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June 14, 2013

superman for the awl

It's been a while, but here's a new bit for The Awl, considering Superman and where he's gone over the years.

It's an appreciation, really, I swear, but sadly somehow my appreciations all come out reading like this:

And the movies and the TV shows never stopped. If anything, they proliferated. But each new sequel, new series, new reboot, Superman splintered, spinning off little baby Superman universes, connected to the others in name only. The awe and the wonder that powered the Superman mythos slowly bled away, and he became just another guy with his underwear on the outside, just like all the others.

Actually, now that I'm rereading that, I think I'm making an argument for atemporality?  Weird.

But please enjoy, tell your friends, etc.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:55 AM

June 11, 2013

snowden day whatever

My first instinct is to type, "Last word on this thing," which means that I have a whole lot more to actually say about it but resent the amount of bandwidth I'm wasting on it.  But I'm on deadline, so one big brief thought:

All weekend, as Greenwald was carefully arranging his NSA disclosures for maximum pageviews, I was thinking to myself that it was fascinating that the American people can hold only one news story in their heads at any given time.  That there's like a slot, one slot, labeled CURRENT EVENTS, and in order for a new story to occupy it, the previous slide must be removed.  So, say, if the American people (or some identifiable subset of them) want to put in the NSA SCANDAL slide, then they first must remove the GUN CONTROL slide.

But as I obsessively follow this stupid story, I realize that it's not the American people at all.  In fact, who on Earth knows what the American people are thinking, and how many things they can care about at once?  TV shows?  Sports?  The rent?

No, the numbskulls that are having the hyper-focus issue are the class of people who either professionally or semi-professionally write about these sort of things.  They are the ones for whom the NSA revelations are either ground-shattering or ground-shatteringly irrelevant.  And they are the ones that are ones who are ignoring all the other news out there while Greenwald bwoo-ha-has in between media hits in Hong Kong or Brazil or wherever the hell he is.  And it is this chattering class that project their personal morbid fascination across the body politic — i.e., my hair's on fire about this, so therefore the hair of all Americans is on fire about this!

When that is not at all the case.

(This is of course an admission that I am one of the chattering class, that I am perhaps too fascinated by the story, and that I am inaccurately assuming that my fascination means that the Entire World Is Talking About It.)

But hopefully we can all agree that the "NSA bla bla email" jokes must stop.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:38 AM

June 10, 2013

this thing stinks

So this entire scandal was revealed by a disgruntled 29 year old who caught the messiah bug while contracting for Booz Hamilton, which basically runs the intelligence apparatus for the government, but at a profit.

There are so many things wrong with this story.  There's basically nothing right with this story.  Congress allows a mind-boggling amount of surveillance to government agencies, who then convince the president that it is necessary despite his former misgivings, but then farm such surveillance out to company that allows temps with no high school degrees Eyes-Only access.  The documents leaked might have well as been posted on Reddit by Booz Hamilton.

This whole thing stinks.  The spying stinks, the whistleblower stinks, Booz Hamilton stinks and the cynical timing of successive revelations by the humorless scolds reporting this stinks.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:25 AM