Sunday Linkdump: A smile I’ve learned to fear

Taken this morning by the husband at Point Lookout State Park in Maryland. Full set.
Taken this morning by the husband at Point Lookout State Park in Maryland. Full set.

Back in the saddle.

  • “Confessions of a Drone Warrior”. This is wrenching, horrifying, and a side of drone operation that most people can’t imagine.

    Airman First Class Brandon Bryant stared at the scene, unblinking in the white-hot clarity of infrared. He recalls it even now, years later, burned into his memory like a photo negative: “The smoke clears, and there’s pieces of the two guys around the crater. And there’s this guy over here, and he’s missing his right leg above his knee. He’s holding it, and he’s rolling around, and the blood is squirting out of his leg, and it’s hitting the ground, and it’s hot. His blood is hot. But when it hits the ground, it starts to cool off; the pool cools fast. It took him a long time to die. I just watched him. I watched him become the same color as the ground he was lying on.”

  • “Afrofuturism and Drones”. This is pretty fabulous.

    Drone mythos might help us conceptualize and critique the role of anti-blackness in contemporary imperialism. When we Americans think of drones, we usually think of them as something that happens in Pakistan, Yemen, or other Middle Eastern locations. However, droning practices certainly exist over here–you could think of Stop & Frisk and Stand Your Ground as a method of striking a constant pitch of fear among targeted populations. How might this idea that droning only happens “over there” obscure racist droning “over here”? In other words, how does droning re-enforce anti-black racism? On the other hand, how does anti-black racism facilitate droning, especially insofar as droning seems to target non-black people of color?

  • Impressionist paintings of scenes from zombie movies. Nothing more need be said.
  • “Finally, an Art Form That Gets the Internet: Opera”. This is quite simply one of the most remarkably conceived stage productions I have ever heard of. I desperately want to talk to this guy. Though he does still fall into the trap of conceiving “online” and “offline” as somehow different “spaces”.

    All at once, projections flicker upon the surface of the towers. We see the same massive chatlike interfaces, and a single phrase scrolling down them, like someone is typing it, again and again and again: “U there? U there? U there? U there?” The chorus sings those words, too, so we’re hearing and seeing them, and more words follow, until all the words tumble away into a projection of a vast, open space, across which helixes and plasma and networks flash and spin. Under all this, the strings pulse with exhilaration, and the low winds sound low, sustained tones, a phase slower than the anxious beat. As the chorus sing short phrases like this—“u there? u there? hey hey hey”—dancers now enter, gesticulating, moving fast-slow-fast with the artificiality of a simulation.

  • “Everyone is Tired of White People on TV”. And yet guess how much of a difference it makes to who’s on TV.

    And it gets better! Not in the sense of it gets more diverse and such. Just that the data justifies the points we are constantly trying to make (which is that the more diverse things are at every level, the more enjoyable televisions shows are) BECAUSE shows with diverse writing staffs also fare better in cable ratings. Researchers found that writing staffs with 10% minority or less (AKA a vast majority of shows in the analysis) slumped in ratings when compared to shows that had 11-20% and 41-50% minority staffs.

  • I wrote a thing on creepypasta and horror fiction.

    What comes to mind first when I consider creepypasta are campfire stories. I think it’s a pretty obvious jump; there may be no physical co-presence, but to me the feel is very similar: people sitting in the dark together, looking at something bright and glowing, passing around things to make each other shiver and wonder what might really be out there in the shadows.

Let’s all just bask in one of the greatest video game themes of all time.

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