Monday, July 28, 2008

Hex Induction Hour

Like Joe’s, at the moment this blog might better be subtitled Things That Have Aroused My Ire Today. I’ve given the righteous indignation a rest today – though only just, BBC3 schedulers take heed – to serve up these morsels of weird on the web. I wrote about the worst of the internet last week – these outrageous compilations of estoterica and maverick science are some of the best, I think.

Professor Hex compiles strangenesses here

The Heavy Stuff searches for wonder with Husserl

The Anomalist

News from a lost neighbourhood

File under: the Rightful Uses of the Internet.

P.S. On a related sidenote, here's a snippet from the most incongruous of publications, the Yorkshire Post, about West Yorkshire spiritualists.

Oh! Oh!

The last of the great Edwardian pleasure piers, the Grand Pier at Western Super Mare, has gone up in smoke.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Jennifer Hodgson versus the Sunday supplements

I wrote the below on a protracted train journey between Hull and Norwich, thinking this awestruck article about Random Shit's internet hidey-hole would be the only snippet in my sheaf of weekend newspapers to arouse my ire. Oh, how wrong I was. It seems last weekends' newspapers were positively brimming with the kind of think pieces Joe tries to confiscate from me for my own good.

The piece in question was a profile of 'meme hothouse' 4chan, one of an ever-proliferating raft of articles serving up bite-sized portions of the worst of digital culture (read: stuff young people like) with a hefty portion of wonderment, incredulity and the Emperor's new clothes. A old media/new media hatefuck, if you will.

I don't think I Can Haz Cheezburger was quite what internet visionary Vannevar Bush had in mind. Writing in 1945, Bush imagined tools for man 'to access and command the inherited knowledge of all the ages'. On the present, the internet's transparent democracy has rendered a portrait of the human psyche as giddy playground of neophiliac ephemera. Digital utopians huddle together at academic conferences and it falls to a bunch of tech-savvy US liberal arts postgrads to really take the internet for a spin through experiments in digital literature. The rest of us fiddle about trying to monetarise our blogs. Disappointing.

Anyway, when I returned home Joe's day-old copy of the Guardian presented this wretched front-cover piece of navel-gazing and all bets were off. You win, Tanya Gold!

See also:
Will Digital Literature Go Mainstream?

Observer Woman Makes Me Spit

We get what we deserve?

Dear June Sarpong,

I think I get your sentiment but I definitely don't dig your arrogant, ill-thought out new media opportunism.

June Sarpong’s new lipstick n’ politick blog, Politics and the City, is noteable as a hateful conflation of two particularly doh-brained phenomenae: the latecoming demographization of women as media consumers (see also the truly horrible Observer Woman Magazine, Mamma Mia, most things associated with the SATC jamboree 2008 ) and the compulsion to talk down to one's audience as some vaguely-imagined - possibly dribbling - lowest common denominator. The result could be subtitled, as Lost in Showbiz puts it, "Women: Is the News Too Hard for You to Understand?"

However, just as the internet taketh away, it giveth: the collective "wtf?" that met Sarpong's new venture at its launch two Monday ago was most heartening.

Anyway, good luck with your portal, June.

J x

Monday, July 7, 2008

A trip into Space

I spent vast swathes of the school holidays on the East Coast in a tourer caravan permanently pitched in a holiday camp close to Filey, the name of which no one could ever agree on the pronounciation of. We rarely made it as far as Whitby; its seventy mile-or-so distance made it just out of my travel sickness range. This past weekend, up that way visiting J's parents in Richmond, we got there - bagging the front seat of the car always makes childish kinetosis more tolerable.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


In a time of inexorable daftness re: higher education policy, this is pretty marvellous.