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All the news that’s fit to spit

Some headlines from the rumpled paper I found on the chair at my table in the cafe this evening, this past Friday’s New York Times:

3 Kurds Slain in Paris, in Locked-Door Mystery

A Chainsaw-Free Mainstream

Visit by Google Chairman May Benefit North Korea

Man in Plastic Ball Dies on Russia Ski Slope

Monastery from Spain Ends up in California

Gun Enthusiast With Popular Online Videos is Shot to Death in Georgia

Sifting Sand To Rebuild Beaches After Storm

We live in a weird time on a weird planet.

Filed under: Stuff, , ,

The perils of non-contextual ads

Filed under: Humor, ,

The Strangeness that is Twitter: Clint Eastwood and the UK Riots

Hollywood director and movie star Clint Eastwood doesn’t seem to have a Twitter feed. Too bad: the pithy one-liners he’s known for in movies such as Dirty Harry seem well suited to the medium. “Go ahead—make my day.”

But there is a Clint Eastwood on Twitter. Actually more than one, but the first one that turns up if you do a search is @Eastwood_, with a handsome black&white photo and a locale of California. It’s actually the account for a fan website, as is fairly readily apparent if you follow the posted URL – http://www.clinteastwood.net. But significantly, that URL isn’t giving much away, and clearly many Twitter users have been fooled into thinking this account belongs to the real Clint Eastwood. Many Twitter users:

Without ever posting a tweet, @Eastwood_ nonetheless managed to accrue 13,000 followers.

It says something about the meaninglessness of so much of Twitter—the lists of followers and following, the number of tweets, the desire for glimpses into celebrity lives, the willingness to be marketed to…

On the other side, speaking to the possibilities for meaningfulness in Twitter—and very much in the news this past week—the riots in the United Kingdom have also had a social media angle, with rioters and looters reportedly using social media networks—including Twitter—to call people to action.

One teenage has been charged with a crime for her use of Blackberry Messenger to encourage friends to join in the mayhem:

UK riots: teenager charged with BlackBerry incitement 

The 18-year-old, from Clacton, was accused of intentionally encouraging or assisting in the commission of an offence under the Serious Crime Act 2007, Essex police said.

She allegedly sent a message on BBM on Monday Aug 8 encouraging friends in the seaside town to copy scenes of violence and looting that were spreading across England.

(via The Telegraph.)

In the face of this and similar reports coming out of the riots, the British Prime Minister is reportedly considering restrictions on Twitter and other social media services (UK riots: tougher powers could curb Twitter – Telegraph).

There’s a savage irony at work here, though. When Facebook, Twitter and other social media systems were being used during the upheavals in Egypt and Iran, they were hailed by Western politicians and newspapers as tools for democratic change:

To be clear: the visionary products created by Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook and Evan Williams at Twitter are foundation stones of what is becoming a regional revolution. (via Sharon Waxman: How Egypt’s Social Media Revolution Could Spread Across the Middle East.)

Now the shoe is on the other foot and it is pinching.

Taken together, @Eastwood_’s 13,000 followers and the use of Twitter for encouraging looting in London (or democracy in the Middle East) suggest both the power and some of the perils of this strange new form of communication.

For more…

Filed under: Interweb, , , , , ,

The 27 Curse Strikes Again

After Amy Winehouse’s death, much was made of the number of musicians who have died at the age of 27. The marvelous host of NPR’s All Songs Considered, Bob Boilen, wrote shortly after the news of her death came out:

when I saw that Winehouse was 27, chills went through my body. What is it about the age of 27? My generation lost Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Brian Jones at that exact age. Kurt Cobain died at 27, and so did Badfinger’s Pete Ham, Robert Johnson and Big Star’s Chris Bell.
(via Amy Winehouse And The Sad Story Of The 27s : All Songs Considered Blog : NPR.)

Now, comes news of of another death at the age of 27, that of  Former Occidental College quarterback Andy Collins:

Andy Collins was a standout player at Occidental College, which never lost a game while he was starting. He died Tuesday of an apparent heart attack. An official cause of death is pending.
(via latimes.com.)

Personally, I blame Saturn.

All these deaths are clearly caused by vicious cases of the notorious Saturn return:

In astrology, the Saturn return is an alleged phenomenon which is described as influencing a person’s life development at 27 to 29 or 30-year intervals. These intervals or “returns” coincide with the approximate time it takes the planet Saturn to make one orbit around the sun, i.e. 29.4 years. It is believed by astrologers that, as Saturn “returns” to the degree in its orbit occupied at the time of birth, a person crosses over a major threshold and enters the next stage of life. (via Wikipedia.)

Filed under: Pop Culture,

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zerode by nick chapman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

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zerode

is an over-caffeinated and under-employed grad school dropout, aspiring leftwing intellectual and cultural studies academic, cinéaste, and former poet. Raised in San Francisco on classic film, radical politics, burritos and soul music, then set loose upon the world. He spends his time in coffee shops with his laptop and headphones, caffeinating and trying to construct a post-whatever life.

 

What's in a name... The handle "zerode" is a contraction of Zéro de Conduite, the title of Jean Vigo's 1933 movie masterpiece about schoolboy rebellion.

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