Saturday, September 27, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
I just got this email from John Langley, the guy who made the uber-reality show Cops. I see it as an acknowledgement of all of us who tend to read more into TV programs and their creators' intent than they might suggest on the surface.
Dear Mr. Rushkoff:Not only does an email like that make my month, but restores my faith in the notion that absolutely mainstream programs might still be intended to have a rehabilitative or even noxious effect on the overculture. The fact that Langley made Cops in the spirit that Albert Maysles made Salesman means that we can cut through the clutter and expose mass audiences to virulent memes - even in the darkest of times.
It was refreshing to recently read "Media Virus" and your take on "Cops," which I happen to produce and for which I'm responsible as the guy who created it. I can't tell you how tiresome it is to read traditional criticism and critiques of "Cops" as an expression of this or that, usually far from the mark (or at least in terms of my intentions). As a kid of the '60s, I was more likely to name the show "Pigs" than "Cops," so it was indeed rewarding to read that you positioned the program more accurately in its existential realm of relativism. All I do is feebly hack away at trying -- emphasis on trying -- to capture some version of "reality" that will speak for itself, including the echolalia of the very media influence that filters it by the act of recording it. (Viva Heisenberg!) Anyone with half a brain should recognize the social, political and philosophic issues it sometimes reveals in the quotidian pursuit of law and order and the meaning of street crime.
In any case, keep up the good work! And apologies for getting to you so late in the day. Your book is no less valid for the delay.
Executive Producer - "Cops"
Check it and all the reader comments out here.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Mr. Harper's idea of an ordinary person is that of an envious hater without a scrap of artistic talent or creativity or curiosity, and no appreciation for anything that's attractive or beautiful. My idea of an ordinary person is quite different. Human beings are creative by nature. For millenniums we have been putting our creativity into our cultures - cultures with unique languages, architecture, religious ceremonies, dances, music, furnishings, textiles, clothing and special cuisines. “Ordinary people” pack into the cheap seats at concerts and fill theatres where operas are brought to them live. The total attendance for “the arts” in Canada in fact exceeds that for sports events. “The arts” are not a “niche interest.” They are part of being human.
Atwood killing it, seriously.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
In addition, this is the best thing in the world today.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Thing is, I have probably over 20 hours of this stuff. What was I thinking when I decided to base my dissertation on interviews (not to mention newspaper articles in a language I can barely read)? Argh.
This makes me a little happier.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
My argument is that, in the face of being denied access to citizenship, the EWF's project (and existence as an indigenous NGO within the country) acts as a means of engaging with citizenship in an alternate way. Granted, the irony being that acting as an NGO--a predominantly foreign position within Ethiopia--the EWF's project further integrates the Rastafari into the surrounding community. What is interesting to me is how there seems to be a growing understanding within Shashemene of the Rastafari as occupying a space that's not quite foreign and not quite Ethiopian. All this means that I get to use "liminality"--one of my favourite 25 cent words.