The Null Device
Beware the badly-translated Asian Two Towers bootleg DVD captions; some are oddly streetwise, like "Bring your pussy face to my ass" and "You gonna pick it up or what?"; and some, like Eomer saying "too long i wanted my sister" are just disturbing. (via MeFi)
The Melbourne Electronic Music Festival Film Festival programme looks interesting. Perhaps too biased towards the dance-music side of things, but should be interesting nonetheless.
Won't someone think of the children? Under new laws unveiled in Britain to protect children from the paedophile menace, having sex in one's private garden will be a crime, punishable by up to six months. Sex in one's home is still legal, however, even with the blinds open. If you're in Britain, now may be your last chance to legally have a bonk in your backyard (though wouldn't it be too cold for that sort of thing?)
The latest craze in Germany is kartoffelkanone, or "potato bazookas" made from drainage pipes which launch potatoes using ignited hairspray. There have already been several injuries.
A spokesman for the police in Brandenburg said: Woodland on Sundays echoes to the thump-thump of these guns. It is a growing social problem that needs to be tackled.
Could this be the European equivalent of backyard wrestling? (via Slashdot)
European journalist Timothy Garton Ash's survey of anti-Europeanism in America; Europeans are seen as "EU-nuchs" or "cheese-eating surrender monkeys"; cowardly, amoral, godless, unprincipled, weak, effeminate, petulant, hypocritical, anti-Semitic, of poor personal hygiene and monumentally ungrateful for America constantly saving their asses: (via Graham)
A study should be written on the sexual imagery of these stereotypes. If anti-American Europeans see "the Americans" as bullying cowboys, anti-European Americans see "the Europeans" as limp-wristed pansies... The sexual imagery even creeps into a more sophisticated account of AmericanEuropean differences, in an already influential Policy Review article by Robert Kagan of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace entitled "Power and Weakness." "Americans are from Mars," writes Kagan approvingly, "and Europeans are from Venus"echoing that famous book about relations between men and women, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.
Anti-Americanism and anti-Europeanism are at opposite ends of the political scale. European anti-Americanism is mainly to be found on the left, American anti-Europeanism on the right. The most outspoken American Euro-bashers are neoconservatives using the same sort of combative rhetoric they have habitually deployed against American liberals. In fact, as Jonah Goldberg himself acknowledged to me, "the Europeans" are also a stalking-horse for liberals. So, I asked him, was Bill Clinton a European? "Yes," said Goldberg, "or at least, Clinton thinks like a European."
(Meanwhile, Tony Blair is seen as a honorary American, or at least as a member of the US State Department, and trying to tow Britain across the Atlantic, as it were. Already the renowned New Labour spin doctors who created "Cool Brittannia" are working with the Whitehouse to sell "Brand USA" to a skeptical (and Europeanised) British public. The modest proposal of a few years back that Britain leave the EU and join the United States is looking somewhat less absurd.)
The Kraftwerk gig was excellent. I showed up and made my way to the balcony, finding a spot with a good view of the stage, as David Thrussell was playing all sorts of weird tunes. Then the DJ stopped, and things were quiet for some minutes, except for the crowd yelling and stamping.
Then the Metro was filled with the sound of an old-fashioned speech synthesizer uttering bits of German, and the curtain rose, revealing four middle-aged men standing behind consoles (and looking not unlike characters from some Star Trek-like TV show). They played Computerworld and the projection screen glowed cathode-ray green (older readers may remember this colour); they also did Pocket Calculator, with an animation of a calculator, their (quite topical) anti-nuclear protest song Radioactivity, a version of Neon Lights with a verse in German, and their one song about a pretty girl, The Model.
While they stayed at their workstations, playing keyboards and operating their laptops, visuals were projected on the screen behind them, ranging from the sorts of retrofuturistic computer graphics (lots of wireframes; remember when those were cool and shading was too expensive?) to old stock footage of the Tour de France, train and road travel across Europe and the like.
Their songs varied quite a bit from the recordings; the version of The Robots started with them transposing the main riff into different notes, and went on into some improvisation with new (yet quite fitting) synth lines.
(Oh yes, the consoles they were using looked pretty nifty, consisting of a keyboard of some sort, a foot pedal and a laptop. I wonder whether the keyboard part is an off-the-shelf instrument of some sort, or a box containing various controllers and such, and indeed whether the keyboard is not just a controller for software on the laptop, Kraftwerk being famed for their fondness for Cubase VST.)