[web] Snopes.com and the Search for Facts in a Post-Fact World… the fascinating story behind Snopes.com … ‘The problem is that David’s telling of the Snopes story does seem to slight [his ex-wife]. However meticulous he might be in fact-checking the errors of others, there is always this slippage in his account of his own success, this insistence that he did it by himself. It’s not a slippage that has any bearing on his dispute with Proper Media or the contractual matters at issue there. He went through a bad divorce and emerged from it, as it seems to me people often do, with a blind spot. It’s one we all have to one degree or another, to fail to see the obvious when it comes to ourselves. It just stands out with David because he has spent his career being so scrupulous about facts.’
[documentaries] Unsolved Mysteries … another examination of the limits of what documentaries can tell us … ‘Almost every single moment contained in the 18-hour The Vietnam War could be treated in the “What really happened? And can we ever know?” style of contemporary, searching documentaries. Co-director Novick told Vanity Fair of the war, “There’s no agreement among scholars, or Americans or Vietnamese, about what happened: the facts, let alone whose fault, let alone what we’re supposed to make of it.” To have adjudicated all these questions on camera would have led to a documentary 1,000 hours long, one that told us so much more about the nitty-gritty subjectivity of the Vietnam War it might as well have told us nothing.’
There is a whole class of slaves. It is illegal for them to escape slavery. The cops are supposed to murder the slaves if they escape, because there is a risk that they will start to think they’re people. But the cops know that the slaves are not people, so it’s okay to murder them. The greatest danger, the thing the cops are supposed to prevent, is that the slaves will try to assimilate into the society that relies on their labor.
Assimilation is designed to be impossible. There are tests. Impossible tests with impossible questions and impossible answers. The tests measure empathy. It is not about having enough empathy, but about having empathy for the correct things…
“He’s a Replicant, basically,” says Scott about Ash. Yes, we get it, Ridley. Decker is a Replicant. Ash is a Replicant. We’re all Replicants. You happy? He does point out Ash’s quick, little jog in place might be a clue to him being a robot, that maybe all robots get stiff and need to keep their joints active. Someone go see if Harrison Ford ever does that in Blade Runner.
[docu] Louis Theroux Explains the Staged Realities of ‘My Scientology Movie’ … interesting Q&A interview … ‘You get that feeling—which is some of my favorite material in documentaries in general—that the wheels have come off. Someone says, “Fuck you,” the set wobbles, and the mic drops down. You hear them on the mic: “I’m fucking done with this shit. Go join the cult of Louis Theroux if you want to.” There’s an electricity to that kind of material, where it’s slightly going awry. When [Rathbun] is like, “Your questions are fucking insipid and repetitive. Ask me a real question,” he’s basically saying, “You’re a bullshit journalist, and I’m sick of you.” That crackles with the quality of real life.’
[tv] Your New TV Ruins Movies … ‘Filmmakers were not content to make movies with video cameras until those cameras could shoot 24p, because video, with its many-frames-per-second, looks like reality, like the evening news, like a live broadcast or a daytime soap opera; whereas 24p film, by showing us less, looks somehow larger than life, like a dream, like a story being told rather than an event being documented. This seemingly technical issue turns out to have an enormous emotional effect on the viewer. These days, any TV you are likely to buy, will, by default, have technology enabled that completely changes the emotional quality of the movies you watch. This is a cinematic disaster.’ [via Feeling Listless]
[wikipedia] 19 Wikipedia Pages That’ll Send You Into A Week-Long Wikihole … a great time wasting list … List of common misconceptions: ‘This list is basically what it says on the tin: a bunch of facts that you think you know but aren’t really facts at all. For example, I was upset to learn that Thomas Crapper (the guy in the above photo) didn’t actually invent the flushing toilet. He just made them more popular. Also, less surprisingly, Einstein didn’t really fail maths, and when he heard this claim he said “before I was 15 I had mastered differential and integral calculus.” No need to brag, Albert.’
[web] Ev Williams Wants To Save Media — Again. But Some Writers And Publishers Are Skeptical. … engrossing long read on Ev Williams latest attempts to change online journalism … ‘At the time of the Napa retreat, the company practiced “holocracy,” a management philosophy that in theory avoids a hierarchical management structure by empowering employees to make business decisions. But it didn’t always work that way at Medium. Former employees said they often had to work backward, unpacking Williams’ vague and shifting mission statements to figure out what, exactly, he wanted them to do. After the company retreat, several sources said, Medium’s 25 or so editorial employees entered into a months-long period of awkwardness: They weren’t laid off outright, but they got signals that the goals of the company were no longer aligned with their presence. “We had this series of work groups where you tried to figure out what your job and the future of publishing was,” one source said. Former employees suspected that Medium was trying to thin out its editorial staff by attrition.’
[comics] The Alan Moore 2016 Christmas Interviews – Part IV… includes Alan’s walking tour of the Boroughs in Northampton and some thoughts on translating his work into other languages … ‘Turn around, and head back down George’s Row and the south flank of All Saints until you have reached the front of the church, the pillared portico where Audrey Vernon’s parents sat all night after her recital of ‘Whispering Grass’. Across the road you will see the mouth of Gold Street, with the jewellers to the left where Ann Timson saw off three sledge-hammer wielding robbers with her handbag a few years ago. I’m sure this incident is available on Youtube, and is always good for an admiring laugh.’
[true-crime] ‘We found who killed your sister.’ 48 years later, a cold case is solved … a true crime story from Los Angeles … ‘The investigators frequently flipped through those files, looking for the clues that could lead them to Halison’s killer. Last summer, they asked Klann to run the DNA again, hoping improved technology would finally help them identify enough markers to upload the sample in the state’s system. When Klann got the results, he said, he immediately sent Bengtson a text message. “Are you sitting down?” he wrote…’
[tv] It was acceptable in the 80s: why Magnum PI should be spared reboot hell … ‘Magnum PI, for crying out loud. Is nothing sacred? Sure, on the surface, the original Magnum PI was just one of a glut of post-Vietnam shows about vigilante justice with a charismatic male lead and storylines that wrapped up neatly at the top of the hour. But it was special. Everyone knows it was special. By some absurd alchemy Magnum PI ended up perfectly written, perfectly cast and perfectly soundtracked, managing to be both of its time and utterly timeless. You don’t mess with Magnum PI.’
[life] Man Gets Life In Order For 36 Minutes … ‘During this period, he did not once concern himself with his finances, his in-laws, or his dental coverage. And as his mind began to wander freely, he neither relived painful humiliations from his past, nor felt any anxiety about his personal shortcomings.’
[books] Philip Pullman’s swearwords are a useful lesson for children … Why swearing isn’t bad for children … ‘Children also learn, from a surprisingly early age, that swearing isn’t all negative. Research shows that swearing is linked with all kinds of emotional states, including joy, surprise and fear. By learning to swear, children learn to understand other people’s feelings in a more nuanced way. “Children learn that curse words intensify emotions in a manner that non-curse words cannot achieve,” says Professor Jay. But the biggest advantage, from my perspective as a parent, comes from studies dating back as far as the 1930s, which show that swearing quickly replaces biting, hitting, and screaming as children develop. To which I must say, thank fuck for that.’