The Web is Full of Riches
April 29, 2009
I have some things to share with you.
- Alice Marwick's extraordinary keynote speech on internet celebrity from last year's ROFLCon. It was the highlight of the event, imbued with both humor and a conscience.
- Mike Pusateri: "I am American, so I make bacon from pork belly."
- Wes Felter: "The rug isn't under you now."
- Jason Kottke: "[M]isleading at best and a complete fucking lie at worst."
- Rogers Cadenhead: "She's trying to corner the market on an infinite resource."
By no measure, was capital distributed “efficiently”—let alone to places “where it was most effective” in the investor-invented calamity known as the mortgage meltdown. What’s more, the question of where capital “is most needed” is inherently a political one. Post-Katrina New Orleans certainly could make do with a whole lot of efficiently delivered private capital, but somehow it was never kicked up, even in the headiest days of the housing bubble. Likewise, the “exceptional role” played by the nation’s princeling capital-herders, as the piece goes on to ploddingly rehearse, consists largely of emailing to their foreign-market counterparts at odd off-work hours; what they’re really up in arms about—with their New York magazine enablers feverishly goading them on—is seeing their social status in free-fall. “No offense to Middle America,” one of these firebreathing social prophets emails, “but if someone went to Columbia or Wharton, [even if] their company is a fumbling, mismanaged bank, why should they all of a sudden be paid the same as the guy down the block who delivers restaurant supplies for Sysco out of a huge, shiny truck?”
- The Awl also does justice to last year's Best New Blog: The Big Picture. Alan Taylor's been justifiably lauded for doing great journalism as only someone native to the web could do, earning a Punch Award, the New York Times' internal awards for outstanding performance (emphasis mine):
The Big Picture ... is the winner of the Journalism and Community Service category. The concept for this photo blog originated with Alan Taylor, a Boston.com software engineer. He envisioned telling stories on the Web with visual power, then brought his idea to life, using high-quality imagery with a focus on current events.
Alan developed and promoted the blog largely on his own time. And we’re so glad he did. Since its inception in June 2008, The Big Picture has garnered almost 37 million page views and engaged its audience in new and profound ways. What’s more it has gained praise from online leaders...
- Andrew Anker: "If you love something, charge for it"
- Caterina Fake: "People who have broken a leg like video games such as Madden NFL 09 and NBA 2K9, whereas non-leg-breakers prefer Little Big Planet, Katamari Damacy, Super Mario Galaxy and World of Goo." A glimpse into a larger vision:
Hunch is essentially a tool for experts to help non experts -- and when we say experts, we don't necessarily mean people with Ph.D.s, but more often people who have taken the time to do research.
- These stories of first nights in New York City, found through Jason's link, are incredibly moving and evocative to me. I've long been a fan of Danny Meyer's, but his story of coming to NYC the night John Lennon was shot nicely explains why I changed from being "someone who lives in New York City" to being "A New Yorker" after 9/11:
It was an amazing feeling: a moment of community and realizing that this horrible tragedy had brought that many human beings together. It wasn’t the violent act that scared me as much as it was the beauty of its aftermath that attracted me.
When I left New York City a few years ago (I returned home to NYC in 2007), I described my second night in the city, in a similar vein to those stories shared above:
I walked down the block at about three in the morning, when it was too late at night for me to call anybody who would reassure me, and having far too much pride to actually break down and start crying. At the end of my block was a pretty standard bodega, with the usual mishmash of newspapers and fresh flowers and other essentials, and next to it was a man opening up a packing box. The box was filled with fresh mangos, mangos that had probably been on a tree in Mexico 48 hours before. And now, for less than a buck, just a block from where I lived, I could have a mango.
In the little town where I'd grown up, mangos had only shown up in the local grocery store a few years earlier, being considered an ethnic food. My mother had brought them home for us regularly, partially in celebration of their availability, but mostly because they were delicious. And here, now, was this fruit in my hand, in the middle of the night. I'd always been a night owl, but this somehow seemed like a sign, that this crate was being unpacked at three in the morning. This city was about exactly that kind of potential.
I'm sitting here tonight eating some Indian mangos as I write this. And seven years after I came to New York City, I went back to that same market just a few blocks from where I live today, bought a mango, and gave it to my wife as I proposed to her. Tonight's mangos are pretty good, too.