Sleigh Bells

Alright, a quick poll for those of you who love this album: what have you been listening to it on?  The last time I really checked these guys out was when they were being tweeted about endlessly during SXSW.  I headed to the Hype Machine and listened to what had been released or leaked.

It was physically unpleasant. I mean, not painful, exactly. That would be going too far.  But my old man ears really, really recoiled from it.

But that was all on headphones (sealed-back headphones at that). Today I’m giving the album a chance over speakers, and I have no complaints.  I actually like it!  And am adding it to my still-extremely-tenuous “2010 = summer of anthemic rock” thesis (Fang Island being the other major data point).

Maybe I’m an outlier here.  I still think the clipping is a gimmick, and one that really, really doesn’t work without a room full of air to mellow it out.  But I’m excited at the prospect of being less of a pain in the ass about this record.

(And yes, I realize that this post constitutes an inevitable but still detestable descent into explicit audiophile pain-in-the-assery.  But if you know me you’ve known for a while that this was only a matter of time.)


People seem to really be upset with Facebook this time!  Naturally, I think this is great.  I’m on record as a Facebook curmudgeon, having almost entirely displaced my anger over the flight of my friends from social blogging — a change that was probably inevitable thanks to the progression of age and career — onto the service that so many of them fled to.

But I feel some ambivalence, too.  I’m increasingly convinced that it’s fruitless to consider social networking products in terms of their absolute, instantaneous attributes.  A changed privacy policy is just one small force in a vast landscape of shifting demographics and trends.  Considering the situation as if the market is settling down, converging on some stable attractor — (“blogs and Twitter are the answer and always have been — now they can take their rightful place!”) — that’s a shallow way of thinking about it.

I’m convinced that online society has a rhythm.  A while ago, I proposed a lifecycle for social networks.  I’m pretty sure that that latter hypothesis will prove to be hopeless, that those considering the question won’t be able to draw any firmer conclusions about the fall of Friendster than historians have about the fall of the Roman Empire.  But there’s no doubt in my mind that these systems are fundamentally dynamic, and subject to entropic forces even beyond their maintainers’ sinister efforts at profit-maximization.

complaining about the MSM is so old-electronic-media

This Politico story finishes solidly, but man does it ever start off badly.  I suppose I shouldn’t expect anything different, but the newspapers’ obsession with an imagined era of dispassionate objectivity is now less charmingly eccentric than it is indicative of a distressing disconnection from the fundamental nature of reality.  Anyway, Ezra’s take is both smarter and, hopefully, will allow those truth-and-justice-believin-in newspapermen a way to mentally sidestep the dreaded question of partisanship.

In other MSM-bashing news: man, I had a hard time writing the morning roundup today.  The latest details from the UVA lacrosse player murder were clearly one of the day’s most prominent stories, and I found myself trying to thread the slim gap between condemning the coverage and failing to condemn the murderer.

To be clear: Huguely, having reportedly confessed to the crime, can’t be considered anything other than a monster.  But I can’t help but recoil at the way the Post’s editors handled this story.  I mean, take a look at this.  It’s cartoonish.  If you read the story it’s clear that the reporters were unable to turn up any really damning quotes about Huguely from anyone who actually knew him or his victim.  So instead they hang their case for his obvious villainy on a drunken run-in with the cops where he seems to have mouthed off, then engaged in some violent behavior before or in the course of getting tasered.  That’s not the mark of a model citizen by any measure, but it’s also not an outrageously unusual thing to find on a fraternity member and varsity athlete’s resume.

The story goes to even more ridiculous lengths, actually underscoring in the text the disparity between the victim’s lovely class photo and Huguely’s bedraggled mug shot.

I’m not at all anxious to rehabilitate the image of a murderer.  But I do think the Post is doing everyone a disservice by playing up this guy as some sort of transparent villain, skulking through the UVA campus until his dark and brutal nature finally, inevitably, claimed a victim.  That sort of laughable oversimplification doesn’t help anyone except those who enjoy clucking their tongues and patting themselves on the back — as if they don’t know anyone who could ever perpetrate or fall victim to domestic abuse.

Far more useful would  have been an effort to tell the story that seems to be implied by the scant quotes people who actually knew the couple: that all too often people fail to anticipate these tragedies before they occur. Unfortunately, even monstrous human beings rarely appear to be the sort of villainous caricatures that sell newspapers.  It’s worth taking that idea seriously more seriously than the Post did.

the reaction to the iPhone leak

This is entirely correct.

Also, if any of you accidentally upgraded or have a newish device that couldn’t be jailbroken, you might be interest in this, which was released yesterday.  From there you might be interested in adding this repo to Cydia, then using it to enable tethering on your device — it works almost magically well.