The Difference

Here are two statements, one about an artist, and another about a technician:

1. A technician is someone who specializes in making things that already exist — things that come from nature, or from culture, and need to be either reproduced or reshaped.

2. An artist is someone who specializes in making new things — things that wouldn’t exist otherwise.

Most artists spend a lot of their time acting like technicians, and it’s entirely possible for a technician to make art, but the difference is that the one is about creation irrespective of need, and the other about shaping what’s already created to meet some need.

Intellectual Property


I don’t know the situation over at Marvel Comics, but I like to imagine that someone over there figured out, maybe sometime in the mid- ’90’s, that not already having movies made featuring their characters could be seen as an asset. I like to further imagine that whoever that was got a bonus, maybe even a promotion.

If only they could get their shit together, and make a proper Hulk movie.

(A proper Hulk movie ought to be a monster movie with misunderstandings about place in the world, a healthy dose of tragedy, and people’s reactions to the monster — most notably Banner’s. Smashing things, and destruction are only ancillary. The tragedy comes from not fitting in.)

Doing Math

I can’t figure out what I don’t understand about math to figure out how a plant is supposed to do math. Hopefully I can get a copy of this paper when it comes out.

We don’t say that bi-metallic strips do trigonometry, or calculus.

A Catastrophic Issue

I generally avoid even acknowledging that this type of news television exists, but the above clip has convinced me of two things:

1. That the skills required to be a professional talking head must be similar to those required to perform improv comedy.

2. That the modern day pundit is some strange, mutated progeny of the court adviser. The idea being that you have an expert in some field on hand to have a learned discussion with you about their field of expertise. I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole concept was invented to make the viewer feel powerful while still sitting at home and watching TV.

The Consequences Of Violence

Fantasy Violence

In an effort to shield (not just) our children from the consequences of violence, we also shield them from the consequences of violence.

I haven’t researched to see if these ideas have been researched before — might be a good future project:

1. Does media that shows the act and the aftermath of the act affect people differently than media that presents the violent act as consequence free?

2. Why do we romanticize (and sometimes fetishize ) violence?

3. Why do we get so much enjoyment out of watching acts of violence? (Yes, this is different.)

4. Why is violence so sensitive to context, or why do we make it so contextual?

5. What’s the connection between these contexts, and the appropriateness of violence? (Assuming that there’s no necessary connection between some given act of violence, and some given situation.)

Handy Man

Guy travels around looking for yard work.

Today is the second time he’s come by here. The first was a couple of years ago, when he claimed that he had done work on this house before. Said he couldn’t remember any names, but that he was looking for “some old lady”. She was nice, and he wanted to talk to her. He pointed out to me how he had trimmed back the pine tree in front of the garage for her years ago.

As politely as I could I told him that whoever that was didn’t live hear anymore. That I lived here now, and did that kind of work myself. He seemed confused, and kept asking to speak to that old lady. I was trying to get my dog to quit barking while the guy was talking at me. Usually people hear the dog and I never see them again.

At my door just now, he’s got the same crumpled up fliers in his hand, going on about how he can help me out with the mulberry bush at the head of the driveway. I don’t catch everything he says because as I open the door my dog is, again, going crazy, but I see him pull out a pack of cigarettes as he speaks.

I tell him, again, that I’m not looking for any help.

Without another word, and without looking at me he slowly turns, lights his long tan cigarette, and walks down my driveway. He doesn’t look back.

He picks up a gray backpack at the base of the driveway, and heads east on my street — all at the same careful pace.

Big Producer, Huh?

Here, here, and here for the story.

It’s curious that A.V. Club takes it that this was meant in a mean way.