Saturday, January 20, 2007

Got to like

"Faith" by Robert Kendall, using the new gadgetry to enhance the word. Text is the core, and the animation serves the core. If it's a bit corny at least the tendency is toward openness and inclusion rather than dark obscure hipness. You don't spend a lot of time waiting. You don't have to wonder where to put the cursor. It's a traditional transaction made a bit livelier by multimedia.

But "Girls' Day Out" has all that plus mystery, melodrama, the feel of genuine personal experience, plus elegy and spookiness. The technology both serves and reveals narrative, and I for one do like a story of all things. Certainly over doodling, which is what a good half of the collection feels like to me. (Doodling with a techno-noise soundtrack.) Kids, I know there's a generational thing at work here; anyone who didn't spend a few years gaming is probably less likely to enjoy rolling a cursor around a picture in search of that certain something. The re-imagined Red Riding Hood is fabulous, even so.

But a lot of these installations (because so many do feel like something you'd find yourself trapped in the dark with just around the sterile white wall of a museum) strike me as refrigerator magnet poetry without the tactile satisfaction. Frequently Asked Questions About Hypertext, indeed. An in-joke doubled over on itself, folding the academy and the technocracy into one tight little snark.

Top o' the Long Tail to you: Informed Comment, the blog of blogs for those who can't get enough of the bad news out of Iraq.

Tip o' the Tail: More blogs. This one I'm pretty sure is fake

This one is by one of my old translators who lives in Baghdad. Naseer tends to the vainglorious but then he really was there (and still is). Used to run the 737 flight line forIraqi Airways. There was a great photo on his desk of him and Tariq Aziz:

And it's really true that the net has created created space for freedoms in tightly regulated societies, like Iran. The hardliners have closed more than 100 newspapers there, and now they're jailing bloggers when they can find them. But they can't always find them. Here obscurity cuts both ways.

A very early one by a young journalist, with scads of links:

And another one by a groovy cleric named Abtahi. He was a vice president in the government of Mohammad Khatami, the reformer who promoted a dialogue among civilizations. A portly, quite oral fellow who actually eats the sweets that are laid out before a visitor in Iran, Abtahi is a great believer is serving youth, and got into the Net early.

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