Reading: Brendan Eich Fallout, Commenters, Google, Twee Revolution, Frozen, Instagram & more

Brendan Eich

Several months have passed since Brendan Eich stepped down as Mozilla’s CEO amidst controversy over a donation he made to California Proposition 8. CNET’s Stephen Shankland discusses the ongoing fallout of Eich’s departure on Mozilla and the tech industry: “Illustrating just how toxic Mozilla’s controversy has become, few high-ranking figures in the Bay Area’s tech scene were willing to go on the record to comment on Mozilla’s plight. Taking a public stand on Eich means painting a target on yourself, said one tech company executive. Intolerance tends to beget intolerance. There are no winners here.’ ” Related: Shortly after Eich’s departure, I wrote some analysis for Christ and Pop Culture.

Luke T. Harrington writes what I’ve been saying all along: Internet Commenters are WORSE THAN HITLER. “If Internet anonymity has proven one thing, it’s this: we’re all more than willing to be absolutely horrible people if we’re fairly certain there won’t be any consequences.” This article seems rather fitting in light of various online discussions concerning a certain recent court decision.

The European Union recently ruled that people have a right to be forgotten from Google’s search results. And as Google’s efforts to follow the ruling have exposed some uncomfortable truths about how we perceive online information: “…the steady accumulation of removed links — especially to quality journalism written in a clear spirit of public interest — starts to erode trust in the reliability of Google search results. Now, anyone who does a Google search even just for the article mentioned above will have to wonder whether they’re getting the whole story. And anything that suggests compromise, lack of transparency, or incompleteness in search results plants a seed that starts to undermine the idea of what Google is supposed to be.”

If you thought hipsters were bad, then brace yourself for the Twee revolution: “Twee’s core values include a healthy suspicion of adulthood’; a steadfast focus on our essential goodness’; the cultivation of a passion project’ (T‑shirt company, organic food truck); and the utter dispensing with of “cool” as it’s conventionally known, often in favor of a kind of fetishization of the nerd, the geek, the dork, the virgin.’ ” Ugh, twee is the worst. (But can it really be an article about twee if you don’t talk about Talulah Gosh or Heavenly?)

Frozen has become a hit pretty much everywhere in the world but it’s struck a special chord with Japanese women: “The film’s popularity has coincided with public outcry over sexism in Japan, where unlike in America, Disney marketing played up the movie’s empowerment message.”

Using art history and criticism to better understand Instagram: “Technology has so democratized image-making that it has put the artistic power once mainly associated with aristocrats — to stylize your image and project yourself to an audience as desirable — into everyone’s hands. (Although the parallel to art as celebration of private property’ is probably most vivid in the case of those who most closely resemble modern-day aristocrats. See: Rich Kids of Instagram’). But images retain their function as game pieces in the competition for social status. Doesn’t this look delicious?’ Aren’t I fabulous?’ Look where I am!’ Look what I have!’ ” Via

Scott Derrickson, director of the recently released Deliver Us From Evil, explains why horror movies are worth watching: “It’s a genre that takes the mystery in the world very seriously. There are a lot of voices that are broadcasting that the world is explainable. Corporate America limits the world to consumerism. Science can limit it to the material world. Even religion limits it to a lot of theories that can explain everything. I think we need cinema to break that apart and remind us that we’re not in control, and we don’t understand as much as we think do.”

The “.io” domain name is kind of trendy right now, particularly for tech-related sites, but it has a dark side: “…a cut from the sale of every .io domain goes to the British government for the administration of a territory whose original inhabitants should arguably be getting that money, and whose only current inhabitants are 5,000 U.S. troops and spooks, their civilian contractors, and a handful of British personnel who are there for policing and customs purposes.” Via

After slogging through the previous three movies, I had no intention whatsoever of seeing Transformers: Age of Extinction. However, Rob Bricken’s hilarious (and spoiler-filled) FAQ now has me curious, if only to see if it’s really as awful as he makes it sound. But I can wait for it to come to Netflix.

Everybody hates passwords — they’re hard to remember and we have so many of them these days — but Mauricio Estrella used his password to change his life. “My password became the indicator. My password reminded me that I shouldn’t let myself be victim of my recent break up, and that I’m strong enough to do something about it. My password became: Forgive@h3r’.”