Archive | July, 2012

Reclaiming Mary Poppins and the Characters We Love

28 Jul

Or, The Opening Ceremony Challenges Copyright Law, Whether it Means to or Not

Mary PoppinsLike millions of others around the world, I spent last night watching the Opening Ceremony.  Unlike millions of others, the part that captivated me wasn’t the parade of nations, but the “Second Star to the Right” theatrical sequence.

In this bit of public theater, director Danny Boyle reclaimed the British people’s ownership of their children’s literature, the rights to which have long since been sold off to various corporate interests.  Depicting Mary Poppins battling Captain Hook, Voldemort, and the Queen of Hearts, Boyle claimed these beloved characters as part of the broader British narrative.  In doing so, he challenged the idea that these characters, or any characters, can belong to someone. Continue reading

Facebook’s Baby Bump

27 Jul

Or: My Newsfeed is a Mommyblog

Baby Doll by Black Glenn

Photo credit to Black Glenn

Recently, my Facebook newsfeed has been taken over by babies.  From, “I’m pregnant!” announcements to “First time in the bumpee!” pictures (yes, most baby-related posts are accompanied by exclamation marks), my newsfeed has been turned in a mommyblog.

I’m 27, so, yes, this is the time when a lot of my age-mates are having babies.  But, I think there’s more to it than that.  Because, most of my friends… they’re not having babies.  They’re finishing grad school or climbing the corporate ladder.  People with babies make up a very small portion of my friend list, but they’re all over my newsfeed.  What’s especially strange, these friends didn’t appear on my newsfeed before they had kids.   It’s like getting pregnant increases your Klout score.

Continue reading

eBooks Reporting on You

23 Jul

#360 perhaps you do not need to write all over library books by romana kleeLast week’s On the Medina reported a new angle on ebook technology.  Now, when you’re reading an ebook, it’s taking notes on you.  “Ebooks that Read You” explained about technologies built into ereaders which record our reading habits.

Combining the data of individual readers, publishers now know how long it takes people to read specific books, which parts they get stuck on, and passages they highlight.  Before, these things were all done in relative privacy.  No one knew that I read To Kill a Mockingbird until the pages fell out.  Or that I, admittedly, skipped the Moby Dick chapters about dolphin behavior.  My marginalia was for me and me alone – or for the unfortunate soul who asked to borrow one of my books. Continue reading

Facebook’s Generation Clash

21 Jul

Or, the First Time Ever that Kids Tell Adults to Get off the Lawn

No adults allowed unless accompanied by children

Photo credit to tymesynk

When I joined Facebook, it was a place created by college kids, for college kids.  It was our own personal club house that all but had a “No Adults Allowed” sign posted on the door.  But, times have changed and now Facebook’s open to everyone (except, officially, those under thirteen).

But, just because Facebook now accepts (almost) all comers, doesn’t mean that it’s a place where its various constituent groups interact easily.  Facebook’s for high schoolers, college kids, and adults; but the high school and college kids probably wish that the adults weren’t on the invite list. 

Currently, Facebook’s experiencing a “youth flight.” High school kids are abandoning their digital homes as their parents move into the neighborhood.  They’re going to Twitter, which has yet to become generationally integrated, or at least parentally integrated. Continue reading

Go Ahead, Have that Affair with Fox Mulder

10 Jul

Or, In Defense of Binge Watching

Boy Watching TVYesterday Jim Pagels published an invective on Slate’s BrowBeat blog urging us all to stop binge watching TVPagels argued that binging on TV – watching, say, a whole season in a few days or a series in a few weeks – ruins the TV viewing experience.  He argued that TV shows have multi-layered structures, each of which must be respected.

TV series must constantly sustain two narrative arcs at once: that of the individual episode—which has its own beginning, middle, and end—and that of the season as a whole. (Some shows, like Breaking Bad and The Wire, operate on a third: that of the entire series.) To fully appreciate a show, you must pay attention to each of these arcs. This is one of the defining features of television as a medium and one of the things that makes it great. Continue reading

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