How—if at all—do increasing or changing representations of acoustic trauma articulate with changing notions of nation, security, and warfare? Tinnitus is the top disability in American troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and untold numbers of westerners have experienced it after terrorist attacks in New York, Madrid, London, and Boston. It does seem plausible that consequence-free cinematic explosions began to strain credulity (not to mention morality) after such attacks, even for those who have not directly experienced acoustic trauma. Tinnitus offers an economical representation of trauma in films that aspire to some level of realism and empathy—and in fact, researchers view tinnitus and PTSD as related. Could a nation’s trauma be sounding in the ears of its onscreen heroes?

Interesting villain-in-prison cliché to see popping up recently. Practical for shooting movies (nothing blocking your view), but then again, these days you can put a camera anywhere. Pairs nicely with a more paranoid, surveillance-oriented approach to war and policing. Can’t fight what you can’t constantly observe, or so they say.

Intelligent Artifice – The three most common techniques for telling stories in games

Mainstream games, or at least a significant subset that I’m too lazy to define here, make use of three big techniques to tell stories:

  • Cut-scenes.
  • Invisible boxes.
  • Environmental storytelling.

I think both game developers and players understand these techniques by now, and in fact I think players are getting tired of them. I know I am.

Intelligent Artifice – The three most common techniques for telling stories in games

Upping the Antihero – The New Inquiry

The old cop who chafed at institutional limits has undergone a neoliberal transformation: The result is a new kind of series that we might call the consultant procedural. A derivative of the cop and private investigator procedurals, the consultant procedural starts with some sort of institutional disqualification and follows the central character as he or she ports unmatched professional skills from job to job.

The consultant procedural! This is brilliant.

Upping the Antihero – The New Inquiry

Behind the Paywall: How New York Times Articles End | VF Daily | Vanity Fair

“Here is a list of popular endings to New York Times pieces. It’s totally free.” A few of my favorites… (via)

  • The apartment is really that small, and people really do live there, but somehow it just works for them.
  • The old restaurant/bar is unaffected by changes to its neighborhood.
  • Though restaurant’s use of sustainable ingredients attracts a young, creative clientele, buttoned-up, more conservative patrons will also enjoy the food.
  • The neighborhood’s recent gentrification has not always been a smooth cultural and economic transition for longtime residents.
  • The situation in that country you’ve been hearing about is even worse than you thought.
  • It’s not worth it to spend 36 hours in a place to which roundtrip airfare is $2,500.
  • Maureen Dowd disapproves.

Behind the Paywall: How New York Times Articles End | VF Daily | Vanity Fair

Business clichés: The subtleties of corporate English | The Economist

“It’s terribly important, at least in American business meetings, to be constantly acknowledging the contributions other people have made”. (via) A further rhapsody on “deep dive”:

There’s something athletic, soulful even, about the thought of physically diving into a spreadsheet, kicking around in its dusky deep columns, paddling lazily through the surf of numbers, digging for hidden gems among its pivot tables, and coming up for air gasping but ecstatic, with the decimal points cascading down your forehead.

Business clichés: The subtleties of corporate English | The Economist

The problem with clichés is not that they contain false ideas, but rather that they are superficial articulations of very good ones. The sun is often on fire at sunset and the moon discreet, but if we keep saying this every time we encounter a sun or a moon, we will end up believing that this is the last rather than the first word to be said on the subject. Clichés are detrimental insofar as they inspire us to believe that they adequately describe a situation while merely grazing its surface. And if this matters, it is because the way we speak is ultimately linked to the way we feel, because how we describe the world must at some level reflect how we first experience it.