I think to myself, “Another day, another 40 posts to review. Does it have to be so many?” That sort of volume is why I stopped following MetaFilter. But there are days like today, where you get this:
And, being the Internet and all, this spoof is naturally part of a meme that includes Hitler going apeshit at the theft of his car and Hitler freaking out after he’s banned from Xbox Live (my favorite). For what it’s worth, the underlying Bruno Ganz performance from the film Downfall is really excellent.
Also making it worth the effort on BB today:
Leaving aside all commentary on the war in Iraq itself, I wanted to drop a link to this extraordinary blog post by blogger-turned-soldier Andrew Olmsted, who wrote under the name “G’Kar” at Obsidian Wings. He was killed this week in Iraq, but left a blog post to be published only in the event of his death.
Letters from beyond the grave are a staple in fiction, but I can’t say I’ve ever read one (or, now that I think of it, heard of anyone else receiving one) in real life. His blog-post-from-the-grave is extremely moving and surreal. Plus, it’s funny! Take, for instance, all the nerded-out quotes from the sci-fi TV series “Babylon 5,” which I do not recall as approaching anywhere near the level of profundity that it does in his post.
It would perhaps be a nicer, more humane world if somehow a new Internet Age social custom came about, compelling everyone to write and update an email or blog post or (heaven forbid) a Facebook message that became public only at your death. Or maybe it would just make everyone morbid and neurotic, I don’t know. Oldmsted’s farewell has me hoping that I might muster half his eloquence and humility in my posthumous blog post.
I would probably give a try to a Gawker Media-backed sci-fi blog no matter what, just to see what it becomes. And, as it happens, my crucial first few minutes on i09 left me open for more. But they got into my RSS feed once I chanced on the About page.
I also plan to make a strained (or brilliant!) analogy between Gawker’s new pay-for-traffic labor regime and the healthcare crisis in America… once I’ve slept a little more.
Saw Sidney Lumet’s new film, “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead,” at BAM today (and my attempt at a review will materialize in this space shortly, I hope). On the way to the theater, I stopped in for a quick visit with a friend who is fortunate enough to have professional reasons for spending time inside the offices of the Atlantic, where he heard scuttlebutt of William Greider’s Dec. 1981 feature on David Stockman, Reagan’s budget director. The talk, specifically, was that the article is fantastic — and my pal was nice enough to furnish me with a photocopy.
And this got me thinking about newness and how terribly we overvalue the new, particularly in the realm of journalism. Of course, it’s not for nothing that we call them newspapers, etc. etc. But when it comes to august magazines with long legacies of top-notch work (New Yorker, Atlantic, Playboy, Esquire, Rolling Stone), the rise of the Internet has not coincided with a parallel revival of out-of-date-yet-semi-legendary articles. Sure, you can find confirmed classics like “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold” online, but who is out there aggregating and recirculating the far more numerous minor masterpieces?
In part, I imagine, this is a business-model issue: the New Yorker, for instance, has reserved the lion’s share of it’s archive for sale as a DVD set. Others, like the Atlantic, only let subscribers into what exists of its online archive. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think you’d do better business with online ads tied to open archives — I know I’d click through a fullscreen ad if it meant access to any out-of-date magazine feature I so desired.
In an open archive world, I’d hope to see the rise of a whole subset of archive bloggers. But even with most of it’s old material locked on DVDs, it seems the New Yorker already leads the way: My Atlantic buddy also tipped me off about Emdashes, a NYer-centric blog that seems at least somewhat in line with the archive-scouring approach I’m looking for.