Jake Meador considers the politics found in J.R.R. Tolkien’s novels, and how well they map to our 21st century society: “I would conclude that Tolkien’s politics are basically the politics one expects of a staunch Catholic who affirms Rome’s teachings on subsidiarity.”
As a child of the Cold War, learning that America’s nuclear arsenal still runs off floppy disks was both nostalgic and deeply disturbing. But hey, at least they’re impervious to cyber-attacks. That’s something, right? Via
Last month, I wrote about Game of Thrones in light of a recent episode that contained a disturbing rape scene — and so did a bajillion other bloggers. One of those bloggers was Pajiba’s Dustin Rowles. But when Salon reposted his piece, they turned it into something else entirely: “Salon took a minor throwaway point that I was making about how we would HAVE to ignore the rape IN ORDER to accept his redemption, and turned it into a headline that suggested it was wrong for the Game of Thrones viewers to become outraged by the scene.” Related: “Salon Finally Gets a Taste of Its Own Outrage.”
Jennifer Ouellette profiles Sergei Gepshtein, a neuroscientist who is working on a new way to create movies, one that eschews normal editing techniques (like the cut) for an approach that takes advantage of how our brains process visual information. Which could lead to far more immersive cinematic experiences. Via
Waterboarding is back in the spotlight following some recent awful comments from Sarah Palin. Rod Dreher takes Palin to task for her “sacrilegious” talk: “Not only is this woman, putatively a Christian, praising torture, but she is comparing it to a holy sacrament of the Christian faith. It’s disgusting — but even more disgusting, those NRA members, many of whom are no doubt Christians, cheered wildly for her.”
And speaking of waterboarding, and torture in general, Mark Shea has written an excellent piece condemning theological defenses of torture: “…Catholic moral theology *never* proceeds from the notion that we should seek to see how close we can get to mortal sin without quite committing it. Indeed, in other arenas, to even ask that question is to already reveal a profoundly wrong-headed approach to moral reasoning.” That seems like good advice for anyone to follow, even if you’re not Catholic.
Becoming a parent changes a lot of things, including how you understand certain songs: “Even now, as the dad of a five-year-old, I hate most songs on the subject. What has changed in my listening is that I recognize parenting insights in tracks that aren't explicitly about the subject.” Some of the songs mentioned include Talking Heads’ “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody),” Björk’s “It’s Not Up to You,” Jay-Z’s “New Day,” and Radiohead’s “Sail to the Moon.”
Ted Gioia laments that music criticism has turned into lifestyle reporting and that’s bad for musicians, labels, listeners, and critics: “…criticism is a tiny part of the ecology of the music business, but an essential part. Without smart, independent critics who know their stuff, everything collapses into hype, public relations, and the almighty dollar. We have already seen where that leads us — take a look at the trendline of recording sales, if you have any doubts.”
Greg Storey argues that, even with advances in CSS, JS, etc., websites look too much alike: “While our new post-Internet Explorer 6 world enables an amazing array of browser effects, the one tool we all need is constraint. Though the people we serve — managers, stakeholders, and clients — come to us with parallax envy, we must be mindful of who we are all really working for: their customers, the users.”
Emily Letts filmed her abortion and wrote about the experience: “I was focused on staying positive and feeling the love from everyone in the room. I am so lucky that I knew everyone involved, and I was so supported. I remember breathing and humming through it like I was giving birth. I know that sounds weird, but to me, this was as birth-like as it could be. It will always be a special memory for me. I still have my sonogram, and if my apartment were to catch fire, it would be the first thing I'd grab.” I had to double-check that this wasn’t reposted from The Onion.