skip to main content

January 2020

  1. Wuhan: The Truth About “Dramatic Action”
    chinamediaproject.org

    Da Shiji (达史纪) reports on the the Chinese government’s handling of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, and the current situation in Wuhan:

    Politics first. Stability preservation first. In such an environment, science can only sit by and watch. The scientific results could not be clearer, and the authorities likely had a decent grasp of the real situation. But nevertheless they could not speak the truth, and they spared no effort in keeping the outbreak under wraps. Front-line doctors who spoke up about the outbreak were taken in for questioning. Eight Wuhan citizens who dared to post about the outbreak online were summoned by the police and singled out in public announcements through official media in order to terrify the public and force people to remain quiet.

    The focus of restrictions was to prevent the truth of human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus from getting out.

  2. Shopping Sucks Now
    vice.com

    Casey Johnston tries to come to terms with a problem that I, too, suffer from — if you’re trying to buy the right thing, there’s no longer any limit to the amount of work you can put into research:

    For a long time, our problem was there were not enough things to choose from. Then with big box stores, followed by the internet, there were too many things to choose from. Now there are still too many things to choose from, but also a seemingly infinite number of ways to choose, or seemingly infinite steps to figuring out how to choose. The longer I spend trying to choose, the higher the premium becomes on choosing correctly, which means I go on not choosing something I need pretty badly, coping with the lack of it or an awful hacked-together solution (in the case of gloves, it’s “trying to pull my sleeves over my hands but they are too short for this”) for way, way too long, and sometimes forever.

    The degree to which you feel this problem definitely depends on your income, or at least, being in the privileged position of not having to make do with the only thing you can afford. But for people with even a limited ability to make an investment purchase, if it’s worth it, there’s even more pressure to get it right. Knowing you wasted a big chunk of money on a cheaper, worse thing that falls apart when you could have spent a little more money on a thing that is good and lasts feels like failure. You’ve then wasted your money, wasted your time, you’ve contributed to global warming, and now you have to start the entire thing over again and hope you don’t somehow end up making the exact same mistake.

  3. Black Mirror: Smithereens

    Watched 16 January 2020

    The most boring Black Mirror episode yet. Did you know people look at their phones a lot?

  4. Fleabag, Season 2

    Watched 8–9 January 2020

    How can this show be both the funniest and saddest thing I’ve seen in a long time? How can it be so potent, accomplishing so much with just a few short episodes? Now that I’ve tasted the emotional high of Fleabag, I’m afraid I might never again allow a show to waste my time with padded out writing. I absolutely loved the first season, but I had to put myself back together after this one.

  5. Fleabag, Season 1

    Watched 20–23 December 2019

    “They shouldn’t have just locked him up.”
    “He pencil fucked a hamster.”
    “Yeah, but he’s obviously not happy. Happy people wouldn’t do things like that.”
    “Fair point.”
    “And anyway, that’s the very reason why they put rubbers on the end of pencils.”
    “What, to fuck hamsters?”
    “No, because people make mistakes.”

    Despite my incredibly high expectations, I was still blown away by this show in ways I don’t even quite understand. Exceptional in every way.

  6. How Bong Joon Ho Designed the House in “Parasite”
    indiewire.com

    Chris O’Falt interviews Bong Joon Ho and production designer Lee Ha Jun about Parasite’s brilliant set design:

    According to Bong, the challenge he gave his “Snowpiercer” production designer was not only to create a believably “visually beautiful” set, but a stage that served the precise needs of his camera, compositions, and characters, while embodying his film’s rich themes. In an interview with IndieWire, Bong described the home as “its own universe inside this film.” He added that he took pleasure in hearing that the famous directors on this year’s Cannes jury — which included Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu, Yorgos Lanthimos, and Kelly Reichardt — were all convinced that the movie took place in a real home. In truth, Bong asked his production designer to create an “open set,” built on an outdoor lot.