The Null Device
Salon has a fascinating piece on China's Weiku generation, a generation of young, wired hipsters that arose in China in the wake of the Internet boom.
Members of the Weiku generation dominate China's newly emerging avant-garde art and independent music scenes, and are also emerging as some of the newer stars in theater and film. A disproportionately large number of Weikus, after receiving visual arts degrees, went to work in advertising and design companies. Some of the more enterprising have launched their own companies, often in the areas of Web site and graphic design. They're willing to wear traditional business attire to work, but accessorize their clothes with a wry smile of practical irony.
The political passions of Chinese youth have long since been diluted by the market economy anyway, and while there is little fondness for the Communist Party, the Weikus see no point in replacing the bastards they know with the bastards they don't. What they consider more important is to push China's stagnant culture to start developing along with its economy, and to stimulate more critical thinking, now so lacking in cautious, conformist Chinese society.
Sex sells, as any survey of advertising billboards will confirm. now two projects seek to utilise this principle to sell religion. First, there are the Swedish entrepreneurs working on a Bible with scantily-clad supermodels; and now, the world's oldest multinational corporation has gotten in on the act. Apparently someone in Rome saw this and decided that nothing would liven up the current Pope's private prayers as having them read out by Broccoli Spears, N'Sync and other contemporary artists of similar calibre. Who knows, perhaps Britney will do for Catholicism what Marilyn Manson did for Satanism?
There's a new Windows email virus, capable of destroying files and damaging systems. This time, it's purely memetic. The SULFNBK.EXE virus consists of a warning email, warning of a dangerous and undetectable virus, hidden in a file named SULFNBK.EXE, and instructing the recipient to locate and delete this file. SULFNBK.EXE, however, is a Windows system component to do with long filenames, and deleting it does the damage. (via Plastic)
Armchair revolutionaries, rejoice. A US company has made an anti-corporate protest computer game, modelled on the Seattle riots. In State of Emergency, players get to smash shit up and take on riot cops to overthrow the oppressive American Trade Organization.
This makes one wonder:
- Do players get to smash real-world corporate logos? If so, did the publisher license them from Nike, McDonalds et al.? If so, wonder how much Nike makes from each copy sold?
- Who owns Take Two Interactive Software; wouldn't it be ironic if it were a tentacle of AOL Time Warner or someone.
A thought: If Titanic was, in the words of the Film Threat review, "Star Wars for chicks", what does that make Pearl Harbor? "Independence Day for chicks"?
Secret histories: There's a new book out about the fascinating history of women sailors in centuries past:
When she grew up she married a sailor and went to sea. Soon she left her husband for the infamous pirate Jack Rackam, whose crew she joined, dressed as a man. She then conceived a passion for another crewman, and confessed her sex to him. Sadly, he turned out to be a woman too, Mary Read . . .
It had to happen: computer games for cats. Well, actually, it looks more like a cat-teasing screensaver. (via Jim)
Now this is amusing: the Buddha and Hitler Show; sort of like Guido and Jocasta meet Terence and Phillip. (via Grouse)
Now, when you pirate MP3s in Brazil, you really are downloading Communism.
I'm not making this up: The latest stop on band touring schedules in the southern US is the tiny, conservative hamlet of Skullbone, TN. Named after a form of bare-knuckle boxing, Skullbone and its environs are a sort of redneck homeland; Confederate flags are everywhere, and at the local band venue, which has played host to acts like Nazareth and Eddie Money (who, I'm told, are well-known), vendors sell Ku Klux Klan merchandise. Not surprisingly, the legendary Southern hospitality is not extended to all:
Asked whether it was safe for black people to attend concerts at Skullbone, one vendor of concert souvenirs, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: "I'd advise against it. It's not a good idea. They're liable to get beat up. Last year there were two blacks in the alcohol-free area, and when the sun went down, people started saying things like, `Those two trees there look mighty sturdy to me.' They got out of there pretty quick."