Net ​nostalgia: the online museums preserving dolphin gifs and spinning Comic Sans

 

Scott is interested in conserving the stuff we have forgotten has value. Increasingly, our culture plays itself out on the internet, yet even now we have a tendency to view what we do on there as trivial. Or we make the mistake of assuming that digital means for ever. “The problem is, the internet’s systems have been designed as though everything goes on indefinitely,” he says. “There are no agreed-upon shutdown procedures. When users die, what do you do? Because their accounts live on, and suddenly Facebook is telling you your dead friend also likes Snickers bars. Often, you don’t even know who’s running a site. It’s as if you didn’t know who was in charge of your water supply; then one day, it just stopped …”

Read the full story here

Net ​nostalgia: the online museums preserving dolphin gifs and spinning Comic Sans

 

Scott is interested in conserving the stuff we have forgotten has value. Increasingly, our culture plays itself out on the internet, yet even now we have a tendency to view what we do on there as trivial. Or we make the mistake of assuming that digital means for ever. “The problem is, the internet’s systems have been designed as though everything goes on indefinitely,” he says. “There are no agreed-upon shutdown procedures. When users die, what do you do? Because their accounts live on, and suddenly Facebook is telling you your dead friend also likes Snickers bars. Often, you don’t even know who’s running a site. It’s as if you didn’t know who was in charge of your water supply; then one day, it just stopped …”

Read the full story here

Slang: the changing face of cool

 

In March 1984, the Guardian’s Washington correspondent, Alex Brummer, reported that the word yuppie was one of “America’s hottest new status descriptions”. (The other he mentioned, yummie – “young upwardly mobile moderate” – seems to have died an early death.) The same year also saw the publication of Marissa Piesman and Marilee Hartley’s tongue-in-cheek work The Yuppie Handbook: The State-of-the-Art Manual for Young Urban Professionals, with its cover showing a power-suited couple proudly sporting must-have items such as a Rolex watch, a Gucci briefcase and a Sony Walkman. Newsweek rounded off December with a cover feature declaring 1984 “the year of the yuppie”. Yet no one from the streets would have come up with a term based on the words “young urban professional” – it smacked of advertising speak. Far more authentic, and of similar vintage, was the mocking English acronym “lombard” – loads of money but a right dickhead. In today’s online information blizzard, billions of words are sent out into the fray in the hope of causing a Twitter storm, trending on Facebook or gaining countless plays on YouTube, alongside tap-dancing kittens and the latest celebrity wardrobe malfunction. In recent years, the move towards new slang being invented simply in order sell something or identify a target audience has greatly accelerated. Professional trend forecasters K-Hole – whose name is street slang for an after-effect of ketamine use – coined the term “normcore” in 2013, in which being “normal” is a supposedly radical lifestyle choice. At this year’s Social Media Week gathering in London, the ad for one event urged delegates to “put on your marketing seatbelt and get ready for a content marketing riff-a-palooza of actionable takeaways” – which sounds vaguely as if it might involve suing your local fast-food outlet – while another claimed to have identified a new target audience, the “mipster”, or Muslim hipster.

Read the full story here

Slang: the changing face of cool

 

In March 1984, the Guardian’s Washington correspondent, Alex Brummer, reported that the word yuppie was one of “America’s hottest new status descriptions”. (The other he mentioned, yummie – “young upwardly mobile moderate” – seems to have died an early death.) The same year also saw the publication of Marissa Piesman and Marilee Hartley’s tongue-in-cheek work The Yuppie Handbook: The State-of-the-Art Manual for Young Urban Professionals, with its cover showing a power-suited couple proudly sporting must-have items such as a Rolex watch, a Gucci briefcase and a Sony Walkman. Newsweek rounded off December with a cover feature declaring 1984 “the year of the yuppie”. Yet no one from the streets would have come up with a term based on the words “young urban professional” – it smacked of advertising speak. Far more authentic, and of similar vintage, was the mocking English acronym “lombard” – loads of money but a right dickhead. In today’s online information blizzard, billions of words are sent out into the fray in the hope of causing a Twitter storm, trending on Facebook or gaining countless plays on YouTube, alongside tap-dancing kittens and the latest celebrity wardrobe malfunction. In recent years, the move towards new slang being invented simply in order sell something or identify a target audience has greatly accelerated. Professional trend forecasters K-Hole – whose name is street slang for an after-effect of ketamine use – coined the term “normcore” in 2013, in which being “normal” is a supposedly radical lifestyle choice. At this year’s Social Media Week gathering in London, the ad for one event urged delegates to “put on your marketing seatbelt and get ready for a content marketing riff-a-palooza of actionable takeaways” – which sounds vaguely as if it might involve suing your local fast-food outlet – while another claimed to have identified a new target audience, the “mipster”, or Muslim hipster.

Read the full story here

Slang: the changing face of cool

 

In March 1984, the Guardian’s Washington correspondent, Alex Brummer, reported that the word yuppie was one of “America’s hottest new status descriptions”. (The other he mentioned, yummie – “young upwardly mobile moderate” – seems to have died an early death.) The same year also saw the publication of Marissa Piesman and Marilee Hartley’s tongue-in-cheek work The Yuppie Handbook: The State-of-the-Art Manual for Young Urban Professionals, with its cover showing a power-suited couple proudly sporting must-have items such as a Rolex watch, a Gucci briefcase and a Sony Walkman. Newsweek rounded off December with a cover feature declaring 1984 “the year of the yuppie”. Yet no one from the streets would have come up with a term based on the words “young urban professional” – it smacked of advertising speak. Far more authentic, and of similar vintage, was the mocking English acronym “lombard” – loads of money but a right dickhead. In today’s online information blizzard, billions of words are sent out into the fray in the hope of causing a Twitter storm, trending on Facebook or gaining countless plays on YouTube, alongside tap-dancing kittens and the latest celebrity wardrobe malfunction. In recent years, the move towards new slang being invented simply in order sell something or identify a target audience has greatly accelerated. Professional trend forecasters K-Hole – whose name is street slang for an after-effect of ketamine use – coined the term “normcore” in 2013, in which being “normal” is a supposedly radical lifestyle choice. At this year’s Social Media Week gathering in London, the ad for one event urged delegates to “put on your marketing seatbelt and get ready for a content marketing riff-a-palooza of actionable takeaways” – which sounds vaguely as if it might involve suing your local fast-food outlet – while another claimed to have identified a new target audience, the “mipster”, or Muslim hipster.

Read the full story here

Eight centuries after the pogrom, pride flickers again in York’s Jewish community

Cliffords tower entrance

In March 1190, the entire Jewish community of York – about 150 people – barricaded themselves inside the castle as antisemitic riots raged outside. The mob, encouraged by the crusader fervour of the new king, Richard I – and some of them motivated by an opportunity to wipe out their debts – bayed for blood. Faced with death at the hands of the marauders or forced baptism, most of the Jews inside the castle chose suicide. In an echo of the first-century siege of Masada, the mountain-top fortress beside the Dead Sea in Israel, the men killed their wives and children before setting fire to the wooden keep. There were no survivors. The massacre of the York Jews is among the most notorious of countless pogroms in the bloody history of the Jewish people and is commemorated in a kinah, or lamentation, recited on the fast day of Tisha B’Av. For eight centuries, the city of York has had dark connotations for Jews all over the world.

I was drawn to this story because I’m from York, and the story of the massacre of the Jews in Cliffords Tower is one we were told about at school. Today, anyone doing a ghost walk in the city is likely to hear the story and it’s a shame it’s become “entertainment”. There’s a story about how the stones of the tower turn red every so often, supposedly due to blood stains (though I heard that it’s to do with a type of lichen – if indeed it’s true at all).

Reading this made me think about the whole issue of apologies for past atrocities, which comes up every now and then when a politician visits a former colony – a massacre here, slave trade there etc. All very real horrors and important parts of our shared history, and I’m being deliberately flippant because pausing to consider it all is overwhelming. 

But I’ve never quite understood the idea of apologising for something someone else did – what could it possibly mean? Clearly it means a great deal to those asking for it, but nothing whatsoever to those being asked to make it. In which case… it’s of little value. Symbolism is important, but a symbolic apology is not an apology, just a word. Sorry.

I’m sorry for what happened in York in 1190. But I can’t apologise for the actions of those who did it, or those who still harbour antisemitic views. I don’t speak for them in the same way they did not, and do not, speak for me.

Read the full story here

How the Suffragettes used fashion to further the cause

Fashion, feminism and politics has always been heated territory, and the suffragettes knew this. Instead of deploying a strategy of resistance by refusal, they chose resistance through reversal. They sought to effect change not by challenging contemporary fashion and ideals of femininity, but by conforming to them. Haunted by the stereotypical image of the “strong-minded woman” in masculine clothes, pebble-thick glasses and galoshes created by cartoonists, they chose instead to present a fashionable, feminine image. The suffragettes took care to “appeal to the eye” – particularly when in full glare of media attention on parade or demonstrating. In 1908, one of their newspapers, Votes for Women, declared: “The suffragette of today is dainty and precise in her dress.” Five years later, sellers of the Suffragette were requested to “dress themselves in their smartest clothes”.

Read the full story here

‘Space Jam’ forever – the 19 year old website lives on

Today, the Space Jam site’s popularity has outlived almost everything to which it has been connected. The Fifth Avenue store shuttered in 2001. Both stars of the movie’s stars made forgettable exits in 2003 – Jordan with the Washington Wizards, Bugs with Looney Tunes: Back in Action. And every person directly associated with the site’s creation has now left the studio. But the site lives on, aging for 19 years but free from influence, to our enduring delight.

Read the full story here