The purpose of art is to delight us; certain men and women (no smarter than you or I) whose art can delight us have been given dispensation from going out and fetching water and carrying wood. It's no more elaborate than that. — David Mamet

Falsehoods programmers believe: a list of lists about false assumptions on names, addresses, geography, time, and more. Great stuff. Via Michael Tsai, via Jeff Atwood.

When you see a list like:

  1. There are always 24 hours in a day.
  2. Months have either 30 or 31 days.
  3. Years have 365 days.
  4. February is always 28 days long.
  5. Any 24-hour period will always begin and end in the same day (or week, or month).

You veer between “oh, that would be stupid” and “oh, that would never really come up.” You’d be amazed how often you really bump into these things. There’s a bug in the Tinderbox tests that panics the day before Daylight Savings Time. We used to have a February 29th bug – and my next-door neighbor has a Feb. 29 birthday, so you’d think I’d know about that. And – fast! if it’s now 12:59:00 PM on December 24, what’s the date exactly sixty seconds from now?

Megan Heyward

A lyrical erotic story for the iPad by the Australian hypertext writer-filmmaker who wrote the haunting dreamscape Of Day, Of Night. This isn't a hypertext, precisely, but a series of vignettes, artfully typeset against (mildly) interactive illustration.

It’s published for the iPad. It costs $4. You should get a copy.

Not every image works here, and not every gesture does everything we might wish. That’s OK. Not every little work needs to be a perfect gem or a revelation. A youngish women rediscovers desire; it's been said before, but it’s not been said this way. And so now our language is a little bigger and a little better.

Em Short has, as usual, a well-wrought review.

by Naomi Novik

Trafalgar meets the Battle of Britain as a Napoleonic-era British frigate captures a French ship bearing a valuable dragon egg. Britain’s Aerial Corps has been sadly depleted and, if air superiority is lost over the channel, Napoleon will be able to drive the Navy from the sea and ferry his invasion to Dover. It’s Jack Aubrey in Pern, and it’s a ton of fun.

Gamergate’s Wikipedia tactics have soured and hardened as Gamergate slowly accepts that, to take over the Gamergate page, they’re going to need to take over Wikipedia. That’s a tall order, but it might be realistic, and given a few years of hard work, observers think it they might pull it off. But hope springs eternal and there’s a bitter rump that still hopes they can succeed right away if they can simply get rid of one or two more editors whom they think are standing athwart their road.

It seems that I’m one of those editors.


The favored tactic has been to threaten and harass the target off-wiki, trying to find a sensitive area, while hounding and baiting them on-wiki. The outside threats are often sufficient to drive volunteers away. If that doesn't work, some sign of impatience or bad temper can be trumpeted as a terrible violation of Civility, or some grumpy insistence on an issue can be proclaimed to be Battleground Behavior.

If nothing else works, Gamergate can point to the editor's persistence in the face of all this hounding and argue that they must have ulterior motives -- that no one who merely wanted to build an encyclopedia would put up with this. Yes, I know what you're thinking: who would fall for that? It actually works, sometimes.

Arbcom is determined to ignore off-wiki harassment – especially sexual harassment – unless the outside harasser can be tied to a specific, anonymous Wikipedia account beyond a shadow of a doubt. This standard can, in the nature of things, almost never be met because it typically requires an anonymous Wikipedian to confess a crime for which they could be prosecuted. The Wikimedia Foundation appears disinterested unless the Foundation is vulnerable in court or actively derided in the press.

The result is that Wikipedia and Gamergate have apparently worked together to create a system in which argument is simultaneously advanced in two places: anonymously but “civilly” on-wiki, and off-wiki, also anonymously, with the greatest venom and bile that can be achieved.

We are rapidly approaching the point where schools are not only going to need to dissuade students from relying on Wikipedia, they're going to have to warn students not to volunteer for Wikipedia as a matter of safety, just as schools used to warn kids to stay away from chat rooms and not to accept rides from strangers. I would also warn teachers, including untenured college professors, to avoid editing Wikipedia using either their own names or using a pseudonym; opponents can and will track you down, and some Wikipedia opponents will stop at no lie or invention to gain a small rhetorical advantage or simply to punish an opponent.

Wikipedia today is a dangerous and unhealthy place. It’s especially unhealthy for women, children, and anyone else who feels vulnerable, but it’s dangerous to all.


The interesting question here is how, if Wikipedia wished to fix this, they might proceed? Getting rid of anonymous editing would solve the problem, but that’s politically infeasible. Many Wikipedians would like to ban talking about Wiki outside of Wikipedia, the first rule of Fight Club. But that’s not practical: Wikipedia is not a cloistered order.

I've been wondering if an organized effort to support people who are being harassed might help, a squad which would follow targets, reassure and support them on-wiki, and that would seek to dismay and disarm their opponents. This feels a little like those campus programs that offer late-night escorts to walk from the library back to the dorms, but it also has a certain Batman superhero feel: there’s a risk you’d wind up replacing the original conflict with a battle of superheroes. But maybe that’s better: the superheroes can take a punch, that’s why they’re getting the big bucks and the colorful capes.

It’s not a good answer, but it’s all I’ve got. I’d like to hear a better one.

Getting Started With Storyspace

When we started with Storyspace, personal computers were new and the idea of literary machines was controversial. Lots of people assumed that computers were for numbers, for accounting and business, and the idea of working toward something better than books seemed both crazy and strangely intriguing. Still, a lot of what we needed to do to get started was mechanical: this is a mouse, this is a file, this is a menu.

Today, the mechanical problems are much slighter, but the rhetorical problems are even greater. In the 1980s, postmodernism was fresh and (fairly) new and the horizons of critical theory glittered in the distance. Now, the path to that particular Emerald City is well-trodden, though lots of people no longer have much interest in going there. We’ve been reading and writing with links for twenty years: surely we know everything, right?

But we don’t: there’s a lot about plain old node-and-link hypertext, about writing with plain old static Web pages, that we don’t understand. There’s even more that we don’t understand about dynamic links, links that change as you read.

And what about the kids? There’s a new crop of freshmen coming in September, right? There always is. By definition, they don’t know How To Do It – and the best of them, of course, will shortly demonstrate that we don’t know, either.

I’m collecting exercises for teaching hypertext writing, in the hope of guiding Storyspace 3. If you’ve got a good assignment or lesson plan or a workshop segment that work, I’d love to hear about it. Email me.

by Cecilia Tan

The first in Tan’s series on Magic University – a hidden faculty at Harvard for the study of magic. Tan, a Readercon regular, writes erotica, and the central conceit of the series is David Mamet’s essay on his experience of college: “Sex Camp.” In Tan’s world, magicians generally have a very specific talent, a special proclivity that they discover in looking for their college major. Some are soothsayers, some healers, some conjurors. Kyle Wadsworth, though he doesn’t know it when he arrives for his Harvard interview, is very good at sex.

One thing that surprised me is the clean simplicity and charm of the sex scenes. Romance writers have developed a ghastly stylization of language to signal romantic intensity: one sure sign is the switch from talking about “his strength” to writing about “the strength of him.” Tan avoids this, and gets college twin-bed sex right while (for the most part) sparing my maiden blushes.

Storyspace 3

I’ve been burning the candle at both ends for the last few days, and we now have a rough working build of Storyspace 3 – a new version of Eastgate’s classic tool for writing hypertext narrative.

Storyspace 3 is entirely new, built on the same foundation as Tinderbox. Much remains to be done, but it’s reading afternoon and Lust and everything looks like it’s coming together.

There’s lots of good news. Typography is far better. The editor is much better. Old limitations -- no multiple selection, no resizable writing spaces – are gone for good. (Remember 32-character titles? Remember when Victory Garden took five minutes to load?)

I believe this is the fourth time I’ve written a Storyspace, and in recent days I’ve passed a number of old familiar landmarks, places where famous bugs used to hang out. The code is all new, but you can see in the new code the shadows of long-forgotten issues. Over here is Deena’s Default Bug, which changes the behavior when you press [Return] without selecting anything. That recalls another of Deena Larsen’s famous bugs, Deena’s Kelly Green Bug, where following a specific link in a specific document turned all the text a painfully bright green. That one arose because, back then, we had no memory protection at all: if you dereferenced a null pointer, you go whatever was located at 0x0000, and if you used that pointer as an object, you could accidentally reset the clock, change the operating system jump table, and turn everything green. Speaking of bugs, there was “Storyspace ate my links,” which took two years to track down, and the Exam Week Bug, a rare file corruption bug that cropped up annually and which almost exclusively afflicted people pulling all-nighters right before the end of the semester. That one involved editing while printing an unsaved document -- the sort of thing that people are most likely to do right before a deadline.

There will be more. I’ve got ideas for nice new things – greatly improved guard fields, and some nice new actions. There’s a ton of writing to do.

I really need to get some sleep sometime.

Jul 15 13 2015

California

by Edan Lepucki

A postmodern post-apocalypse, a world in which civilization has slowly puttered to a stop. Our hero and heroine have fled slowly-rotting Los Angeles for a verdant strip of green somewhere in the Central Valley, a place they call “the afterlife” where they eek out a life in nearly total isolation. Back home, the cities are slowly collapsing into stagnation and decay, while everyone with money has retreated to gated “communities” behind fortified walls defended by private armies and threatened by marauding land pirates.

Cal and Frida have a shed in the woods, a subsistence garden, a few supplies, and each other. They’re young and loving and resourceful. They trust each other. Naturally, they have small secrets: who doesn’t? From those tiny, trivial secrets, fissures spread. This is the way Lepucki’s world ends, crack by tiny crack.

This is the second apocalyptic dystopian California to have appeared this year, though The Last Days Of California never quite makes it to the California border (or the Rapture).

Tinderbox: Rules for Writers

Micah Joel writes about Tinderbox Principles For Writers.

  • Don’t throw anything away
  • Make it easy to store things
  • Let emergence happen
  • Don’t fear the docs
  • Be part of the community

Great stuff -- and stay tuned for more.

Jul 15 2 2015

In The World

A surprising number of people live as in a cloister.

At Wikipedia, I’ve been trying to get a peace agreement on Gamergate. The facts on the ground are now clear. It’s time to end the conflict which has raged over nine months, a dozen Wikipedia pages, more than a million words of debate, and dozens of blocks and bans and sanctions extending from Gamergate Controversy to “Campus Rape” and Lena Dunham’s sister.

  • Gamergate wanted to use Wikipedia to launder its reputation while using other parts of Wikipedia to smear its enemies.
  • Wikipedia has pretty much decided to say “no, you can’t do that.”

It took too long, it cost too much, the resolution was too uncertain, but here we are. Even if Wikipedia again lost its mind and gave Gamergate what it wants, the outcry of a watchful would soon restore reason. There’s no need for 50,000 words of wrangling and five banned zombies every month; it's just vexation and waste of effort.

The Gamergate attack on Wikipedia has failed. What could they do now? They could make their way in the world. If they did – if Gamergate actually accomplished stuff, if (for example) they published insightful studies of ethics in games – then newspapers would report it, scholars would write about it, and Wikipedia would eventually cover it. That’s their best move, the only productive move I can see that’s left on their board.

So, why does Gamergate stick to the current operation, which pairs sliming women in the software industry with a flood of complaints intended to wear down the referee Wikipedia admins?

The explanation, apparently, is that Gamergate fans don’t think it’s possible to actually participate in the world of ideas, the world outside fandom and Wikipedia. This also explains their peculiar outrage at me: when I took the case against Wikipedia to you and then to the world, I was using my super-powers to cheat. One editor actually wrote that I “accidentally set the Internet on fire.” In their view, I’m the comic-book character who somehow summons up lightning bolts in the middle of a basketball game to help my team win, and that’s just unfair.

We might dismiss all this with a nod to Gamergate HQ in Mom’s Basement, but it’s not just Gamergate. I keep bumping into grad students, for example, who regard living writers as if they were all inaccessible rock stars. Yes, there are some writers who won’t talk to you, but most will. The same is true for scholars: not only will most professors take your phone calls or give you interviews, asking them will make their day. “You can be the most famous Chemist in the world,” Frank Westheimer used to say, “and you’re still not going to be on Johnny Carson.”

Linda says this is a class issue, that the knowledge of these open doors is a secret of privilege. She is not wrong: class is part of the story.

My own initial theory was that it’s literally a matter of experience. When I was in grad school, Mom used to drive me nuts with suggestions that I stop sending stuff to tiny computer magazines and start aiming for places like The New Yorker. I thought then she was clueless, but before she was Mom she’d worked for McCalls and for Hearst, and 25 W 45th St was just another address. Lots of stuff seems impossible until you do it, and the typical Gamergater is probably a bit younger than I am.

Some of it’s a matter of education, of knowing (at least in theory) how things work. In grade school, one teacher – maybe Helen Doughty in 2nd grade – required everyone to send a fan letter to a contemporary writer. “Contemporary” was quite a word for second graders! Somewhere I’ve got a nice form letter, signed by Ted Geisel/Dr. Seuss. (The Cat In The Hat remains a really interesting book when you think about it.)

I was texting yesterday with one of my fellow software artisans about the software economy and all our woe. He pointed it that it’s not just software. His friend the famous novelists isn’t making big money. His friend the rock star isn’t making much money, either. One of my big surprises in The Way The World Works was seeing Amanda Palmer, not that long ago, Twittering for couches in cities where she was touring. The same thing happens fictionally in Wonderland, Stacey D’Erasmo’s nifty and thoughtful novel of a rock tour. Even for rock stars, I slept last night in a good hotel ain’t necessarily so. It’s not just us: it’s the world. Knowing that matters. (More on the software economy coming soon.)

It’s one thing to renounce the world and choose to live quietly by Walden. It’s another to renounce the world and then to stew endlessly in your powerlessness, and to avenge your renunciation with talk page diatribes and mean little exposés and incessant gossip in chat rooms and image boards about Gamergate’s arbitrary victims.

Karen Memory

Karen Memory
Elizabeth Bear

(order)

(July 30, 2015)

Elizabeth Bear sets out to write a steampunk western, and like her spunky protagonist she’s not going to get shortchanged. We’ve got transformers and airships and submersibles. We’ve got former slaves turned federal marshal, wild Cheyennes with impeccable courtesy, feminist sex workers, a madame who can cuss for England, and a human trafficker with a license for Mad Science. We’ve got some particularly well-observed and affectionate writing about saddle horses. A city and a country is literally raising itself up from the muck, and it’s not always a pretty process.


Mark Bernstein: Karen Memory
February 7, 2015
MarkBernstein.org
 

Karen Memory

Karen Memory
Elizabeth Bear

(order)

(February 7, 2015)


Mark Bernstein: The Fires of Vesuvius: Pompeii Lost and Found
January 31, 2010
MarkBernstein.org
 

The Fires of Vesuvius: Pompeii Lost and Found

A readable and entertaining overview of our current state of knowledge about Pompeii, one of the the Roman towns buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79A.D. Beard does a particularly fine job of explaining to non-specialists how our views have changed as we have learned more about Pompeii and as our interests and attitudes have changed over time. This is a fine history of History, then, but the focus remains on our surprisingly-detailed knowledge of this Roman town, and the even more surprising gaps in our knowledge.


Books Bought (Last 45 Days): Recent additions to my reading stack, including review copies, loans, gifts.

Upcoming Talks

All dates subject to change. Want to arrange a talk? Contact Eastgate . A list of some previous talks is here.

Lecture Notes

Lectures Notes

Card Shark and Thespis

This paper explores two exotic hypertext systems, tools suitable for hypertext narrative but dramatically unlike the tools currently in use. The customary reason for building...

See the lecture slides

 

Tinderbox says this weblog is about...

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Books

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Topical

Tinderbox | Travel Notes project | iPhone | Iraq | Ebert | Menand | Mamet | Food | Ten Tips | epigrams | Criticism | TechnoCrit | NeoVictorian Computing 

Hypertext Theory

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Interviews

Alex Strick van Linschoten and Matt Trevithick, Sources and Methods (podcast), October 2014

James Fallows, “How You’ll Get Organized”, The Atlantic (July/August 2014)

Judy Malloy, "The History of Hypertext Literature Authoring and Beyond"

Claus Atzenbeck, "Hypertext Research", ACM SIGWeb Newsletter (Summer, 2008) (pdf)

Lawrie Hunter, "No Reason not to link", Information Design Journal + Document Design 13:3, pp. 229-237 (2005)

Jakob Klein, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (24 July 2005)

Linton Weeks, Washington Post (on eBooks; paywall)

D. C. Dennison, Boston Globe (on Eastgate)

Jim Whitehead, The Cyberspace Report 

F. L. Carr, English Matters

Joe Lambert, Digital Diner

Jennifer Ley, Riding The Meridian

Susana Pajares Tosca, Hipertulia

Roberto Simanowski, Dichtung-Digital

Museums

(hide museums) One precept of the Tinderbox Way is to write it down. So, here's a rough list of the museums I've visited recently.

2012

  1. CaixaForum Madrid (William Blake)
  2. El Museo de arte Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid
  3. Museo Sorolla, Madrid
  4. Indian Museum, Kolkata
  5. Marble Palace, Kolkata
  6. Tagore House, Kolkata
  7. Peabody Essex Museum, Salem
  8. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  9. Art Institute of Chicago
  10. Hamburger Kunsthalle

2011

  1. Peabody Essex Museum, Salem
  2. Hull House, Chicago
  3. Red Dot Design Center, Essen
  4. Ruhr Museum Complex Zollverein, Essen
  5. Chocolate Museum, Köln
  6. Römisch-Germanische Museum, Köln
  7. Ludwig Museum, Köln
  8. K20 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf
  9. DAF Museum, Eindhoven
  10. Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven
  11. Art Institute of Chicago
  12. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  13. Smart Gallery, University of Chicago

2010

  1. Tenement Museum, New York
  2. Art Institute of Chicago
  3. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  4. Museo, Teotihuacan
  5. Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
  6. Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto
  7. Courtauld Gallery, London
  8. British Museum, London

2009

  1. Chicago Historical Museum
  2. Courtauld Institute Gallery, London
  3. National Gallery, London
  4. Tate Britain, London
  5. Sir John Soane’s Museum, London
  6. Dr. Johnson House, London
  7. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  8. Seattle Science Center
  9. Art Institute of Chicago
  10. The Field Museum, Chicago

2008

  1. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  2. Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
  3. Crawford Gallery, Cork, Ireland
  4. Clark Institute, Williamstown
  5. Art Institute of Chicago
  6. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

2007

  1. Art Institute of Chicago
  2. Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago
  3. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  4. Opera House, Manaus, Brazil
  5. Emilio Goeldi Museum and Zoological Gardens, Belém, Brazil
  6. Casa das Onze Janelas, Belém, Brazil
  7. Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
  8. Clark Institute, Williamstown
  9. Mass. MOCA, North Adams
  10. Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge
  11. Urbis, Manchester, England
  12. John Ryland's Library, Manchester, England
  13. Manchester Gallery, Manchester, England
  14. Lowry Museum, Manchester, England
  15. Whitworth Gallery, Manchester, England
  16. Museum of Asian Art, San Francisco
  17. DeYoung Museum, San Francisco

2006

  1. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  2. The Getty Center, Los Angeles
  3. The Huntington Library, Pasadena
  4. Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena
  5. City Gallery, Wellington NZ
  6. Te Papa Tangarewa, Wellington NZ
  7. Christchurch Art Gallery, Chistchurch NZ
  8. Art Institute, Chicago
  9. Peabody Essex Museum, Salem
  10. House of Seven Gables, Salem
  11. Ogunquit Museum of Art, Ogunquit Maine
  12. Ny Carlsberg Glypotek, Copenhagen
  13. Thorvaldsen Museum, Copenhagen
  14. Museum of Our National Heritage, Lexington
  15. The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
  16. Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney

2005

  1. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston
  2. Peabody-Essex Museum, Salem
  3. Art Institute of Chicago
  4. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  5. DeCordova Museum, Boston
  6. Museum of Our National Heritage, Concord
  7. Ogunquit Museum of Art, Ogunquit Maine
  8. Alte Pinakothek, Munich
  9. Neue Pinakothek, Munich
  10. Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
  11. Museum der Moderne, Salzburg
  12. The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
  13. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
  14. NGV Austalia, Melbourne
  15. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
  16. Dahesh Museum of Art, New York
  17. Musée d'Orsay, Paris
  18. Musée Marmottan, Paris
  19. Fogg Museum, Cambridge
  20. SF MOMA
  21. DeYoung Museum, San Francisco
  22. Rhode Island School of Design
  23. Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

Movies

(worse....bad....good....even better...remarkable...really good) (most recently viewed at top)

Mouseover for previous years:

What We Do In The Shadows, Ender’s Game, Captain Phillips, , Ex Machina, The Man In The High Castle. Vicki Cristina Barcelona, 42, NOW: In The Wings, Taxi Driver, Insurgent, Foyle’s War, seasons 1-7, The Black Swan, Winter’s Bone, Stories We Tell. Copenhagen, Mockingjay Part 1,

The Hobbit:Battle of Five Armies, Under The Skin, Longmire (season 2), Switched At Birth (season 3), Longmire (season 1), Liberal Arts, Palo Alto, The Spectacular Now, Short Term 12, Young and Beautiful, House of Cards (season 2), Tomorrow When The War Began, Switched at Birth (season 3), The Americans (season 1), Veronica Mars (movie), How I Live Now, Rocky, Short Term 12, Divergent, Blue Is The Warmest Color, Downton Abbey (season 4), House of Cards (BBC), Skyfall, Girls (season 1), Sherlock (season 3), American Hustle, Elysium, Wolf of Wall Street

Roman Holiday, Much Ado About Nothing (2013), . Richard II (2013), Catching Fire. The Hunger Games, World War Z, House of Cards (season 1), Switched at Birth (season 2), Tell No One, Hunger Games, End Of Watch, Switched At Birth (season 1) Cabin In The Woods, Annika Bengtzon Downton Abbey (season 3) Downton Abbey (season 2) Downton Abbey (season 1) Before Midnight, Deceptive Practice, Woman In The Fifth An Officer and a Gentleman, Margin Call, Top Gun, Wallander (season 3), Wallander (season 2), Wallander (season 1), Top Chef (season 9), Les Miserables,

The Hobbit, Any Given Sunday, Lincoln, Headhunters (Norway 2012), Flight, Top Chef (season 4), Arbitrage, Goodbye, First Love, Two Days In New York. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, We Need To Talk About Kevin, On Broadway, The Long Goodbye, Men In Black 3, Prometheus, Me and Orson Welles, Born to be Wild. The High and The Mighty, Georgia, St. Elmo’s Fire, Brick, Carnage, The Avengers, Panic, When Nietzsche Wept, Mystic Pizza, The Hunger Games (again), The Nasty Girl, The Hunger Games, Fish Tank, Morning Glory, Welcome to the Rileys, Winter’s Bone, Trust, Downton Abbey (season 2) Margin Call, Moneyball, Downton Abbey (season 1), The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2012), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Tiny Furniture

Let Me In. Tin Tin. Company, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Manhattan, Twelve, The Lion In Winter (2003), The Paper Chase, High Art, Up In The Air, Coraline, People I Know, You Only Live Twice, Au Revoir Les Enfants, Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work, Howards End, Sherlock (season 1), The Business Of Strangers, The Hunt For Red October, When Will I Be Loved, True Grit, The Two Towers, Terribly Happy. The Kids Are All Right, Easy A, Notorious

Kinky Boots, The King’s Speech, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 1, The Big Sleep, Julie/Julia, The Secret of Kells, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest, Hard Eight, Croupier, Wonder Boys, The Godfather, The Girl Who Played With Fire, Nobel Son. An Education, Comedian, The Blind Side, Moon, Paris The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Once, Dollhouse (season 1), The American President, Knowing, Julia, Gosford Park, Avatar

Up, Two Days In Paris, Sherlock Holmes (2009), The Animatrix, The Girlfriend Experience, When Will I Be Loved, In Harm’s Way, Any Given Sunday, The Cake Eaters, The Impostors, The Devil Wears Prada, Every Little Step, The Hours, The Class, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe, District 9, Julie & Julia, Bottle Shock. Harry Potter and the Half Breed Prince, In The Heat Of The Night, Quantum of Solace, Slumdog Millionaire, No Country For Old Men, I Have Loved You So Long, Star Trek, Doubt, Mamma Mia, Rachel Getting Married, Synecdoche, New York , Lakeview Terrace, Battlestar Galactica (season 5), Changeling, Fargo. The Lady Eve, Off The Map, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,

Let The Right One In, The Air I Breathe, Transsiberian, Before The Devil Knows Your Dead, Kiki’s Delivery Service, In The Valley of Elah, The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming!, To Live, Hustle(season 1-4), Lost In Translation, Blues Brothers. Water Lilies, Very Bad Things, Hotel Rwanda, Michael Clayton, In Bruges. Batman: The Dark Knight, My Man Godfrey, Starting Out in the Evening, The Outsider, Wall-E, Ratatouille, The Company, Juno, Two Days in Paris, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, I'm Not There, Kill Bill 2, Rome (season 2), Prairie Home Companion, The Two Towers, The Fellowship of the Ring, Inland Empire

(hide 2007) Flag Of Our Fathers, The Golden Compass, I Am Legend, No Reservations, Battlestar Galactica: Razor, In America, Don Giovanni (Sellars), History Boys, Rome (saeson 1), Red Dawn, Nausicaa in the Valley of the Wind, Sunshine, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Have His Carcasse, Three Times, A Scanner Darkly, A Room With A View, Gaudy Night, Nobody Knows, Strong Poison, Veronica Mars (season 3), Miss Potter, House of Flying Daggers, Battlestar Galactica (season 3), Children of Men, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, Things Change, My Neighbor Totoro, The Last King of Scotland, Match Point, Spanglish, Before Sunset, Before Sunrise

(hide 2006)

The Queen,

Veronica Mars (season 2),

The Fellowship of the Ring,

Ripley's Game,

Hard Candy,

Battlestar Galactica (season 2.5),

The Sisters,

Art School Confidential,

The Big Red One,

Before Sunset,

The Swimming Pool,

Mullholland Drive.

The Interpreter,

Great Expectations,

Night Watch,

Battlestar Galactica (season 2).

Veronica Mars,

Miami Vice,

Somersault,

Pride and Prejudice (2005),

Battlestar Galactica (season 1),

California Split,

Fingersmith,

Miami Vice (season 2),

Battlestar Galactica (miniseries),

The Da Vinci Code,

The Long Goodbye,

Bubble,

Oliver Twist (Polansky),

The Return Of The King,

The Two Towers,

Six Degrees of Separation,

The Fellowship of the Ring.

Elizabethtown,

The Squid and the Whale,

Good Night and Good Luck,

Angel (Season 5),

Capote,

The Third Man,

Buffy (Season 7),

Patton,

Tully

(hide 2005) The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Palindromes, Me and You and Everyone We Know, My Summer of Love, In The Realms of the Unreal: The Mystery of Henry Darger, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The Magdalene Sisters, The Merchant of Venice (2004), Short Cuts, Closer, Collateral, Proof, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Firefly (season 1), Serenity, Primer, Pretty Baby, Babylon 5 (season 4), Miami Vice (season 1). Buffy (season 6), Revenge of the Sith, Million Dollar Baby, Sideways, In Good Company, Sin City, The Dish, Bright Young Things, Oleanna, Friday Night Lights When Will I Be Loved, King Arthur, Avalon (2001), Upstairs Downstairs season 1, Spartan, The Kid Stays In The Picture

(hide 2004) Whale Rider, Bend It Like Beckham, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Gosford Park, Auto Focus, Babylon 5 season 3, Lost In Translation, Russian Ark, 24 (first season), Buffy, The Vampire Slayer (Season 5), Lovely and Amazing, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, House of Sand and Fog, Wonder Boys, Perfect Blue, The Bourne Identity, The Lion In Winter (2003), Laurel Canyon, Angels In America: Millenium Approaches, Before Sunrise, The Company, Japanese Story, The Cooler, Angels In America: Perestroika, I Capture the Castle, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, The Terminal, Sideways,

(hide 2003) The Year of Living Dangerously , Picnic at Hanging Rock, Buffy, The Vampire Slayer (Season 2), Adaptation, The Apartment, Smoke Signals , Network , Midnight Cowboy , Damn the Defiant! , Vampire Hunter D, Fucking Åmål, Babylon 5: Season 1, Mystic Pizza, Buffy, season 3, Swimming Pool, Seabiscuit, Chasing Amy, Fight Club, L.A. Confidential, Glengarry Glen Ross, Thirteen, The Red Violin , Mystic River A Mighty Wind, Moulin Rouge Master and Commander Band of Brothers K-19: The Widowmaker, Hard Eight The Return of the King Buffy, the Vampire Slayer (season 4) Finding Nemo The Lady Eve

(hide 2002) Shadow of the Vampire, Brotherhood of the Wolf, Monster's Ball, Gosford Park, For The Love of the Game, Kissing Jessica Stein, The Big Chill, The Virgin Suicides, Startup.com, Still More Tales of the City, Spiderman, Attack of the Clones, Hearts of Darkness, Insomnia , The Sum Of All Fears, Minority Report, The Others, Heist. Italian For Beginners, The Others, Thirteen Conversations About One Thing, Mulholland Drive, A Beautiful Mind, The Importance of Being Earnest, Possession, High Art, Manhattan, Spirited Away, Pulp Fiction, Metropolis (2001), Suddenly Last Summer, Skinwalkers, Buffy, The Vampire Slayer (Season 1), Men in Black II, Wag The Dog, Star Trek: Nemesis, The Two Towers

(hide 2001) You Can Count on Me, Any Given Sunday, Dune (2000), Blair Witch Project, Anywhere but Here, High Fidelity, Sleepers, 2001: A Space Odyssey, If These Walls Could Talk 2, Men in Black, State and Main, Gladiator, The Patriot, The Untouchables, Thirteen Days, The Year of Living Dangerously, Traffic, The House of Mirth, Anna and the King, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Tillsammans, Memento, Bartelby, Brokedown Palace, Wonder Boys, Dancer in the Dark, Cape Fear, The Remains of the Day, Wolf, An Officer and a Gentleman, AI, Anniversary Party, Ghandi, The Score, State and Main, Delivering Simon, Chocolat, Finding Forrester, Ghost World, Sunshine, Apocalypse Now, Conspiracy, The Deep End, Waking Life, The Man Who Wasn't There, Croupier (again), Legally Blonde, To Have and Have Not, The Spanish Prisoner, Planet of the Apes (2001), Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Remember The Titans, Ocean's Eleven, The Fellowship of the Ring

(hide 2000) Croupier, The Cell, Almost Famous, Dark City, Pushing Tin, Rear Window, Girl on the Bridge, Nurse Betty, The Ice Storm , High Art,Rules of Engagement, Rushmore, Six Degrees of Separation, Notting Hill, U-571, Billy Elliot, The Sixth Day, Some Like It Hot

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“Get Excited And Make Things” by Matt Jones.

A Year Ago

Hello, Kitty

From this morning’s advertisement for the Electronic Book Review:

Gwen Le Cor casts a new light on contemporary writing in mew media.

The underlying essay claims it is trying to apply the ideas of fluid dynamics to understand the electronic poetry of Stephanie Strickland and Lawson Jaramillo. In practice, it appears to apply some terminology without really understanding it. What literary critic has ever modeled reading, much less Text, as a system of linear equations? No one construes construction as strictly accumulative. No one believes that understanding of a text is either univalent or continuous, or indeed that any significant part of the experience of reading exhibits univalent or continuity. In other words, of course we see this sense of nonlinearity in Strickland; we see exactly the same nonlinearity in afternoon, in Pride and Prejudice, in The Illiad.

Gwen Le Cor works at Paris 8, a storied department that happens to be famous for work on the inherent nonlinearity of the text. Indeed, the definition of linearity taken from a popular overview and used here,

the rule that determines what a piece in the system is going to do next is not influenced by what it is doing now

is patently incompatible with the reader’s role in interpretation, an issue to which Paris 8 made such great contributions. If you bring your understanding to the text, then the text you’ve just read surely influences what you’re about to understand.

For some reason, English professors (or, in this case, titulaires of the Département d’Etudes des Pays Anglophones) love to find metaphors in stylish physics and mathematics. Fifty years ago, physicists and mathematicians borrowed some mundane terms like “bifurcatation” and “chaos” as metaphors for the mathematical constructs they were studying. Ffty years later, we turn around and try to use those metaphors metaphorically, but without seeming to pay very close attention to what the equations mean. Thirty years ago, they were doing this with Heisenberg and Pauli. Now it’s fluid dynamics; in 2060 they’ll be going on about compiler optimization in contemporary literature.

Science is fun and interesting. If you really want to do fluid dynamics, do it. Learn the tools, learn how to turn the crank. Then, if you like, come back and see what you can learn by applying them to poems. Don’t simply borrow the jargon and the dress.


Still, perhaps “mew media” is an idea worth closer study.