This Play Has Everything

 

Speaking of monkeys, Jesse David Fox has a great interview with some of the people behind the fantastic Planet of the Apes musical episode from way back in the Simpsons’ 7th season. The Simpsons’ musical composer, Alf Clausen, discusses how he tries to bring some seriousness to the show:

I hearken back to something that was said to me a long time ago by a trumpet player who worked in the studios. He said to me, “You can’t vaudeville vaudeville.” The reason for that particular directive is that he said if you wanted to make something funny, you don’t use funny music to go there. You use music that is extremely serious.

Clausen expands on that with his interview on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross:

GROSS: When you’re writing a song parody are you trying to write it as if it were serious, as if it were really a Broadway show or really a movie theme?

CLAUSEN: Absolutely, not only in creating the songs, but in creating the underscore music for “The Simpsons” and trying to give credence to the emotional content of what the characters are saying. I’m always extremely serious, and I think what happens is that the the listener and observer gets pulled into the situation more effectively once the music is serious, so that when the gag finally comes, the gag then becomes twice as funny.

I think about the musical underscore for shows a lot, how they ham it up during emotional moments to further draw you in. It works.

Fresh Air recently recompiled their old interviews with Simpsons creators and you can read the rest of that episode’s transcript, but really you should listen to it. Here’s the Overcast link for the episode.

 

Nine Inch Nails Collaborated With Llamasoft’s Jeff Minter and Twin Peaks

This is frankly insane, there’s a new video out from Nine Inch Nails and it’s got footage from Llamasoft’s Polybius.  Jeff Minter is Llamasoft and he has made many other trippy and intense action arcade games, most people would know him for Tempest 2000. Although Polybius is only available on the PlayStation 4, a Windows version is in development. The track in the collaboration video above, Less Than, will be on a new EP called Add Violence on the 21st of July. Less Than is available right now on Apple Music.

This is after Nine Inch Nails also appeared on the renewed Twin Peaks:

Decrypting Sneakers

The surest way to gain a link is to talk about the best movie of all time, Sneakers, as Priscilla Page has by taking apart the film for Birth.Movies.Death:

Phil Alden Robinson’s Sneakers might just be the most undervalued movie of all time. It’s a political thriller, a caper, “tech-noir,” a little like Three Days of the Condor reimagined as a buddy film. Sneakers is awash in shades of blue, as if its story takes place in the shadows, or in the glow of an old computer screen. James Horner’s score features strings, a choir, and Branford Marsalis on soprano saxophone — it’s a wintry, whimsical, haunting thing. Sneakers is the creation of Phil Alden Robinson, Lawrence Lasker, and Walter F. Parkes, who sought to make a movie they would want to see. It took 10 years to write, ultimately becoming an excuse for these guys to hang out.

Back when DVDs were still a thing you would own and want to collect, I’d give out copies of this movie to my friends who I am sure never watched it. Sneakers is fantastic, but when you roughly try to explain to someone that it’s a movie about hacking they think Hackers and immediately tune out because that is going to be a goofy, unrealistic, bad time. Sneakers is unrealistic, but the relationships in it are incredibly relatable.

As Priscilla points out, this is also a movie that is not really high-tech. All of the 90’s and early 2000’s movies about hacking realized that people sitting at a computer typing is boring as shit to watch. So many of the crew’s solutions in Sneakers are about personal interactions and introduced concepts like social engineering that I didn’t know about when I saw the film.

Go watch the movie, then read the rest of Priscilla’s article.

YouTube Celebrities Don’t Understand Journalism

Jim Sterling writing about the reactions YouTube celebrities have had to their racism being reported on:

The Internet has warped the idea of “free speech” to mean “speech without consequence” and that’s simply not what it is.

Absolutely, JonTron can share a Trumpian view on immigration and claim discrimination isn’t a problem, but other people have the exact same right to call him out on it. Given how insular YouTube communities can be, it’s easy to see why some might believe they’re free from the consequences of speech, but as their entertainment empires grow and more people become aware of them, they’re going to find those consequences are very real and they hit like a sack of bricks.

Send the schmo to talk to Letterman!

David Marchese has this fantastic interview with David Letterman. They talk about our Dear Leader and other topics, but this part echoes the considerations of many people after Trump insulted John Lewis:

David Marchese: Is it fair to say you’re not interested in revisiting a late-night talk show?
David Letterman: My interest has shifted. When I’m talking about things to do now, it’s not like, God-dang, let’s get right back into comedy. Let’s call the Butterball hotline on Thanksgiving. But bring in Donald Trump or Mike Pence or somebody, and let me smother them with my ignorance. I’ll tell you what really got up my nose — do you have a minute? — was the John Lewis thing. Congressman John Lewis. Do I have the name right?

DM: Yep.
DL: So he announces he’s boycotting the inauguration. Trump hops on his Twitter device and describes John Lewis as just another all-talk, no-action congressman, so sad.

DM: It turns out John Lewis has been involved in a fair bit of action.
DL: Holy God. First of all, because I’m always thinking about myself, I think, I was about John Lewis’s age when he marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Would I have had the guts to do that? The all-talk John Lewis goes down there and gets a goddamned skull fracture. I mean, Trumpy will never have to worry about a skull fracture because of the hair. Thank you! How do you know if Donald Trump is lying? His lips are moving. Thank you! But in addition to every other thing that’s wrong with the Trump, he’s ignorant in a way that’s insulting to the office, insulting to America, insulting to human rights, insulting to civil rights, insulting to John Lewis. Trump saying that broke my heart. I thought, You stupid son of a bitch. You ought to have known better than that.

New Roger Waters Album Soon

Roger Waters’ politics are his music, and that looks like it won’t change a bit in his next album, Is This The Life We Really Want, which was announced today as coming soon with the teaser video above. He’s also touring in the US again.

There’s a good interview with him on a recent episode of Marc Maron’s WTF podcast.

Decades ago I saw Waters in concert, and his Radio Waves solo album is one of my favorites. Can’t wait for this.

PewDiePie And YouTube Are Still Getting Paid

Jacob Clifton writing about the recently publicized (on the WSJ) anti-semetic videos from Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg:

With a celebrity like Kjellberg, it also invokes the idea that, if being a “fan” is part of your identity, any questioning of him is an indictment of you on at least two levels: both as a heroic independent thinker, and as a man with refined enough tastes to like the thing that you like. An exploration of your culture, whether that’s video games or YouTubers or white supremacy, is absolutely an attack on you, from an angle you’re no more likely to see than you are the back of your own head.

The title of the article was “PewDiePie Isn’t a Monster, He’s Someone You Know” before it was edited to “The Downfall Of YouTube’s Biggest Star Is A Symptom Of A Bigger Illness.” I suffer from the same syndrome of changing headlines, but I believe the first title was more appropriate.

There’s a combination of a 27-year-old with money and fame, and a regular theme from gaming culture online that it is standard and expected to say bad things and prove how little you care, that created this. It’s the smug attitude you might expect if you picture a late-90s hacker, or all of the communities on reddit, 4chan, IRC networks, and elsewhere that celebrate hate as a matter of course.

They will be up-in-arms at every attack on PewDiePie and their right to be assholes. I left one of my favorite gaming communities on IRC when it turned into a place where anti-semetic, racist, and homophobic views couldn’t be questioned. My hope came from the others that left first when we met up again in another online place.

Clifton:

Are they monsters? No. But you use the “monsters” to keep yourself from recognizing this about them, to avoid talking to them about it, to keep from opening the can and seeing what’s inside. You’d prefer to wait, and hope that the endpoint of the story in his case is something different. Violence, hatred, and organized activity are for the ones other people associate with, not the ones you know and love.

PewDiePie’s response, besides deleting the videos with anti-semetic messages, is that the reporters are to blame. He spends the first few minutes of the video explaining that because he’s rich, and he pushes back on “the media,” that’s why, he says, they highlighted his anti-semetic videos.

During the video Kjellberg says he’s sorry that although some people thought what he did was funny, others didn’t think like his jokes. His joke was hiring people to hold up a sign that says “Death to all jews.” It’s the kind of apology that a teacher would describe as “Not good enough.”

Kjellberg also complains in the response video that it’s a generational gap that makes people not understand his not-at-all-funny anti-semetic jokes.

Finally, Kjellberg ends the video by thanking the people that support him and flipping off the camera with a sarcastic “Thanks, Wall Street Journal.”

Kjellberg is not a monster, he’s not sorry, and he will continue to receive advertising dollars from every video he puts up. Google’s YouTube business will still get paid, as well, they only removed ads from some of his videos before but declined to remove them from YouTube. If he had actually made a sincere apology, I wouldn’t have a problem with him continuing, but without that he has emboldened his fans to make their own anti-semetic jokes and nothing has changed.