The early rounds of American Idol feature inappropriate contestants with little or no talent who are intentionally let through the cattle call weeding process. This represents an ugly and compelling entertainment spectacle that allows viewers to enjoy the drama of a few elite upper class celebrities verbally torturing some unfortunate neurotic caught in their web. These early scenes are job interviews designed to go horribly wrong. The hopeless contestants seem to deserve this fate because their grotesquely delusional overestimation of their talents and complete lack of understanding of what is expected of them by their prospective employers violates some primal sentiment of self-preservation in us. What they are really being punished for is not a lack of talent. They are being punished for being socially maladapted. Sadistic spectators at a ritual enforcement of conformity, we enjoy watching these sickly deer being culled from the herd. In the later rounds, when we root for the talented underdogs who have made it through the culling process, our sentiment shifts: now we’re thrilled at someone else’s success. But we’re also connecting with our own desire to sell out. Can this person hold on to a vestige of their humanity and individuality while achieving the extreme-sports version of selling out? American Idol openly and engagingly celebrates the triumph of commercialism over art. As viewers, we are rooting for the corporate machine that manufactures these celebrities as much as for the contestants themselves. —
KILLER KARAOKE: Reality Television and the Death of the American Middle Class | Press Play
Please go and read this extremely intelligent take on how reality tv contest shows reflect the conditions of our awful economy.
you mean that EVEN IF i convinced paul rudd to marry me, life STILL wouldn’t be perfect? way to stomp my dreams, judd apatow.
On P2P sites, most things that seemed too good to be true actually were: SEO-baiting, fantasy-football remixes (“Big Pimpin’ Remix [ft. Eminem, Dr. Dre, DMX, Nas, Biggie and Tupac”), “covers” that were actually just the original song (“You Really Got Me” by the Who turned out to just be the Kinks’ version), or painfully obvious amateurs uploading their demos and calling it, say, “Beastie Boys— Intergalactic ALBUM VERSION.” Plenty of mislabels were obvious as soon as you previewed them, so you could simply cancel the download in progress— but this was still annoying. Considering that plenty of Napster and early P2P users had temperamental, slow-as-molasses 56k modems, these kinds of mislabels spelled nothing but frustration; they were wastes of all-too-precious downloading time. Looking back now, though, I find something almost poetic about them— inviting the listener to imagine cross-generational mash-ups and back-from-the-dead collaborations, the titles themselves read like fan fiction in miniature. —
a) As usual, this is very good.
b) The one I remember most is the fake clip of Sarah Brightman performig the Diva Dance from The Fifth Element. As far as I could tell this was pure wish-fulfillment — but it seemed plausible at the time! (Actually, it probably seems even more plausible now considering she did Repo and all….)
Biggest heartbreak: “ABBA - Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” (it was some full-cast production LP version)
My contribution to the pile (half-true version): We hung out with Beth Ditto in London once and did Karaoke with her, and someone taped her doing an awesome “Son Of A Preacher Man” so I put that up on Soulseek as a Gossip rarity. Writing this down now it sounds skeevy as I didn’t ask permission, but TBH almost nobody ever downloaded it. I hope nobody ever tried to make money off it. Sorry Beth!
My contribution to the pile (untrue version): If anyone downloaded “Thom Yorke, Wayne Coyne - Bohemian Rhapsody (Glastonbury Campfire Version)” then, er, sorry. It was me, Pete B and Emma H doing Bo Rhap at the same Karaoke, and very horrible it is too. Probably almost as horrible as a Thom Yorke and Wayne Coyne collaboration would actually be. People did download this!
i got faked out by “sweater song (sonic youth cover),” which was actually a live recording of weezer performing at Y100’s sonic sessions. i downloaded the mp3 in middle school, before i had any idea what thurston moore sounded like, so i for a while i assumed it was him doing the spoken-word bits on the track. (it was actually speed levitch.)
(Source: katherinestasaph, via tomewing)
i have never much liked diamonds, anyway. they’re actually my birthstone, a fact that always used to piss me off when i was a kid. other girls got to be associated with cool colorful gems like emerald or opal, while i was stuck with this boring clear rock. it didn’t help that diamonds were gratuitously sparkly, as if attempting to overcompensate. (nice try, guys - you’re still no peridot.)
To stabilize the market, De Beers had to endow these stones with a sentiment that would inhibit the public from ever reselling them. The illusion had to be created that diamonds were forever — “forever” in the sense that they should never be resold. —
Have You Ever Tried to Sell a Diamond? - Edward Jay Epstein - The Atlantic (via)
an unexpected example of how advertising shapes culture: it turns out the tradition of giving expensive diamond engagement rings was invented by (surprise surprise!) madison avenue. in 1938, the firm n.w. ayer began a campaign for de beers that included placing stories in the press that “would stress the size of diamonds that celebrities presented to their loved ones.” by 1941, the sale of diamonds increased 55% in the united states, reversing a previous (though, to be fair, mostly depression-related) decline. more importantly, though, the fact that such sentimentally-valuable diamonds were almost never resold had the effect of stabilizing prices - a net positive for de beers, which until recent years controlled almost the entire market.
p.s. considering that the above article (from 1982) is thousands of words long, it’s sort of funny that this is how the atlantic does coverage of the same issue today.
ice breaking up on lake michigan.
Regis Toomey & Jane Wyman
Someone found the link to Nate Silver’s old blog from 2007, which is exclusively about burritos. It also contains tables.
As sure as I am that there are probably cities with both an Arturo’s and a Pasadita, if this comparison is actually for the two places in Chicago, then damn this dude knows what he’s talking about.
It’s definitely those two places in Chicago - in/near Wicker Park, to be exact. Chicagoist has the rest of the (ridiculously accurate) bracket.
Lee and his colleagues produced a manual of cultural technology—it’s known around S.M. as C.T.—that catalogued the steps necessary to popularize K-pop artists in different Asian countries. The manual, which all S.M. employees are instructed to learn, explains when to bring in foreign composers, producers, and choreographers; what chord progressions to use in what country; the precise color of eyeshadow a performer should wear in a particular country; the exact hand gestures he or she should make; and the camera angles to be used in the videos (a three-hundred-and-sixty-degree group shot to open the video, followed by a montage of individual closeups). — Cultural Technology and the Making of K-Pop : The New Yorker