The Null Device
Meme watch: I've recently noticed the word "goth" used as a pejorative to describe anything non-mainstream, i.e., non-commercial radio, non-Top-40 music, films with subtitles, clothes without prominent brand logos, not following the Olympics. Seems very post-Columbine.
Inexplicable: A New Zealand law firm found a near-identical copy of their web site in Russia, only with names and locations Russianised. Could this be part of some incredibly subtle con, of the sort that flourishes in a cash-strapped nation of chess players, or is that too simple an explanation?
Hollywood in action: A leaked email reveals plans for the Harry Potter film, including Robin Williams' role, product placement and even a romantic interest:
Still need to delete more limey words. I mean, what the hell's a "prefect"? At first I thought it was a typo for "perfect."
the last thing we need is uptight Falwell followers picketing cineplexes. So I've come up with a couple of script adds, nothing major, just some subtle fix-its. First, let's have Potter wear a crucifix throughout the film. Also, just before he confronts the evil Voldemort, let's have him say a tearful prayer asking for help and guidance. (I know it sounds cheesy, but when Culkin took refuge in his local church in "Home Alone," our preview scores shot through the roof!)
What happens when corporations own culture: The anti-globalisation protesters have adopted a John Farnham song as their anthem. However, this song is owned by BMG, a huge multinational recording company. The Big Mean German is now now threatening to sue the protesters for "breach of copyright". They're on shaky ground, as S11 is only linking to a copy of the song held elsewhere, but they'd have enough lawyers to give the dreadlocked lefties a good spanking either way. John Farnham could not be reached to comment. (via Virulent Memes)
The new Derf City postulates what will happen when Britney Spears meets Keith Richards.
Researchers at the Institute of Psychology have discovered that men are biologically programmed to fall in love at the age of 50, dumping long-term partners and taking younger trophy wives. This phenomenon, termed the "Michael Douglas Syndrome", was no doubt an evolutionarily advantageous mutation, allowing men with this trait another chance to pass their genes on with a fit, fertile partner.
There has been some disharmony in Hollywood's Estevez/Sheen family. Joe Estevez, best known for starring in direct-to-video thrillers like Hell Comes to Frogtown and Legend of the Roller Blade Seven, has recorded two pro-gun commercials. Apparently he was chosen because he sounds like his brother Martin Sheen. Sheen, however, was not pleased, and recorded an anti-gun commercial in reply.
Last evening, I went to see a performance by country singer/novelist/all-round wacky funster Kinky Friedman, who performed along with Little Jewford, the sole surviving member of his infamous country band, the Texas Jewboys. I'm not a fan of country music (and didn't get into the support act at all), but found the whole show very amusing. Friedman performed a number of his well-known songs (Get Your Biscuits In The Oven And Your Buns In The Bed, They Ain't Makin' Jews Like Jesus No More and Asshole from El Paso were some of the numbers), read an excerpt from one of his books and generally clowned around on stage, with Little Jewford playing the straight-man, replete with ridiculously Muppetish voice and gestures. All in all, most entertaining. I understand that he will be appearing in Melbourne again, both musically and at the writers' festival, and can recommend seeing him.
The fascinating (if somewhat politicised, in a Freudian-Marxist way) history of a taboo word, and the evolution and decline of linguistic taboos in English. (via Found)
(in c1230) in the Stews area of Southwark there was a street called Gropecuntelane... [which] may have been later shortened to Grope Lane, and a similar example can be found in York, where a Grope Lane was "renamed [to Grape Lane] by staid Victorians who found the original Grope - historically related to prostitution - too blatant"
While Victorian social codes and public conventions were conservative and repressive, private perversion and pornography were commonplace. Indeed, the Victorians were the most prolific producers and consumers of pornography in history.
The French Connection `fuck' campaign centred around the acronym "fcuk" (`French Connection United Kingdom'), and it bears a striking similarity to `Cnut', an arcane spelling of the name of Viking invader King Canute. `Fcuk' and `Cnut' are both taboo words with their respective middle letters reversed, the difference being that `fcuk' was a deliberate reference to `fuck' whereas `Cnut' was an accidental reference to `cunt'. This accidental reference may, however, explain why `Canute' has replaced `Cnut'. Similarly, "It is a likely speculation that the Norman French title Count was abandoned in England in favour of the Germanic Earl, precisely because of the uncomfortable phonetic proximity to cunt"
Picture a boot stamping on a human face, forever. A Sony senior vice president outlines how Napster will be crushed at all cost, instituting a regime of institutionalised censorship more thorough than anything the religiots could come up with:
"We will develop technology that transcends the individual user. We will firewall Napster at source -- we will block it at your cable company, we will block it at your phone company, we will block it at your [Internet-service provider]. We will firewall it at your PC."