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The best writing of the week, December 23

The best writing of the week, December 23


Your Sunday reading

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long reads
long reads

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.

Grab these as a Readlist.

On gaming

FWD's John Herrman takes a frank, rational look at violence in video games

FWD: John Herrman - No, Let’s Talk About Video Game Violence

All this is to say that while uninformed anti-game sensationalism may be unproductive, gamers’ reflexive defensiveness is worse. It’s prevented us from having a meaningful conversation about an industry that is emotionally and morally stunted, where per-title revenue can dwarf even the most successful films of all time but which seems immune from discussions of taste and artistic merit. A higher-up at one of the largest game publishers in the world once confided in me that when his bosses showed him early footage from a popular first-person shooter produced by another studio in the company, he couldn’t bring himself to watch to the end.On HFR

Director and photographer Vincent LaForet describes his experiences with seeing The Hobbit in both 48fps and 24fps.

Vincent Laforet: Vincent Laforet - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Masterclass in Why HFR fails, and a reaffirmation of what makes cinema magical

In the opening hour of The Hobbit shown in 3D HFR – I don’t recall hearing a single sigh, or laugh. Not one. When I went to see the exact same seen with an audience of the same size on a 2D projection – I heard regular chuckles and laughter… why? Again more on that in a bit – but this was palpable and very interesting for me to witness. All of the jokes seemed to be falling flat or being missed in the HFR projection.On The Hobbit

J. Hoberman teases out the relationship between technology and Tolkein in Peter Jackson's latest.

The New York Review of Books blog: J. Joberman - Tolkien vs. Technology

Although lacking the visionary chutzpah and demented social energy that characterized the great pulp fantasies orchestrated by Fritz Lang in the 1920s, Jackson’s Ring trilogy was the greatest feat of pop movie magic between Titanic and Avatar. Not so The Hobbit which, less a movie than a promotion for its inevitable ancillary computer game, features endless digital battles predicated on space-warping virtual camera moves and chute-and-ladder sudden escapes. Reviewing the Ring trilogy in the mid 1950s, Edmund Wilson famously called it "a children’s book which has somehow got out of hand." The same could be said of The Hobbit. In this case, a children’s story got out of hand and morphed into Battlefield 3.On jokes

The staff of The Daily Show, Fallon, SNL, and more weigh in on what it's like to write jokes for TV in the ages of Twitter.

Fastcocreate: Paul Myers - Does Twitter kill TV comedy?

Merrill Markoe, one of the pioneers behind the original Late Night with David Letterman program on NBC, says that she and her writers would have definitely made use of Twitter if they’d had it in the 1980s.
"There was no constant stream of stuff available that we knew of that we didn’t use," Markoe recalls. "When your job is filling up five nights a week over and over again with funny things, you need a lot of straight resource material to play off. We were subscribing to all these small-town papers and weird trade magazines. And on the positive side, we took cameras out in to the world a lot."On Zork

In honor of the creators of the classic text adventure game Zork being honored with the Pioneer award, Wired whipped up a fun interview in the form of a playable interactive adventure.

Wired: Chris Kohler - Text Adventure: Zork Creators Honored With Pioneer Award

You are standing in an open field west of a white house.
You can see a small door and a mailbox (closed) here. 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.