AVQ&A Welcome back to AVQ&A, where we throw out a question for discussion among the staff and readers. Consider this a prompt to compare notes on your interface with pop culture, to reveal your embarrassing tastes and experiences. This week’s question is in response to the arrival of the new Coen brothers film, The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs, on Netflix: Who’s your favorite character from a Coen brothers film? William Hughes Given the sheer number of brilliant bit parts, one-scene wonders, and character actor geniuses who populate the Coens’ oeuvre, it feels borderline blasphemous to pick one of their protagonists for this distinction. And yet, like poor, pathetic Mike Yanagita, I have to admit it: I love Marge Gunderson. It’s rare for the Coens to allow bravery, strength, and kindness to exist together in a single person in their films, but Frances McDormand’s Oscar-winning Fargo performance is the “Oh gee”-ing exception that proves … [Read more...] about Who’s your favorite Coen brothers character?
Quote simple pleasures
Juan Williams (no relation), who, you will recall, was fired from NPR in October after making remarks about "getting nervous" when he gets on the plane and sees people "who are in Muslim garb," reignited the media flare-up over racial profiling while guest-hosting The O'Reilly Factor last week. Responding to his interlocutor, Dr. Caroline Helmand of Occidental College, Williams spoke in syntactically messy sentences that are nonetheless worth quoting in full: Helmand: "I happen to agree with Schiller that your comments were bigoted. I think that if I were to say that I clutch my purse every time I walk by a black man, that might resonate with a lot of Americans. It might be the truth, but it's a bigoted statement. I certainly wouldn't have fired you, but I do think there was some truth in that video that we don't get to talk about because we are afraid to have actual discourse in this country." Williams: "I can't believe that you just said that. You think that simply saying what you … [Read more...] about Juan Williams Makes It Too Simple
It’s Saturday night—Sunday morning, almost. I’ve just left my neighborhood bar after a night out with friends (rarer than it used to be, but just as fun). I convince my husband to walk the long way home, past the 24-hour gas station. There I grab a plain cheese pizza from the picked-over freezer section. Most days, I’d doctor it up. I’d sauté mushrooms with slivered garlic and oregano and chili flakes, toss fresh spinach into the pan at the last minute, grate a hint of nutmeg over everything. I’d agree with Bon Appétit’s editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport when he says, “Okay, but yeah—if you’re making frozen pizza, you can’t NOT doctor it.” But this isn’t most days. This is a late, drunken night. I kick off my shoes, rip open the box, crank up the oven, and wait for the pizza to crisp up, unadorned. Bon Appétit’s “Five Chefs On How They’d Doctor Up Frozen Pizza” (the source … [Read more...] about A drunkard’s defense of frozen pizza
For this episode of Fast Forward, I spoke with Ellen Ullman, author of Life in Code, a series of essays that begin in 1994 when she was a programmer in Silicon Valley. She now makes her living writing mostly fiction, but Ullman remains a keen observer of the region, the tech industry, and how the tools we make are changing us on a daily basis. Dan Costa: Your programming roots go back quite a ways. In 1978, you were an English major who decided to make the switch into programming. Why would you do something like that? Ellen Ullman: Well, I got involved with a group doing video, the Sony Portapak was one of those machines like the PC. These things that have been controlled by behemoth corporations suddenly were in your own hands. You could make your own videos, your own stories. You could go around and show them. There weren't restrictions. You could do porn, etc., and it was a very exciting time. I learned that I liked working with machines. The possibility of working with these … [Read more...] about Ellen Ullman on Code, Conscience, and the Museum of Me