Father John Misty on WTF

Good wide-ranging heady conversation between Josh Tillman and Marc Maron.

Josh Tilman has gone by many identities, performing as J Tilman, or as the the drummer for The Fleet Foxes, or in his current incarnation as Father John Misty. He talks with Marc about the evolution of his songwriting and the mythmaking that is necessary in the world of popular music. He also discusses his upbringing in a strict religious household and how it led to his musical awakening.

See also: Father John Misty posts on this blog.

Malevolent Mind Manipulation

Listened to two back-to-back podcast episodes this afternoon that complemented each other surprising well.

The first was an episode of Marc Maron’s WTF with my boy Douglass Rushkoff. (Note: Marc Hummel does not have ownership over or personal relationship with aforementioned media theorist.)

He talked about media theory-y things and his new book Present Shock, which I have written about previously. The duo also touched on Obama’s recent announcement {npr}:

This week President Obama announced his BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative, which the White House describes as “a bold new research effort to revolutionize our understanding of the human mind.”

Rushkoff placed the announcement as evidence that we now think that the human mind can be mined and controlled, which leads to what Maron called “impulse control”—the potential for advertisers to tweak our every want and desire based on sophisticated computer models.

Then I listened to a This American Life episode about gambling and Blackjack inparticular. The last story in that episode featured a story of a woman who sued a casino after she gambled away her one-million-dollar inheritance. It turned out that the casino was indeed manipulating her by offering lavish perks in exchange for her business (which is just their standard operating procedure). Her case was settled out of court.

Thought those two episodes offered up an interesting juxtaposition between what could be and what is.

Friday Link List for Friday, July 5, 2013

1. Teen Jailed For Facebook Comment Beaten Up Behind Bars {npr}.

This is freaking crazy:

Carter has been in jail since his arrest in February. After he finished playing the online game League of Legends, where the community trash-talking can get quite toxic, court documents show he posted the following messages on a Facebook page:

“I think Ima shoot up a kindergarten / And watch the blood of the innocent rain down/ And eat the beating heart of one of them.”

Carter’s father says his son was responding to an insult by being sarcastic and followed the message with “JK” for just kidding, but that’s disputed by police. …

If convicted, Carter could face up to 10 years in prison.

2. Marc Maron with David Sedaris {wtf podcast}

A real keeper from Marc Maron this week. Love the bit about how the fact checkers for a recent piece he wrote for the New Yorker required his sister to confirm a funny-but-personal quotation she made awhile back.

3. This is Your Brain on Pop Neuroscience {andrew sullivan}.

I’m taking this one as a personal affront:

[T]he uses and abuses of neuroscience are more illustrative as a story of our tendency to get ahead of ourselves. Our perennial thirst for elegant mechanisms and overarching narratives, noble in its own right, can lead us to take lazy shortcuts and place our hope in the Next Big Explanation, whether phrenology, Freud, or Freakonomics. Culture, history, and politics are complicated, confusing, and mostly boring. With the recent successes of neuroscience, it’s easy to wish that the chatter of narratives, prejudices, habits, and emotion could be replaced with the clinical pings of the fMRI machine.

 4. An Ephemeral Web {andrew sullivan}.

Lastly, Andrew points to the fleeting nature of web content in light of a recent terms-of-service crackdown by Google on its Blogger platform:

When even Google is giving bloggers just three days to save their sites or see their content disappeared—three days when many of them are on summer vacations, no less—it’s pretty obvious that there’s no such thing as a truly benign online organization any more.