Ryan Wilkins

A baseball analyst for a major sports agency. An unflagging cinephile, reader of longform journalism, and drinker of coffee.

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Ryan Wilkins

4 days ago

He is always desperate, in the way that selfish and needy people are always desperate. His fears transparently run the show, both the normal human fear of failing and the more specific ones he picks up on the cable news channel he watches, which splits its broadcast day between fulsomely flattering coverage of him and armchair generalship in a sprawling race war the network is imagineering out of rhetorical abstraction and into bloody existence. Watching hours of that every day would destabilize anyone; for Trump, who is very vain and very stupid and has always cared more about TV than anyone should, the result is equilibrium, or entropy.

This Is All Donald Trump Has Left

theconcourse.deadspin.com

Ryan Wilkins

9 days ago

The creator of the meme, who goes by the pen name “Bryan Machiavelli,” told The New York Times he charges $200 an hour for his “memetic warfare consulting” services.

Tracing a Meme From the Internet’s Fringe to a Republican Slogan

nytimes.com

Ryan Wilkins

9 days ago

Bros in Troy Aikman jerseys and “Beerbongs and Bentleys” merch grunted with simian glee. Twenty thousand people rocketed up, stood on their seats, and for a brief moment there was the palpable fear of being stampeded to death at a Post Malone concert (which, of course, requires the deceased to be buried in a racecar-shaped coffin wrapped in the Rockstar Energy drink logo).

Three Eminem songs served as his intro music — presumably a tacit nod to his fandom but also a heavy-handed reminder that Malone is the most popular white guy in hip-hop since Marshall Mathers. At the moment when the hysteria seemed in danger of waning, Post Malone took the stage to deafening cheers, scorching jet flames and billowing clouds of smoke like a Groupon version of a Kiss concert from 1975.

Sipping from a red Solo cup, he soon began slurring “Too Young” with a voice like bong water bubbling and the casual misogyny of a member of a Red Pill subreddit: “My whip fast/my b---- bad/I skrrr skrrr, that coupe fast/My coupe fast, your b---- know/My b---- slow/she do what I say so and she always keep me on my toes.” Those lines are as good as any at representing what Malone is working with on a lyrical level.

Post Malone is the perfect pop star for this American moment. That’s not a compliment.

washingtonpost.com

Ryan Wilkins

10 days ago

This polarized environment is a rich petrie dish for increasingly sophisticated hyper-partisan operatives. For Geoff Golberg, a researcher who tracks political misinformation on Twitter, that means its getting harder to tell what’s authentic and what’s not. “People get hung up on bots but it’s so much more than that,” Golberg told BuzzFeed News. “There’s all kinds of inauthentic accounts from automated spammers to sock puppets to human run accounts that misrepresent themselves.” But it’s not just inauthentic accounts. Golberg’s network analyses of Twitter data reveals that, among many far-right and far-left influencer accounts, human and non-human users constantly interact with each other and often times leading to hostile interactions. And as inauthentic accounts grow more convincingly human, there’s evidence that human accounts have begun to adopt the mannerisms of automated Twitter users. “Real people are becoming more bot-like, both in tweeting behavior and the way their profiles look, which only adds to the confusion,” Golberg said.

There Was No Midterm Misinformation Crisis Because We've Democratized Propaganda

buzzfeednews.com

Ryan Wilkins

11 days ago

Clifford’s third and final argument as to why believing without evidence is morally wrong is that, in our capacity as communicators of belief, we have the moral responsibility not to pollute the well of collective knowledge. In Clifford’s time, the way in which our beliefs were woven into the ‘precious deposit’ of common knowledge was primarily through speech and writing. Because of this capacity to communicate, ‘our words, our phrases, our forms and processes and modes of thought’ become ‘common property’. Subverting this ‘heirloom’, as he called it, by adding false beliefs is immoral because everyone’s lives ultimately rely on this vital, shared resource.

Believing without evidence is always morally wrong – Francisco Mejia Uribe

aeon.co

Ryan Wilkins

11 days ago

As a connoisseur of the genre, I give this Personal Takedown In the Guise of a Book Review my highest rating: Four (4) Grinding Axes!

If the question is, “Can women and queers be pretentious assholes?”, She Wants It holds the answer.

No One Wants It

affidavit.art

Ryan Wilkins

15 days ago


Having two versions of reality constantly clashing in public is cognitively and emotionally exhausting. To an average person following the news, the haze of charge and countercharge is overwhelming. And that is precisely what every autocrat wants.

That is why every aspiring tyrant in modern history has made the independent media his first target. (Read Ezra Klein’s excellent essay on Trump’s war with the media.) There can be no epistemic authority, no one to trust, other than the autocrat and his mouthpieces. That is step one.

Then they go after the courts, the security services, and the military. Once they have a large base of support that will believe whatever they proclaim, follow them anywhere, support them in anything — it doesn’t have to be a majority, just an intense, activated minority — they can, practically speaking, get away with anything.

But believing absurdities comes first. If they can make you believe absurdities, they can make you commit injustices.

The caravan “invasion” and America’s epistemic crisis

vox.com

Ryan Wilkins

16 days ago

As cultural critic Joanna Scutts aptly observed on Slate.com, the likelihood is that streaming inventories will shrink, a disaster given the cost and diminishing availability of classics on DVD. “Titles that are not available to stream,” she wrote, “will be harder to assign in classes, will cease to bubble up into the cultural awareness, and will eventually cease to matter.” Thank you, AT&T.

The killing of FilmStruck shows that AT&T's defense of its Time Warner takeover was a lie

latimes.com

Ryan Wilkins

26 days ago

The research tacks against the idea that younger people who are extremely online (or “digital savvy,” in Pew’s terms) might be more exposed and/or more susceptible to misinformation. But the real correlation with poor performance is exposure to television news, which has fallen off among young people but remains very high among older people. This shouldn’t be surprising, if we consider the evolution of American media over the past 60 years. Someone born in 1958, now 60, witnessed two revolutions in media before the internet: talk radio and 24-hour cable news. Both blended facts and opinions in new and unprecedented ways, and they matured with the cohort of Americans who are now over the age of 50.

Older People Are Worse Than Young People at Telling Fact From Opinion

theatlantic.com

Ryan Wilkins

26 days ago

But here’s the critical thing: Even though plenty of liberals are happy to be mad about the double standard, nobody important in progressive political commentary is actually mad about Trump’s troop visiting schedule. We’re mad that Trump is destroying financial and environmental regulation while trying to screw poor people out of health care and nutrition assistance, all while imprisoning children seeking asylum and undermining the international order. That’s important stuff, while Trump’s golfing — like Clinton’s emails — fundamentally isn’t.

And yet elections are swung, almost by definition, not by the majority of people who correctly see the scope of the differences and pick a side but by the minority of people for whom the important divisions in US partisan politics aren’t decisive. Consequently, the issues that matter most electorally are the ones that matter least to partisans. Things like email protocol compliance that neither liberals nor conservatives care about even slightly can be a powerful electoral tool because the decisive voters are the ones who don’t care about the epic ideological clash of left and right.

The hack gap: how and why conservative nonsense dominates American politics

vox.com

Ryan Wilkins

30 days ago

The issue here is not just “Is this artist monstrous?” but “Is this work of art asking me as a reader to be complicit with the artist’s monstrosity?” It’s the same argument that has come up repeatedly with R. Kelly, who writes songs about sex and consent and age differences between lovers, and who has also been accused of sexually assaulting very young women and girls.

“This is a person who makes music that is incredibly sexual in nature. This is someone who has written lyrics that play with the idea of age and consent, right?” said Jamilah Lemieux of Kelly in 2017. “I am not somebody who is comfortable listening to somebody like that singing about sex. I would not want to send the message to him or to anyone else that I am complicit in things that it seems that he has done to young girls and women.”

If I were to follow this model with Edward Scissorhands, then the bellwether moment for me would the scene in the film where Edward cuts a girl and we are asked to weep for him, rather than for her. I would have to ask myself whether the movie is asking me to be complicit in a worldview that teaches us to empathize more with men who hurt women than with the women whom they hurt, and thus allows them to get away with terrible crimes. And if I conclude that the movie is asking me to be complicit in that worldview, I might decide that my duty as a critic is to turn my attention elsewhere.

What do we do when the art we love was created by a monster?

vox.com

Ryan Wilkins

32 days ago

The study should also make progressives more self-critical about the way in which speech norms serve as a marker of social distinction. I don’t doubt the sincerity of the affluent and highly educated people who call others out if they use “problematic” terms or perpetrate an act of “cultural appropriation.” But what the vast majority of Americans seem to see—at least according to the research conducted for “Hidden Tribes”—is not so much genuine concern for social justice as the preening display of cultural superiority.

Americans Strongly Dislike PC Culture

theatlantic.com

Ryan Wilkins

33 days ago

Dubinsky also acknowledges, however, that the phrase dad joke is sometimes used as a pejorative when someone makes a lame joke—and he believes there’s a specific intergenerational dynamic at work when it is. “One of the things about language is that we judge the sophistication of our peers by how sophisticated they are with use of language. Your smartest friends can use deadpan sarcasm, and your smartest friends can get it when you’re deadpanning sarcasm,” he says. So when someone makes a dumb or unsophisticated joke, they may be on the receiving end of some mild disapproval. Plus, it’s Dubinsky’s belief that every generation holds a somewhat disapproving opinion of the generation just before it. “They love their grandparents, but parents are just a chore and a pain,” he adds. “So one way to disrespect your parents is to note how unsophisticated their humor is.”

The Dad-Joke Doctrine

theatlantic.com

Ryan Wilkins

40 days ago

Correa has also narrowed his focuses to the things that really matter to him. Even though pro baseball isn't among them he still wants to reach a deeper understanding of why he acted as he did when he worked in the game. He has thought a lot about Immanuel Kant's categorial imperative, which removes context from any assessment of moral obligation; what's wrong is always wrong, no matter the circumstances. "What was really surreal to me was when I stood back and recognized how essentially disrespectful my behavior was of the people whose privacy I violated," Correa says.

Exclusive: Astros’ database hacker opens up

si.com

Ryan Wilkins

43 days ago

The painting, mounted on a wall close to a row of Sotheby’s staff members, had been shredded by a remote-control mechanism on the back of the frame.

Ms. Long said that she next saw a “man with a detonator” being removed from the building by Sotheby’s security staff.

“We’ve been Banksy-ed,” Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s head of contemporary art in Europe, said at a news conference afterward.

“I’ll be quite honest,” Mr. Branczik continued, “we have not experienced this situation in the past, where a painting is spontaneously shredded upon achieving a record for the artist.”

Banksy Painting Self-Destructs After Fetching $1.4 Million at Sotheby’s

nytimes.com

Ryan Wilkins

45 days ago

Unreal.

Even before that meeting, Christie had made sure that Trump knew the protocol for his discussions with foreign leaders. The transition team had prepared a document to let him know how these were meant to go. The first few calls were easy – the very first was always with the prime minister of Great Britain – but two dozen calls in you were talking to some kleptocrat and tiptoeing around sensitive security issues. Before any of the calls could be made, however, the president of Egypt called in to the switchboard at Trump Tower and somehow got the operator to put him straight through to Trump. “Trump was like ... I love the Bangles! You know that song Walk Like an Egyptian?” recalled one of his advisers on the scene.

‘This guy doesn’t know anything’: the inside story of Trump’s shambolic transition team

theguardian.com

Ryan Wilkins

45 days ago

Levin: “[Donald Trump] has been on this path for years now where people have criticized it, and he’s just amped it up. At a point, don’t you say, he is who he is?”
West: [a minute long silence, in the middle of which Kanye asks a man off camera to move aside so he can feel a woman’s energy]
Levin: “Do you want me to repeat?”
West: “No.”
Levin: “Why don’t we do this, we can’t take a quick break —”
West: “No. We’re not going to the Jimmy Kimmel the situation. No, we’re not going to come right back. We’re not going to Jimmy Kimmel the situation. We’re going to give me time to think. You asked me a serious question and I’m going to take some time to think about my answer. I’m going to use time to my advantage in this situation. Now repeat the question.”

Slavery and Saturday Night Live: Everything Kanye Talked About On TMZ

vulture.com

Ryan Wilkins

46 days ago

The animating crisis of this era is power: the abuse, sharing and stripping of it. Empowerment. Art might not have the privilege of being art for art’s sake anymore. It has to be art for justice’s sake. Suddenly, but for very different reasons, the kinds of people who used to be subject to censorship are now the purveyors of a not-dissimilar silencing. Something generational has shifted, even among the cool kids and artsy-fartsies. Members of the old anti-censorship brigades now feel they have to censor themselves.

So we wind up with safer art and discourse that provokes and disturbs and shocks less. It gives us culture whose artistic value has been replaced by moral judgment and leaves us with monocriticism. This might indeed be a kind of social justice. But it also robs us of what is messy and tense and chaotic and extrajudicial about art. It validates life while making work and conversations about that work kind of dull.

Should Art Be a Battleground for Social Justice?

nytimes.com

Ryan Wilkins

46 days ago

Millennials are not to be trusted. The lives they lead are devoid of integrity or moral direction. Their idols are known miscreants: sex tape entrepreneurs, auto-tuned automatons, and even soccer players. Their YouTubes, memes, and emojis are no replacement for good old-fashioned American pastimes like golfing with your work buddies, or drinking with your golf buddies, or just reminiscing about the first car you ever owned. Or the time you bought a house for less than the price of a car.

Millennials: Are They Fucking Your Wife?

mcsweeneys.net

Ryan Wilkins

46 days ago

People rarely change their minds in the course of formal public debate. Not the people on stage, and very few of those in the audience. Years of robust debate in my capacity as a commentator and journalist have taught me that you don’t change minds simply by pointing out where someone is wrong. As a dear friend once told me, trying to bring someone over to your side by publicly demonstrating that their ideas are bad and that they should feel bad is like trying to teach a goat how to dance: the goat will not learn to dance, and you will make him angry. The ways people actually change their minds is by reading the mood of those around them and then going away and thinking about it, by being given permission to think what they were already thinking, or by being shamed into realizing how ignoble their assumptions always were.

No, I Will Not Debate You

longreads.com

Ryan Wilkins

63 days ago

Factual statements from BON APETIT magazine.

The ice cream sandwich is a perfect food, so it feels almost sacrilegious to pick a favorite. But I will! It’s an It’s-It.

If You've Never Had an It's-Its Ice Cream Sandwich, Please Fix That Immediately

bonappetit.com

Ryan Wilkins

64 days ago

Krueger said that Menchaca would sometimes have the caregivers meet him at restaurants or coffee shops and then change his dirty diapers in public restrooms.

He pretended to have Down syndrome — telling caregivers to bathe him, change his diapers, police say

washingtonpost.com

Ryan Wilkins

88 days ago

Although it is unclear whether Mr. Bennett and Ms. Argento have spoken since the payment was made, Ms. Argento seems to remain supportive. On July 17, she added a “Like” to a moody portrait of himself he had posted on his Instagram account. The account has since been scrubbed of much of its content.

Asia Argento, a #MeToo Leader, Made a Deal With Her Own Accuser

nytimes.com

Ryan Wilkins

94 days ago

10:43 — Joe Walsh makes Jimmy Buffett look like GG Allin.

Jimmy Buffett and the Eagles at Target Field: A timeline

citypages.com

Ryan Wilkins

95 days ago

David J. Roth—a David Halberstam for a Garbage Planet.

Whereas usually Trump is wrong in the exact same way as whatever it was he just saw on television, he is instead wrong here in a way that reflects both his own belief that every damp thought pellet he extrudes is a gleaming golden truth and an older style of American political wrongness. Ronald Reagan, like Trump, was not an especially keen reader or terribly astute in his news judgment. Reagan’s statement, in 1980, that “trees cause more pollution than automobiles do” was criticized at the time and has been parsed and re-argued in the years since—trees actually do release compounds that have similar effects to emission-driven air pollution, perhaps Reagan was actually talking about isoprene, and so on. But the most striking similarity between that statement and Trump’s the-dummies-are-putting-too-much-water-in-the-ocean riff, beyond both statements being extremely wrong, is that they are wrong in ways that are extremely convenient—it turns out there’s nothing to worry about after all—and effectively impossible to reverse-engineer. They’re both statements that, until the literal President of the United States expressed them, had never been uttered aloud.

Toward A Working Theory Of What The Fuck Donald Trump Is Even Talking About

theconcourse.deadspin.com

Ryan Wilkins

95 days ago

Facebook VP Andrew Bosworth wrote in a memo titled “The Ugly” that leaked earlier this year: “Maybe it costs a life by exposing someone to bullies. Maybe someone dies in a terrorist attack coordinated on our tools. And still we connect people. The ugly truth is that we believe in connecting people so deeply that anything that allows us to connect more people more often is *de facto* good.”

The ugly truth is that this isn’t the truth at all. It is something uglier and far more uncomfortable: everyone involved in amplifying the hatred, bad faith, and bullying that has infected social platforms and now the nation is partially responsible for the ugliness of the political and social landscape before us. That it is their — and our — responsibility to take responsibility and the sort of action that the most powerful purveyors of information once used in the past: to give no quarter to the bad-faith voices that seek to stoke hatred, undermine equality, degrade democracy, and upend the very notion of truth.

Twitter is wrong: facts are not enough to combat Alex Jones

theverge.com

Ryan Wilkins

103 days ago

In a post on Chinese social-media platform Weibo, the film’s producers blamed the abysmal box office showing on sabotage, alleging that trolls flooded mobile-ticketing platform Maoyan with negative reviews. Maoyan, which is backed by Alibaba rival Tencent, has between a 30% and 40% market share, analysts say. Ratings for Asura are much higher on the Alibaba-owned ticketing service Tao Piaopiao.

China’s first $100 million film is a breathtaking failure

qz.com

Ryan Wilkins

103 days ago

The problem with sundowning music formats is that, in our eagerness to pitch ourselves into the future with new technology, we bury what brought us so much pleasure in the first place. CDs sound better than streaming files. They last longer than cassettes. And yet they have become irrelevant.

Pity the CD. Has any format ever been more disparaged? For vinyl purists, compact discs have a lot to answer for, mainly because they ushered in the era of digital recording in the early ’80s. For audiophiles, digital, with its claims of perfect sound forever, was the enemy; it turned music brittle and distorted sound the way VHS tape degraded color. Of course our current popular format, streaming files, have a higher compression rate than compact discs, which is a fancy way of saying that even your old CD copy of “Three Feet High and Rising” will sound better than anything you might listen to on Spotify. So does every classical CD recorded after 1984.

Spotify is fine. But let's mourn the passing of CDs

latimes.com

Ryan Wilkins

103 days ago

Writers like Manuel Castells and numerous commentators in the Wired magazine milieu told us of the coming of a networked society, in which old hierarchical models of business and culture would be replaced by the wisdom of crowds, the swarm, the hive mind, citizen journalism and user-generated content. They got their wish, but it’s not quite the utopian vision they were hoping for.

As old media dies, gatekeepers of cultural sensibilities and etiquette have been overthrown, notions of popular taste maintained by a small creative class are now perpetually outpaced by viral online content from obscure sources, and culture industry consumers have been replaced by constantly online, instant content producers. The year 2016 may be remembered as the year the media mainstream’s hold over formal politics died. A thousand Trump Pepe memes bloomed and a strongman larger-than-life Twitter troll who showed open hostility to the mainstream media and to both party establishments took the White House without them.

economist.com

Ryan Wilkins

103 days ago

In the meantime, some memers have found the current suite of mobile applications so lacking that they choose to create their memes on desktop computers instead. “On your phone, you’re never going to be able to do as much as you could as on a computer,” says Noam, who memes under the account @listenintospitandgettingparamoredon.

As Memes Evolve, Apps Are Struggling to Keep Up

theatlantic.com

Ryan Wilkins

104 days ago

Earlier this year, the Coca-Cola Company introduced a suite of four supposedly hip new flavors (Ginger Lime, Feisty Cherry, Zesty Blood Orange, Twisted Mango). Let’s speak frankly: these are crazed and desperate drinks. Who buys blood oranges for the zest? Recently, in the daze of the summer heat, I bought a case of Diet Coke Ginger Lime, and it tasted like Diet Coke drunk from a glass unrinsed of citrus Dawn. New Diet Coke arrives in slender cans that look like plus-size Red Bull servings—Red Bull being one of a few beverages that is even more of a red flag for decency than Diet Coke.

The Decline and Fall of Diet Coke and the Power Generation That Loved It

newyorker.com

Ryan Wilkins

105 days ago

Release the #MalkmusCut!

This question, of how he creates, confounds even those closest to him.

"I mean, his wife told me that she never heard him ever writing songs, but then he just seemed to have all these songs," says Kim Gordon.

Jessica Jackson Hutchins, an artist whose work is in the Whitney and Museum of Modern Art in New York, says her attempt to understand her husband's creative process has even led her to make peace with his longtime fantasy sports commitment. The activity used to get on her nerves. Now, she wonders if fantasy sports and crossword puzzles help free his brain to write.

"I don't really see him working on songs," says Hutchins. "Sometimes he walks around with his acoustic guitar and messes around with it. And he works on it downstairs, and I can hear him playing stuff and sometimes cracking himself up."

Reintroducing Stephen Malkmus, former frontman for indie powerhouse Pavement

oregonlive.com

Ryan Wilkins

109 days ago

The Breitbart/Trump/Cernovich portion of the right has always tried to minimize blatant racism, homophobia, xenophobia, sexism, and anti-Jewish or anti-Muslim rhetoric by placing it all under one heading: “not politically correct.” In their world, only “snowflakes” take umbrage at people who dare to “tell it like it is”; they view everything from the #MeToo movement to attacks on racism as penalties that liberals administer to those who violate perceived political orthodoxy. The outrage with which Cernovich went after Gunn is a calculated posture, a way of saying, “If you can get someone fired by saying their words are offensive, we can too.”

That approach depends, for its effectiveness, on a deliberate refusal to draw any categorical distinctions. It insists on a world in which punishment should be weighed not by the intensity of the offense but by the noise level of those who are (or act) offended. Thus, Gunn’s comment that a hotel shower was so weak that it felt like a 3-year-old peeing on his head (yes, that is literally one of the “pedophilia” jokes that was quoted in support of his firing) is given the same weight as a blunt-force attack on African-Americans, the LGBTQ community, or women. If you can’t see a difference between a lame Gunn tweet from 2012 like “Three Men and a Baby They Had Sex With #unromanticmovies” and “When is the last time women organized to support a men’s rights issue? Stop being fags. Who cares about breast cancer and rape? Not me” (a Cernovich tweet from 2012 — he’s super-interested in not being interested in rape), then you’re either not trying, or you’re invested in insisting there’s no difference.

Disney Should Know the Difference Between James Gunn and Roseanne

vulture.com

Ryan Wilkins

109 days ago

According to them, all of this was my fault. I was told repeatedly that my choice to be vocal on issues of politics and feminism opened me up to the bevy of insults that I’d received, and if I hadn’t chosen to talk about those issues, then this wouldn’t have happened. I’d expressed my views in a public forum, and now I couldn’t handle a little criticism that resulted from that.
This guy has called women the c-word and the b-word, sent a photo of a crack pipe to a black woman whose views he disagreed with, regularly threatens people on Twitter, and has since blocked me. But apparently he is not abusive and I am thin-skinned.

What Happened When I Tried Talking to Twitter Abusers

everywhereist.com

Ryan Wilkins

115 days ago

The virgin vs. Chad meme originated in 4chan’s /r9k/ forum, where social outcasts and loners share their contempt for “normies,” or people who enjoy and partake in standard social interaction. Now that it has spread to non-incel corners of the internet, the Chad and virgin archetypes are being used in multilayered gags. One beautifully drawn version uses the meme to explain the difference between a “virgin Protestant” (“gets up at 4am to pray like some kind of sleep cuck”) and the “CHADolic Pope” (“earns his salvation through good works and being a beautiful, sexy badass”). The sincere, aggrieved language of incels turns droll in the hands of jokesters with no misogynistic paradigm to promote.

Incel Memes Aren’t a Joke

slate.com

Ryan Wilkins

115 days ago

Gold was mission-driven as a critic, hoping his food adventures through the city’s many immigrant enclaves would help break down barriers among Angelenos wary of venturing outside their comfort zones. In the process, he made L.A.’s enormousness and diversity feel accessible and became one of the city’s most insightful cultural commentators.

“I am trying to democratize food and trying to get people to live in the entire city of Los Angeles,” he said in a 2015 interview with Vice. “I’m trying to get people to be less afraid of their neighbors.”

In 2007, when he was writing for L.A. Weekly, Gold became the first restaurant critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for criticism. The judges praised his “zestful, wide-ranging restaurant reviews, expressing the delight of an erudite eater.” He remains the only food critic to have won the prestigious award and was again a finalist in 2011.

Los Angeles Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold dies at 57

latimes.com

Ryan Wilkins

117 days ago

Bezmenov described this process as “a great brainwashing” which has four basic stages. The first stage is called “demoralization” which takes from 15 to 20 years to achieve. According to the former KGB agent, that is the minimum number of years it takes to re-educate one generation of students that is normally exposed to the ideology of its country. In other words, the time it takes to change what the people are thinking.

He used the examples of 1960s hippies coming to positions of power in the '80s in the government and businesses of America. Bezmenov claimed this generation was already “contaminated” by Marxist-Leninist values. Of course, this claim that many baby boomers are somehow espousing KGB-tainted ideas is hard to believe but Bezmenov’s larger point addressed why people who have been gradually “demoralized” are unable to understand that this has happened to them.

34 years ago, a KGB defector chillingly predicted modern America

bigthink.com

Ryan Wilkins

121 days ago

Any resemblance Who Is America’s tactics bear to the pro-Trump media apparatus only makes the outrage from the Roy Moores and Sarah Palins of the world more comedically sweet. Like any good troll, Baron Cohen knows how to checkmate his subject so that he or she looks foolish regardless of the outcome. Admit you’ve been duped — as some, like former representative Joe Walsh, have done — and you’re gullible and ashamed; protest and you’re a poor sport or a hypocrite. Either way, Baron Cohen wins.

It’s a cynical view that — much like the show — isn’t very comfortable to sit with for very long. But that sinking feeling is very much the point. Baron Cohen is a worthy adversary for the most disingenuous in our politics and culture. He pits bad faith against bad faith and the result is something that seems like the truth — but it isn’t easy to watch. And somehow, that feels fitting for our current moment.

The MAGA Trolls Have Met Their Match In Sacha Baron Cohen And "Who Is America?"

buzzfeednews.com

Ryan Wilkins

131 days ago

Such are the risks of the new media playing field, which may look level from afar, but still tilts toward the powerful. As social media has knocked down barriers between stars and their faithful (or their critics), direct communication among the uber-famous and practically anonymous has become the norm. But while mutual praise can cause both sides to feel warm and tingly, more charged interactions can leave those who have earned a star’s ire, like Ms. Thompson, reeling as eager followers take up the celebrity’s cause.

“Her fans mimic her behavior,” Ms. Thompson said of Ms. Minaj, who responded to her critique after some of the rapper’s 21 million followers brought the initial tweet to the attention of their queen.

How One Tweet About Nicki Minaj Spiraled Into Internet Chaos

nytimes.com

Ryan Wilkins

139 days ago

On the evening of June 22, 21-year-old Karter Machen decided to tweet.

“I’m not a party guy,” he wrote, “but I’d be down if someone threw a real roaring 20’s party for 2020. Like real tuxedos and all. Not shirtless dudes with a bow tie. Like a real Gatsby party with everyone fully dressed like the era.”

Which, OK, sure. It’s a fairly benign tweet as far as tweets go, and it’s easy to imagine scrolling past it in your feed, puzzling for a moment over “shirtless dudes with a bow tie” and then immediately moving on with your life. Except, at the time of publication, this unexceptional tweet has been retweeted over 83,000 times and faved nearly 330,000 times.

I could not even begin to fathom why.

What Do The Teens Know About This Tweet That We Don’t?

huffingtonpost.com

Ryan Wilkins

150 days ago

My small business fantasy, made real by someone else.

Note: This is perhaps the most casually/lazily written article I've read in a major publication in 2018. Serious demerits for the phrase "almost jarringly pleasant," which does not describe a sensation or an idea. The editor deserves to be pilloried for that one.

It’s a strange and expensive idea that will absolutely never appeal to a wide audience. It’s kind of a bummer, even, to think about a customer who doesn’t have anybody in their life who would make them a playlist for free. But there’s also something interesting about treating music the way you might treat fine art or real estate — the type of investment that’s so important, you would call in an expert to do the legwork for you. Oh is a musician, and her day job is at Nylon Studios, where she works as a music supervisor, finding the perfect track for clients that are usually major brands. Her job isn’t necessarily to enforce taste; it’s to have an enormous breadth of knowledge about what’s out there, and she says Debop operates similarly. “There are a lot of influencers and tastemakers out there,” she says, “This is not that.” It isn’t about selling people “cool,” but helping them find things they’ll actually like.

In the age of algorithms, would you hire a personal shopper to do your music discovery for you?

theverge.com

Ryan Wilkins

150 days ago

SCHRADER I’ll tell you the trick, and I figured it out years ago. It’s a three-stage trick. First stage is nonemotive narration. So it’s like intravenous feeding. You’re getting nutrition but you can’t taste it.

The next stage is the world is only as our protagonist perceives it. You see no other reality. There’s never a scene that he’s not in. So now you’re seeing his life, you’re being filled up with his thoughts and after about 45 minutes or so, you’ve identified. How could you not identify? Then, often slowly, you have to go off the rails a little bit, a little bit, a little bit. The first few times it doesn’t bother you, but then all of a sudden [you’re] saying whoa, I’m identified with somebody that I don’t think is worthy of identification. What do I do about that?

And that’s a great place for an artist to take a viewer because you can’t predict how people will respond when they’re opened up that way; they’re going to have to do something to defend themselves. Here’s how you can defend yourself: Just take a jump, you know.

‘First Reformed’ Asks, Can God Forgive Us? Its Director Has an Answer

nytimes.com

Ryan Wilkins

152 days ago

He imagined two major traits of totalitarian societies: one is lying, and the other is what he called schizophrenia. He wrote, “The organized lying practiced by totalitarian states is not, as it is sometimes claimed, a temporary expedient of the same nature as military deception. It is something integral to totalitarianism, something that would still continue even if concentration camps and secret police forces had ceased to be necessary.” The lying entailed constantly rewriting the past to accommodate the present. “This kind of thing happens everywhere,” he wrote, “but is clearly likelier to lead to outright falsification in societies where only one opinion is permissible at any given moment. Totalitarianism demands, in fact, the continuous alteration of the past, and in the long run probably demands a disbelief in the very existence of objective truth.”

He goes on to imagine that “a totalitarian society which succeeded in perpetuating itself would probably set up a schizophrenic system of thought, in which the laws of common sense held good in everyday life and in certain exact sciences, but could be disregarded by the politician, the historian, and the sociologist.”

How George Orwell Predicted the Challenge of Writing Today

newyorker.com

Ryan Wilkins

152 days ago

It was still a yuppie concert with food trucks and classy canned wine; there wasn’t even a pit, just lines of chairs for the slightly more well-heeled. Yet to the side of the stage, in the margins of grass where you could still see Case clearly, the die-hards collected. They were mostly women, and they looked at Case with something like a loving ache. They were alone and in pairs; regardless of age, they looked nothing like women in Primeran ads.

Neko Case Is Telling The Truth

buzzfeed.com

Ryan Wilkins

152 days ago

Schrader’s film is a wise, shocking, intellectually prodigious masterpiece. It’s a classic Schrader slow burn that seems to reach, in its final moments, for the impossible. For rapture, if that’s even what you’d call it. And then the film ends—snuffed out mid-breath. Good luck catching yours.

Review: In the Masterful First Reformed, Ethan Hawke Gives Us a God-Fearing Travis Bickle

vanityfair.com

Ryan Wilkins

154 days ago

Later, Sarandos cites IMDb again as evidence for the success of one of Netflix’s original movies, the teen-targeted romantic comedy The Kissing Booth. Sarandos calls it “one of the most-watched movies in the country, and maybe in the world” — but of course he won’t offer me any internal data to back that up. “In [IMDb’s] popularity rankings right now, it’s the No. 4 movie behind Deadpool 2, Avengers: Infinity War, and Solo,” he says. “Jacob Elordi is the male lead. Three weeks ago on the IMDb Star-o-Meter, which is how they rank their popularity, he was No. 25,000. Today he is the No. 1 star in the world. And Joey King, the female lead, went from like No. 17,000 to No. 6. This is a movie that I bet you’d never heard of until I just mentioned it to you.” Sarandos’s point: Because reporters like me don’t have ratings or box-office numbers, we’re too quick to listen to rivals who claim stuff on Netflix is getting lost. “This is the competitive message you hear out of a couple of different networks and studios all the time. It is so wrong,” he says.

Inside the Binge Factory

vulture.com

Ryan Wilkins

156 days ago

Bruni is far from alone in smarmily crying out THIS IS WHY TRUMP WON! every time a liberal gets angry about something they ought to be angry about. It is the laziest, stupidest theory, one that posits that the only possible way to take down Trump from his evildoing is to keep your voice so quiet that everyone else can opt out of hearing it. It’s also a clear case of naked pandering from newspapers that skew liberal but still yearn—whether for financial reasons or out of sheer vanity—to appear fair to both sides. This is how you end up with two sets of rules for each party. Republicans can be openly racist, nationalist, corrupt, and horny. Democrats have to be GOOD, because Americans apparently crave goodness even though 60 million of them voted for Donald Trump.

This Is Why Trump Won

gq.com

Ryan Wilkins

156 days ago

On the morning of the Intel meeting, Vice employees were instructed to get to the office early, to bring friends with laptops to circulate in and out of the new space, and to “be yourselves, but 40 percent less yourselves,” which meant looking like the hip 20-somethings they were but in a way that wouldn’t scare off a marketing executive. A few employees put on a photo shoot in a ground-floor studio as the Intel executives walked by. “Shane’s strategy was, ‘I’m not gonna tell them we own the studio, but I’m not gonna tell them we don’t,’ ” one former employee says. That night, Smith took the marketers to dinner, then to a bar where Vice employees had been told to assemble for a party. When Smith arrived, just ahead of the Intel employees, he walked up behind multiple Vice employees and whispered into their ears, “Dance.”

A Company Built on a Bluff

nymag.com

Ryan Wilkins

158 days ago

Moreover, if television’s finest-ever hour—the gloriously deranged and transgressive third season of Twin Peaks—threw down any sort of gauntlet in 2017, it was one issuing a mandate for moving images that challenge audiences, leaving them talking and thinking and tweeting and dreaming, days and weeks and months later.

Why I Am Hopeful: Programmer Eric Allen Hatch on the Future of Arthouse Programming

filmmakermagazine.com

Ryan Wilkins

158 days ago

If I could buy stock in people Googling "blowpokes" and getting lost in Wikipedia's summary of the "Owl Theory" over the next month, I'd put all my money down.

I assumed that the owl theory would be covered in these new episodes, but it wasn’t really mentioned. How much thought did you give to the theory that Kathleen’s injuries were the result of an animal attack?
DR: Zero, because the first time it ever crossed my consciousness was a day or two before my closing argument. Even if I was willing to come in after six months of saying it was a fall and say, “Sorry folks, it wasn’t a fall, it was an owl that first caused these wounds,” I couldn’t do that because there was no evidence of that in the trial. In the closing argument, you’re limited to evidence that’s been presented at trial. When you step back and really start getting familiar with the fact that there have been literally scores if not hundreds of documented instances of owls attacking the heads of people … and you look at the wounds and you compare them with the talons of an owl, it starts having some real credibility.

The Staircase Director Jean-Xavier de Lestrade on the Peterson Case, His Ethical Struggle, and the Owl Theory

vulture.com

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