Monthly Archives: December 2011

Film Criticism: Does this youtube video offer a new hope for a vanishing form?

Last week I was flipping through my daily dose of arts and culture hitz courtesy of the ever fabulous Flavourpill,  and found this link to a 10 minute video essay on youtube.

It’s called The Spielberg Face, it’s written and voiced, shot and edited by online critic Kevin B Lee and is, dare I say, a smart, fairly intellectual (especially by dumbed down Internet standards) examination of the oeuvre of Steven Spielberg.

Yeah, I know, I just said it. Oeuvre. We’re not supposed to know words like that anymore. We’re not supposed to deconstruct movies. We’re not supposed to have any critical faculties because they’re lame and don’t count in a world where only fashionable hipsters and the shallowest of conversations count for squat.

But by golly Mr Lee went out there and actually put together an extremely thought-provoking video essay. A video essay that you might have written back in the 20th century.

I think that what Mr Lee fastened onto here, is perhaps a way to make criticism more palatable to 21st century minds. Rather than haul out a bunch of Film 101 verbiage, Lee has nimbly strung together an argument using pictures to tell the story.

And you know what? To me it works and it works very well. It’s kind of like my friend Nora Young’s radio show Spark. Spark is actually extremely smart in terms of content, but she and her team have put together a show that doesn’t sound as if you’re learning anything. You feel like you’re having fun, but subconsciously you’re learning tons.

I think this bears more thought. Does anybody out there have any ideas as to how we could youtube philosophy or history or even poetry?

Let me know


Niche Subscriptions: What are they? Find out

Hi all, this Sunday I’ll be on Spark talking about niche subscriptions with Nora Young. The niche idea plays to the notion that there is something very deep and very human about tactile objects in a digital age and a lot of people are starting to create specialized subscription services to meet these needs.

I interviewed a young British designer Elliot J Stocks who has grown up in the digital world. What Elliott craved was to actually see and hold his creations in the palm of his hand, versus the ephemeral digital landscape. So what did he do? Elliot created 8faces a niche subscription all about FONTS! Now that’s what Nora calls,  one very narrow niche.

Please check it out!


The Sniffer, Dec. 2nd, 2011: Trends in Medical Monitors and Crowd Control

Who owns the data your medical implants generate? It got into Nora’s craw because she read in Technology Review about a man with a defibrillator implant who is trying to get access to the data it generates in order to better understand what triggers his heart condition. Natch the company said no. I think that’s wrongo bongo and we should have the rights to know what the devices in our body are saying. That said, have you ever tried to sneak a peek at your medical chart in the doctor’s office? I tried once and nearly had my arm ripped off by the vigilant receptionist.

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As more of us have implants or other devices that generate data about how we’re using them, is this the shape of things to come?


To calm myself down I decided to try the Acoustic Alarm, a clock that wakes you up with a strumming guitar.  It didn’t work on me, but it’s still pretty and yet another testament to why poor people hate rich people who can afford frills like this.

And then to get all worked up again, I dug this up on Gizmag. Imagine the Terminator mixed with RoboCop running around on a Segway that shoots rubber bullets and fires pepper balls. Meet the T3NLRV – the latest in crowd control. Smart approach to riots and crowd control or the next overused taser of tomorrow? Thought? Let me know.