It’s great to see that the mainstream audience is now showing enough interest in internet studies to warrant a BBC documentary series explaining the origins and implications of the world wide web.
The opening episode presents us with a well rounded selection of anecdotes and case studies leading up to where the mainstream internet is today. This is enhanced by a host of internet entrepreneurs and researchers voicing their comments at the appropriate moments to give the stories more depth. An example of these experts are Mark Zuckerberg – founder of facebook, Al Gore – Vice President and Stephen Fry. Now I like Stephen Fry as much as the next person but why next to other experts doesn’t he have a title, even ‘journalist’ would suffice but instead he is left as an eternally indefinable character.
The reports on Tim Berners-Lee were particularly interesting, especially the fact that he has never earned a penny directly as the creator of the World Wide Web when he could be an exceedingly rich man if he had chosen this route. This was cleverly juxtaposed with the back story of Bill Gates and how he began charging for software. Truth be told he came across as immoral and greedy.
The ending question was one of weather the internet was truly democratic or simply a new business model. Although the latter may be true a new form of ‘level playing field’ has undoubtedly been created.
I look forward to the rest of the series and recommend it for anyone who has any interest in the internet. So check it out on BBC iplayer.
Directed by Ridley Scott this seminal road movie tells the story of two women living outside the conventions defined for them. The characters are easy to empathise with as we see them both in the familiar settings of uninspiring lives. Thelma is a housewife living under the rule of her baseball obsessed husband, taking whatever insults he gives and fulfilling his every demand. The first thing we hear him say to her is ‘God damn it Thelma, what did I tell you about hollering like that’ whilst she is assisting him. Although Louise is somewhat more independent and in a trusting relationship with one of the only two respectable men in the film she is still fulfilling the stereotype of a hum drum lifestyle, working in a hectic diner, serving greasy food.
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The following ideas are partly inspired as well as being an extension and culmination of those proposed by Susan Napier in her book From Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle and those of Gresh and Weinberg in their book The Science of Anime.
Akira can be seen as a text that illustrates youth frustration, alienation, aesthetics and the human ageing process as well as embodying the reification of evolution. The dominant ideas proposed by the film are those of adolescent frustration and how this period of transformation is felt with equal intensity on both an external and internal level. The film also attempts to remind us of the ultimately biological nature of ourselves with its examination and representation of the ageing process as well as its conclusion that scientific principle is the power that ultimately governs humankind. Directed by Katsuhiro Otomo in 1988 (having being based on an original manga by the director) the film tells the story of Tetsuo, an adolescent biker gang member, who inadvertently awakens deadly psychic powers within himself. Set in Neo Tokyo, a hyper city built around the nuclear devastated ruins of Tokyo, Tetsuo’s new found power leads the narrative down a path of violent and catastrophic destruction. The character of Tetsuo can be likened to a representation of an adolescent undergoing puberty with the film commenting on how the transformation being endured by the adolescent can appear horrifying to the individual undergoing the experience as well as those on the outside witnessing it. The way in which Tetsuo deals with this adolescent metamorphosis is reflective of the uncertainty and confusion that it bestows upon him. He often seems afraid and weary of his change, reluctant and resistant. However, conversely, he is seen at times to submit to the experience and revel in the power and authority that it affords him. Read More »
After months of excessive marketing almost promising this years Academy Award success ‘The Road’ was released to a not so overwhelming reception. After selling itself on the fact it was based on a novel by Cormac McCarthy one has to ask what depth of audience they expect to gain from an author only famous in Britain for writing the novel of No Country for Old Men which was released a year previously. I’m sure he has much more renown in America but over here that doesn’t really seem like a solid grounding.
Aspects of the film were very admirable, such as the score and the visuals, the scripting and narrative, however, were less inspiring. Read More »