All Posts Filed in ‘Culture

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The skeptical futuryst

Powerful technologies of public imagination are hitting the street. They are fast infiltrating society’s main stream. And as they go, we find ourselves living out a dictum something like McLuhan meeting Polak: “We shape our images of the future, and meanwhile, they shape us.”

Stuart Candy (aka the skeptical futuryst) left for snowier shores around two years ago. Australia just hasn’t been the same since.

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The Wire Bible

“In the end, the cost to all sides begins to suggest not so much the dogged police pursuit of the bad guys, but rather a Greek tragedy. At the end of thirteen episodes, the reward for the viewer — who has been lured all this way by a well-constructed police show — is not the simple gratification of hearing handcuffs click. Instead, the conclusion is something that Euripides or O’Neill might recognize: an America, at every level at war with itself.”

David Simon, creator of The Wire, quoted from the show outline originally pitched to HBO — AKA the Wire Bible.

In 2000 David Simon pitched a show to HBO that would be:

far more than a cop show, and to the extent that it breaks new ground, it will do so because of larger, universal themes that have more to do with the human condition

It’s not every day you get the chance to reflect on something so authentic, savouring the subtle texture and flavour. Let’s all take a moment to consider the origins of that fine street food delicacy: The Wire.

via Kottke, who also took the effort to mirror (archive) these documents for future web posterity.

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The Wire is all shades of grey

And the chilling thing about the show is that, when someone like McNulty decides to care out of turn, he’s not confronted by corrupt or otherwise evil people. Bill Rawls, the middle finger-raising Homicide chief, isn’t a bad guy, though he seems like one when he bitches out McNulty. He’s just a guardian of the system. His job is to keep the murder rate down and the clearance rate up, which in turn helps the department get funding to keep doing its job, keeps cops on the streets, etc. You’ll note that the thing that angers Rawls most is the fact that Jimmy dragged in the Gerard Bogue case, which happened in the previous year and therefore has no bearing on this year’s stats. Bogue may have had family and friends who loved and miss him, but he is of no use to Bill Rawls in his quest to make the numbers look good, and therefore he doesn’t matter. That’s not evil, not “one bad cop ruining the system for everybody else.” It’s just cold, cruel pragmatism, the best way Rawls knows to do the job he’s been given.

Alan Sepinwall, re-reviewing the first episode (s01e01) of the remastered, re-release HD series of The Wire.

This month HBO has re-released The Wire, remastered in HD. Let Alan Sepinwall walk you through one of the best, most compelling shows of our time.

I love the idea that David Simon would use the first scene in the first episode of each season to establish the themes for the season. This is the kind of TV making that just wasn’t possible in the 90’s. We really do have to thank The Sopranos for the glut of high quality TV drama on offer today.

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103 lessons learnt about street photography

  1. Beware using telephoto lenses in street photography. Remember, “Creepiness is proportional to focal length.”

Eric Kim at Digital Photography School

As someone who hasn’t done much street photography where I live, this list is like a view into a completely new world for me. My partner loves photography over all other forms of art, images from the street in particular. It’s all about the human stories to her, the ones that leave you with more questions than answers. Those are the best kinds of images, the ones that give you a glimpse into someone else’s life. This is the key to great street photography.

I think it comes from a natural curiosity about who people are, underneath the layers of civility and society. Who we really are underneath these layers, the masks, the façades we construct daily. It’s completely linked to authenticity, but I think it’s more than that – it’s about truly seeing who someone is.

It’s about insight.

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the cargo cult of statistics

“You may even compel your indentured “writers” to hew to a stifling regimen of post volume, pointless stock art inclusion, and even compulsory word count — simply because the cargo cult of statistics whispers which coconuts make the best headphones. You conspire to trick, deceive, annoy, and badger your audience up to precisely that moment when they say, “Screw it,” and just never come back.”

Merlin Mann, from the 43Folders archive

So good.

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Higher Ed

Higher Ed

Your future is probably going to be shit now. That’s because Christopher Pyne has an obsession with free markets, and why the Australian Government will continue to fuck over students and ruin their education.

Plus, the Government has plans to make our higher education system even worse, opening up more profiteering, providing more debt and offering students a lifetime of regret.

via Junkee.