Archive for July, 2006

It’s Suffertime — Come and Get It!

Saturday, July 15th, 2006

This week’s New York Times Book Review has a compelling essay by Benjamin “Indecision” Kunkel about the current state of literary autobiography. Called “Misery Loves a Memoir,” it examines the tendency among many writers nowadays to look back on episodes of substance and/or personal abuse with the weary knowingness of self-congratulatory survivors — instead of using their experiences to help formulate some plan to live differently.

“This accent of futurity is missing among contemporary memoirists. They sigh over their past woes; sigh with relief now that they’re better; or sigh the long sighs of nostalgia. It’s not, of course, that the memoir of recovered sanity or tribulation endured can’t be a very good one: witness Emily Fox Gordon’s Mockingbird Years or Joan Didion’s Year of Magical Thinking. Likewise, nostalgia can be an eloquent mood: think of James Salter’s Burning the Days or Anatole Broyard’s Kafka Was the Rage. But where is the contemporary writer reporting honestly, ambitiously and without therapeutic cant or smug self-help recipes on his or her effort to live a proud and decent life? Contemporary memoirists have taught us mostly how to survive. They haven’t begun to teach us how to live.”

The NooZ Journalism

Friday, July 14th, 2006

Speaking of MySpace…the social-networking service just launched a companion news-aggregation site called NooZ. It’s billed as “a community edited news site — for MySpace members, BY MySpace members.” (The site designer doesn’t seem to have figured out how to make italics in Photoshop yet.)

The only things missing from the MySpace universe now are a Google Maps mashup showing where each MySpace member was when he or she NooZ-ed a news item, an AJAX spreadsheet for calculating Rupert’s MySpace ROI, and a dedicated MySpace forum in which to debate the relative merits of Python vs. Ruby on Rails. Now that would be Web 2.0-tastic.

Your Friday Staredown

Friday, July 14th, 2006

It’s been one of those weeks where I’ve been too busy to do the little things in life, like eat or sleep, and now I’m so tired/fried that even the voices in my head can’t form coherent sentences anymore. So I’m not entirely sure that this, a movie about professional staring contests, is the hoax/mockumentary it appears to be — if it is a mockumentary, someone has spent a whole lot of time making it very, very elaborate; they even came up with a Web site for the “National Association of Staredown Professionals.”

Either way, the trailer is hilarious, so, since it’s Friday and time for yet another weirdly viral video, enjoy. And if you like that, the full movie, Unflinching Triumph: The Philip Rockhammer Story, is available at the website.

You know what? Let’s just assume I’m convinced it’s a mockumentary — I don’t want to end up like this guy.

Reality Stars - They’re Just Like Us!

Friday, July 14th, 2006

A blogger at Jane recently spent time doing the kind of thing I’d probably do but at least would have the shame not to admit in public: looking up the MySpace profiles of reality TV stars. Trishelle’s profile is, of course, the gem of the bunch.

I’d like to point out, by the way, that I have had a totally awkward conversation with at least one of the people on the list while walking to dinner with my mother, making me undoubtedly the coolest person you know.

Down the Tubes

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

The newly Condé Nast-ified Wired News published a story this afternoon about  the removal of a  video from MySpace that parodied Sen. Ted Stevens’s now infamous (though somewhat less than technologically sound) description of the Internet during a debate on Net Neutrality. The move smells suspiciously like, um, censorship.

On Tuesday, MySpace canceled the TedStevensFanClub account, telling Raff that the social-networking site, now owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., had received a “credible complaint of your violation of the MySpace Terms of Services.”

The e-mail referenced a number of prohibited activities, including trademark and copyright violations. MySpace also reserves the right to remove any profile for any reason.

But Raff, a recent graduate from law school, didn’t violate any copyright laws in using the Alaskan senator’s words, since government works cannot be protected by copyright. And Raff composed the music himself.

You can read the rest of the story here.

Thought for Thursday

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

“We are poor indeed if we are only sane.” — D.W. Winnicott

Mmmm, Food Networking.

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

Via the ever-awesome food blog Slashfood, news of FoodCandy, a new social networking site for foodies. No, seriously.

The site’s founder explains,

Nick Vagnoni asks a very valid question: If you already use other social networks like MySpace, as well as food forums like eGullet, is there really a need for something like this? He deserves a simple answer: yes, of course!

Some people see FoodCandy as MySpace meeting EGullet. MySpace is all about people but not all about food. EGullet is all about restaurants but not about people. FoodCandy brings it all together. Hence FoodCandy is not only cool, it’s necessary.

Food networking that doesn’t involve Rachel Ray? I am so there.

Your Tax Dollars at Work

Wednesday, July 12th, 2006

So, yup, congressional hearings were held the other day on the bill to — that’s right — ban MySpace from federally funded schools and libraries. In order to, you know, keep the children safe. (”Won’t someone PLEASE think of the children?!”)

Money quote from the linked article:

‘This is the hottest issue of the day,’ Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott told reporters after testifying before a House subcommittee examining possible new federal restrictions to protect young Internet users from pedophiles.

Uh, okay.

SHOOTING WAR — Chapter 8 is Up

Wednesday, July 12th, 2006

MOGADISHU, 2011—Welcome to the clusterfuck. Jimmy Burns is confused, Sameera is concerned, Lt. Col. John “Crash” Crowley is out of control—and nothing is as it appears in “Unsheathed,” Chapter 8 of Shooting War.

Man Trades Paper Clip for House, Gets Spot on Good Morning America, etc.

Tuesday, July 11th, 2006

A blogger obsession success story that you’ll be seeing items about all over the Web (file under: “those wacky bloggers”) has come to a happy ending. Kyle MacDonald’s mission was to start with a red paper clip and keep trading until he landed himself a house. Mission accomplished —especially if you like Kipling, Saskatchewan. Read about a story that nearly makes me yearn for my days at Yahoo Internet Life here.

SMITH Magazine

SMITH Magazine is a home for storytelling.
We believe everyone has a story, and everyone
should have a place to tell it.
We're the creators and home of the
Six-Word Memoir® project.