) the doomed.

Ebert, R. (1973, October 16). Review: The Paper Chase (1973). Retrieved from http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-paper-chase-1973