Other Ten Percent 7/30/13

Jul 30 2013

So I’ve kind of tried to figure out a single thread for this entry and I thought I had it covered because my copy of To Be or Not to Be arrived and I thought I could just do a straight up review of that for OTP but then it turns IT IS EIGHT HUNDRED PAGES LONG BECAUSE RYAN NORTH IS AN INSANE PERSON. I mean that in the best way possible but Jesus I do not have a handle on this thing yet. For a while I was going to do a thing about how it’s a brilliant piece of Shakespearean criticism because it actually says a lot of the things about the characters that don’t get touched on a lot but then I realized that’s just because I was choosing paths that are about how everybody’s attitudes towards Ophelia are insane and she should get the hell out of dodge (the storyline where she goes on vacation and ends up in a dating simulator parody is pretty amazing) and that getting his only son to commit murder is a pretty dick move by the ghost of Hamlet Sr. The book IS a trenchant commentary on Hamlet but that’s like just one way the wave-form can collapse and I’m not ready to talk about it as a total work yet.

So then I was going to talk about this new Sasha Frere-Jones article about the new Jay-Z album and how it is FUCKING INSANE. Like, I feel compelled to ask this every time I bring up this article to anybody but it actually does equate Jay-Z putting out a mediocre album with the Zimmerman verdict right? I’m not having a stroke or something? Is there a more emblematic piece to represent how ridiculously self-important music criticism is in human history? I’m going to put forth what I think is a not at all controversial premise: not only is the new Jay-Z album not bad enough to bring to mind the same unnamable emotion brought forth by a court case that has laid bare the sorry state of race relations in modern America it isn’t even PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE for Jay-Z (or anybody else for that matter!) to put out an album that bad. I mean I really like TV and people I’ve really liked have put on some pretty bad TV shows but I don’t think I’ve ever been like “that Dr. Who series finale was such a mess that it really felt exactly like 400 years of systematic racial oppression distilled into one incredibly depressing day. Am I right folks?”

But then I was like, “hey, you know what’s kinda depressing? All those things you just thought” and I decided to find one or two links that DIDN’T totally depress me. One is kinda inside baseball-y about television which is maybe dangerous after how I ended that last paragraph but honestly I think it sticks the landing especially in its later points. It’s a grand unified theory of how we got the modern TV landscape by Javier Grillo-Marxuach which is a little bit “let’s generalize about entire generations” but is mostly a really good commentary on how the things that have created the modern TV landscape mostly have to do with things besides TV. If you enjoyed this essay you might also enjoy his series The Middleman and the upcoming show he writes for, Helix, which is best described as “that guy that did the Battlestar Galactica remake is doing a show that’s basically John Carpenter’s The Thing crossed with…well…the remake of Battlestar Galactica.” Not an efficient description but it’s kind of a weird show.

“David,” I hear you saying “that last link didn’t bring me enough joy to offset the awful music criticism one.” Yeah okay, fair enough. Here’s Commander Riker talking about jamming with Phish and the beard and being on Adventure Time and just generally being awesome.

You’re welcome.

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