Author: Bobbie Johnson

You can’t get it back

Leave a comment
Media

Despite working in Hollywood, an industry that loves to create culture via the medium of checking boxes—screenwriter Charlie Kaufman has made a career out of avoiding those boxes completely. Being John Malkovich; Adaptation; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; Synecdoche, New York. After reading a Twitter thread from Casey Johnston, I went down a Kaufman rabbit hole and found this 2011 speech in which he talks about screenwriting. But really it’s just about creating, full […]

Radar, week 24: Hustlers and homes

Leave a comment
Link / Things my friends have made / weeknotes / Workbook

• Loved this Mia Sato report from Gary Vaynerchuck’s VeeCon. Internet-driven fandoms are such fertile (and often terrifying) territory. • The rise of the internet’s creative middle class. • Robots building offshore wind turbines. • How Houston moved 25,000 people from the streets into homes of their own. • Megan Tatum on queer campaigners using the net to organize in a conservative Muslim country.

Radar week 18: Re-release

Leave a comment
Link / Things my friends have made

• Facing life: Eight people discuss life after incarceration in this beautifully simple, extremely touching project from Pen and Brandon. • New York Times is killing it with clear interactives at the moment—here’s one about the soundtrack to the AIDS crisis: I was sold as soon as they showed me a bunch of pictures of mixtapes. • How police interfere with public spaces. • I get the ethical stance of Ogilvy saying it won’t work […]

Just a formality

Leave a comment
Workbook

Form follows function: an inspiration for designers and makers of all kinds. You see it surface in other ways, twisting a little, showing a different face: Separate content and presentation; Radical functionalism; Let people’s needs determine the shape of the thing, not the other way around. But form follows function is an ideal, not a fact.  It appeared as a counter to formal constriction, not as a natural law. Because while function is the why, […]

Radar week 14: Infinite curiosity

Leave a comment
Link

• “What I learned as a hired consultant to autodidact physicists“• This review made me want to read Megan Phelps-Roper’s book on growing up inside the Westboro Baptist Church• Something to explore: The Eames Institute for Infinite Curiosity• Feelgood story of the week had to be the footage of 11-year-old Prince being interviewed on TV. (Backstory)

Radar week 13: Niche hobbies

Leave a comment
Link

• This collection of Japanese cassette tapes is quite beautiful. • This drone time lapse photography of a herd of sheep moving around has a wonderful liquid quality to it. • The dirtbag left (and its heroes) gets an inordinate amount of attention. The latest is Adam Tooze. • I think the common thread between these “rock and pop greats” who are avid model railway enthusiasts is not that they are musicians, but that they […]

Red sky thinking

Leave a comment
Work

What is urgency? Why are some people driven while others sit back?   Because I am a happy cliche, Hamilton has been on repeat recently. In Burr’s words: “he has something to prove, he has nothing to lose.” Why wouldn’t you try to do everything you can? Time is limited, and you can’t wait for life to happen to you. Clearly not everyone feels this way. Or even if they do, they don’t all feel able […]

Radar week 12: Theories and practice

Leave a comment
Link

•“The poetics of history from below” • Undark on how nudge theory—which was very exciting to the political classes over the last decade—fared during the pandemic • The Office of Collecting and Design • I love Michael Hobbes. Here’s his recent video on cancel culture (re: the last post) • Why the Center on Privacy & Technology is no longer using the term “artificial intelligence”

On freedom

Leave a comment
Link

Information wants to be free.  People want to be free too.  But freedom from? Or freedom to? Hello Isiah Berlin. What freedoms count on either side of this moral ledger? Who gets to speak? And who gets to criticize? We’re dragged there again and again by the faithless, often in the tawdriest pages of the New York Times. A couple of years ago, Timothy Snyder’s On Tyranny became my go-to book on the threat to […]