Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Poly Styrene, 1957-2011

Poly Styrene died yesterday of breast cancer. As a teenager she was the lead singer and songwriter for one of the best punk bands ever, X-Ray Spex. She was a nonconformist even among the rebels and misfits of punk rock: she was short, wore braces, wasn't rail-thin, designed her own clothes (often in bright colors, an anomaly in punk), and was multi-racial. She was smart, wickedly funny (her lyrics are great), and absolutely electrifying onstage. Her voice was and will remain unforgettable:

Video for "Identity" (1978); thanks to goldenhinde

Friday, April 22, 2011

Why BBC literary adaptations are so delightful: Daniel Deronda edition

1. The screenplays are literate

Screenplay by Andrew Davies

(Usually a very good sign: he wrote the screenplays for Pride & Prejudice (1995) and Bleak House (2005), among many others)

2. The direction is striking

Tom Hooper

(He also directed The King's Speech (2010))

3. The casts are excellent

Amanda Root

Amanda Root (of the exquisite Persuasion (1995)) as Mrs. Davilow

Hugh Bonneville

Hugh Bonneville (of Downton Abbey (2010)) as Grandcourt

Romola Garai

Romola Garai (of Emma (2009)) as Gwendolen

Hugh Dancy

Hugh Dancy (of The Jane Austen Book Club (2007)) as Daniel

Johdi May

Johdi May (of The Mayor of Casterbridge (2003)) as Mirah

4. The interiors are amazing


Interior with chandelier

Interior with chandelier

(Shweta, I hope you're noting the chandeliers!)

5. There's passion...



6. ...and skullduggery


(You may recognize David Bamber, the loathsome Mr. Collins in Pride & Prejudice)

7. Not to mention immense staircases

8. ...immense chignons...

9. ..and last but not least, immense bustles!

What's not to love?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Facebook is selling your information to advertisers

There's an article in the Los Angeles Times this morning by Jessica Guynn about how Facebook is mining its users' profiles, status updates, posts, likes and friends, and selling that information to advertisers. Guynn gives an example: "If a Facebook user becomes a fan of 1-800-FLOWERS, her friends might receive ads telling them that she likes the floral delivery service."

"Facebook says it does not disclose information that would allow advertisers to identify individual users, but filters them based on geography, age or specific interests," Guynn writes. "It also lets users control whether companies such as 1-800-FLOWERS can display the users' names to others to promote products."

Perhaps someone can explain to me how an advertiser can show an ad to your Facebook friends which is based on your interests and which contains your name, and yet not have received any personally identifying information about you.

Here's a link to the complete article: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-facebook-ads-20110417,0,1887797.story

Update 18 April 2011: The Guardian UK has posted a video interview with Cory Doctorow in which he points out that users of social networking sites are actively rewarded—with attention, links, friends, etc.—for disclosing more personal information online, resulting in what he calls a "privacy apocalypse." You can view the interview here; Cory Doctorow has his own site, craphound.com, where you can also view this interview, as well as find links to his articles, stories and books.