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This is what I imagine Tom Hodgkinson looks like.I’m a little stunned by Tom Hodgkinson’s recent article in the New Statesman called “Don’t sell me your dream,” in which he (figuratively) stamps his feet, acts like a cranky old man who doesn’t understand technology, and wags his finger at those that do. If Hodgkinson wasn’t so thorough in explaining why exactly he hates technology so much, I’d be convinced the whole thing was satire.

If his article wasn’t meant to be a joke, much of his reasoning certainly comes off that way. He gives all the standard reasons for hating technology: it’s distracting, it’s rude, etc etc. I’ll grant him those. Sometimes I wish I could live a life totally disconnected, too, and not have to think about who’s emailing me, or writing on my wall on Facebook, or about what my friends are doing on Twitter. But at this point, and especially as a journalist-slash-writer-slash-artist, I’ve accepted it as a necessary evil. To ignore it, let alone actively detest it, is foolish.

But there were 2 points in particular that really bothered me. Read his reasoning, and my responses, after the jump. READ MORE »

More: Rants

Castration and Other Tales of Youth

Jennifer Blevins / Friday, May 1, 2009 Comments Off

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51arhpawo7l_sl500_aa240_ Certain words never fail to catch my eye, and I suppose I would count “castration” among them. I ran across a fairly angry review of Jake Wizner’s book Castration Celebration in the New York Post this week that piqued my interest. So I did some digging. And then I did some considering. And now I will share with you the results of both. READ MORE »

More: Books

That's God vs Buddha of FaithFighter, folks. We're placing bets on who will win...not really, cause we don't want to get firebombed.

An influential Islamic group successfully protested against the video game Faith Fighter, pictured above and also after the jump, claiming that it was offensive to Muslims, Christians, and just about all of humankind. The game, made by Italian design company Molleindustria, features such religious figures as Jesus, Mohammad, and Ganesh duking it out martial-arts style. I think the Globe and Mail describes the game best:

In the game Faith Fighter, caricatures of Jesus, the Prophet Muhammad, Buddha, God and the Hindu god Ganesh fight each other against a backdrop of burning buildings. God attacks with bolts of lighting and pillars of fire while the turbaned Muhammad can summon a burning black meteorite.

Which is hilarious, just because the whole thing sounds so dumb. Molleindustria claims that the game was meant to “push the gamers to reflect on how the religious and sacred representations are often instrumentally used to fuel or justify conflicts between nations and people.” But the game’s website declares, “Give vent to your intolerance! Religious hate has never been so much fun!” Uh, OK.

Whatever. The point is, some Italian company made an offensive and silly game, religious groups understandably got pissed, and the game had to be revised to be not so offensive (now there’s a big black dot over Mohammad’s head, you see). So while Molleindustria has gone on to make Faith Fighter 2, I’m left here with a nagging question: how far is too far in storytelling? READ MORE »

Soon, U 2 Can Rite Novel in LOLspeak!

JK Evanczuk / Tuesday, April 28, 2009 Comments Off

p>Soon, you too can write like this!I was going to post this in our Lit Drift Twitter account, but it’s just too good not to share on the main site. McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, arguably the Internet’s most whimsical quarterly journal, has a syllabus up for a fake new course for Internet-Age Writing, called ENG371WR: Writing for Nonreaders in the Postprint Era. Planned lectures include such topics as “Reading is stoopid,” “The Kindle Question,” “140 Characters or Less,” and “I Can Haz Writin Skillz?” Also note that attendance is “unnecessary, but students should be signed onto IM and/or have their phones turned on.” Delicious.

Coincidentally enough, I was recently messing around in my Scrivener, experimenting with structure and new styles of writing, and found myself trying to write a scene purely in text/IM speak. Uh, it shouldn’t come off as a surprise that it really sucked. Won’t be trying that again…until, of course, some more accomplished writer does it and somehow makes it work, in which case nose will be back to (digital) grindstone.

As an aside: I actually had to put this post title through an LOLspeak Translator because I just don’t know any better. Fail?

Read the syllabus in full here. [McSweeney's Internet Tendency via Bookninja]

More: Books / Writing

“Goodbye Solo”: An Unsentimental Journey

Jennifer Blevins / Tuesday, April 28, 2009 Comments Off

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Glancing through the NY Times film reviews last week, “Goodbye Solo” caught my eye. Set in Winston-Salem, a Senegalese cab driver and a washed-up old man develop an unlikely friendship as they traverse the roads of North Carolina. I was born in Winston-Salem and went back there for college, so the novelty of seeing W-S on the big screen at the Angelika Film Center in Soho was an opportunity I could not let pass me by. As it turns out, I was rewarded for my curiosity. READ MORE »

More: Movies / Reviews

Create Your Own Animations With DoInk

JK Evanczuk / Wednesday, April 22, 2009 Comments Off

Create your own animations with DoInk, even if you've never considered yourself an animator.Amateur animators and procrastinators alike will love DoInk, a free web tool that makes it simple and fun to spend countless hours creating sophisticated animations. Find out more about DoInk, and watch a couple of animations (including an extremely impressive one made by me, ha), after the jump. READ MORE »

Solve Edgar Allen Poe’s Cryptogram

JK Evanczuk / Monday, April 20, 2009 Comments Off

I can't even begin to figure this thing out. Cryptograms are not my thing.Did you know that Edgar Allen Poe considered himself not just an accomplished writer but THE BEST CRYPTOGRAPHER EVAR??? He loved to dedicate his genius to solving ciphers, puns, riddles, you name it, and he was known to boast that “nothing can be written which, with time, I cannot decipher.” Oh, and he also liked to remind people that “Edgar Poe” is an anagram for “a God Peer.” Nice.

In 1841, Poe challenged readers of Graham’s Magazine, where he was an editor, to solve a devilishly difficult puzzle a friend had sent him. He promised to post the answer in the next month’s issue, but flaked (could it be that he couldn’t solve the puzzle himself??). Today, The New Yorker is giving readers the chance to match wits with the self-declared puzzle master by offering that same puzzle. Read the text full of jumbled letters and numbers, and with the help of a few cryptic clues, find out for yourself if Poe was nearly as brilliant as he thought he was. [The New Yorker]

YouTube Goes Hollywood

JK Evanczuk / Saturday, April 18, 2009 View Comments

YouTube goes Hollywood!YouTube announced on Thursday that it would begin broadcasting major Hollywood movies and TV shows in addition to its user-created content, a move no doubt made to better compete with major online video provider Hulu. Which is great, but my only concern is, with all the hoopla over the Hollywood content, will the grassroots content remain as popular? Will users choose to spend their time watching big studio-made TV shows instead of kittens inspired by kittens? God, I hope not.

More: Briefs

Actors Lose Focus, Blame Technology

JK Evanczuk / Friday, April 17, 2009 Comments Off

You don't want to mess with him when he's in the zone.Is the theater world imploding? In a recent West End performance of A View From the Bridge, actor Ken Stott stopped the show to demand that a group of rowdy teenagers be removed from the audience. And Patrick Stewart apparently went ballistic on a fan waiting outside the stage door of Waiting for Godot, all because Stewart noticed the fan was trying to take a photo of the megastar during curtain call. READ MORE »

More: Theater

Check out IsReads, a biannual outdoor poetry journal that enlists volunteers to publish each “issue” by plastering the poems, printed on sturdy white paper, all over Baltimore, Maryland. IsReads favors experimental, playful prose–which probably reads either like it was written by an insane person to the people who don’t get poetry, or a tasty little morsel to the people who do. Anyone can submit poems via e-mail for consideration, and anyone can help publish the journal. Just contact the editors, and they’ll send back instructions and a PDF of the journal’s contents.

The journal’s emphasis on making poetry more accessible to the public has been hailed as something of a revolutionizing force for the languishing industry, but founder Adam Robinson has remained fairly modest. He says: “I don’t expect that by doing this I’m going to change anybody’s life. But for the ten seconds people stand in front of it, I hope they just kind of wonder about poetry again.”

Photos and poems after the jump.  READ MORE »

More: Poetry