Friday is the last day of class for fall semester not counting final exams, but thanks to a prodigious frenzy of reading and commenting on student papers yesterday, I’m more or less caught up on my grading, at least for a day or so, so I just wanted to point to a few links and things:
- First, you’ve probably noticed by now that YouTube has gone widescreen, chnging their aspect ratio from the more televisual 4:3 to the more cinematic 16:9. Film in Focus mentioned this story a few days ago, but because of Thanksgiving travels, I’m only now getting around to reading it. Charles Trippy has a creative video commenting on YouTube’s new dimensions. I’m intrigued by this decision for a couple of reasons. First, it makes business sense. It gives YouTube more room to compete with other video sites such as Hulu. But I’m also intrigued by the idea that the cinematic model is being privileged here, with TV once again being defined as the “bad object” in comparison with film. But the new aspect ratio also seems to deny, or reject, the broadcast model associated with YouTube’s original self-definition. Again, I’m not saying that the shift to widescreen is bad, but I am intrigued by the degree to which the new aspect ratio is based on certain (arbitrary) aesthetic standards.
- Speaking of YouTube, the inevitable YouTube documentary, I Want My Three Minutes Back, is now being promoted and circulated at film festivals. The trailer, available at Spout.com, highlights many of the astounding statistics, including the detail that ten hours of video footage is loaded to YouTube every minute, but again, sheer numbers are less interesting than the YouTube ideology that is being promoted in the trailer, one that treats YouTube as a community while ignoring how that community is constructed and how it is based on certain (relatively traditional) notions of stardom and discovery.
- I saw Hugh McGuire’s Huffington Post article on why academics should blog a few days ago, but it has been circulating among my del.icio.us friends recently, so I figured I’d mention it here. Obviously, I’m essentially in agreement with McGuire on the basics. Blogs can help academics improve our writing and expand our audience (among other things), but it’s interesting to have a reading of academic writing from an “outsider” perspective.
- Speaking of academic blogging, Kairos recently announced their Call for Awards, which includes the John Lovas Memorial Weblog Award, an award for “an outstanding blog devoted largely to academic pursuits.”