The Null Device


Apparently the message of recent films such as Spider-Man and the latest Star Wars is that celibacy is a heroic virtue, and bootywhang is the root of all evil. Which the author considers surprising, given the traditional belief that Hollywood is a den of hot-tub hedonists whose ultra-permissive liberal ideology infuses everything they touch.

(I'd say that "Hollywood liberalism" is a myth. Hollywood is a set of commercial ventures, far beyond human scale, and dealing in whatever rakes in the most profits; i.e., having a bias towards crowd-pleasing populism, which, by its very nature, sticks to familiar and conservative beliefs and motifs. For every oversexed flower-child auteur, there are dozens of accountants, script doctors, market researchers, lawyers and other components of the studio apparatus to keep them in check, and keep things profitable.)

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Loose Talk Is Noose Talk: A look at the NSA's retro-styled information-security posters. Very retro, and not too unlike Soviet Socialist Realism.

Tangent #1: Does anybody remember the old Microsoft Word for Windows installer, from the days when it came on floppies and ran on Windows 3.1? It had the usual set of images shown whilst installing, but to save space, they were all vector images, of neat arrays of documents, office computers and such. It struck me how they looked like the late-capitalist equivalent of Soviet propaganda posters.

Tangent #2: Does anybody know where I could find images of the propaganda posters from Terry Gilliam's Brazil?

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Russia's answer to the Cave Clan call themselves Diggers of the Underground Planet, and explore the vast labyrinth of tunnels beneath Moscow, finding everything from secret subway lines and disused facilities of various sorts to Neverwhere-like societies of fringe dwellers and sinister groups of uniformed men doing god only knows what:

According to the Diggers, the underground is also a refuge for former prisoners. It is against the law for ex-convicts to reside in the Russian capital, so those who do move to the city must find inconspicuous lodgings. Some settle in basements with good air-conditioning systems and two or three exits. Sometimes they gather in groups, living by "prison laws."
In a tunnel under the Centrobank building, the Diggers observed uniformed people in masks equipped with powerful halogen lamps. The Diggers were afraid to follow them lest they should come under fire. So far, security services have not taken the Diggers' reports of these sightings seriously.
Under the Skliffasovsky clinic the Diggers encountered people dressed in monk's robes, carrying torches around a strange-looking altar made of stone. They were performing some sort of service and singing. When they saw the Diggers, they hurriedly disappeared.

(via bOING bOING)

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