or the Exhausting Work of the Technology User

In 1930, the economist John Maynard Keynes famously argued that by the time a century had passed, developed societies would be able to replace work with leisure thanks to widespread wealth and surplus. “We shall do more things for ourselves than is usual with the rich to-day,” he wrote, “only too glad to have small duties and tasks and routines.” Eighty years… read more

Object-Oriented Answers

Responses to Parikka

Jussi Parikka, author of Insect Media among numerous other books, recently posed a series of questions about object-oriented ontology. Levi Bryant has already responded, as has Paul Caplan, and I like both of their responses. I thought I’d offer my own here, so here goes. (The block quotes are Jussi’s questions.) Is not the talk of “object” something that summons… read more

The Illusion of a Literal Description

Garry Winogrand, circa 1974

Tod Papageorge shared with me a talk Garry Winogrand gave at MIT in 1974, which he (Papageorge) introduced. An audio recording from the University of California Riverside’s archive captures much of the lively question and answer period, which included a wealth of fantastic material. Here are two of my favorites: A photograph has to be rational. It has to be… read more

Art History of Games on YouTube

Videos of the Art History of Games talks are now available on YouTube. They’re a bit easier to watch this way, not to mention easier to embed. The whole event was so superb, it’s tough for me to pick favorites. But if I had to, I’d probably settle on talks by Frank Lantz and Brenda Brathwaite, which you can find… read more

She is beautiful, and I love her

New Yorker parodies the New York Times

This is already a month old, but I’m just seeing it now: the New Yorker ran a set of satirical New York Times videogame reviews, in response to the Seth Schiesel fawn over The Beatles: Rock Band (to which I responded strongly, in case you forgot). My favorites: A princess has been kidnapped. Her name is Zelda, she is beautiful,… read more

Ordinary Olympians

Why athletic excellence alone cannot be appreciated

My sister-in-law Susannah is a world-class gymnast. Despite the fact that her event, tumbling, is much, much more atheletic and arresting than plain old artistic gymnastics, it didn’t make the cut even for exhibition at the Beijing games. That may have something to do with China’s weak performance in the sport. In any case, she didn’t get to go this year.… read more

Where in the World was Middle Earth?

A geography professor's hypothetical geomorphology of Middle Earth

Do you read Strange Maps? You should, if you’re at all a map geek. It’s a blog about curious cartography. It’s really exactly the kind of site blogs seem to promise, regular musings on a subject so specific or arcane that another medium couldn’t support regular publication. Thanks largely to Boing Boing, there’s been a running meme lately of subway… read more