February 2004

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I’m sitting in the Taxonomy pre-conference thingie here at the IA Summit. For four years I’ve been wanting to take this one, and even though I have some basics I figured I’d do the whole course. It’s just Friday, the rest of the conference is just…well…regular conference stuff.

Austin is flat. And they have a new building downtown that looks like it came from the set of a Batman movie.

That’s all for now.

Denby ticked me off when he reviewed Fight Club so ham-handedly some years back. But he redeems himself here in his review of Mel Gibson’s “The Passion.”

In this recent article, Wired News: Interreality Business Machines, we learn that IBM is taking virtual economies seriously by developing heavy-hitting software for dealing with the logistics of “pretend” economies in online multiplayer game environments.

Keeping track of thousands of people buying and selling and bartering in real time is chip-melting stuff, if you’re trying to do it while simultaneously keeping track of how each transaction is affecting the world it happens in as well. So, this is one step toward enabling even bigger multiplayer environments.

But it’s also a step toward connecting real-world economies with virtual ones. It’s already happening, but awkwardly, with virtual trade leaking out of the ‘game’ and into other environments, like eBay.

I’m a big believer that reality is socially constructed. No, I’m no hard-bitten post-structuralist… I’m just acknowledging a very powerful truth. I’ve also been exposed to just enough Marx that I happen to believe that our money is a big part of what dictates the contours of ‘reality’ for us.

This development is just one more factor effacing the distinction between “real” and “virtual” for human experience.

Check out the amazing list of repercussions from Janet’s faux pax: CNN.com – The Jackson stunt: What now? – Feb. 6, 2004

The thing is, people seem to be so focused on the breast itself. But it was the context that created the flap. (No pun intended. Really.) I mean, if the boob hadn’t prairie-dogged, was the context of the song, the lascivious nature of the dancing and the fetishy clothing enough to cause this outrage?

I guess what I’m getting at is this: was it really so awful? I think the thing that offends me about it isn’t the breast itself, it was the cynical, callow use of it in this context. And the foolishness of promoters and planners and NFL execs who think that cheerleaders flashing their inner thighs and come-hither looks, or the bombardment of sexual imagery in the commercials during games, or the chest-painted fans are any more “family-friendly and all-American” than Janet’s borg-like nipple.

And why is it that everybody is up in arms over this (something that happend after *my* kid was in bed and asleep, mind you), when all through the day Sunday you could’ve seen hundreds of people shot, murdered, raped or abused on hundreds of other TV broadcast movies and shows?

Boob tube indeed.

Julia’s Birthday?

Probably the prettiest Google logo I’ve seen yet… it’s the one that happens to be up today, and it links to an image search of julia fractal patterns. Yum.