Ponderance

(May 2003 - March 2007.) Tama's thoughts on the blogosphere, podcasting, popular culture, digital media and citizen journalism posted from a laptop computer somewhere in Perth's isolated, miniature, urban jungle ...

Insights from the Mediascape

Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Some days I find reading a lot of journalism very tedious and disappointing, and other days I find a lot of engaging interpretations, meaningful insights and pieces really worth reading. Today is one of those days ...

Mark Millar on Batman Begins and a post-Sept11 world:
It’s no surprise then that the main villains in Batman Begins are The Scarecrow, a rogue academic who generates artificial fear in the people of Gotham as much as Fox News and their terror alerts do in the real world, and Ra’s Al-Ghul, an impossibly rich, international terrorist who declares war upon America from his secret cave on the other side of the world. These myths are at their most potent when set against a familiar backdrop and what could be more familiar than our own world? Even Batman himself, as Nolan and Goyer stress at every opportunity, isn’t doing anything a developed human body couldn’t accomplish. Everything from the bullet-proof costume to the amazing fight-scenes to the contents of his utility belt have been worked out by experts and grounded in realism to the point where even the Batmobile was designed and built by a real-world military vehicle manufacturer as a functioning piece of hardware.
The post Sept11 zeitgeist seems to contextualise War of the Worlds as well!

William Gibson in Wired:
Today, an endless, recombinant, and fundamentally social process generates countless hours of creative product (another antique term?). To say that this poses a threat to the record industry is simply comic. The record industry, though it may not know it yet, has gone the way of the record. Instead, the recombinant (the bootleg, the remix, the mash-up) has become the characteristic pivot at the turn of our two centuries. We live at a peculiar juncture, one in which the record (an object) and the recombinant (a process) still, however briefly, coexist. But there seems little doubt as to the direction things are going. The recombinant is manifest in forms as diverse as Alan Moore's graphic novel The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, machinima generated with game engines (Quake, Doom, Halo), the whole metastasized library of Dean Scream remixes, genre-warping fan fiction from the universes of Star Trek or Buffy or (more satisfying by far) both at once, the JarJar-less Phantom Edit (sound of an audience voting with its fingers), brand-hybrid athletic shoes, gleefully transgressive logo jumping, and products like Kubrick figures, those Japanese collectibles that slyly masquerade as soulless corporate units yet are rescued from anonymity by the application of a thoughtfully aggressive "custom" paint job.
Great to see Gibson doing some journalistic stuff between novels, and his take on remix culture is very similar to my own thoughts (he just puts is a thousand times more eloquently). For those interested, this piece is part of a special issue on Remix Planet.

David Carr in the NYT on Podcasting and business:
So far, podcasting has been very sexy, but not profitable. [...] For the time being, podcasting is a cipher, a technology that seems to further threaten established media's stranglehold on public consciousness, but offers little opportunity in the way of a real actual business. Big media are aggressively attempting to get their arms around the next big thing. But it remains elusive, a medium that is viral and uncontrollable by nature, and that does not threaten to become a business any time soon.
Podcasting for the people and by the people. Right on!

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