We all know the feeling. You're sleepless in the sad hours of the night or stumbling around early on a hazy weekend morning in need of something to read, and that pile of unread books just isn't cutting it. Why not take a break from the fire hose of Twitter and RSS and check out our weekly roundup of essential writing from around the web about technology, culture, media, and the future? Sure, it's one more thing you can feel guilty about sitting in your Instapaper queue, but it's better than pulling in vain on your Twitter list again.
Teju Cole writes about the fantastic rise of a digital and increasingly social photography.
The New Inquiry: Teju Cole - Dappled Things: Pinkhassov on Instagram
We are left with optical discriminations and optical pleasures, and it is in this private space that the work regains its aura. In this sense, digital photography and social media, even though the tiny little screen can be irritating, are helping to introduce new criteria: there is no editioning, no signature, no date of printing. It will be a headache for curators in the future, but it’s a pleasure for the pure lover of the image: while lying in bed in the morning, you can see the latest work from a photographer you find interesting. The image comes to you.
Rian Johnson's Looper hit theaters this weekend, and FILMCRITHULK throws down 27,000 words about the director, Comic-Con, and the state of the movie business. Yes, there are some spoilers.
EW: FILMCRITHULK - RIAN JOHNSON OPENS THE LOOP
BUT ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE EQUATION THERE ARE HIGH-CONCEPT FILMS THAT EXIST AS A PALE SHADOWS OF THE REAL INNOVATION. STUDIO PEOPLE ARE SO DESPERATE TO JUSTIFY THE PROJECTS THEY CHOOSE THAT THEY ARE WILLING TO SINK TO THE LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR OF BRAND-RECOGNITION. THEY THEN "INNOVATE" BY BACKWARDLY-PRODUCING A "NEW, CLEVER IDEA" FROM THOSE EXISTING CONSTRUCTS. SNOW WHITE AS A BIG ACTION FILM STARRING KNOWN-VALUE KRISTEN STEWART? SURE THING!
David Bordwell writes about the history behind the Cinerama, a novelty film technology from the 50s and 60s.
Observations on film art: David Bordwell - The wayward charms of Cinerama
When This Is Cinerama opened at the Broadway Theatre in Manhattan on 30 September 1952, it presented itself as the ultimate package of new entertainment technologies. It was of course in color, which was still something of a rarity in motion pictures. It used stereophonic sound, with five speakers behind the screen and two in the auditorium. The screen itself was a wonder: it was seventy-five feet wide and about 23 feet high, bent in a 146-degree arc. That made the display span fifty feet. Later, some screens would be nearly a hundred feet long and over thirty feet high.
Leo Traynor tells the story of meeting the troll that stalked him and his wife.
Traynor's Eye: Leo Traynor - Meeting a Troll...
I didn't mention it to my wife. Didn't see the point of worrying her. But then she joined Twitter to see what it was like and grew to enjoy it. It wouldn't have been immediately obvious to outsiders that we were man and wife. She made the mistake though of changing her profile to state that she was 'The long suffering wife of @LeoTraynor'. Not a good idea. She received a DM stating 'Your husband is scum. A rotten b*stard and you're a wh*re.' She laughed it off.
Has this decade ruined any word more than engage? Brian Phillips considers The Next Generation's legacy after watching all 133 hours of the show.
Grantland: Brian Phillips - Computer Love
The Next Generation drew something like 20 million viewers a week in its heyday, practically an American Idol number, and the penetration of the show's keywords — energize, engage, Number One, I am Locutus of Borg, resistance is futile, make it so — was light-years beyond insane for a syndicated sci-fi show. But in a way, it's no wonder. The Enterprise crew was driving a misfiring IBM PC in the service of a quasi-neoliberal agenda, and at the same time, so were we.
Have any favorites that you'd like to see included in next week's edition? Send them along to @thomashouston or share in the comments below.