Sunday, October 10, 2010

Quick Hits

  • An interesting take on The Social Network over at the New Statesman: "The territory of this modern parable is precisely objectification: not just of women, but of all consumers. In what the film's promoters describe as a "definitively American " story of entrepreneurship, Zuckerberg becomes rich because, as a social outsider, he can see the value in reappropriating the social as something that can be monetised. This is what Facebook is about, and ultimately what capitalist realism is about: life as reducible to one giant hot-or-not contest, with adverts."
  • David Simon, creator of The Wire, wins a MacArthur Genius Grant. Two and a half seasons into the show, and I can completely see why. It's some of the best television I've ever seen -- it might actually be the best ever made. But what I like about it most is the same thing I liked about HBO's Deadwood (and, every once in a while, about Battlestar Galactica): it's good sociology. I've got a post in the works about The Wire and Althusser's ideological state apparatuses. Stay tuned.
  • Spent the evening tonight watching the classic documentary Harlan County, U.S.A. It's one of the more brilliant docs I've seen, and really throws light on labour struggles in the United States. Criterion has an excellent essay up on the film, which situates it as a progenitor of the contemporary political documentary. The film is available streaming on Hulu & Netflix, so no excuse not to watch it. But if you need more convincing:


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