Thieves of Words

A fascinating look at what’s really at the core of journalism, and the debate between the New York Times/Huffington Post spat:

You can call it what you like; you can say “Possibly I am old-fashioned,” and talk about how “actual journalists are laboring at actual history, covering the fever of democracy in Arab capitals and the fever of austerity in American capitals” (Keller) or you can brag about the “148 full-time editors, writers, and reporters engaged in the serious, old-fashioned work of traditional journalism” (Huffington), but all this “old fashioned” stuff is just a way of covering over something really basic about what “actual” journalists “traditionally” do, all the time: write down what other people say.

And, of course, I am now stealing a quote that I stole from a link that I stole from Andrew Sullivan’s blog in the first place. They cycle of life continues!

Roar. I am a lion.

Is it just me? Or is there something really compelling about trying and failing so epically?

Story goes that, in 1731, King Frederick I of Sweden received a lion skin as a gift from the Bey of Algiers. The taxidermist tasked with mounting it had never seen a lion in real life, and only had a vague idea of what one was supposed to look like.

But, man. He tried. Boy howdy did he try.

There But for the Grace of God…

Well, maybe minus the drug use.

What have games given me? Experiences. Not surrogate experiences, but actual experiences, many of which are as important to me as any real memories. Once I wanted games to show me things I could not see in any other medium. Then I wanted games to tell me a story in a way no other medium can. Then I wanted games to redeem something absent in myself. Then I wanted a game experience that pointed not toward but at something. Playing GTA IV on coke for weeks and then months at a time, I learned that maybe all a game can do is point at the person who is playing it, and maybe this has to be enough.

I cannot, will not allow myself to buy an Xbox 360. This is for the simple reason that that’s where all the Big Games live. Mass Effect, GTA, Elder Scrolls…these are the games that would destroy me if they could. (Their predecessors have, to lesser degrees, at earlier phases in my life.) I don’t play games like those: I absorb them. They absorb me right back. And all it would take would be one chance to get my hands on Fallout 3, and it’d pretty much be all over for me. They’d find me six months later, alone, sitting on a couch in a pile of old pizza boxes, still clutching the remote and leveling up.

The Wii, though. That’s a totally different story. That’s just fun.

Web Musings Clearinghouse

This is what happens when I work on Paper City Phoenix for a while; I wind up reading all sorts of ridiculously awesome things aboutthe Internet, on the Internet. I guess it’s all part of the “aggragation” phase of writing. Here’s a few neat ones from lately:

I need to get this book (which also seems like it’d be a good read for dramaturgs or librarians):

People are going to be the new keepers of the flame,” proclaims Steve Rosenbaum, author of Curation Nation, a book that celebrates humans as “essential software” in today’s technology.

His Big Idea: We need quality filters for the daily data deluge that overflows from our inboxes, Twitter feeds, blog posts, Google alerts and Facebook notifications.

And speaking of curation and presentation, here’s a beautiful and really clever way to demonstrate the way WiFi is all around us. (It would be pretty interesting for True Places, as well, it being a map and all):

And, lastly, a situation that might help Gale from PCP sleep a bit better at night: some countries are archiving their internet. (Their way saves a bit more paper, too.)

Don’t tell Sal

But the namesake of the Order might not be quite right:

Despite their modern reputation, the original Luddites were neither opposed to technology nor inept at using it. Many were highly skilled machine operators in the textile industry. Nor was the technology they attacked particularly new. Moreover, the idea of smashing machines as a form of industrial protest did not begin or end with them. In truth, the secret of their enduring reputation depends less on what they did than on the name under which they did it. You could say they were good at branding.