Plastic Paddies

by Maria on March 17, 2009

With the day that’s in it, I have a few random complaints to lash together into a not-too-coherent post. First off, it sucks to be Irish in the US on St. Patrick’s Day. Sorry, I know it’s churlish, and on my better days I agree that all the enthusiasm and interest and desire to party is actually quite sweet, but there it is. If I have to smile politely at one more person telling me they’re Irish (really? whip out your passport, then.), giggle appreciatively at one more crap – invariably Scottish – accent, or spend one more penny listening to Loreena McKinnit or some similarly bogus disneyfied version of Oirish music in the ladies’ loo of the Culver City Radisson where I am already suffering through a full-day operations planning session, I may stab someone. I know the day is not about celebrating Ireland, but about Irish Americans, who are a fine bunch of people now that their Noraid-supporting and parade-homophobia days are behind them. Another thing, no one I have ever known in Ireland has ever eaten corned beef. Ever. It’s the most Enid Blyton food there is, and not remotely Irish. Just saying.

Secondly, I groaned out loud when I heard on the radio that our current Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, was in the White House to meet President Obama. Again, I’m not saying I’m proud of it, but my immediate response was ‘Oh no, once he meets Biffo, Barack won’t think we’re cool any more!’. But I’ve got to hand it to Reuters. They’ve put out a picture of the ceremonial handing over of the green muppet skin where President Obama looks an even bigger nob than Brian Cowen.

Finally, Bono. [click to continue…]

Tom Slee on monopoly populism and cultural niches

by Henry Farrell on March 17, 2009

“This”: is a really interesting post.

Online merchants such as Amazon, iTunes and Netflix may stock more items than your local book, CD, or video store, but they are no friend to “niche culture”. Internet sharing mechanisms such as YouTube and Google PageRank, which distil the clicks of millions of people into recommendations, may also be promoting an online monoculture. … Whenever I make these claims someone says “Well I use Netflix and it’s shown me all kinds of films I didn’t know about before. It’s broadened my experience, so that’s an increase in diversity.” And someone else points to the latest viral home video on YouTube as evidence of niche success. So this post explains why your gut feel is wrong. … a paper by Daniel M. Fleder and Kartik Hosanagar called Blockbuster Culture’s Next Rise or Fall: The Impact of Recommender Systems on Sales Diversity. …

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