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Tuesday, Mar 4, 2008
by PopMatters Staff
backpack-picnic

This week: Learn about the sinister inner workings of the world’s largest company.  In this, the debut of Backpack Picnic’s third season, an oblivious employee runs into trouble with upper management when he unwittingly divulges a bizarre company secret.


PopMatters offers exclusive early looks at new episodes of Backpack Picnic, an online sketch comedy show from ON Networks.


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Tuesday, Mar 4, 2008

Apple isn’t the only company who can boss around labels with pricing.  Walmart has been doing a pretty good job of it too and they keep proving it.  Lately, they’ve been telling the labels that they have to adjust their pricing downward to keep the shopping-behemoth happy.  WM also told the movie studios that they better not get too excited about offering music downloads ‘cause they’ll start yanking their DVD’s off the shelves in their stores.  Should WM be able to push around all parts of the entertainment industry?  They can as long as they remain the biggest seller of their product in their stores (Apple is catching up in sales though).  Makes you wonder what else WM is going to decide that the entertainment industry is going to do next.


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Tuesday, Mar 4, 2008

It’s enough to steer you away from B&N’s memoir section for good.


Yet another acclaimed memoir has been outed as a fake. Margaret Jones’s (real name Margaret Seltzer) Love and Consequences, detailing a youth spent drug running for the Bloods in South Central is actually nothing but a fairytale, concocted by a private school graduate from Sherman Oaks.


From the Los AngelesTimes:


In a brief telephone interview, Seltzer’s mother said her daughter was very upset and contrite about the fabrication, but had been advised by her editor not to speak further about it for the moment.


“I think she got caught up in the facts of the story she was trying to write,” Gay Seltzer said. “She’s always been an activist and she tried to draw on the immediacy of the situation and became caught up in the persona of the narrator. She’s very sorry and very upset.”


Entertainment Weekly quotes the author:


For whatever reason, I was really torn and I thought it was my opportunity to put a voice to people who people don’t listen to ... Maybe it’s an ego thing—I don’t know. I just felt that there was good that I could do and there was no other way that someone would listen to it.’



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Tuesday, Mar 4, 2008

Every now and then, usually in moments of aimless procrastination, I get drawn into Lifehacker, Gawker Media’s blog about how to be more productive. It’s full of tips and software downloads and to-do lists and it’s uniformly cheerful and perky, but I’m pretty sure it’s doing nothing to improve anyone’s efficiency. It makes productivity into a fun fantasy to indulge in: Wouldn’t it be great if I was one of those people who need to install a keyboard-command application launcher, because I’m so diligently and relentlessly multitasking that I can hardly dare to spare a few nanoseconds away from typing to move my mouse? Wouldn’t it be cool if I was the sort of person who learns 10 new foreign words a day courtesy of a daily podcast I have in my hyperorganized personal podcast-processing portal page? Wouldn’t I be a hero if I were the type to label all my emails and have them file themselves automatically so that I could spend more time tagging interesting sites on the Web and sharing them through one of the several hundred social networking platforms I’ve become affiliated with? And that’s not to mention all the pseudo-productive hobbies I get to daydream about by browsing around Lifehacker, like putting together a Linux machine that runs all open-source software and retagging all my iTunes files with release dates, album covers, lyrics, and genres.


It’s absurd—the site provides numerous solutions for the same problem, creating the new task (which it will offer a helpful solution to, I’m sure) of having to evaluate which time-saving strategy is best. And the site is updated so frequently that to keep up with it is extremely inefficient (though it does offer specialized feeds so you can cut down the flow). If I truly was concerned with being productive, one of the first things I’d do is forbid myself from reading Lifehacker.


It may just be semantics, but when I think about it, I find something repugnant about “hacking” life. As if life itself weren’t enough, and I should be finding shortcuts to preempt its flow, programming myself to be less life-like.


Productivity is not the abstract end in itself that the site makes of it—it’s not a prêt-à-porter product. When devising means to be more productive, obviously it matters what your larger, more meaningful goals are. But productivity for its own sake allows you to forget that you may not have larger, more meaningful goals—a common affliction in capitalist societies that devalue the meaning of work and make leisure a kind of compulsion. In other words, productivity is another mask for convenience, which is really just consumption efficiency presented as quantitative hedonism.


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Monday, Mar 3, 2008


From time to time, SE&L will step back and let the Tinsel Town marketing machine do what they do best – tantalize and tease us with clever coming attraction previews and trailers. The five films focused on this time around represent some highly anticipated future outings, including the latest from cinematic stalwarts like M Night Shyamalan, Mike Meyers, and Kung Fu Hustle‘s Stephen Chow. Every few weeks, we’ll take a break from casting our critical eye over the motion picture artform and let the shill do the talking. And of course, once they do open in theaters, you can guarantee we will be there, deciphering whether the come-on matches the context. In any event, enjoy:


The Love Guru
It’s more Austin Powers’ style wackiness as Meyers portrays an Indian shaman trying to save the career of a professional hokey player. Standard hijinx ensue.



CJ7
Hong Kong God Chow turns family friendly with this ET like tale.



The Happening
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and only the director of The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable knows what’s on tap.



Baby Mama
Tina Fey takes a break from 30 Rock to offer her own satiric take on superwomen and the desire to have it all - including a surrogate kid.



Midnight Meat Train
The Clive Barker tales gets a stylistic spin. Looks like it could be a solid genre winner.


 


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