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Ether Mind

2010 - Welcome to the Future!
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Right Wing Critique of the Week - Taylor Swift

A young singer/songwriter/guitar player

Though I doubt she plays guitar any more.

Genre: Pop vocals, pop rock rythms, superficial Nashville country style

Lyrics: Coherent within each song, as deep as American pop culture gets, nice rhymes and clever wordplay. Though not all lyrics are written by Swift.

Music: Produced by a professional band that was probably assembled by coldblooded studio machinery. Tracks have the clean, empty sound that make Good Charlotte and AC/DC great. Though AC/DC was before the digital era and you can practically hear the needle scratching on your CD. I'd like to see someone autotune Bon Scott. However, the tunes are good, catchy, and contain a moderate amount of creativity in their execution.

Taylor Swift (album): debut, produced before she sold out to major labels, possibly one of the best albums of the decade, which is pretty sad. The album was initially released in 2006 but didn't become a mainstream success immediately. It eventually went quadruple platinum and has extra bonus tracks on the Walmart edition.

Fearless (album): Attempt to quickly cash in on the mainstream popularity of 2008. Not that bad, but it doesn't transcend its idiot pop singer roots.

Mine (single, 2010): Better than anything on Fearless.

I'm not quite sure why I'm reviewing something this popular, but I always think that Taylor Swift's genuine talents will be overlooked when she's compared to similar music that is, in fact, total garbage. I hope she will actually improve and attain some musical greatness, on the level of Bob Dylan or Paul McCartney. Of course, where would Axl Rose be without Slash? He'd be making Chinese Democracy, that's where. And maybe Paul McCartney is just lucky to have been friends with John Lennon. I don't know.

The whole environment is... nonconducive to developing musical talent in pop stars. Metal guitarists, sure, but not pop stars. Oh well.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Right Wing Critique of the Week - My Little Bride

My Little Bride is a highly rated Korean movie which is available to pirate with English subtitles.

It's a romantic comedy about a 24ish guy who marries a 16 year old because of their grandparents' wishes. The key thing to remember is that Korean romantic comedies, unlike American romantic comedies, are funny and romantic. They don't make you want to kill Julia Roberts and then yourself.

Obviously the first theme is the dissonance between modern society and the older culture, which included arranged marriages for adolescents. But that's really just used to set up the situation. There's less comedy and more romanticism than I would have expected based on the premise, but it's all good. I enjoyed the whole thing. Actually, it had better characterization than most movies I've seen, and the plot was good. It wasn't particularly complex. Episodic, almost. But the running time was 115 minutes and none of it was wasted.

Toward the end there are more school scenes and after the Assembly scene at the end, I wondered: This movie has elements of wish fulfillment, but are they directed at 16 year old girls who want to marry 20-something guys as well as the more-obvious vice-versa? What does it say about our culture that those desires are both acknowledged but not accepted?

I'm not sure how a Korean sees it. The age difference is frowned upon somewhat, but there were no angry posses of villagers like I've had to face in the US.

I recommend the movie. 8/10 stars. The main drawback is it's not very exciting.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Net Neutrality is a Stupid Idea

We are faced with the specter of all sorts of slightly annoying hijinks on the part of broadband providers. "Oh noes! Comcast might slow down my access to Hughesnet.com!" Despite the Web being 17 years old, no one has violated the de facto net neutrality we have today. There are disincentives to do so. Even if someone did give preferred access to Google and the MPAA, it wouldn't matter at all. Even in China, which is a COMMUNIST DICTATORSHIP, people can access prohibited materials; they simply run the risk of disappearing into a gulag should they do so.

(I'm sure this post puts me on the list of prohibited sites, not that anyone reads it to begin with.)

So, in the face of theoretical inconvenience, all the liberal geeks on the internets want to institute a byzantine regulatory regime. Because, you know, regulations make you free. Black is white. The chocolate ration has been increased.

Or is it simply an effort to begin the inevitable destruction of the frontier of free thought and untaxable, anonymous trade?