Sunday, December 02, 2007

Current Internet Reading, Without Comment

"Gawker and the Rage of the Creative Underclass," Vanessa Grigoriadis, New York Magazine.

Consider the Gawker mind-fuck at a time of rapid deterioration of our industry: Young print journalists are depressed over the state of the industry and their inability to locate challenging work or a job with health insurance. Although the situation may not be as dire as they might imagine—a healthy magazine is constantly on the hunt for young writers, because it wants the fresh take on the world found only in the young, and because young writers tend to be cheap—they need a release, the daily dose of Schadenfreude offered by Gawker’s gallows humor, its ritualistic flogging of working journalists and relentless cataloguing of the industry’s fall (e.g., items like “New Republic Page Count Watch”). Though reading Gawker subtly reinforces their misery, they generate an emotional bond and soon begin to tip it with their own inside information (and misinformation, as reserved for their enemies). The system keeps getting stronger, a KGB of media gossip, a complex network of journalist spies and enforcers communicating via e-mail and IM, until Gawker knocks print out of the box. With Gawker, there is now little need for the usual gossip players like the New York Observer, vastly diminished in its news-breaking capacity and influence, or even the New York Post’s “Page Six,” emasculated by the Murdoch hierarchy after the Jared Paul Stern scandal. The panopticon is complete. “Peering into my in-box in the morning is like looking at the id of every journalist in the city,” says Gawker writer Emily Gould.
"What the Gospel of Judas really says," April D. DeConick, International Herald-Tribune.
While National Geographic's translation supported the provocative interpretation of Judas as a hero, a more careful reading makes clear that Judas is not only no hero, he is a demon... Admittedly, the society had a tough task: restoring an old gospel that was lying in a box of its own crumbs. It had been looted from an Egyptian tomb in the 1970s and languished on the underground antiquities market for decades, even spending time in someone's freezer. So it is truly incredible that the society could resurrect any part of it, let alone piece together about 85 percent of it. That said, I think the big problem is that National Geographic wanted an exclusive. So it required its scholars to sign nondisclosure statements, to not discuss the text with other experts before publication. The best scholarship is done when life-sized photos of each page of a new manuscript are published before a translation, allowing experts worldwide to share information as they independently work through the text.
"The limits of 21st-century revolutions," Roger Cohen, New York Times/IHT.
3) Oil centralizes power. Venezuelan oil fetches a lower price than most because it's harder to refine, but Chávez is still pocketing between $4 billion and $6.7 billion a month, depending on whom you believe. Give anyone in an opaque, rather than open, society more than $100 million a day and he might start raving about ruling until 2050, as Chávez has. "The tendency of the petro-state is to recentralize, petrify and personalize power," said Margarita López Maya, a political scientist who long supported Chávez but is now disillusioned. From Moscow to Luanda to Caracas, this has proved the case.
"Lots of Little Screens: TV Is Changing Shape," Denise Caruso, New York Times.
“What absolutely convinced me to start a company in this area was when I realized just how large the disruption was,” said Kip McClanahan, the co-founder and chief executive of ON Networks, an online studio in Austin, Tex. “It touches everything — how video content is created and monetized, how it’s distributed and consumed. And it’s a half-trillion-dollar market, if you include the advertising that supports it and the revenue associated with subscriptions, tickets and so on.”

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