Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

15 Nov 2008, 6:51 a.m.

Voices In The News [The Non-NPR Weekend Edition Version]

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2008 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Overheard at the office: "iconic design" mis-spoken as "iconoclastic design."

Directly heard at the office: the praise from one of my bosses that I've been waiting all year to hear.

Seen at the Indian consulate's outsourced visa processing center: absurdly limited pick-up hours, and Monsoon Wedding silently playing to anesthetize queuegoers. Best line I saw: "That'll be 50,000 rupees." "What?! I'm not an NRI!"

Serendipitously seen around NYU on Sunday: Malcolm Gladwell and Bill Santiago. I wonder if Gladwell, like Weird Al, just has a 'fro wig that he wears when he wants to be recognized, but can take off to wander about incognito.

Deliberately seen in the same area on Sunday: the 500 hats slides of Bartholomew Cubbins Lawrence Lessig, Larry Lessig himself, Sita Sings the Blues, and Nina Paley. I recommend Sita Sings the Blues to everyone who has ever loved mythology. It is beautiful, funny, clever, and touching. Showing next week at MoMA!

Media also enjoyed immensely this week: a half-hour mashup of sounds of the twentieth century.


15 Nov 2008, 12:20 p.m.

... what's an NRI?

Sumana Harihareswara
15 Nov 2008, 16:34 p.m.

In this context, NRI means Non-Resident Indian, a legal category for Indian expats abroad.

16 Nov 2008, 22:06 p.m.

I wasn't crazy about the mashup. There were times it showed serious promise, but then there were long periods that felt more like flipping through the channels in a very weird radio market rather than part of a coherent whole, and other very long periods that were just plain dull. Also, mashing up mashups seems a bit ridiculous to me, but I heard both the Freelance Hellraiser ("A Stroke of Genius") and the Freelance Hairdresser ("Marshall's Been Snookered").

I would recommend Gregg Gillis aka Girl Talk's Night Ripper, which is basically a forty-minute psychotic episode in mashup form. It doesn't have quite the same breadth (there are a couple songs from as far back as '67, but most of it is late 90s/early oughts), but it makes up for that with sheer energy. Before I heard the album, I thought it kind of weird when I learned that Gillis tends to strip naked and dance around like a maniac at his live shows. Having heard the album, however, I now realize this is the only sane reaction to his music.