Archive for August 2006
or so it seems. Good and bad news tonight on this theme.
1) So I got a Region 2 copy of La Chinoise. But apparently my Mac’s dvd player isn’t going to cooperate with any of the means available for playback. So I might have to break down and buy myself a region free dvd player.
Seems to me that this whole region-ing thing must be an infringement of international trade law, but that’s just a guess on my part. How annoying.
2) Holy crap. Have you noticed that Google Books now offers .pdf files of a lot of their public domain materials?
Go take a look…
3) Relatedly: I feel terrible that I’ve ordered the ($60+) Norton Anthology for my students in one class. From here on out, when I teach a survey that has enough available in the public domain, I’m going to make up my own .pdf / multilith for the students to use, rather than forcing this monster upon them. Besides saving them money – and this is a real issue for many of my students – compiling a personal anthology wil save me the huge time expense of tranfering my notes from one edition to another. (And the new editions come ever faster, don’t they?)
With the economy beginning to slow, the current expansion has a chance to become the first sustained period of economic growth since World War II that fails to offer a prolonged increase in real wages for most workers.
That situation is adding to fears among Republicans that the economy will hurt vulnerable incumbents in this year’s midterm elections even though overall growth has been healthy for much of the last five years.
The median hourly wage for American workers has declined 2 percent since 2003, after factoring in inflation. The drop has been especially notable, economists say, because productivity — the amount that an average worker produces in an hour and the basic wellspring of a nation’s living standards — has risen steadily over the same period.
As a result, wages and salaries now make up the lowest share of the nation’s gross domestic product since the government began recording the data in 1947, while corporate profits have climbed to their highest share since the 1960’s. UBS, the investment bank, recently described the current period as “the golden era of profitability.”
When you’ve got it, flaunt it!
No, seriously, how grating, how absolutely symptomatic, of the slip of paranoid resistance under the fold of herbal essence “cool” in this video, friggin urban outfitters truckstop simulation, as it flashes from Dick himself, grubby and incessantly ticing, to these, what are they? Do we even need the missing labels?
Seriously, seriously. It’s a brilliant video. The human correlatives of Dick’s maddening prophesies respond to prophet himself with all of the inanity that he might have expected, feared…
UPDATE: Sorry. Was I unclear? My wife didn’t get wtf I was talking about either. I think it was my fault. But finally, after expanding a bit on my QEDing this video, she pointed me toward this, which is everywhere. Yes, that’s sort of what I meant. Am I being mean, a bit bitchy? Oh yes. But, really, it’s not just that. Rather, come on now, like the Foer that she is already incessantly compared to, the issue is what they’re picking for the big bucks, the mega-sophisticated marketting campaigns, our corporate guardians of culture. Pretty face, young, sure. But what troubles is the lack of interventional import, timeliness, human response. (It’s not in them. Look what happens when they try.) Bleach washing the f’d up stuff of the past, post relevance, to ensure a completely winterfresh and saltine reading xperience. Dick. Nabokov. Alan Moore. You name it. I mean, these are the big vehicles. I don’t know why I expect anything better, but… God, the cleanliness of these people. We are sure, at least, that they won’t make trouble. Spawn of the meritocracy (uh oh – getting close to home now), they multitask, they moon, they Brittany-up before the Obvious Issue. No. I just don’t know why I expect any better,here in ‘merica.
(META-UPDATE: Sorry, been struggling thru Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory at whole pages / hour. I think it’s starting to rub off on me, a bit.)
Geoff Dyer in Ways of Telling: The Work of John Berger:
The series Ways of Seeing was first broadcast in the Spring of 1972 on BBC2 late in the evening. The audience was small but since the ‘switch-off rate’ was extraordinarily low (i.e. once people began watching they continued till the end), the makers of the series were able to persuade the BBC to broadcast it again at prime time. The influence of the series and the book that Berger wrote after this hesitant start was enormous. Throughout the 1970s it was the key text in art colleges in Britain and in the USA; for many students and teachers alike it represented a turning point in their thinking about art. It opened up for general attention areas of cultural study that are now commonplace – decoding advertisements, for example – but which in 1972 were either virtually unknown or existed only in embryonic stage within the academy. (Many of the ideas of the series had already appeared in articles and essays by Berger: it is the transition to television and best-selling paperback that is important.) Taken together as Peter Fuller has said, the series and the book have had ‘a greater influence than any other art critical project of the last decade’, and probably, I would add of the post-war period.
The world, of course, has changed. And (in terms of my own personal interest in the idea) literature is much less photogenic than art. What are you could to fill the screen with, a Powerpoint presentation of lines of poetry? But still, Berger and his Ways of Seeing represent an instance of popularization without selling out, writing for the market. Can’t help but wonder if a similar sort of endeavor might be possible today, what it would take, what it would cost etc…