March 2011 Issue

Semper Ubi Sub Ubi


Hey, it’s still March.

So Big Love is over. It actually improved a bit in its final season. But, like most HBO productions, it suffered from weak writing and had an infuriating tendency to wander off into absurd subplots. And, like so many HBO shows, it killed off its most interesting characters early on, in this case Harry Dean Stanton, who was drop-dead perfect as polygamist patriarch Roman Grant. I think it’s interesting that the only two characters who came close to Stanton in depth (and acting ability) were Chloe Sevigny and Matt Ross playing, respectively, his daughter Nikki and psychopathic son Alby. I’d watch a spinoff set in the Juniper Creek compound if they’d bring Roman Grant back.

Awesomely evil.

Elsewhere in the news, giving the evildoers of the world a run for their money in the Machiavellian Scheming department, the clever gnomes at Facebook recently unleashed a “feature” whereby unaffiliated websites (such as this one) can replace their native commenting system with “Facebook comments.” Because, you know, everyone who really counts is already on FB and those who aren’t can quick like a bunny run off to join if they have a sudden urge to post a comment at, say, TechCrunch.

Predictably, the malcontents and anti-social elements who resist every step on the path to our great and glorious future under the wise leadership of Chairman Zuck have sprung forth, sabotaging our collective morale with defeatist whining, wailing about “privacy” and other quaint un-Web 2.0 relics.

There actually are advantages for websites adopting the Facebook commenting system. People are more well-behaved, at least in theory, because their comments are tied to their Facebook accounts and they are, therefore, unlikely to say anything in comments that would offend their mothers. The comments also bounce back to Facebook and may show up on the commenters’ friends’ stalkers’ pages, giving the host page a PR boost.

But when Facebook talks about “convenience,” they mean convenience of advertisers and identity brokers, who stand to reap bushels of demographic intel from this scheme. Bottom line, I don’t think requiring your readers to join Facebook and have their privacy compromised by multi-dimensional tracking goblins just in order to leave a five-word comment is either reasonable or desirable.

Besides, it’s not as though our comments here at TWD are overrun by trolls. I read all comments before they appear, which sometimes takes me a few days, depending on the weather, but that hardly strikes me as an onerous task. The only comments I haven’t approved so far are pathetic comment spam (of which we get quite a bit) and the few that have employed abusive language toward other commenters. You’re free to call me an idiot, but not your fellow readers. Anyway, please do comment!

Incidentally, you don’t have to be registered on this site to leave a comment. The form asks for your name and email address, but that’s hard-wired and I haven’t figured out how to change it. In the meantime, feel free to make up a nice name and email address. I’d actually advise against entering your actual email address.

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