Archive for August, 2009

Transmedia Pynchon

This is the epitome of cool.  Thomas Pynchon, author of The Crying of Lot 49, has a new book out, Inherent Vice, and he’s promoting it via a video trailer (!) posted on YouTube.  The writers at Open Culture speculate that the voice narrating the trailer belongs to Pynchon himself, but I have no way of guessing (although Pynchon did “appear” in an episode of The Simpsons, playing himself).

It’s a pretty cool way of promoting Pynchon, someone who has been attentive, thoughout his career, to the vicissitudes of popular culture, as well as the excesses of the California celebrity scene and counterculture, which seem to provide at least some of the subject matter for the book.  And it made me want to read the book Right Now.

Update: When GalleyCat asked Penguin Press about the identity of the trailer’s narrator they “received a sly ‘no comment.'”

Update 2: Snarkmarket has another “book trailer,” this time for Seductive Espionage: The World of Yuki 7, a “swinging ’60s” spy thriller with some great visual style.  Via Filmoculous.

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Documenting (and Promoting) MoveOn

It’s astounding to realize that MoveOn.org has now been a part of our political landscape for several years now, but as the seventh anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq War approaches, it’s well worth thinking about the role of MoveOn in reshaping grassroots politics.  While a number of organizations have used digital media to create networks of activists, MoveOn has tremendous symbolic value, both because of the sheer size of their mailing list and because they served as a loaded shorthand for a number of practices and beliefs (often pejoratively as Bush’s references to a “lunatic left” indicate).  The trailer itself offers what appears to be a relatively straightforward narrative beginning (for the most part) with the Iraq War activism and culminating in the election of Barack Obama.

With that in mind, I’ll be curious to see the new MoveOn documentary that was produced by Brave New Films.  Their house party distribution of Uncovered: The War on Iraq was one of my earliest introductions to the potential of digital distribution, and the fierce reaction to the film illustrates the power not only of Robert Greenwald’s research but also of social networking tools for assembling people at over 2,600 screenings across the U.S.  As usual, the film is bing promoted to house parties scheduled for late August, not to mention a creative contest that invites a select number of winners to receive two tickets plus airfare and hotel to attend the film’s premiere.

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Saturday Links

Two quick links to brighten your weekend:

  • This parody e-Harmony profile video on Funny or Die by Lindsay Lohan is pretty amusing.  Lohan does a great job of poking fun at her public image and reminds us of why she was, at one time, a likable comic actress.  It’s also a great send-up of the unrelenting sweetness of the e-Harmony ads themselves.  Spotted this originally on Ken Levine’s blog, which is a great read, mixing keen observations about entertainment with behind-the-scenes details about the many TV shows (Cheers, MASH, Frasier, etc) where he worked.
  • Boing Boing has a nice write-up on the end of the Matrix online game.  Apparently, rather than just making an announcement that the game was ending, the writers incorporated the game’s end into the show, changing the game’s graphics to appear as if they are decaying and degrading.  Cool idea.  More at Massively.

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