5 Quick Things: August 2019

Welcome to 5 Quick Things that I saw since last month that I thought were interesting enough to share with you. None of them are particularly timely so feel free to just enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

>Number One<

The Scroll is Too Damn Long

I’ve been thinking recently about all the books I won’t read in a lifetime. You see, one day I will die and because of that I won’t be able to read an infinite number of books and have to choose and select the books I consume. The internet has decided that’s a ridiculous idea and to instead, heap more content onto the pile than any human brain can content with. With the ability to endlessly refresh, access practically anything at anytime, it’s amazing we get anything done at all. This article about the eroding control over how we interface with content on the internet and its designed inaccessibility to make real choices about which content we see gets to the heart of some of my frustration with the current ways our technology is designed and points to a few things on the horizon that might abate these problems but the thing that keep striking me is this single sentence:

We arenโ€™t designed to live in the world weโ€™re creating.

>Number Two<

What Do We Get Out of This?

I’ve never watched “trash TV” also commonly know as the “tabloid talk show” but I found this video from Jack Saint featuring a fairly interesting analysis of these shows so good I had a hard time not linking it to everyone I knew. This video came about when one of these show was recently removed from airing in the UK after a guest on the show committed suicide. While these shows often exploit their guests and have other quite negative social effects as a whole, it’s interesting why this was the moment the show was removed from air and also underlines many of the problems with this genre of television.

For me, the most interesting part of this was a question Jack asks about why people watch these shows. What are people getting out of this show that isn’t available anywhere else? What does this medium offer? I’ve found myself idly thinking about actions in my own life and media I have consumed and enjoyed in a slightly different lens since I watched this. What is my version of this show? What do I look at to make myself feel superior and good about myself?

I think this video does a great job of exploring many ins and outs of the genre, how we’re quick to try and simplify situations so that we can quickly judge people, and why it might be good to take a second and remind ourselves how complex other people are before we make any snap judgements.

>Number Three<

Time Should Be Up

It’s not that Tarantino isn’t talented, it’s just that his time is over. It existed and was tolerated and now, he’s done. I feel this way about a number of directors but Tarantino has always been particularly loud and confrontational so he gets a lot of think pieces about him and here’s a little more ink that’s somewhat close to my feelings (except the only Tarantino movie I actually like is Kill Bill). There are plenty of problems with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood that this article doesn’t even start to list but at the top of thesis is that Tarantino disrespects the women who work with him on set, he disrespects them in his narratives, and he moves quickly to apologize and protect men who have done violent acts to women in real life and it should make us not want to endorse him any further even if we have enjoyed or continue to enjoy his past endeavors.

Also if he makes a Star Trek movie I’m going to be extremely sad because the phrase “Pulp Fiction in space” is the opposite of Star Trek. I know there are people who want gritty, sad everything these days but I thought we learned out lesson from letting Snyder make Superman into a dark, gritty monster that no one actually likes that. It lost Warner Bros money, I didn’t think Paramount would be dumb enough to think that’s a good business move in light of…all the evidence.

>Number Four<

Poverty is decreasing but…

Poverty is solvable. That’s not even the question here. Unlike many problems we face, poverty is a solvable problem with a simple solution: give poor people money. Boom. Problem solved. The wackiest part is that this problem has become more solvable over time but we have made shockingly slow and little process to alleviate the problem and it becomes a moral imperative to solve it as the problem becomes less impactful on us to do so. As this essay states:

“[T]he morally relevant metric of progress against poverty is neither absolute numbers nor proportions, but rather the extent of global poverty compared to our capacity to end it.  By that metric, he says, we are doing worse than at any time in history.”

This runs parallel to the fact that inequality grows greater in most places in the world year over year. Since poverty in these studies has an impressively low bar for quality of life and access to daily basics, I find it all immoral and deeply saddening.

>Number Five<

Fic is Future

Fanfiction is something I’m pretty passionate about. I’ve been reading fanfiction for over 20 years and writing fanfiction for nearly as long. This article gets to the heart and what I love and cherish most about fanfiction and maybe it’ll help you understand what I love about it or maybe it’ll be a link you can send someone else to help them understand. If you already read, write, or love fic you probably won’t find anything new but it’s always nice to know that you’re not alone (even if no one ever comments on your fic and they only leave kudos!)

Anyway, that’s all for now, see you next month!

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