David Lynch: The Lesser Known Work

David Lynch fans, here you go. Below (and added to our YouTube playlist), we have Lynch’s anti-littering public service announcement that has a fairly high creepiness factor. He’s actually not new to the world of commercials. This site collects Lynch’s previous commercial work, starting with his 1988 series of Calvin Klein Obsession ads that played on the work of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and D.H. Lawrence. And, while we’re at it, let’s not forget Lynch’s recent anti-iPhone spot, which is usually good for a laugh.

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The Kindle: Amazon Has a Winner

When Amazon’s Kindle hit the streets last November, the critics gave the newfangled ebook reader mixed reviews. The customers, however, have been saying something a little bit different. Sales have been brisk, a bit too brisk actually. Waiting up to six weeks to get the Kindle, customers have been getting huffy, and last week Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, had to post an apology on Amazon’s homepage. If you’re wondering what makes the $399 Kindle so sought after, Lifehacker’s review does a good job of summing up its virtues. In the meantime, if you want to get your hands on one, get in line.

Attack Ad Hall of Fame

Are political attack ads such a bad thing? John G. Geer, author of In Defense of Negativity: Attack Ads in Presidential Campaigns, doesn’t necessarily think so. He maintains that they often enrich, rather than corrode, the political process. And now his publisher has assembled The Attack Ad Hall of Fame. Included on the list is the most famous/controversial one — the “Daisy ad” from the 1964 Johnson-Goldwater campaign. Johnson’s ad, which was only aired once, never mentioned Goldwater by name, but it raised fears about whether Goldwater might bring us to the nuclear brink. For more ads, see the Museum of the Moving Image, and watch Geer himself get swift-boated on YouTube.

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The Future of Tibet: Does It Have One?

In response to China’s vigorous crackdown on Tibet (see this photojournalism account), a group of experts were convened to discuss Tibet and its future. The panelists included Robert Thurman (famed Buddhism scholar at Columbia University), John Kenneth Knaus (Harvard University), John Tkacik (Senior Research Fellow at The Heritage Foundation), and Amit A. Pandya (Henry L. Stimson Center). You can listen in on the discussion here — MP3iTunesWeb Site.

On a related note, China shut down YouTube during its Tibetan crackdown, offering proof of a simple point made in MIT’s Technology Review: “Web 2.0 tools can seem at times like vehicles for the self-absorbed, but the fear that they inspire in oppressive governments is a powerful demonstration of how useful and vital they can be.”

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Web 2.0 and Culture: A Debate

This week, UC Berkeley professor Paul Duguid squared off in a debate with provocateur Andrew Keen (author of the flimsy bestseller, The Cult of Amateur). At issue here is the question: “Is the Web 2.0 a Threat to Our Culture?” How did the well-attended debate go? Have a listen here and see photos here.

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The Pre-Fab Four

Below we have an outtake from one of the earliest rock mockumentaries, which paved the way for the venerable This is Spinal Tap. Co-produced by Eric Idle (Monty Python) and Lorne Michaels (Saturday Night Live), “All You Need is Cash” traced the career of “The Rutles,” whose resemblance to The Beatles was “purely – and satirically – intentional.” The show aired in 1978 and scored low ratings, though some fans still defend it.

via Goings On

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Arthur C. Clarke Retrospective

Sir Arthur C. Clarke, the futurist and science fiction writer most well known for his novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, has passed away. (You can read his obit here.) Below, we have posted a video recorded last December for his 90th birthday. Touching in many ways, the video offers a good reminder of how much our world changed during his 90 years.

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Demystifying the Credit Crisis & the Fed (Serious and Not So Serious)

This bit of audio (MP3FeedWeb Site) lucidly explains what happened at Bear Stearns, and why the Fed acted as it did. It’s worth a good listen if you’ve been trying to piece together the logic. The audio comes from the News Hour with Jim Lehrer.

[Update: I’d also recommend this piece from the New York Times. It does a good job of explaining the bigger picture.]

On a less serious note, we also have a video that explains the credit crisis with the help of a country music jingle. More astute viewers will note the name of the singer, Merle Hazard, is an allusion to the concept of “moral hazard” that’s mentioned in the audio above.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.