Director: Kathryn Bigelow. Stars: Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Ehle, Mark Strong.
Before it was even released in America, Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty was incensing critics on the left and right. Some Republicans claimed it was pro-Obama propaganda, and were outraged by plans (which did not materialise) to release the film in America on the eve of last November’s Presidential election. Liberals, on the other hand, were deeply disturbed by two crucial interrogation scenes, and by what they saw as Zero Dark Thirty’s implication that torture had played a key part in the hunt for Bin Laden. There’ve been protests outside cinemas showing the movie, and even attempts to dissuade Academy members from voting it into Oscar contention.
It seems to me that if you’re incensing Republicans and Democrats, you must be doing something right. And I think Zero Dark Thirty has attracted such a storm of controversy not because it has an agenda about America’s response to 9/11, but because it addresses the subject at all.
Bigelow’s film makes an explicit link to the September 11 attacks in its opening moments, as chilling recordings of people trapped in the World Trade Center are played over a black screen. We then jump forward two years to a dank room in an American military compound where a prisoner called Ammar (Reda Kateb) is being interrogated. (more…)
Every Friday, John Meagher reviews a selection of new release albums in Day And Night. Every Friday, we’ll publish a Spotify playlist of the albums (where available) so you can listen and judge for yourself.
This week we have various artists covering Tim Hardin, a folk-pop singer-songwriter from Eugene, Oregon, who
died of a heroin overdose in 1980, Fleetwood Mac’s classic Rumours (here in its original rather than remastered form), Swedish cellist Linnea Olsson & the second album from Manchester indie band Delphic.
Whether it’s news articles in the paper, tweets or this very column, conversation around a “viral video” is usually accompanied with a statement like “plus it has over 20,000 views in 24 hours” or similar.
The internet makes our obsession with numbers a global concern. When PSY’s Gangnam Style hit over 1 billion views on Youtube, the feat was talked about everywhere. Sure, it was an interesting fact but more than anything it reflects the cultural cache of the importance of views. The numbers became the story, which happens to all viral videos, negating their meaning. But are they real?
An article called “I bought myself 60,000 YouTube views for Christmas” by Chase Hoffberger for The Daily Dot has been doing the rounds for the past week or so confirms that the practice of artifically propping up Youtube views is common place. Dedicated sites like YTView can add thousands of hits for about $50 to any Youtube video through an automated quick-hit process.
The practice is something that is happening locally too. In December, the popularity of a shoddy novelty music video by Yasha Swag called Pickles confounded everyone by receiving 10 million views in a week before being removed (now reupped ).
The video was the work of Jacob Povolotski, a self-proclaimed Irish “meme-troller” who bought up views for the video. He told Hoffberger he did it for fun. “I try to prove [to] some ppl how its easy to get on top.”
Next time you encounter a video with a gazillion Youtube views, arch your questioning eyebrow and resist the urge to talk about the numbers. As a reminder that quantity is not an indicator of quality, please remember that even in a time when the music industry seems is dying on its arse, Ke$ha still sold more copies of her big hit single Tik-Tok in 2011 than any Beatles song ever.