I don’t understand hating on the Royal Wedding. First of all, I am stoked for any occasion in which I can stay up all night, eat snacks, watch a fancy ritual filled with beautiful things and obsess over strange famous people that I don’t normally care about and contemplate the social hierarchy established over thousands of years but reconstructed and particularly manipulated for modern media. And that it involves lots of tsotchkes and possibilities for tsotchkes! It’s a particularly campy and feminine pleasure and one I’m not embarrassed at all to take part in.
Of course, I think that Prince William is a balding dweeb, and I think that Kate Middleton should have at least started some sort of Lauren Bush style charity effort to distract from the fact that she is a boring rich girl from a vulgar family. The only wedding I’ve been to and really liked was my own, and if I ever have a daughter, I will tell her that the only way to become a Princess is to win the Nobel Prize in something, preferably economics or physics.
But whatever! I’ve yet to see a critique of it all that wasn’t just a sexist assessment of other people’s affective displays. It’s practically against the law these days to say anything less of videogames than that they are a superior form of recreation that is making us into better humans. No one is given space in respected publications to complain about how the World Series is boring and long and full of juiceheads and wifebeaters. No one will judge you if you stay up all night watching the Olympics (unless it’s Gymnastics or Figure Skating) or the World Cup. If you work in an office, they organize an interactive competition around College Basketball.
I’m not complaining, because I also love sports on television, particularly for their spectacle. I love any sort of spectacle because watching such is the dominant form of cultural participation. So cut me a break, okay?
when I started getting spam invites to something called “quepasa.com”. For some reason I assumed it was a version of Quora for Latinos. You know, where you could ask “What is Castro really up to with all this?” and “How is your abuelita?”
Like quilting, archiving employs the obsessive stitching together of many small pieces into a larger vision, a personal attempt at ordering a chaotic world. It’s not such a far leap from the quiltmaker to the stamp collector or book collector. Walter Benjamin, an obsessive collector himself, wrote about the close connection between collecting and making in his essay “Unpacking My Library”: “Among children, collecting is only one process of renewal; other processes are the painting of objects, the cutting out of figures, the application of decals — the whole range of childlike modes of acquisition, from touching things to giving them names.” In Benjaminan terms, all of these impulses — making, collecting & archiving — can be construed as folk practices.
Let’s add to that the organizing of digital materials. The advent of digital culture has turned each one of us into an unwitting archivist. From the moment we used the “save as” command when composing electronic documents, our archival impulses began. “Save as” is a command that implies replication; and replication requires more complex archival considerations: where do I store the copy? Where is the original saved? What is the relationship between the two? Do I archive them both or do I delete the original?
When our machines become networked, it gets more complicated. When we take that document and email it to a friend or professor, our email program automatically archives a copy of both the email we sent as well as duplicating our attachment and saving it into a “sent items” folder. If that same document is sent to a listserv, then that identical archival process is happening on dozens — perhaps even thousands — of machines, this time archived as a “received item” on each of those email systems. When we, as members of that listserv, open that attachment, we need to decide if — and then where — to save it.” —Kenneth Goldsmith, “Archiving is the New Folk Art”
This is pretty horrible advice, and I agree 100% with TS and JJ’s assessments.
I kinda like the shop because it has second hand stuff, but the bike accessories selection is both limited and down-market (every single store in this town seriously only carries those shitty Planet Bike lights? Ugh.) and I never buy anything.” —Of course, I do love a good bad Yelp review, one self-aware enough to recognize the utterly petty nature of its existence, such as the one above penned by one of my bffs whose account consists only of such. I also REALLY enjoy reading Yelp pages of CVS’s and Dunkin Donuts in Philly, as they are all revelatory in their “this place sucks” and “this place sucks and it smells bad”-ness, because, of course the CVS sucks, and of course the Dunkin Donuts’ bathroom is disgusting. I like complaint as a form of showing off, only when the user’s ability to complain is the point of focus, not the slings and arrows that they are able to perceive.
Attention, Yelpers: FUCK YOU. We understand that you have difficulty comprehending basic info, so we repeat: FUCK YOU. As long-standing members of the restaurant industry, we feel a moral imperative to reiterate on behalf of our community: FUCK YOU, Yelpers. Your asinine, masturbatory online hobby is literally fucking our livelihoods. We bet it’s a bundle o’ fun to pretend at being real restaurant critics. Sadly, all you’re really doing is expressing an inability to communicate directly, verbally, and effectively with your fellow humans. Service slow? Order wrong? Waitperson’s shoes too ugly? Would you like these things changed? Probably best to semianonymously post nasty things online that we’ll read, like, four days later, right? WRONG, YOU FART-HUFFING IMBECILES. If you come to our restaurants and something goes wrong, and you tell us TO OUR FACES, we’ll either fix the problem or give you free shit. Stop being such bratty fucking children, Yelpers of Seattle.
Of course I think that Yelp is nuts, in mostly the best ways. It’s such a weird way of communicating anonymously/publicly; I don’t enjoy going to to the acupuncturist and being informed that some friend of a friend, who is never friendly when I run into her, is the “duke” of the office. But there’s something very interesting there, in that geo-located/identified narrative information so precisely organized.
To put it in vaguely historical perspective, wouldn’t you love to read the Yelp reviews of your neighborhood businesses from 30 years ago? I’ve often thought that Yelp served as a sort of map of not just gentrification, but of being for the sort of young adult types who use it. The prestige of being the first to Yelp a business, the reassurance of going to a place with 300 reviews. And the invisible, indirect comraderie of Yelp-iness.
My husband shut down his hotmail account this morning, because it was repeatedly spamming everyone he knew. With it was a lot of stuff, and I am kind of pissed at him for just deleting it. Because I am not an organized person, I rely on other people a lot to back stuff up for me. My emails with him since we had met had been long-gone on an expired school account, and I was fine with that knowing that if I really wanted to get at them it’d probably be possible that way.
Of course, what does one really want to get at in old email? Passive aggressive one liners? Ridiculous fights? Listserv stuff? Contacts, I suppose, are useful, seeing if you wanted to get in touch with someone whom you’d actually lost touch with.
I’ve never understood the jealous types who like to root around in other people’s email. Why bother? My own landlady made us get a PO Box when we moved in, because she “doesn’t like dealing with other people’s mail”. Word! I said, when I heard that.
Other people’s email is annoying; there is too much stuffed in there. Why are there such gaps in scientific data collection? Because people organize their stuff differently. I think that what I am interested in here is what is being kept, not as much why it’s being kept. You can spend way too much time thinking about the later, when really, who cares? The reasons are largely banal. Sure, a lot of content that is saved (or at least kept up over time) is tedious and unimportant, but why spend the time trying to delineate?