is a guest blogger on Boing Boing. Jason has a book out now, Ad Nauseam: A Survivor's Guide to American Consumer Culture
. He lives in Los Angeles, where he is a tinkerer and artist
and writes for the Onion News Network
. He lives with his partner Sally, five animals, too many old cars, and a shed full of crap.
Back when my old comedy group, the Van Gogh-Goghs
, used to be in North Carolina, we often met to practice in one of our members basement. The basement belonged to Galen, who was fond of looking for interesting things at tag sales, estate sales, auctions, and the like. One night, after we'd resigned ourselves to the fact that not much was going to get done, Galen pulled out a stack of old 8mm film reels he'd purchased at a recent tag sale.
It being a summer night in North Carolina, and Galen's basement being cool and relatively mosquito-free, we stayed to watch the films. I don't think any of us were really prepared for what we saw.
The films started our innocently enough: vacation films from a well-to-do Chapel Hill family, at the beach, some interesting aerial shots of Chapel Hill, lots of people in fussy clothes and hats looking at the camera and waving. Some were even color, which was a bit surprising.
The next reels got more interesting. The family apparently took a trip to Europe in the early '30s. Shots of snowy alps, quaint chalets, ski lifts, and then, rows of Nazi flags. Handheld camera shots walking down a street, until a brown-shirted Nazi covers the camera lens with his hand. Cut to a Nazi rally, with the camera in the crowd, as the cinematographer raises their hand, along with everyone else in the massive arena, in a Nazi salute. Pan to the stage, small from the distance and central, as a small, familiar figure walks up to the podium, the part of his hair the hypotenuse of his facial triangle, a square cursor of a mustache under his nose, as he then starts to harangue the cheering crowd, silently.
Cut back to a North Carolina basement, with six stunned, creeped-out faces, as they realize they're seeing unknown footage of Hitler. Cheerwine and Mountain Dew are gulped, nervously.
Galen still has these films, and none of us could really figure out what to do with them. Are someone's home movies of Hitler (and Mussolini, If I recall) as valuable as they seem? Or are there a number of these kinds of reels floating around?
The films aren't digitized at this point, but if anyone has any good advice as to what to do with them, I'l pass it on to Galen. Thanks, internet; you always know just what to do.
I asked Amy Parness, the co-founder of Sparkle Labs, maker of fantastic educational electronics kits, to write a Medium post about gender and the business of being a maker business person. Her terrific essay calls out the problems with “pink girly engineering kits.” From Medium:
Zero UI is the new term for “invisible interfaces”—what happens in the future when all the clicking and tapping and typing is history: “If you look at the history of computing, starting with the jacquard loom in 1801, humans have always had to interact with machines in a really abstract, complex way.” [Fast Company]
CEO Dick Costolo will resign, to be replaced in the interim by Jack Dorsey
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