Manipulating Media

Steve Bryant only buys (into) media he can do stuff with:

Media is changing from entertainment into utility. Media that can’t be manipulated is almost useless. When I listen to NPR, I wish I could freeze the broadcast and pull a link from the radio, send it to a friend. When I watch TV, same thing. When I go to the movies, same thing. But I can’t. I can only do that online.

Those tiny transactions I make online make a greater imprint on my psyche than any single media event inside a theater — or inside a DVD — could have. It’s simple reward/response psychology. Online, I can track who watches my clips, who reads my posts, who liked my mash-up. The Internet flatters us with attention in a way Hollywood no longer can.
Steve Bryant, Hollywood Reporter

Class Acts

Curious to note that sensitive US indie-rock band Death Cab for Cutie — catch them on Atlantic Records, a subsidiary of the colossal Warner Music Group, catch them on the OC, Fox’s top-rating TV drama about the affluent youth of Orange County, CA — ultimately gets its name from sociologist Richard Hoggart, from The Uses of Literacy, his 1957 critique of British popular culture.

In conversation with the once angry young man, now grand old man of British cultural studies, DJ Taylor evaluates Hoggart’s thesis 50 years on — a culture devised by ordinary people for themselves is being stamped out by a mass culture devised by corporations for maximising shareholder profit.

Material World

Donning an avatar (she plumps for a “grumpy old woman”), Jenny Diski discovers that the online virtual world Second Life is less a chance to restart her life, more a cartoon-shaped replication of the real world:

Second Life is a reiteration. It’s a virtual world of buying and selling, profit and consumption, material decoration and political apathy. What you get in this alternative world are houses, home decorations, clothes, jewellery, cars, motorbikes, casinos, strip clubs and shops in which to sell all these things to cartoon characters representing their computer owners, who ‘live’ in the houses on the virtual land they have bought, titivate their interiors, change their clothes, hair and jewellery, drive the cars, gamble in the casinos and stand around gazing at naked pole dancers. That is to say, staring at cartoons who shimmy up to two-dimensional poles and rub their pixillated breasts and pudenda in the time-honoured weary wanton manner.
Jenny Diski, London Review of Books