Jun 23, 2017

Weekend Reads: Superstore’s Humanizing Effect, Craigslist’s Ugly-but-Effective Design, Roadside Monument’s Return, One Punch Man & More

Also: The best good bad movies, a new “Robotech” comic, how SEO ruins websites, and more “Wonder Woman” goodness.

Superstore
NBC’s Superstore

I might have to give Superstore another chance after reading this D.L. Mayfield piece. “[I]n a world where blogs like “stuff I found at Walmart” is an invitation to both scoff and demean those on the lower end of the socio-economic scale, Superstore shows us another way. It gently humanizes an issue that permeates our culture, without us ever fully acknowledging it. The show is asking us to consider what it means to live in a divided country like America. It is asking us to stop pretending like we are all the same.”

Dashiel Neimark considers why Craigslist’s ugly, “brutalist” design is more effective than one would expect it to be. “Why does Craigslist, a Web site that looks like a tribute to the Web of the ’90s, remain popular in a world that increasingly values well-crafted, beautiful user experiences? My multifaceted answer to this question is that Craigslist leverages several concepts that aren’t generally factors in mainstream product design. These factors include relatable flaws, the freedom to think hard, goal-driven visual nonchalance, effort justification, and social-penetration theory.”

Roadside Monument 20170604
Roadside Monument
Maurice Morales (All Rights Reserved)

Earlier this month, I posted a video from Roadside Monument’s recent reunion. NPR’s Lars Gotrich reviewed the concert and reflected on Roadside Monument’s legacy. “The band challenged conventions of emo, post-hardcore and math-rock by operating at its rawest edges. Doug Lorig’s impenetrably abstract lyrics, the band’s dramatic shifts from quiet guitar noodling to abrasive squalls, Matt Johnson’s muscular-yet-musical drumming, and Johnathon Ford’s rumbling and heavily foregrounded bass were a strange fit for the pop-punk altar calls of church basements and youth halls they often found themselves playing on tour (and that they would desperately try to avoid towards the end of their first life). Its small-yet-loyal audience tuned into a frayed wavelength. I’ve yet to hear a band quite like this since — and I’ve looked.”

The title says it all: The 50 Best Good Bad Movies. “The bad special effects, the awful acting, the nonsensical plots  —  there’s something enchanting about a movie that’s hopelessly bad. After rewatching all the films your favorite actors wish you’d forget, we determined which are the best (well, best worst) ones ever.”

Macross Valkyrie
Tenjin Hidetaka

Titan Comics is releasing a new Robotech comic this summer and you had me at Robotech. “As you’ll see in the exclusive preview below, it’s starting from the very beginning, including the moment the SDF-1 Macross itself was first discovered following its crash landing on Earth, catapulting humanity into a bright, technologically advanced future that just so happens to also include extremely rad transforming fighter jet mechs.”

John Gruber is tired of the measures some sites will take to make you share their articles. “Medium seems to continue to grow in popularity as a publishing platform, and as it does, I’m growing more and more frustrated by their on-screen ‘engagement’ turds. Every Medium site displays an on-screen ‘sharing’ bar that covers the actual content I want to read. This is particularly annoying on the phone, where screen real estate is most precious… To me these things are as distracting as having someone wave their hand in front of my face while I try to read.”

One Punch Man

While I’ve read some of the manga, I’ve yet to watch any of the One Punch Man anime (though it’s on my list). John Kloosterman considers how it upturns usual notions of heroism. “Throughout the anime, many heroes fight, and many heroes fail. Yet the series judges them not by their failures or victories, but by their fights — whether they ‘muddled through,’ and gave it their all, regardless of the outcome. This caused me to pause and think whether I consider myself defined by the results I achieve in this life, or simply take joy in fighting the good fight with everything that is in me.”

K. B. Hoyle considers the themes of Wonder Woman, and how it compares to the likes of Tolkien and Lewis. “With a female director and lead, Wonder Woman is undoubtedly a feminist triumph, providing a platform for a strong female presence and perspective in Hollywood. The movie, however, succeeds not by being a feminist story, but by digging deep into what makes us — all of us, male or female — human, and thereby steps into the tradition of other great stories in history. It resonates with us simply because it tells a story that is true.” (Note: This article contains potential spoilers.)

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