Old People Need to Stop Telling Us That The Internet Is Ruining the World
Baroness Susan Greenfield, a controversial neuroscientist, has an idea. It’s been hard to pin down exactly what that idea is, because rather than publishing a proper explanation of it, she’s spent the last few yearspromoting scare-stories about the wickedness of modern technology in the tabloid press. Greenfield, a 65-year-old who claims never to have visited Facebook—she loathes it that much—usually spends her days writing articles for the Daily Mail. In them, she routinely accuses technology of turning the latest generation of teens and 20-somethings into feeble mouth-breathers who’d sacrifice their physical, mental, and sexual health for a hearty broadband connection.
It’s the sort of baseless, hysterical rhetoric you’re probably used to by now: “Facebook and Twitter are creating a vain generation of self-obsessed people with a child-like need for feedback,” “social websites harm people’s brains,” that kinda stuff. Inevitably, this leads, among other things, to “the fragmentation of our culture.”
However, as people like Dr. Ben Goldacre and Professor Dorothy Bishop have pointed out on numerous occasions, her statements are pretty vague on detail and tend not to be backed up by any direct scientific evidence. In 2010, Goldacre issued an exasperated plea to the Baroness: “You have a responsibility to your peers and most importantly the public to present your theory clearly and formally in an academic journal.”
Old People Hate Hipsters, Kurt Cobain, and Justin Bieber, According to New Poll
Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning firm that’s normally one of the most accurate political pollsters around, sometimes has too much time on its hands. When it does, it takes national nonpolitical surveys of basically whatever the people running PPP think would be funny. In the past they’ve discovered that 62 percent of voters have a favorable opinion of Halloween, 47 percent think there’s a “war on Christmas,”and a surprising amount believe in all kinds of conspiracy theories.
This month, they polled over 500 Americans about music, famous musicians, and “hipsters.” Some resultswent up yesterday, and it turns out that voters like classical music and jazz more than other genres by a fairly large margin, are into Adele and Taylor Swift, dislike Justin Beiber and Chris Brown, and like Beyonce better than Jay-Z. Oh yeah, and they hate rap—50 percent of the voters polled said that it’s their least favorite genre of music, and 68 percent of them had an unfavorable view of it. Dubstep and Skrillex had bad numbers as well, but 47 percent and 54 percent, respectively, were “not sure” what their opinions of those entities were, which makes it pretty clear that a lot of the folks taking this phone poll had never heard of them.
Kate Carraway’s Obseshes - Obseshes ≠ Endorsements
My actual obsesh this week was rolling out of bed and onto the hard floor before the clock striked (Stroked? Struck? Struck!) six, because I was bizzzeeeee and sick and am doing this thing where I am trying to conceive of hateful snow-times as somehow insular and cozymaking and early bedtimes and work work work but instead I’m just kind of bored and sad and my roots are at Threat Level Infinity? Anyway here are some competing obsessions of the week.
The tidy neckline, buttoned up and arranged just-so-ishly with a necklace of Chiclet-gemstones or ironic pearls, has been a definitively nice/solid neck-look for a little while. I’m not mad. But, now it has all my style-attention on the neck (well, actually, my style attention for the month of January has been about whether or not it’s OK to clash pajama separates if it’s just you and a cup of coffee all day long) (it’s not OK). So, what can we expect next, neck-wise (Haaaa, EXPECT YOUR NECK! My matching pajama separates liked that one a lot) in the approaching months? I’m guesstimating a wide-but-not-so-wide-it-compromises-your-bra-strap kind of neckline, not as limited as a boat neck or as 90210-slutty as a tight scoop, but open and flowing and without an underlayer, in a serious fabric like thick cashmere or a rough linen, all the better for the mysteries of the post-winter clavicle to be reveaaaled. Wait for it, this is happeninginginging.
I have this new Philips-brand “Wake-Up Light,” which is a Max Headroom-shaped clock radio-cum-quasiorb that you can set to chirp bird sounds at you. So, instead of waking up by sleep-chasing after a slippery iPhone and its tinny melodics you wake up to a butter-warm glow and pre-dawn summertime sounds that you will think, at first, only existed in an ancient fever dream that you had once. It’s rilly, rilly cool.
WE SPOKE WITH AL WALSER -THE EURO DJ WHO TROLLED THE GRAMMYS
Yesterday, everyone started collectively freaking out while trying to uncover how Al Walser—the dark horse candidate alongside more famous douchebags like Avicii, Skrillex and the Swedish House Mafia—managed to score a nomination for Best Dance Recording at the Grammy’s…even though nobody has any idea who the fuck he is.
Al’s “hit song,” which currently has 5,000 views on Youtube, is a low-budget carnival of cheesiness that you’ll have to endure for three minutes to understand what the hoopla is all about. Even then, it may be hard to grasp the collective sum of human atrocity happening before your eyeballs. I never thought I’d say this, but I’d rather listen to Skrillex’s vapid screeching for an hour than have to play that video again (so please, guys, let’s not make this a meme?).
I don’t need to tell you how horribly embarrassing this debacle is for the Grammy Academy, which has lost most of its relevancy anyway. While they haven’t commented on it officially yet, an “anonymous source” toldHouse.net that “This kind of thing doesn’t happen. [The Grammy Academy] takes this really seriously. They are super embarrassed that this happened.”
Meanwhile, Spin dug up the fact that Walser also runs a record label/PR firm called Cut the Bull—which has an incredible logo of a pissed off bull flaunting its anus, behind a pile of shit being cut by a pair of scissors (seriously). He offers consultations to aspiring musicians, but only after they provide their Paypal or credit card details. These are some of the DJs signed to Cut the Bull:
As if this story couldn’t get any weirder, a bizarre Barack Obama cameo pops up in a video posted on Walser’s Myspace page, in which circa-2007 Obama asks Walser about Liechtenstein—the tiny country that he grew up in.
Nobody seems to know what the fuck is going on, I decided to give Al a call and let him explain himself a little. The “DJ” I talked to was slick (con artist kind of slick, not put-your-dinger-in-me-now kind of slick) when he wanted to be, like when he was harping about how EDM shouldn’t be just about the the big-time artists. Or when he was recounting how he “hit it off” with Obama and Michael Jackson.
But as soon as I mentioned anything about a “hoax,” he got super agitated and started yelling about suing people for libel. So if you’re reading this, Al, fine: I don’t think you hacked the system. I think you’re a very capable self-promoter who took advantage of the fact that most Grammy voters are hopelessly out of touch with the state of contemporary music. And you
networked spammed the shit out of them until they circled your name on the ballot sheet. So congratulations! You’re now as respected as Skrillex. What an achievement.
Anyway, here’s what he had to say for himself:
I think it’s a long story. I’m going to have to start with the fact that the Grammys consist of people who are half-time musicians, and sometimes have a day job. These are people, maybe in their forties, that are not too familiar with EDM music. I just have a very close relationships…I met all these people—my fans—and I have email newsletters that let them be part of the process. I send these newsletters out to thousands of people, some of them who are also maybe voting members. So they become a part of the song, and I nourish that environment.
When someone emails me, I email them back. They appreciate it, and I don’t think that some of the other guys in that category would even have the time to do all that. So there’s a nourishment going on that the other guys probably can’t even handle because they’re too busy doing other things. That puts me at an advantage with the voting members.
Second of all, I think the voting members, and the US in general, is probably not too familiar with a DJ being behind a DJ booth and just putting their hands in the air and fist pumping to his own music. So maybe they appreciate the fact that I’m doing everything from A to Z. I’m producing my own music, I DJ, I’ve been around for decades. I’ve been performing in Japan in ’97, in front of a hundred thousand people. I’ve been in this game for a really long time. This is not a joke.
And guess what, Michelle? They connect with me because I communicate, so there is close relation right there. Are you still listening?