Reading: Weird Al’s Halftime Show, Facebook & OKCupid, Terminator Spoilers, Shoegaze Revival & More

Also: Nobody likes Richard Dawkins, dealing with Gungor’s doubts, and C.S. Lewis’ importance.
Weird Al
(Robert Trachtenberg)

What would be the perfect follow-up to “Weird” Al Yankovic’s success with Mandatory Fun? Why, a Super Bowl half-time show, of course. “A proposed Weird Al’ Yankovic halftime show performance at American football’s main event would be a victory for that off-the-field 99.999 percent. And it would be a bracing celebration of cultural changes that have shrunk the distance between creative fans and the pop stars who once towered over them.”

Tim Carmody explains why Facebook and OKCupid’s recent experiments are so problematic: “They’re all too quick to accept that users of these sites are readers who’ve agreed to let these sites show them things. They don’t recognize or respect that the users are also the ones who’ve made almost everything that those sites show. They only treat you as a customer, never a client.”

And speaking of Facebook, Jerri Kelley Phillips describes how easy it is to find lots of potentially compromising info via unprotected Facebook profiles: “I randomly wandered through my friend’s friends lists, and I picked people at random and wandered their pages. If I could, I wandered their friends’ lists. In 9 out of 10 tries, their posts and information were wide open for anyone who wanted it, so I looked. Let me tell you a bit of what I found out.” Via

Everyone hates movie spoilers, and The Dissolve’s Tasha Robinson discusses the biggest movie spoiler of them all: “Re-watching Terminator 2: Judgment Day, it’s actually frustrating to see how carefully crafted the first half-hour is, how thoroughly it takes advantage of audience assumptions, all in order to floor them with the big reveal… Counting Cameron’s first run at these characters and this basic idea, it took around seven years to build up this fake-out — and just a couple minutes of trailer… to blow it. It’s one of the dumbest marketing missteps of all time — at least in terms of audience experience.”

What do you you when you’re making a game about defeating death, and then the game’s main character actually dies in real life? That’s the challenge faced by the folks developing That Dragon, Cancer. “Both Ryan and Josh already knew they were trying to do something different with That Dragon, Cancer. Something that hasn’t been done enough in games yet. They wanted to put players into another person’s shoes, a real person’s shoes, as they experienced something that could easily be overpoweringly emotional. But they also wanted to give players a genuine sense of hope, even faith.”

Shoegaze may have been derided when it first emerged on the music scene in the ’90s, but in 2014, shoegaze still going strong with a new crop of bands to pick up where Slowdive, Ride, Chapterhouse, et al., left off. “Shoegaze may have been killed off by grunge and Britpop, but now it is reborn. Time to get out your Ride, Lush and Chapterhouse records. What was once a term of derision, coined by the music press to slate outfits whose players tended to stare through lank fringes at their guitar pedals, is now a badge of honour.”

Nobody seems to like Richard Dawkins very much these days. First, there’s this Eleanor Robertson piece (via): “Dawkins has been arrogant for years, a man so convinced of his intellectual superiority that he believes the one domain in which he happens to be an expert, science, is the only legitimate way of acquiring or assessing knowledge.”

Elsewhere, Amanda Marcotte criticizes the popular atheist’s approach to feminists: “Dawkins is being particularly disappointing this round because he’s hiding behind a gambit so transparent that every shitty 18-year-old boy who wants to win an argument with his girlfriend resorts to it: Telling you that you’re too emotional to be reasonable and he alone possesses access to objective reality above emotion.”

Derek Rishmawy discusses how pastors should react when prominent Christian figures (e.g., Gungor) reveal doubts about certain tenets of the Faith: “I’m all for guarding the flock, teaching against false doctrine at appropriate moments, and so forth. And yet, evangelical pastors need to work on cultivating safe spaces for their people to ask the real questions they have, precisely so that they might hear good biblical answers andhear questions that allow them to question their own doubts.”

Author Lev Grossman explains C.S. Lewis’ importance: “As far as the modern fantasy novels goes, [The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe] is ground zero. You’re seeing the atom being split for the first time. So much of what’s written afterwards comes out of that simple moment, just emerges from Lucy going through the wardrobe.”

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