A few months ago, Awl Music switched over to a new kind of curation. (Yes, sorry, "curation." You know: choosing videos.) Instead of picking videos one at a time, by hand (by mouse?) we started picking shows from YouTube and Vimeo, and set the site up to automatically post new episodes from the shows that we like. Right now there are 8 shows that get fed into the stream: La Blogotheque, a live music series produced by the French music website of the same name; Beat Making Lab, a PBS Digital Studios program in which some guys introduce a compact electronic music studio to various cultures [...]
1. "Song for Edward Snowden" by Joe Fox. Best line: "Braaaave, or stupid? Braaaave, or stupid?"
2. "You Can't Slip A Chip Into My Brain, NSA" by (the perfectly named) Grant William Brad Gerver. Best line: uh, "You Can't Slip A Chip Into My Brain, NSA"?
3. "Prism" by David Rovics. Best line: "One government came down and burned in repetition of this fact / the next government passed the Freedom of Information Act."
For the last two years, I dedicated this list to videos that stirred the heart. This year's list is made up of those films that give the mind a little twist, providing that tiny moment of escape that comes from seeing things a bit differently than usual. These are the ten cleverest Internet films to cross my various social media dashboards over the past year. They're presented here in no particular order, although the first one is a particular favorite.
• Jake Dolgy & Jake Ross might be the first directors in history to accurately portray people using the Internet in a fictional film. In "Online Now" [...]
• Justice—"New Lands"
A summary of the rules of the futuresport played in Justice's video for "New Lands":
Play begins when batter hits the neutron ball fired at him by the cannon-pitcher. A successful hit finds its way into the possession of the roller-lacrosse attackman, who skates around the banked circumference track while avoiding the opposing team's motocross defensemen and safeties armed with warhammers. The attackman passes the ball to the wide receiver, who runs downfield toward the end zone. A touchdown is worth 12 points, except when it's worth 8 points.
This list of the 10 best music videos of 2012 are in no particular order, but they [...]
In order to become a wizard, you must first apprentice to a wizard, and the acolytes who followed Nate Silver's lead did very well in The Awl's first quadrennial electoral college pool. Out of 160 entries received, 9 of you predicted the map exactly. (That's right: we're calling Florida for Obama. I mean, it's Friday.) This means that 5.6% of this website's readers have documented psychic powers. You can't argue with that. It's math.
Of the people who predicted the map exactly, 78% overestimated Obama's popular vote total by several million votes, reflecting a wildly inflated expectation for voter turnout. The remaining 22% didn't guess Obama's popular vote at [...]
Map from 270 To Win.
There's been so much betting this election season. Mitt Romney bet that Texas mannequin $10,000 he'd never even heard of health care while Governor of Massachusetts. Donald Trump bet Barack Obama $5 million that the President got mediocre grades from an online terrorist college. And Nate Silver just bet Joe Scarborough $1,000 that math and statistics are more powerful than sorcery. Why should you be left out of this hot electoral action? Join us for The Awl's first quadrennial electoral college pool!
The summer after my junior year of college, I worked the prepared-foods counter at a restaurant on Newbury Street in Boston. It was called Stephanie’s, after its owner, who was an amazing chef. Stephanie made chicken breasts so tender you could almost drink them. Her julienned carrot salad sold out before noon every day. The chefs made gourmet mac and cheese in fifteen-pound batches, and there were always a couple pounds left over for the undergrad waitstaff to gratefully take home. But by far the most popular item on the menu was Stephanie's risotto.
At some point early on that summer it occurred to me that I was surrounded by [...]
Today, we launch Awl Music as an app on iTunes. You can watch your favorite music videos on your iPad, or throw them to your Apple TV like any other television channel. Get it here! Here's why we think this needs to exist.
My music video collection began in 1989, the year my family finally got MTV. Cable had been slow to arrive in the San Fernando Valley, and my family was not much for early adopting anything anyway. I had one previous experience with MTV, a few years earlier, when I spent two weeks of the summer in the basement of my aunt's house in Scarsdale, watching six [...]
"Perhaps," Ezra Klein wrote last week, "the Supreme Court will surprise us on this one"—meaning the Court might not overturn the part of the Affordable Care Act that would require nearly all Americans to maintain at least some amount of healthcare insurance. "But if they don’t, I think the right question will be why so few in the legal academy saw it coming."
The list of constitutional law scholars who have stated publicly that the individual mandate is constitutional includes some of the most famous legal minds in the nation. Laurence Tribe. Kathleen Sullivan. Ronald Dworkin. Lawrence Lessig.
In honor of today, the first day of summer—the summer solstice—the day the northern hemisphere gets more daylight than any other day of the year, the astronomical first day of summer (as opposed to the American first day of summer, which is Memorial Day), we celebrate that seasonal genre of music known colloquially as the "Summer Jam." I asked some Awl contributors to name their favorites, and it turns out that the scope of the Summer Jam is much broader than I anticipated. There are four distinct types of Summer Jam: the Bouncy Summer Jam, for dancing at barbeques; the Languid Summer Jam, for falling asleep in the grass; [...]
Of all the videos uploaded to the Internet this year, here are fifteen that found their way into my feeds and dashboards and inboxes and my bookmarked aggregators of varying stripe, fifteen that inspired me to to copy and paste their URL into a Google Doc labeled “2011 Videos Wonderful,” a title comprised of words I was likely to search for when later I couldn’t find my ongoing list, and fifteen that survived when I took that giant collection and whittled it down to ten, and then added five that were somehow similar to others in the top ten and deserved inclusion because they hinted at some kind of [...]
Late last night, the LAPD raided Occupy Los Angeles. More than 1400 police officers—about 15% of the city's officers—were used to arrest more than 200 people, leaving the encampment in a shambles. Teams of police wore hazmat suits and K-9 units swept the camp, looking for incendiary devices, which they did not find. The tactical approach, guided by LAPD Chief Charlie Beck on-site, involved eventually cordoning off City Hall Park and arresting everyone trapped inside. The operation was concluded by 3:30 a.m.
Last night, Occupy Los Angeles was to be evicted. As the LA Times put it: "When the LAPD announced that it wanted the campers out by midnight Sunday, officials hoped many protesters would leave voluntarily. Instead, the deadline prompted hundreds of people to converge on the area." Although the police arrested a few people for blocking the streets early this morning, they did not in the end evict the encampment at City Hall Park.
When I found out that Michele Bachmann got migraines she ceased to be this distant caricature of a crazy-eyed ideologue. The Buddhists say that understanding someone else’s suffering leads to compassion, and as stupid as this sounds I found Bachmann instantly more human simply because I get migraines too. It changed my bias. I stopped seeing her religious crap as some insidious flaw. Now I see it as a well-meaning flaw. I’ve been secretly rooting for her to win the Republican nomination ever since I learned about her affliction, ever since people started saying it somehow disqualifies her from office. Who you like in politics can be a weird and [...]
You’re standing at the intersection of Wilshire and Highland. What neighborhood are you in? The sign on the corner says you’re somewhere called Brookside. The sign on the other corner says you’re in Park Mile. The sign a block away, in full view of the other signs, says you’re in Sycamore Square.
Google Maps doesn’t mention any of these. Google Maps calls this neighborhood Dockweiler. Where it gets this from, I have no idea. Los Angeles does have a Dockweiler—but it’s Dockweiler State Beach, 15 miles away, by the airport. Google Maps calls the adjoining neighborhood Sanford. But that’s Koreatown. Google Maps is just making stuff up.
Talk to someone [...]
30. Begley, Jr.
Al Jazeera is putting every American news channel to shame with its amazing coverage of the revolutions across the Middle East. But most cable systems in this country won’t carry it! If you live in Toledo, Ohio, or Burlington, Vermont, or Washington D.C., you might have it. The rest of us are out of luck.
Unless, of course, you own a Roku or Google TV. These are two of the several new set-top boxes that deliver programming to your television set via the Internet. Others include Apple TV and Boxee, and even Playstations and XBoxes can do this now. All of these allow you to watch Netflix [...]
Here are ten videos, culled from the neverending stream of Internet things that pass by my face each day, ten videos that will make you feel good about the world. They're all from this year, a year that I can say confidently had way more suck than it had awesome; but if you take half an hour to ignore all the suck and watch these you will come away thinking, man, people still make some beautiful things, even in the midst of shit raining down, even if only they're tiny little Internet videos. This was a running list I started in January, a list I only added to when [...]
So, Gawker got sued again—this time by HarperCollins, for publishing excerpts from “America By Heart,” Sarah Palin’s latest contribution to the annals of American thought. The book doesn’t come out until tomorrow, but Gawker posted segments of it last week, mostly in order to make fun of them. Some people got upset! On Saturday, a federal judge granted a temporary restraining order against Gawker. So the page with the excerpts from the book is down.
So what’s going on here? Does Gawker have a First Amendment right to excerpt Sarah Palin’s book and make fun of it? Or can Sarah Palin use her powers under copyright law [...]