Archive for November, 2006

What stories will they share?

Friday, November 10th, 2006

Ever wonder what stories the children of Iraq will hear about their country, about their past and about what lead to their current state (whatever that may be) when the US finally pulls out in 2072?

I actually do and often. In our nation’s quest to bring democracy to the Middle East/make America safer, we have, as it stands today, given those kids a very grim future.

And while I still believe this to be true, and the Iraqi bloggers only reaffirm what I fear is going to be a nation defined by unemployment, sectarian violence, government corruption and lots of lame “milestones”—at least for the time being, I did find an article in The Christian Science Monitor (great resource—I love it in case you haven’t noticed), which left me wondering, can the birth of baby reshape a family’s story—today and tomorrow?

Check out the story here.

On the Use (And Misuse) Of YouTube

Friday, November 10th, 2006

Time for our Friday videos. This week, a lesson on the do’s and don’ts of YouTube. We’ll start with the good news, because we’re an optimistic bunch:

DO - Use YouTube to publish the obvious truths that the established media is afraid of, and will censor.

DON’T - For God’s sake, please, don’t, expose your obviously doomed and totally weird marriage to the world so often that Radar is able to put together a compilation of your marriage’s greatest video hits, complete with photo montage set to the music of the Gin Blossoms and parody rap. Just don’t. (But if you do, for some reason, fail to heed our advice, DO feel free to watch the hilarious results.)

To Do: Go See China Blue

Thursday, November 9th, 2006

china_blue.jpgCheck out Micha X. Peled’s award-winning doc China Blue, screening tonight at 9:30pm as a part of the Margaret Mead film festival at the Museum of Natural History. Peled managed to get inside a world that’s rarely, if ever, been infiltrated: China’s sweat shops. The film, which I saw last year, tells the story of our t-shirts and jeans through the prism of the young factory girls making them, the pressures they face from their families to keep sewing, and why it’s all even more complicated and devastating then we know.

Peled’s a master of telling political stories through the eyes of individuals. His first film, Will My Mother Go Back to Berlin?, examined his mother’s relationship with the land she fled, and the filmmaker’s complex connection both with his mother and his own Jewish identity. And his Inside God’s Bunker tells the story the West Bank through the eyes of extremist Jewish settlers in the months leading up to the 1994 massacre in Hebron.

But right here, right now, if you want a rare view into the globalization story we read about a lot but never see from the truly personal POV, get your ass to China Blue.

Election Recap — The Campaignster Wins, Vets Lose

Wednesday, November 8th, 2006

Congrats to Tate Hausman who writes SMITH’s The Campaignster column. Hausman’s dispatches about the life as the technology strategist for a political campaign have graced this site for the last few months, which is fairly amazing given the 24-7 job he’s been doing for his candidate. Guess it paid off: that candidate, John Hall (not, that John Hall but this John Hall and this one) beat the Republican incumbent Sue Kelly in New York’s 19th District. Here’s a great interview Hall did with Colbert before the election.

The Vets interviewed in The Vet Factor didn’t fare as well. Andrew Duck got mauled in Maryland, while David Harris and Van Taylor both got trounced in Texas. Is this the start of a SMITH curse?

Learning To Love You More (Despite Your Snoring)

Wednesday, November 8th, 2006

Over at Learning to Love You More, a project-based, personal art-and-media omnibus from the fertile brains of Miranda July, Harrell Fletcher, and Yuri Ono, comes news that the site is planning a book, presumably featuring the best of the reader-generated responses to projects. The book is expected in fall ‘07.

Of more immediate interest to me — having just moved into a new apartment where the upstairs neighbor is a little, ah, fond of his TV — is the new Assignment #58: Record the Sound That Is Keeping You Awake.

May I make a suggestion to the LTLYM editors for an extension of the “Sound That Is Keeping You Awake” project? I’d love to know what the sound is that’s grating on your nerves at work.

Bona Fide! Shooting War and the Golden Age of Storytelling

Monday, November 6th, 2006

SWep1_1_1cLETT.jpgToday we swapped out the Shooting War graphic in our “special projects” square above this column, but we know that people are still discovering our webcomic. Writing in Advertising Age Teressa Iezzi declares, “The burgeoning online comics world produced a bona fide sensation recently with “Shooting War.” Her piece examines how all the rules have changed for storytelling formats, fueled by technology, with webcomics one of most interesting examples. “While the online-content battle has largely pivoted on developments on the video front,” writes Iezzi, “the web has also transformed the rules of engagement and currency for other storytelling formats. Consider the comic.” Shooting War artist Dan Goldman lays it all on the table, reminding us why working with the likes of him and Anthony Lappé we’re trying to make better media, not simply more media:

“In my eyes, the battle is more signal vs. noise,” Goldman says. “The world seems to run on cotton candy and layers of endless illusion/delusion. So creating palpable works that mean something truly serves the common good of upping the desire and ultimately the demand for real culture. After all, isn’t creativity an evolutionary mechanism?”

Last Sex Romp

Sunday, November 5th, 2006

This week’s question:

Kim Jong Il has nukes now. Last night on Earth — don’t lie, it’s not what you’re going to do, but whom. So tell us. Who, and more importantly, why? And where? No current partners or US Weekly cover girls. This is the end of the world, people — go crazy.

Up All Night: The Campaignster’s Final, Mad Sprint to Election Day

Sunday, November 5th, 2006

184371805_c9792edb5d.jpgTate Hausman, who writes SMITH’s The Campaignster Diary, files a report on the mad dash to election day. He writes:

The emotional appeal of war becomes crystal clear. The enemy is in sight. The plan is laid. Will it go off as smoothly as Primary Day? I’m sure it won’t. This time we have real opposition. Karl Rove opposition.

If you haven’t read Hausman’s dynamite dispatches detailing how he merges new technology with old school tactics to win a modern-day political campaign, start right now. Just a few years ago his job didn’t exist; on Wednesday morning, his work is done.

The Open-Source Election

Sunday, November 5th, 2006

The Huffington Post reports on an open-source election day photo project from the citizen journalism site . The assignment? Take your camera to the polls and document the voting process, one real-time image at a time and “add accuracy, nuance, poetry, meaning” to the voting process. It sounds like a lower-barrier-to-entry companion to the genius Video the Vote project, which I blogged about here.
SMITH’s own Je and V are heading to Philly with big smiles and a small camera, how about you?

SMITH’s Friday Video — Now 10% More Meta

Friday, November 3rd, 2006

This week’s video is funny AND newsy, so you have no excuse not to watch it. (And if you don’t watch it, we’ll shoot a dog. I’m not saying which dog it’ll be. But it’ll be cute.)

And did we mention that it’s, like, totally meta? See, Viacom announced plans to pull videos of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report off of YouTube. Of course, Stephen Colbert had to explain this to his enraged audience, which relies on these constantly available reruns to watch the show, since they were too high the first time around. So where does a clip of Colbert end up?

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.