a place for this kind of madness
Tuesday, September 30 2003
Today on a housecall, I encountered a computer so badly diseased by adware that I couldn't fix it, not even after two hours and repeated use of the adware-fighting program Ad-Aware. So I had to take it home with me. This is the worst kind of computer repair gig, because I always end up putting in a lot more hours of work than I can possibly bill for. At this point, though, I tend to think of it as educational. I'm becoming fascinated by adware and how it can be so horrible and so widespread at the same time. The fact that something so uncelebrated quickly turns a bleeding-edge computer into a 486, sending the owner out to spend a thousand dollars on a replacement - I'm just amazed that capitalism has carved out a place for this kind of madness. Why aren't all these adware writers in jail? Compared to adware developers, virus authors are positively benign.
This evening Gretchen and I drove over to Rhinebeck to see Lost In Translation. I didn't actually like the movie all that much until the final scene - and then suddenly the whole effort of watching became worthwhile. The ending was so good that it made me forget the movie's many tiresome scenes. Ultimately the movie is about saying goodbye, and it handles this issue using a technique of virtuosic understatement in all the places that matter. In the places that don't matter, we're beaten over the head with overstatement: lingering shots of the heroine's ass clothed only in translucent pink panties or the hero fighting with an exercise machine. Behind everything is the backdrop of Tokyo, presented as the most garish city on earth, an imitation Las Vegas that has forgotten the things it imitates badly (and the things those things were bad imitations of). It's a depiction not all that different from the one given in a classic episode of the Simpsons.
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