13 May 2013
That’s it—that’s what soda really is. The problem for Coke and Pepsi isn’t that SodaStream cuts into sales. It’s that SodaStream demystifies soda. Coke and Pepsi have spent a century teaching us to have feelings about our sodas. SodaStream shows us what those feelings are really made of.
I don’t know much about that. What I do know is that I am rather taken by the ability to craft my own flavors of soda. Homemade vanilla coke? Yes please. More importantly, I am all in favor of demystifying the commercial world in favor of individual choice. Consumers of the world, unite! We have nothing to lose but our chains.
26 Feb 2013
Recently, The Onion tweeted a joke about nine year old actor Quvenzhané Wallis and many people found it to be offensive. I have already written about the difference between harm and offense, so I do not intend on rehashing those thoughts. People are going to be offended by it, particularly because of the words chosen – and who they were aimed towards – and that ship has already long sailed. But was The Onion doing something other than maliciously attacking a child? Avery Edison tries to answer that question:
The only logical-but-absurd extension of this horror show (and that’s the heart of satire: taking a concept and stretching it to almost-breaking point) is to, for no reason, call a small child the worst thing you possibly could.
Satire can be just as difficult to pull off as it can be to understand, so it often misses the mark. This is particularly the case when children are involved. Avery does a good job of navigating the nuances of the original intent. This does nothing to salvage the joke itself, as there has already been an apology and explaining humour always kills it, but if you had intended on demonizing and hating The Onion forever, Avery provides a well-thought argument for perceiving them as something other than monsters.
21 Feb 2013
It would seem that concerns about Manny Malhotra are pressing on my thoughts tonight. This is another excellent piece about the unfortunate situation he is in, by Patrick Johnston for Canucks Army:
In a different universe, this doesn’t happen.
The puck never hits him in the eye; he doesn’t need major surgery to save his eye; there doesn’t have to be a major comeback. No decision is ever forced about his elite-level usefulness by the pressures of a salary cap.
21 Feb 2013
In the case of Malhotra, it’s not a matter of being unable to play, but of being at risk for further injury. The danger of a blindside hit to the head is heightened for Malhotra simply because he now has a larger blindside to deal with. Malhotra felt that he could manage the risk and continue playing, but Canucks management, after reviewing video, were not convinced. They pulled the plug on his season, not Malhotra.
A reminder that, so often, our lives are not solely directed by our own actions and intentions. We are not the masters of our fates.
21 Feb 2013
The second important event was that the meme transcended an important boundary when someone (finally?) posted a clip of a washing machine “doing” the Harlem Shake … As far as things go on the internet, it was essentially perfect, effectively dialing the meme to whatever degree is always necessary for it to tilt from absurdity to eventual complete and total meaninglessness.
Even amidst the endless papers and books that I am reading for grad school, I still caught the Harlem Shake meme. It is, as far as ridiculous aspects of Internet culture go, pretty spectacular (particularly the video Colin mentions), but the rumblings I heard about “racial concerns” of the meme had me frustrated and wanting to articulate those frustrations. Instead of doing it myself, I had the pleasure of reading Colin clearly explain the self-referential McLuhan-esque nature of meme-culture: “the point of the meme is only the meme itself”.
12 Jan 2013
Colonization is not a completed historical fact from which all must simply move on; it is a deliberate, daily violence continuing this moment and anyone promoting that Indigenous peoples are ignorant not to accept this violence as legitimate is at worst, racist; at best, living in a dream palace.
A keen and thoughtful collection of thoughts on Idle No More. Aaron has expertly navigated the topic and his words are certainly worth reading; he is well-versed in the difficult task of respecting complexity. My words do not do his justice, so I suggest reading his for yourself.
26 Dec 2012
If I were a young actor today I would quit before I started. If I had to grow up in this media culture, I don’t think I could survive it emotionally. I would only hope that someone who loved me, really loved me, would put their arm around me and lead me away to safety.
The thing that I hate most about this Kristen Stewart / Robert Pattison nonsense is that it has forced me to take Stewart’s side on something.1 Celebrity culture is a phenomenon that is incredibly damaging to the individuals that are fetishized, to say nothing of society itself. I won’t pretend to be without my heroes, but there is a distinct line between admiration and obsession. We are worse off, as human beings, for our gossipy worship.
Granted, I have never seen the Twilight movies and I actually kind of enjoyed her in Adventureland, but that just gets in the way of the story I’m trying to tell. Nobody ever said that I was guilty of narrative consistency.↩
25 Dec 2012
In this era of rising sea levels, it’s not unusual for islands to disappear beneath the surface, but based on depth readings at the site, this island seems never to have existed.
Paper streets were a regular trick of map makers to ensure that their designs were not copied: the placement of roads that didn’t exist to trick up plagiarists. Yet another reason that the map is not the land. I am no good with navigating via street maps anyway, but paper islands? Now I can’t even trust land to be where I expect it? Mine eyes are made the fools o’ the other senses / Or else worth all the rest.
24 Dec 2012
The story of Lost makes no sense.
Neither did the story of the story of Lost. I had always known that it was improbable that it ever got made, but I didn’t know just quite how improbable. Alan has carefully worked through the “important” series’ of recent television history – Lost being one of them – and explained why and how they changed the medium. If his explorations of Battlestar Galactica and Breaking Bad are anywhere near as good as this, the book is going to be well worth picking up.
06 Dec 2012
If you want to deny evolution and live in your world, in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that’s fine, but don’t make your kids do it because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need people that can—we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems.
We have to live in the world. Regardless of what you believe about tomorrow, regardless of where you believe we originated, regardless of your spirituality, your religion, and your mythology. We have to live in this site of physics and biology, where gravity operates and species evolve. This earth is our home and we exist here, now. It serves us no good to pretend otherwise or claim that that which we experience here is false. Our theory of gravity may not be true, but it is our current best explanation of the world – in such a way that we are able to build skyscrapers and land robots on Mars. So too of evolution which has led us to better understandings of biodiversity, of agriculture, of health and medicine.
While it matters a great deal what you believe of the world beyond this world, that does not absolve you of your responsibility to this world. “Science” is our collected best answers to the questions of this universe in which we currently live. To not “believe” in it is not some form of noble skepticism nor is it a show of faithful devotion. It is willful ignorance of one of the most basic of truths of the universe, a fact that comes even before worship and God: we live in this world. Heaven above requires earth below.