Thursday, June 17th, 2010

The Golden Age Of Hipper-Than-Thou CD Fetishization Begins Now

Yeah, no, I bet whatever album you're trying to tell me about is great. It's not even out yet? Ooh, a leak! So you've got, what, a 160 kbps transcode ripped from NPR's live stream or something? Then we're definitely not listening to that. Also, my iPod speakers stopped working.

Nah. Doesn't bother me. Honestly? Best thing that could've happened. See, I've still got my old stereo, and I've been hoarding all the CDs I bought or burned between the ages of 13 and 24. Sure, they take up a lot of space. Was a pain to move them out of the old apartment, too, but it's worth it. [...]


An 81-Hour Break From Civilization At Sasquatch Music Festival 2010

The port-a-potty situation is universally humbling. The brand is Honey Bucket, which is so gross and psychosexually radioactive a name that the excreta deposited and vacuumed out of them gains a strange and terrible power over our imaginations. Retching sounds and maniacal laughter alike drift from the banks of plastic shitboxes scattered throughout the camping area. A mysterious chalk homage to the waste receptacles appears at the venue gate. Legends spread of Honey Buckets where the filth rises above the level of the toilet seat. Pissing in the thick heat of one, I'm suddenly able to hear, from some far-off stage, the distinct and chipper chorus of Avi Buffalo's [...]


Vanishing Point: "Downfall" and the Filmed History of Hitler

Late last month, it very nearly ended: a meme that had, weirdly, endured for years. When the copyright notices finally came to YouTube, and some of the videos were removed–well, they came far too late, and too few. Many of the videos survived, further extending the life of a joke that was never that funny to begin with.

If, as Mark Twain contended, nothing can stand against the assault of laughter, then the "Hitler Reacts" meme was tantamount to poking a dead horse. And yet, for years, everyone felt compelled to pick up their poking sticks and get to work on it. The conceit is one of shallow [...]


Stop Threatening To Kill People Over The Internet!

Sleep. Go on, sleep. Rest easy. I want your muscles relaxed so I can peel them cleanly off your bones. Then I'm gonna cut your bicuspids out and carve the Greek alphabet into the softest part of your belly. Afterward I'll sit you on my deli meat slicer and make myself an ass and Swiss cheese club sandwich. Or maybe I'll do that first-I get excited in the moment and who knows what sick inspiration will strike me like a ball-peen hammer strikes a fingertip that's been tied off and isn't getting any circulation? Point is, I'm pretty sure I have enough syringes of adrenaline to keep you from [...]


Vanishing Point (Your Memes Reviewed): The Joseph Ducreux Self-Portrait

In 1793, France's revolutionary government decreed that the Louvre Palace, a much-remodeled Parisian fortress, should serve as a museum to house and exhibit the nation's 537 greatest available works of art-mainly stuff ripped from the clutches of kings and clergy on their way out of power and up the blood-slicked steps to headlessness. Circa that same year, also in Paris, an aging portrait painter named Joseph Ducreux completed the 18th-century equivalent of a charmingly douchey Facebook profile picture, Portrait de l'artiste sous les traits d'un moqueur. The piece would later become part of the Musée du Louvre's vaunted collection… and so much more.


Facebook Advertisers: Urgent White Paper on an Unprecedented Niche Marketing Opportunity

The Good News: Nielsen Co. has completed study on efficacy of targeted social network ads using 800,000+ Facebook users, 14 brands. Found that in cases where Facebook homepage ad incorporates the name of a user's friend, ad recall/awareness/purchase intent levels improved strikingly over those generated by non-"social" ad. Overall click-through rate quadruples from generic banner ad to organic impression.


Vanishing Point (Your Memes Reviewed): Betty White

Science has yet to determine the long-term effects memeification can have on a person. Rick Astley's tenure as automated punchline has spanned three years, max, and the man's been more than a good sport about it. Yet who knows what manner of existential abyss has begun to open inside him? Conan O'Brien, as far as we can tell, has been reduced to the color orange. Neil Armstrong refuses to talk about the moon landing and wanted to sue a barber for selling his hair. And 88-year-old Betty White, by popular demand, will be hosting Saturday Night Live on May 8, 2010.


Vanishing Point (Your Memes Reviewed): #DeleteYourTwitterIf

The conditional clauses that come packaged with April 5th's trending hashtag #DeleteYourTwitterIf are as varied as the reasons one might choose to delete one's Twitter account even without the advice proffered by someone whose avatar is a close-up of their tramp stamp. With bass notes of generalized-turned-personal rage, it provides a perfect framework for passive-aggressive claims on digital turf, as users stuck with second-choice handles quickly discovered.


A Handy Guide: Notes Toward A Genre Movement

I know you're bursting with assorted creative juices, but let's face it: your masterpiece is likely to end up on a garbage barge where not even famished seagulls will peck at its fearless yet wholly inedible vision of this world we call ‘real.' Why? Because you tried to go it alone! Nobody who tackled their craft with brains and passion and monastic discipline, aspiring to be the lone inventor of something splendidly next, ever got further than, like, the theory of relativity. So just stop thinking outside the box-that is no path to glory in the year 20now. Instead, think inside another box that hasn't been assembled yet.


Choose Your Own Adventure: The Blog Post

It's 4 p.m. on a long Monday. Of course you could get some work done, but your boss is elsewhere, you've got a headache from trying to cut back on caffeine, and it's drizzly outside. Plus they stole an hour of sleep from you over the weekend! Meaning: you'd rather just cruise the net, floating on a raft of hyperlinkage toward that horizon of informational numbness. But before you can say "choking on the pen cap you were absently chewing," a perfectly outrageous blog post title loads in your browser, begging for-or perhaps openly provoking-your attention.

Do you… ignore the inflammatory headline and continue surfing?

Or immediately register [...]


Going Outside: St. Patrick’s Day Festivities, Hoboken, NJ, March 6

From time to time, The Awl likes to explain to Internet denizens what the world beyond the great inside is like. Here is one such explanation, describing a recent trip to locations on the Eastern seaboard of the United States.

We had missed the parade. Or maybe it was somewhere else. The sidewalk was packed with bad faces. A guy had his pants down and was trying to walk. The cops were wearing long leather jackets. I grew up in Jersey, and I remembered bad faces, but I couldn't remember cops ever wearing jackets like that, leather and big gold buttons. Every bar had a line out the door. [...]


The Five Kinds of Appeal to Authority You Meet on the Internet

We know that humans-especially popes-are fallible. Any logician worth her adorable sweater vest will tell you that random philosopher p endorsing premise x affects a deductive conclusion in the amount of not one whit. Still, debaters are happy to hang their hats on dusty quotes and arguments from authority, the nastiest result being a communal tolerance of sickly ideas propped up by rhetorical parlor tricks. If only there were some credible source (preferably dead and/or otherwise unable to clarify himself) to which you might ascribe your toxic viewpoint… what? No, sorry, God is taken. But here are a few other ways to make the fallacy take wing; all remain [...]


The Oscars are Next Week and Nope, I Still Haven’t Seen 'Avatar'

No, I'm not some joyless prude. I was once like you, even. Remember when we were sitting around your apartment and decided to watch the trailer online? How we laughed! Someone had tried to adapt early 90s Trapper Keepers® for the screen! And they'd spent a small nation's GDP to make it happen! If, some months from that point, James Cameron Trips Over A Fanboy Wishlist Into The Uncanny Valley wasn't going to be the flop of our young century, jeez, it really should've been.

Then we went about our admittedly terrestrial lives.


10: Choose Your Own Adventure: The Blog Post


The End.

Miles Klee still likes the Internet though.


9: Choose Your Own Adventure: The Blog Post

You finish reading the entire post through the same bleak fog that attends your actual work. Like a flagellant after a holy cleansing, you are filled with a sense of morbid accomplishment and false pride. Later, you will misquote this text, fudge a few of its statistics and then pass off several approximations of the author's ideas as your own.

The End.

Miles Klee knows how it is.


8: Choose Your Own Adventure: The Blog Post

You throw yourself back into a project with a willed vigor that seeps across the rest of the week, and beyond into the months and years. You surf the web now and then, but only during lunch, which you take at your desk. Your work ethic eventually yields a modest promotion. At the age of 51, while playing racquetball, you die of a heart attack.

The End.

Miles Klee is sorry he had to tell you this.


7: Choose Your Own Adventure: The Blog Post

Okay. Well. The content is certainly not as insane as the link/title made it sound. In fact, it seems the author exaggerated and distorted and dressed up what he was actually talking about just to drive traffic. The topic is a little… boring, really. Kind of a hobbyhorse for this blogger. Definitely an important issue these days, something that doesn't get enough attention, but… not something you want to read a whole-jeez this is long! And there are numbers in it. And it's depressing to think about.

Do you: give up and massage your pleasure centers?

Or do you slog miserably on?


6: Choose Your Own Adventure: The Blog Post

That's that. There's no refuting an argument this exhaustive and passionate. You were wrong and, in time, you will grow to accept your mistake. But what's this? The author concludes the post by linking to a related piece by a peer. Apparently she writes about these issues more eloquently, fiercely and persuasively than this author feels he ever could.

Do you: click the link and start reading something that will undermine your convictions even further

Or do you: break the cycle of self-loathing and get back to work?

Or, feeling neither productive nor relaxed, maybe you spend the afternoon "updating" your résumé?


5: Choose Your Own Adventure: The Blog Post

This should shut him up, you think to yourself as you copy-paste an umlaut from Wikipedia onto the word "naïve." And you were right. The guy never wrote anything on the Internet again.

The End…. OR IS IT?

It's like Miles Klee is inside your cubicle, right?


4: Choose Your Own Adventure: The Blog Post

Who are you kidding? You can't resist bait this tempting. You need to know at least enough to pretend you know what this is all about. You admit to yourself that the author, not unlike a poisonous spider, has ensnared a victim that struggles in vain.

Do you… give the blog post a grudging, disdainful skim?


Perhaps you begin reading the blog post in good faith.