Links: Music, Miscellanea, and a Ton About Comics

November 30th, 2007

I haven’t been posting much lately as I attend to other tasks, so once again I must dump a whole ton of links with little commentary. I hope to post again soon with something a little more in-depth.

On the Music Front: Z. (via Church) refers us to an interesting article in Medill Reports about nerdcore. I was glad to see one of these articles finally address where Deltron 3030 fits into this (one of my favorite sci-fi-oriented albums, which is kind of outside the nerdcore scene but not quite popular enough to be “mainstream” either). Also, here’s an SF Weekly article (also via Z.) by someone who everyone seems to agree simply doesn’t get it. And finally, check out this New York Times article about this weekend’s second annual Blip Festival for chiptune music, which notes:

At the Blip Festival nerdiness is proudly displayed: Last year one man came dressed as a piece from the game Tetris. There’s also free beer and a fair amount of dancing — or at least fist-pumping and joystick thrashing — in the audience and among the performers.

I wish I could’ve made it there for the weekend, but alas, there is much left to do. Incidentally, this is hosted by the same venue as the Come Out and Play Festival, another geeky/artsy event I managed to attend last year.

If You Thought “A Series of Tubes” Was Bad: The new “non-geeks don’t get it” point of mockery is Universal Music CEO Doug Morris’s admission that the record industry dropped the ball on digital music and was simply too ignorant to hire capable technologists. The most amusing take on this I’ve seen so far comes from HijiNKS ENSUE (“geek comic”). The comments that follow the blog post remind us, of course, that there are indeed people over the age of 50 who are quite competent with technology. It’s really just the ones in positions of power who seem vilified for not getting it.

Randall Munroe, Geek Psychologist: I’ve been seeing a lot of articles about xkcd lately, including interviews with creator Randall Munroe. Wired’s interview struck me as most interesting. It suggests that Randall has tapped into geek psychology and even helped to encourage changing it, simultaneously celebrating how we over-calculate our lives and encouraging us to take some chances.

Geek Politics: I haven’t seen what I would call universal geeky political values (probably because no such thing exists), but I do often see geeks approaching political issues in proudly geeky ways. Consider, for example, EcoGeek, which blends a love for technology and whatnot for a love of baby seals. Check out a recent post on Greenpeace vs. Nintendo, for example. Meanwhile, though Newsweek suggests “How to Get the Geek Vote,” there’s a decently wide range between how Barack Obama would do that vs. how Ron Paul would do that, so far as I can tell.

Nuance in the Game Violence Debate: Henry Jenkins has a great post up about why you should see Moral Kombat, the new documentary by Spencer Halpin about the video game violence debate. I’m very much looking forward to the documentary itself (even though Spencer unwittingly stole the title for a paper I took too long to submit for publication!). In the meantime, I appreciate Henry’s post for pointing out that the media violence debate is so frequently reduced to “games cause violence”/”no they don’t” that we lose so much of the nuance of what research has actually shown. Some of what I have written on this topic may make me sound like an enemy of researchers who conduct media violence research, but people on every side of the debate often agree more than we disagree when you get right down to what we think would be good parenting or good research. Where we often disagree, of course, is in what we think should be done with that research in terms of public policy.

The Men and Women in Black: The Escapist has a nice little piece up on the community of Penny Arcade Expo volunteers, the Enforcers.

The Final Stage of the Grieving Process: Slashdot commenters discuss the question, when did Star Wars jump the shark?”

Managing Our Hyperreal Lives: A couple links from Slashdot and CNET point us to some interesting food for thought on balancing and integrating our on- and offline lives. First, should we be giving employers our online nicknames in addition to our real names? And second, what do you do when real people with virtual identities pass away? More specifically, what should the role of Second Life publisher Linden Lab be in memorializing a famous SL citizen, now passed away? Some called for an official day of memorial announced by Linden Lab, while others argued that SL residents should handle a memorial on their own—treating Linden Lab more like a watchmaker god than an official governing body. (I just noticed that Linden Lab has taken sort of a middle ground on this, declaring a memorial day for all deceased SL’ers and donating real estate to be used for services.

Also, I should note that that second article is from CNET’s “Geek Gestalt” column by Daniel Terdiman. Daniel explains that he’s been writing about geeky stuff for awhile now, but they’re just now getting around to overtly calling it geeky.

Webcomics and Community Service: Comixtalk has a series up (part 1, part 2, and part 3) about how webcomics creators can do comics-oriented community service projects—both as a genuine act that reflects well on the webcomics community, and also as “a move towards greater real world visibility.” Part of the reason I’m making note of this is that I did a paper on “comics activism” that I need to update and revise for publication.

Cream of the Comics Criticism Crop: The Guardian blog offers suggestions for the best of the comics blogosphere. Part of the reason I’m making note of this is that I’m working on a paper about blogging as a form of internet-based research to supplement the forum-based research I see so often, and I figured this quote might come in handy when discussing audiences: “avoid the forums, where the anonymous pedants make Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons look like Edmund Wilson.”

Scott Pilgrim Appeals to Nerds, Fags (but in a good way): Nerds Gone Wild reviews Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together. Everyone seems to love these books (and I count myself among them.) What fascinated me about this review, though, was its use of the terms “indie fag” and “indie-arts-fag” as separate but equal groups to “comic nerds” (and both, as I’m reading it, groups you should be happy to be a part of).

A Trip Through Comic Con Visual History: Mary in Comic Con Land is a blog posting photos from many years of Comic Con. It’s a neat resource, giving a sense of how things have changed with the con over the years.

Reading Comics Online: Tod Allen discusses the new digital distribution systems for print comics, touching upon subscription models and technical limitations. And on a related note, Sean Kleefeld suggests why the formal elements of digital comics favor short strips over long books. It’s an interesting argument—but the post was guaranteed a link by being the first blog where I’ve actually seen the writer’s geek code so prominently displayed.

Whew, that helped clean up my browser. I’ll be back again soon for something a little more commentary-oriented.


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3 Responses to “Links: Music, Miscellanea, and a Ton About Comics”

  1. Church Says:

    First, what the heck was that? Trackback spam?

    Second, “And second, what do you do when” When what?

  2. Jason Tocci Says:

    Yeah, I get a ton of trackback spam. Akismet catches most of it, but sometimes things slip through and I have to manually mark them. (It’s gone now.)

    And yeah, I somehow totally failed to finish that sentence originally. Probably I saw something shiny and wandered off. Thanks for catching that!

  3. Church Says:

    OIC. Interesting question.

    BTW, if you’re not ringside at the SFWA/IP law catfight, round two (crap, I’m starting to sound like HJ) pull up a seat here:
    http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2007/11/sfwa_attempts_to_commit_public.html