Some media mullings

Things I’ve been thinking about. I’ll keep this brief:

The Bad at Sports contemporary art podcast is great for frank, in-depth art interviews, even if the hosts often over-indulge in candor and chit-chat.

[Update, 2/24/2012: This podcast’s consistency and audio production, and the prestige of interview subjects, has risen in the past four years. Unfortunately, the original hosts remain dedicated to the podcast’s origins in bar conversations. The quality of dialogue remains informal and joke-y, verging on anti-intellectual and overly self-reflective. When the subjects allow the hosts to lead, it can seem like a college radio DJ interviewing an indie band, both trying hard to look like they are not trying at all. The only full episodes I’ve been able to finish lately has been with subjects who refused to be embarrassed about speaking seriously about their work.]

The Fresh Air episode on extraordinary rendition, with interviews with N.Y. Times writer Jane Mayer and a Canadian citizen sent to Syria for torture and detainment without just cause by the US government (aired Sept. 23, 2008). We really should pay attention and be more outraged. Another case of hubristic American Exceptionalism again…

The damn-the-world, God-chose-us rage of that America has sharpened as U.S. exceptionalism has become harder to square with the 21st-century world’s interconnectedness. How exceptional can you be when every major problem you face, from terrorism to nuclear proliferation to gas prices, requires joint action?

Very exceptional, insists Palin, and so does John McCain by choosing her. (He has said: “I do believe in American exceptionalism. We are the only nation I know that really is deeply concerned about adhering to the principle that all of us are created equal.”)

Roger Cohen, “Palin’s American Exception,”, September 25, 2008

Tom Morello (RATM) speaking out in the current issue of SPIN Magazine: in between snarky quotables about the wacky intersection of music and politics, Morello tells it like it is: Bush should be tried for war crimes (including, in my opinion, extraordinary renditions and Geneva Convention violations at Guantanamo and Abu Gharib, not to mention the unconstitutional expansion of the Vice Presidential office into the Legislative Branch). Furthermore, Morello reminds us that while a certain Presidential candidate may be hope-inspiring, in the truest democracy all citizens participate in making social change. Word!

Philip Zimbardo’s TED talk on the principles outlined in his book, The Lucifer Effect. After focusing on evil in his infamous Stanford experiment, Zimbardo wants to emphasize the possibility of good by bucking conformity, taking action, and following one’s own heroic imagination.

That almost-instantaneous meme, “Wall Street/Main Street,” and the dangerously explosive draw of anti-intellectual, common-sense wisdom and Joe-Six-Pack vernacular.

Finally, a quick bailout drawing, after Candyass.

toxic assets

toxic assets