filtered, week of aug 25 2014
I used to blog; I haven’t in a while. I miss it. So this is trying something new, without the daily pressure of a capital B Blog, or the content pressure of a the capital E Essay. Start a new draft post on Monday, dump things in it over the week, rewrite and cull along the way, what’s left gets published on Friday. Let’s see how long I keep this up.
tony’s dead to me
Vox: Did Tony die at the end of The Sopranos? Everyone’s upset about the way Vox handled the headline, but how can you be surprised by that? They buried the lede because according to Chase the answer doesn’t matter. The piece is more than just that little tidbit; it’s several thousand words of Chase philosophy and ideology, including this great bit:
Chase wasn’t just playing with our heads when he designed the conclusion of The Sopranos; he was part of the ongoing evolution of the American imagination. When he embeds his gangster story with both his love of detail and his fascination with Poe, he is infusing a popular genre with the mysteries of the two persistent though contradictory tributaries of American letters: one beginning with the pragmatism of The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, filled with his many lists of things to do and things done; the other the dream-haunted stories and poetry of the American Romantics. This double face of America the doer and America the dreamer shimmers behind the basic premise of The Sopranos.
Here’s the thing. If the answer to that question doesn’t matter, and is just “part of the ongoing evolution of the American imagination,” then his answer to that question doesn’t matter. I’ll continue to imagine that when the lights went out on SE6.2, EP9, then the lights went out for Tony, with his family—and the diner—covered in blood.
It’s soooo nice to see Gawker take an interest in the water situation in California, in that “oh gee, look how screwed those crazy Californians are!” kind of way. Commenting on the WSJ story about the Klamath river, and the competing interests of fish and farmers, they write:
Is it important to save the fish? Yes. Is it important for farmers to water their crops? Yes. Is helping the natural world a good use of water? Yes. Is growing food a good use of water? Yes. Should a state be forced to choose between the natural environment and growing food? No. But this is what happens in The Water Wars.
Emphasis mine. Because actually, Gawker, yes, this is exactly what a state needs to do in time of crisis. Understand the needs of different constituencies, balance them against one another, and then be forced to choose. It’s called governing.
Right now, The Leftovers is less of a show and more of a maze of choose-your-own adventure symbolism. Wanna focus on deer imagery? Let’s focus on deer imagery. What about dogs? We can do that, too. Or both — a thesis titled “The First Suburban Settlers: Large mammals on the run in HBO’s The Leftovers.”
AV Club’s Sonia Saraiya. (BTW, I’d read that thesis.)
my keyboard needs new batteries
No worries, the googledrone will deliver them.
The idea goes like this: Because people can’t assume near-instantaneous delivery of whatever they need, they stockpile things. They might have a bunch of batteries, slowly decharging in a drawer, or a drill that they use for 10 minutes a year. Each of these things is a personal possession that sits around, embodying all this energy and industrial effort unproductively.
A week or so ago @hunterwalk tweeted:
Look around your house. Any object you own that you don’t absolutely love is a chance for an entrepreneur to build something better.
I’d suggest the following revision:
Look around your house. Any object you own that you don’t absolutely love is a chance for an entrepreneur to make disappear.
Uber is disappearing cars. Postmates wants to disappear your refrigerator, your stove, your dishwasher. Washio wants to disappear your laundry machine. The Kindle disappeared books, Netflix disappeared DVDs…and the player. Hell, the iPhone disappeared your iPod, your camera, your video camera, your GPS unit, your Thomas guides and that’s just the built in apps. With the googledrone, demand drone-delivery of batteries, a drill, a hammer, whatever — could eventually disappear all your stuff. Everything will come to you from the sky, dropped on a tether.
Answering an economist’s email at 11:30 PM with a splash of Four Roses bourbon while SportsCenter flickers in the background is not a terrible way to live.
in heavy rotation
Two new tracks from James Blake: Order / Pan. Pulled Reich/Remixed out of the archives. @cpen recommended Banks. Guilty pleasure is Birdy covering 1901. The kids and I turn up Shake it Off when we hear it on the radio. Reading Siri Hustvedt’s The Blazing World, and slowly making my way through Max Hasting’s Inferno: The World at War 1939–1945. I’m looking forward to the finale of The Leftovers, and I’m glad they were renewed for another season.
See you next Friday?