Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Newspeak of the Week - Conservative Firebrand

A conservative firebrand is someone who is always willing to speak out against the powerful - on behalf of people who are even more powerful.

Friday, December 05, 2008

How to Read a Windows Registry

The main challenge when reading the Windows registry is telling the difference between useful keys and malware and bloatware keys that can be - and should be - safely removed.

I have developed an easy system for making this judgment. If you are not sure whether a key is something useful or something that shouldn't be there, delete it! Then reboot and check the registry for that key. If it comes back, it shouldn't be there. If it doesn't come back, it's a useful key.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Amanda Marcotte - Misogynist!

Ok, not really. But it's a very rare occasion that I get to call out one of my favorite feminist bloggers for underreacting to a feminist outrage. I am, after all, a dude.

However Amanda M rushed through her viewing of this amazing music video:

and she has this thing completely backwards.

Amanda M writes on Pandagon:

The song leaves me cold (I was amused to read that Ben Folds produced it, and then congratulated myself for relatively consistent taste), but the video is pretty looking, and owes a lot to the creepy scenes with the Master of Ceremonies in “Cabaret”.* It seems like the least controversial thing ever.

Differences of taste aside (this is one of the best songs I've heard in a LONG time, though I will admit the production on the vocals is a bit grating and hard to understand on first listen), this song is not "controversial" so much as it is intentionally horrifying and disgusting to record executives.

It's a song, basically, about the clash between the consumerist male fans that her label wants to attract, and her core of female fans, the "Expert Double X's." Note the headbanging-blonde nod to Smells Like Teen Spirit at the end, another breakout single that decried the corruption - by violent, uncomprehending brutes - of the community that had sprung up around the band.

At the end of this video, the men who symbolize the label's target market are moved to violence by the spectacle of the cabaret show they are witnessing, which violence escalates into a full-scale saturnalia of food throwing (a reference to the last scene of "Bugsy Malone," itself another dig at the scarf-wearing kid gangsters in the US and UK where she performs), and sexual conquest (including a release of repressed homoerotic energy as is common at gatherings of violent homobigot thugs).

In the end the cabaret troupe is destroyed by infighting while the spectators are all slain by the monstrous, useless rabble the band's success has unleashed upon them.

So, you could imagine how the label execs might be rubbed the wrong way. But of course to actually vocalize the source of their dismay, they would have to A)confront the very assumptions that make them record execs in the first place and B)give enough of a shit about the music itself to actually listen to it enough to figure out what the hell it's saying.

Instead, they decided to go with "her tummy is uncommercial."

Honestly, it's one of the most unusual and darkly hilarious examples of record company ignorance - and impotence, given that she split from them over the incident and they will now not even get to reap the financial rewards of her almost inevitable success as a solo artist - that I've ever seen.

Bravo to Amanda Palmer for recording this song. The world needed to see what the record industry is really like.