Monday 12 April 1999
This award-winning account of current debates within media studies seems out to prove that an academic resource can be wittily designed, fun and generally not too "academic". Dr David Gauntlett and some of his students from Leeds University's Institute of Communications Studies here offer introductions to Foucault, Gramsci, Judith Butler and other thinkers, as well as pages on Identity, Role Models, Queer Theory and (the latest addition) Web Culture. Gauntlett's own books, the latest of which is out this month, also receive a mention or two. More than a bluffer's guide, this is seriously informative stuff, but handles its theoreticians irreverently - "Foucault's Paris" gets the full tour guide treatment, and new this month is a Random Module Catalogue for generating millions of (you hope) silly proposals for communications courses.
Caricature Is Fun!
More face-refurnishing at this Belgian site, where even the graphically challenged may reinterpret the defining features of friends, colleagues and enemies from hundreds of preset design options. A range of characteristics can be customised on police Identikit lines, with hair, nose, eyes, mouth, jaw and other parts each available in 15 different configurations; the list includes some generalities such as "skirt chaser expression" and "cracker hairdo". The result can then be captured, printed out and circulated for maximum amusement. French and English-language versions are available, though the physiognomies are universal. Elsewhere are photo-caricatures of deserving targets such as Bruce Willis and others.
The good doctor's media mission, it says here, is to "demystify arcane wisdom for maximum consumer utilisation". That is, to plug his current paperback and "straight-ahead healing" practice. This production number offers a whole series of Shockwave-Flashy Taoist healing exercises to relieve the stresses of modern living. So breathe deeply, then let your body sink earthwards (with one eye on the monitor, of course). Determined not to be perceived as some kind of hippie, this former apprentice to RD Laing and long-time practitioner of Chinese healing techniques sends himself up from the start, with streetwise jargon and pictures of Warrior Walter the Taoist Dog. "Watch the magic enhanced Barefoot Doctor symbol and let its rays penetrate to the centre of your brain!"
A real news update can be found in the left-hand frame, but the austerely informative look of this site turns out to be a wind-up. This tongue-in- cheek "gift to the American public" from a consortium of Web artists consists of a scrolling display of junk e-mails - spam - such as credit card ads and other get-rich-quick schemes, automatically posted here as they arrive. Visitors may select a musical background for the display; options range from Beethoven to Verdi. A tastefully bound volume of 100 printed spams is also available, for only $15. The aim seems to be a perhaps obvious statement about the relationship of commerce to the Net. The title refers to the US congressional cable channel, C-Span, with its endless output of what might be seen as similarly undifferentiated verbiage.
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ReviewThese heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Sek, k'athjilari! (That’s “yes, definitely” to non-native speakers).TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming the street artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Are you ready for Crazy Doritos, the red-hot snack food craze sweeping Mexico’s streets?
- 4 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 5 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Breaking Bad season 6 is still not happening
Doctor Who, Flatline - review: Clara isn’t half bad as the Time Lord
Downton Abbey review series 5, episode 5: Period drama falls disappointingly flat
Star Wars memorabilia called a 'bit of plastic' on Antiques Roadshow by Fiona Bruce valued at £50,000
Fury, film review: Brad Pitt gives intriguing performance as unsympathetic war hero