Two Quick News Thoughts

Here’s how I use Google News Alerts: I add one that I think will be useful for a current project or interest, getting an email digest once a day with all the news with that search term. I skim them all for a while. Then I stop skimming them, and I let them junk up my inbox for about 9 months before I take the seven seconds it takes to turn them off. Current news alerts: intellectual property; information literacy; remix.

Here’s two things that came up in the remix one today:

1. I read a brief review of the music site We are Hunted on The Dispatch Online (article). They (rightly) praise the site’s strong but simple design (though I can’t get Lady GaGa to stream), but I admit I thought the article was a press release sent out by We are Hunted–it’s remarkably praiseworthy and uses phrases that scream “This came from the site being reviewed” like “We are hunted is simply a great way to explore what has a hold on listeners’ ears on the web.” (Is that a mean thing for me to write? I’m not trying to be mean. But really?)

I Googled a few lines of the article, expecting to find the same language elsewhere online (inspired by the press release assignments suggested here)–but nothing. Huh! My bad.

2. I also came across this piece, “Am I a Gadget?” on PopMatters’ blog, Marginal Unity: Dealing with Contemporary Consumerism, Capitalism, and the Life it Permits. (That’s certainly the most provocative-yet-unclear blog subtitle I’ve ever seen. What side are they on, we wonder?) In the article, Rob Horning says he doesn’t really like Jaron Lanier’s You are Not a Gadget for the same reasons I’m inclined not to like it (even though I haven’t read it): “basically because I don’t buy into the argument that creators are motivated solely by property rights, nor do I see remix culture as derivative garbage.” Right on.

But it really struck me because Horning appreciatively links to the same video I praised and embedded in my last post by a guy I just called “normative,” since that’s the only name I found on his YouTube channel, but who apparently has a name and website: Julian Sanchez. I was surprised, though: I thought his shirt-and-tie set-up was inherently ironic in some way, like a picture of a Mario pillow strategically positioned next to a glass of wine (or Lady GaGa singing about fame in such an over-the-top way that it becomes multi-layered), but after looking at his actual site, I think I was wrong. He seems quite serious about his seriousness. Huh!

Now I’m off to wonder why I’m suddenly writing sarcastically critical stuff, when I usually try so hard to not be that guy. I’ll be better next time. (Probably because I found another site where I could stream some Lady GaGa.)



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2 responses to “Two Quick News Thoughts

  1. Yeah some confusion here. The review was all original. We do not issue press releases. Sorry about the Lady GaGa. We will try and fix it.

  2. kstedman

    No problem on the GaGa–it might have just been a browser issue…?

    But just so you know, I did show the site to my class of Professional Writing students tonight as an example of a site that had been praised for its design; we contrasted it with some of the “award” winners at Web Pages that Suck.

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