the listenerd

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Tag: anthony lane

Links for 7.11.09: Bono, Bruno, Assholes, Robots and Doom

*Bono: Bono wants to rebrand Africa. Remember those pictures of him with those bikini girls? Good times.

*Email: Emails from an Asshole. I get these every day. But from different people. [harper’s]

*Robots: A robot rises over Tokyo. Let us all pray that this thing never truly comes alive. [daringfireball]

*The internet: According to Pew Internet data, we just passed the point where half the people in the U.S. go online every day. Relatively speaking, no one donates to charity or listens to podcasts. [waxy]

*Twitter: Rob Walker of the NYT thinks Twitter is all about play. There are a thousand different use cases for Twitter and this talks about just one of them. Is using Twitter as an ersatz RSS reader “play”? It isn’t – well, at least it isn’t if watching TV or reading the NYT online aren’t.

*Panic: Doomwatch analyses news sources to tell you what to worry about now. (Currently: Murder.) [presurfer]

*Movies: The New Yorker‘s Anthony Lane reviews Brüno: “Brüno” demonstrates, to one’s growing disappointment and dismay, is a vehemently gifted man putting his body to it and leaving his mind behind.” Previously: A near-review from The Awl.

*Money: It takes over $10k annually to run Neatorama?

*Economy: Noted Doomster Nouriel Roubini thinks the recession will last another six months and that the recovery will be slow and shallow. It once took me nearly three months to recover from a slight ankle sprain, apropos of very little. Related: Check out Damon Rich’s Panorama of foreclosures. [bits]

Links for 5.9.09: Live Nation loses, The National plays, Mississippi Drift…

*Concerts: Live Nation lost $102.7M in Q1 of this year. Attendance was down 22%. Kind of a lot of money. If we’re using that scale, I basically held even.

*Video: Check out The National playing “Somewhere Around the Bend” on Jimmy Fallon.

*Sponsorship: De La Soul has done one of those commissioned running songs for Nike. It’s called “Are You In?” I only wish eccentric rich people would commission weird-ass songs purely for their own perverted personal pleasures. But that’s just me.

*Economy: Readers tell Money what it’s like to try to live on unemployment checks. Spoiler: It makes you tense.

*Industry: Vevo – the “YouTube for music” hires a CEO. I thought YouTube was the YouTube for music. [silicon alley insider]

*The Internet: Ze Frank on celebrity, identity and proximity. And the internet. And Ashton Kutcher. Spoiler: Ze wishes that Ashton wouldn’t care about him.

*Movies: Read the New Yorker‘s Anthony Lane on “Star Trek.” On J.J. Abrams: “He is the perfect purveyor of fictions to a generation so easily and instinctively jaded that what it craves, above all, is a storyteller who—with or without artistic personality, and regardless of any urge to provoke our thoughts or trouble our easy dreams—will never jade.” With or without artistic personality. HAAAAAAaaaaaaaaa.

*Local: Mississippi Drift – Read this old Harper’s article about modern-day hobos setting off from Minneapolis on a self-made barge. I remember reading this when it first appeared in the magazine and promising myself never to become a river-traveling hobo.

*Today’s links: Zero. New scale, unexplained.

*Question: This blog is coming up on two years of operations. Should it be about music, internet culture or just whatever the fuck I’m interested in? Thank you for your time and attention. I am also happy to take your answers via twitter. Regards.

Links for 4.21.09: Cloudspeaker, green porn, Anvil and Absolut…

*Music 2.0: I haven’t really poked around Cloudspeaker, but I’m trying to figure out if it’s a busier Hype Machine. [shorties]

*Green: We wrote about Isabella Rossellini’s “Green Porno” ages ago for the day job. Now she’s back with a series of films about how aquatic life does it. And by it, I can’t even say what I mean. At all. [cinematical]

*Movies: Anthony Lane, my favorite writer working today, gave the heavy metal documentary “Anvil” a rave review in the most recent issue of the New Yorker. [tds]

*Local: Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) singing “A Satisfied Mind” at Eau Claire’s Memorial High School. Who has two fingers and likes Bon Iver? [chuckles]

*Video: An ad for Absolut vodka, called “A vodka movie,” by Zach Galifianakis. Men. Wigs. [hotdogsladies]

*Apps: Capo is a $40 iPhone app that allows wannabe musicians to slow down tracks so they can learn to play them. I can play nothing, though I tried to learn the flute once. [daring fireball]

*Lastly: In place of today’s grades, an editorial comment. I hate City Pages.

Links for 3.23.09: Beckett, The Wiggles, abandoned big boxes…

*Empties: Is there a tumblr of abandoned things? And has it gotten a book deal yet? Here’s a photo essay from Time about abandoned big box stores. Cue the solitary man onstage crying into his own cupped hands. [eyeteeth]

*Photo: Your daily Chris Martin. He is seen here posing with The Wiggles. Submitted without comment.

*Apparel: The Recession is being merchandised. [urlesque]

*Words: If there are two people I like, they’re Anthony Lane and Samuel Beckett. I am a retarded nerd.

“For a man of few words, Beckett wrote an awful lot of them. To date, some fifteen thousand letters have been found.” Fake story: My dad made me memorize “Krapp’s Last Tape” when I was five. Do you understand me now???

*Twitter: Twitter begins placing advertising on the platform with ExecTweets. Also, Salesforce integrates twitter.

*Video: Hey Paul Krugman (a plea). A song.

*Today’s links: D-. Pathetic and nearly wholly without merit.

Links for 11.1.08: Jacko’s non-reunion, Efron’s eyebrows, time’s own lapse…

*Tours: Michael Jackson says he will not be taking part in a Jackson Five reunion tour. Note how I refrained from calling him “noseless pop star Michael Jackson.”

*YouTube: The New Yorker‘s Sasha Frere-Jones on Gorillaz on YouTube. Watch Gorillaz’ “Monkey Bee.” And be terrified.

*Movies: More New Yorker linkage, but I can’t help but love Anthony Lane’s turns of phrase. Of High School Musical‘s Zac Efron he writes, “Troy is still at East High, with his wistful determination and his killer eyebrows, like a younger and more huggable Leonid Brezhnev.”

*Festivals: The Wall Street Journal covers CMJ. I don’t really know what the article says, but at least there’s a short, ill-functioning slideshow.

*Time: Fall back.

Brief notes on music criticism and sports writing

From the comments (and in reference to an item on the death of music criticism that I posted from the Christian Science Monitor the other day), FlatRat offers up an example of modern criticism that is, in his or her opinion, done right – Aidin Vaziri’s review of Paris Hilton’s album “Paris.” (In fact, some of the review appears to have come directly from the Wikipedia entry for Donkey.)

Personally, I don’t really know if there’s been a profound decline in good music criticism, because I never went there for good writing in the first place. I’ve kind of opened myself up to the idea (especially in the past couple of years, when media ubiquity, the growing reality of ambient information, and the idea that important news will “find me” have emerged) that good prose and sharp thinking come from anywhere – and usually when I’m not desperate for them.

Frankly, I read ingenious wordcraft weekly in the sex column “Savage Love,” run into examples of profound thinking daily on twitter, and even see a rare show of perspective once every couple weeks or so in some random listicle that shows up in my feedreader from some dude trying desperately to make diggbait.

On a related note, this weekend I found myself wishing that all sports writing were more like Anthony Lane’s “Letter from Beijing” columns, which have appeared in the last couple issues of the NYer. (I may well be the only sports “fan” who cares about this, or who holds this opinion; FINE.)

Rather than writing, as sports reporters too often do, inside the hermetically sealed bubble of the sporting world, in jaded tones that jam events into rote storylines, there’s actually a sense of WTF in these columns; the WTF that people actually feel when they go to sporting events.

Of a U.S. fencer who has just lost a match to an opponent who’s also her teammate and practice partner, Lane writes, “The natural high color of her face was deepened with perspiration and laved in tears; she looked like a woman ready to call a cab to the airport.” Nice. He goes on, “Instead of which, she composed herself, walked out twenty minutes later for the bronze-medal playoff against the Russian Sofiya Velikaya, went 1–6 down, composed herself again, overhauled her opponent, and won the match, 15–14. How she did this I have no idea.”

I wish all my sports writers were so ignorant.

Later, cracking through into the tightly sealed world of sport are Alan Arkin, Plato, and Fabrizio del Dongo.

I guess what I’m saying is that any person with a degree of cultural fluency can read “care.” Music critics may still care about their subject matter, but most don’t care about their work, or their readers as much as they do about turning the crank. Maybe, as finding good sports writing can mean getting it from film critics, it’s best to look to those who are music-agnostic to find good ideas about tunes.

Meanwhile, it’s become easier, and more fun, to find the few cared-for gems in the listicle-making rough.