Monthly Archives: April 2009

more terms-of-use hilarity

If you’re a terrorist listening to your iPod while tinkering with your suitcase bomb, be warned — you’re out of bounds and in hot water with Apple, Inc. see more pwn and owned pictures

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things you may or may not want to watch, depending….

Disney’s new big-screen nature-doc spectacle, earth, is actually a condensation of the BBC/Discovery Channel small-screen nature-doc spectacle, Planet Earth. But hey, nothing wrong with that — Disney stays profitable, a bunch of British nature photographers get to move to slightly more comfortable London flats, and we all benefit from the gentle but clear lessons about disappearing ice floes and expanding deserts. But earth is peculiarly Walt Disneyesque — no, not because it features fluffy polar bear cubs and ducklings taking their first flight, but because everything gets eaten.


One of the first images we see in earth is that of a lonely, starving male polar bear slowly making its way across a sunless Arctic waste, migrating instinctively toward better hunting grounds. That image is everything one needs to know about the worldview of both Walt Disney and the studio he founded; as Edward Rothstein wrote in a review of Tarzan in the New York Times,

Disney films — from “Snow White” to “Mulan” — have almost always been about outsiders, like Tarzan, seeking a home in an inhospitable world. These figures are rejected, isolated, alien, the victims of jealousy, snobbery, banality and hatred.

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Posted in adventure, filmmaking, nature, philosophy, science, the environment | 2 Comments

you didn’t bring enough pigs to stop me

There’s nothing wrong with a movie in which characters do horrifically inappropriate things, as I argued a week ago. The problem with Observe and Report is that deep down it wants us to approve of its characters’ lousy behavior and to be glad when they “succeed,” as if the violence that explodes out of, say, Travis Bickle at the end of Taxi Driver was basically a really weird route to career satisfaction. And it’s never explained why Ronnie’s violent responses to ordinary situations don’t land him in jail. You can’t — I repeat CANNOT — shoot a flasher at the cosmetics counter in the mall and not go to jail.

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best movie title ever

From see more pwn and owned pictures

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i couldn’t get the goat (a COTMC postscript)

On the surface, many of Cassavetes’ characters appear to be somewhere on the spectrum between hideously self-involved and dangerously insane. They make other people profoundly uncomfortable, they don’t respond correctly to social cues, they pick fights (and lose), they cry, they jabber on annoyingly, they bully, they withdraw. They give their children beer in the middle of the afternoon and teach them horrible, conflicted values. When they’re nervous, they try to make any situation into a party, singing and dancing and laughing too loud while those around them blanch in embarrassment or quietly try to urge dignity and restraint….

These people are so wearying!


But I’ve always felt that Cassavetes’ interest in these people isn’t voyeuristic, isn’t intended to be shocking or to show how foolish and misguided his cranks are. Where Martin Scorsese ruthlessly dissects the fantasies of his hapless protagonists in The King Of Comedy and Taxi Driver, revealing them to be delusional, I think Cassavetes was usually up to something more subtle and more revolutionary: he was challenging our right to judge these characters.

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Posted in filmmaking, philosophy | 2 Comments

you drive away in my volvo

So this is interesting. By way of the Freakonomics blog at the New York Times, drummer Josh Freese, formerly of Devo, now of A Perfect Circle and Nine Inch Nails, is offering a variety of price packages for his new album. For $7, you can download the album from his website. For $15, you get a CD/DVD. But from there, things get progressively weirder. For $50:

-CD/DVD and digital download.
-THANK YOU phone call, from josh, for buying “since 1972”-You can tell me what you like about my new record you purchased, or what you thought sucked…
Ask whatever you like” Is maynard really that weird?”or”Which of Stings mansions has the comfiest bed?”or” Are DEVO really suburban robots who monitor Reality, or just a bunch of Dads from Ohio?”
or “Why dont the Vandals play more stuff off the first record?”
It’s your five minutes to yack it up- Talk about whatever you want!

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HOUSE goes meta

with a nifty “jumping-the-shark” joke:

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terms of youse updated its terms of use recently. After recent legal decisions, I figured it was worth a look, especially because I frequently embed video from Hulu here. I wasn’t disappointed.

Hulu is generally a good, trustworthy, and fair company — it offers a good product in an easy-to-use format in exchange for fairly minimal commercial interruption. Nonetheless, lawyerly bulletproofing requires Hulu to make ridiculous and unenforceable pronouncements in the name of thoroughness. Here’s a list of things you can’t do on your website if you’re going to embed Hulu video:

[D]o not embed the Video Player on any website or other location that contains or hosts content that is unlawful, infringing, pornographic, obscene, defamatory, libelous, threatening, harassing, vulgar, indecent, profane, hateful, racially or ethnically offensive, encourages criminal conduct, gives rise to civil liability, violates any law, rule, or regulation, infringes any right of any third party including intellectual property rights, is otherwise inappropriate or objectionable to Hulu (in Hulu’s sole discretion), or links to infringing or unauthorized content (collectively, “Unsuitable Material”).

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