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by Rob Horning

13 Aug 2009

Sharing once seemed to me a simple, straightforward thing, but the way tech and social media companies have co-opted it recently have made me increasingly suspicious of it. In the usage that is starting to become prevalent, sharing isn’t a matter of giving over a portion of a desirable thing to others. Instead it is a code word for what is in fact a mode of online production, for labor that we perform ostensibly for the benefit of friends we explicitly connect ourselves with in networks but ultimately for the benefit of the companies who hold the fruits of our effort on their servers. When we “share” via upload, we aren’t sharing at all, we are working to move information and data into digital space where it can be manipulated and harvested for profit.

Facebook’s recent acquisition of FriendFeed, a service that turns everything you upload to various sites into a single RSS stream, threatens to make the cant about sharing even worse. In this piece for The Big Money, Chadwick Matlin argues that the acquisition is Facebook’s effort to corner the market in “social aggregation”—that is, to evolve into a kind of Google Reader in which instead of subscribing to blogs, you subscribe to people. Matlin likens the effort to the Huffington Post, which aggregates and filters content to make it all managable, only with FreindFeed and Facebook, your friends will filter what you read, not strangers.

by Sarah Zupko

13 Aug 2009

Guy Clark
Somedays the Song Writes You
(Dualtone)
Releasing: 22 September (US)

Guy Clark has long been one of those artists greatly beloved by other respected artists. Bob Dylan recently told the Huffington Post that Clark is one of his favorite songwriters. He’s not alone. Clark has been a pillar in the Nashville songwriting community for more than 30 years, penning classic songs, many of which have become hits for other artists including George Strait and Rodney Crowell. Clark brings a new set of modern classics Somedays the Song Writes You on September 22.

CONTEST: Dualtone is running a contest to win a co-writing session with Guy Clark. The winner will get flown to Nashville to work with Clark on a song in his home writing workshop. You have until 15 September to enter.

SONG LIST
01 Somedays You Write the Song
02 The Guitar
03 Hemingway’s Whiskey
04 The Coat
05 All She Wants Is You
06 If I Needed You
07 Hollywood
08 Eamon
09 Wrong Side of the Tracks
10 One Way Ticket Down
11 Maybe I Can Paint Over That

Guy Clark
“The Guitar” [Stream]

by Sean Murphy

13 Aug 2009

Guess what? Rashanim has recently released what will undoubtedly stand as one of the best albums of 2009 in The Gathering.

Guess what else? Rashanim has been making incredible music for the better part of this decade.

One more thing: you are not the only person who has, unfortunately, not heard (or heard of) this band. For all the right reasons, changing that should become a priority in your life. Trust me. I hope and expect to hear many more noteworthy new albums in 2009, but I sincerely doubt I will come across another effort as profoundly effective and moving as this one.

So, who is Rashanim? They are a jazz trio operating out of New York City who describe themselves on their website as a “Jewish power trio: Rashanim (’noisemakers’ in Hebrew) combines the power of rock with the spontaneity of improvisation, deep Middle Eastern grooves and mystical Jewish melodies.” Led by guitarist Jon Madof, the band also includes bassist Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz and drummer Mathias Kunzli. They record for John Zorn’s label Tzadik (http://tzadik.com/) and are categorized in its “Radical Jewish Culture” series. (Being neither Jewish nor radical, I still find this concept rather rad, and to be certain, some of the very best music in the world is being created on Zorn’s middle-finger-to-the-industry label.)

by Colin McGuire

13 Aug 2009

I currently work at the night desk of a small-town newspaper. Various arguments regarding journalism these days center around the notion that small-town newspapers aren’t as affected by the many budget cuts, firings and all-around sea-change most bigger-marketed newspapers seemingly have to take on each day.

Many argue that, because of the small-town flare that can showcase in depth local coverage better than a bigger paper that is based far away from these particular small towns, the smaller-market newspapers have a better chance of surviving, or, at the very least, not having to shoulder the burden of job loss that most major dailys have been forced to deal with for what has turned into a long time.

Part of that snuggly, warm feeling small-town newspapers can give a reader has always been the comfort of one Pauline Phillips, or, these days, her daughter, Jeanne Phillips. Those two women have been responsible for writing the daily “Dear Abby” columns that have become an absolute staple in most every newspaper across the nation, and, in fact, nearly 1,500 papers worldwide.

That said, as part of cutbacks at the particular newspaper I work at, we have been told that in order to save money, we will publish our final “Dear Abby” column Friday, making way for a less-expensive, dumbed-down version of an advice column from a different outlet, set to be published in Saturday’s edition.

Wow.

“Do you know what this is going to do?” I asked my publisher when she broke the news a couple weeks ago. “People are going to go mad. This is the one thing almost everyone turns to when they pick up a newspaper. It’s been that way forever. You might not read the sports. You might not even read the council stories. But you always read Abby.”

“I know,” she said. “But I’d rather have to cut columns than people. And really, we have no choice.”

She’s right. I certainly can’t complain about having the ability to live another day in the world of newspapers while many other, much more talented journalists ponder what it is they are now going to try and do with their lives. But that doesn’t mean this news comes easy. Aside from the crossword puzzle, I can’t imagine anything else that has been as much of a staple in newspapers for such a long amount of time.

I mean, come on. Where else can you get tales about a 15-year-old girl who is afraid to ask her crush to the upcoming dance? Or about how awkward it was at dinner when a mother-in-law burped so loud, it awoke a sleeping cat? Or how about the times when those bastardly cheating husbands slip up and get caught by their wives, forcing the women to make that awful decision of weather or not to stick around for the kids?

It’s going to be sad to see Abby go. In fact, I, myself, may even turn to other newspapers simply to check in on whose life Ms. Phillips is saving now. As for the rest of our readers? Here’s hoping this move doesn’t drive too many of them away. Many of our customers tend to be older, so now that the comfort of that long-lasting advice column won’t be there, one has to think our phones will be flooded. And here’s hoping most other newspapers don’t have to resort to this. It’s a move that is bold, yet understandably necessary, and, with that said, a little bit unsettling as well.

Yes, it is better to cut columns than people, but now that changes such as this have worked their way into smaller markets, one has to wonder how much longer it will be before the columns run out.

by Matt Mazur

12 Aug 2009

Lubezki is one of the finest working cameramen in the business. He has worked with the reclusive Malick previously on The New World, one of the most beautiful films to just look at in recent memory, and is also responsible for the auteur’s upcoming The Tree of Life, which is rumored to be coming out this year (but we’ll just have to wait and see…).

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