Wednesday Linkfest

From a Starbucks in Roswell, a half mile from my parents’ house:

  • Via TechPresident (and an email from Kevin Bacon), John Edwards’ latest viral video, which takes on the genre of the fake trailer (“In a world where…”). I’m currently working on an academic article on viral videos and the 2008 Presidential election, and for this particular chapter, I’m especially interested in looking at how the campaigns have picked up upon the rhetoric of user-generated videos and mashups in their online advertising, such as the “Hillary Soprano” video, so this mock trailer is especially interesting. If you happen to come across some interesting political mashups, I’d appreciate them.
  • Speaking of political parodies, this mock political ad featuring German philosophers Kant and Nietzsche is pretty funny.
  • In one of my favorite TV moments this season, The Simpsons had a fantastic parody of the viral YouTube video featuring a photograph of Noah every day for six years (via Tama). I haven’t watched The Simpsons often this season, but a brilliant moment like this one may just bring me back (if the writers strike ever ends).
  • The cinetrix points to an intriguing (if space bar-deprived) joint venture from Random House, Faber & Faber, and Focus Features, FilminFocus, “a destination point and a haven for film lovers around the world.” Like the cinetrix, I’m a little leery of the “fearful synergy” entailed in this collaboration, but there is a lot of interesting content here. My favorite feature, by far, is the “Behind the Blog” page, which thus far features profiles on David Hudson of Green Cine and Andrew Grant of Lika Anna Karina’s Sweater, both of which are daily reads of mine.
  • Also wanted to point out that Jill Walker Rettberg recently blogged the cover of her book on blogging, which is due to be released by Polity Press.
  • Finally, Alex has a thoughtful discussion of the supposed critic-fan divide. Alex notes that while Time critic Richard Corliss faults critics for rewarding films that rarely find box office success, Corliss is ignoring the fact that critics are actually serving a “corrective” function in promoting films (such as P.T. Anderson’s There Will Be Blood, Sarah Polley’s Away From Her, the Coens’ No Country for Old Men) that have only a limited amount of marketing muscle as compared to studio fare. In fact, I think Alex is right that perhaps we ought to be criticizing the studios for relentlessly promoting hollow, flat, violent fare such as The Transformers movie rather than smaller films such as Juno and Margot at the Wedding.

Update: Just as I was finishing up the entry, I noticed that the cinetrix had pointed to news that the MPAA is rejecting the poster for Alex Gibney’s Taxi to the Dark Side because it “depicts torture.” Again, the cinetrix is asking the right question here: Isn’t it more unacceptable to commit acts of torture and suppress documentation of it? Here’s the Variety article. Alex Gibney’s response to this act of censorship is worth quoting in full:

“Not permitting us to use an image of a hooded man that comes from a documentary photograph is censorship, pure and simple,” said producer, writer and director Gibney. “Intentional or not, the MPAA’s disapproval of the poster is a political act, undermining legitimate criticism of the Bush administration. I agree that the image is offensive; it’s also real.”

Now, I’m off to see What Would Jesus Buy, just in time to get into the holiday spirit.

Update 2: While nostalgia-tripping in the Java Monkey in Decatur, my favorite coffeehouse on the planet, I came across A.J.’s post on the controversy over Alex Gibney’s Taxi to the Dark Side poster.  A.J. compares the censorship of the poster to the MPAA rejection of a similar image for Michael Winterbottom’s hybrid narrative/non-fiction film, Road to Guantanamo.

Also, I received an email from one of the folks behind the scenes at FilmInFocus and realized that my “space bar” comments above may not have been terribly clear.  I was referring entirely to the lack of spaces between words in the title of the site, not to the layout or appearance of the site in general (which looks great, by the way).  Sorry for any confusion.

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