The Weed of Crime Bears Bitter Fruit

Friends, countrymen, assorted investors, allow me a brief moment of self indulgence. Allow me to tell you a story without any crude editing, without any trickery and, to some extent, without any narrative or logical progression. So. I’ve been feeling uneasy recently, mostly because of the launch of the iPad and certain new Facebook policies. The iPad is a big fancy toy, the cutting edge of mobile computing, as it were, and is made by Apple. I forget the exact details, but the guy that runs Apple, Steve Jobs, patented a technique to make your computer stop working until you interacted with it. And by it, I mean an advertisement. As though you were reading this, and then the words were blurred out until you took a multiple choice test as to why Apple is the finest maker of computers: a) Low Cost, b) Reliability, c)Durability, or d) cutting edge design. Kindly read more here:

http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2009/10/apple-prepares-to-rock-the-market-with-hardware-subsidizing-program.html

Higher-higher at Apple apparently refers to this strategy as “the future of computing.” In my somewhat addled mind, this is related to Facebook, which has put in a bid to make itself the future of the internet. I signed up for a Facebook account because, while in Morocco, it was the only way I could get copies of photographs my friends took. Anyway, a whole bunch of websites are now facebook compatible, which I guess means that when you see something on that website, you can click that you like it, and then you’ll see ads for it on facebook. Or something. Also, if you’re logged into facebook and you visit a website, the site will look at your profile, see what you’ve listed as your interests, and then advertise related products to you. Oh, and they didn’t really mention it to anyone (or if they did I missed it) and automatically set everyone’s account to allow this.

So, anyway, I deactivated that, deleted all the personal information about myself, and deleted all of my photos except crappy cellphone pictures of food I’ve made. But I suspect that data is still in there somewhere? Anyway. I get the feeling that there’s a point coming where these technological advertising gimmicks are going to be all or nothing. You can either agree to advertisements everywhere, so on and so forth, or you can go get yourself a typewriter. You can have a phone with an internet in  it, or you can stock up on quarters and use the pay phone. So on and so forth.

I’m willing to go down the middle of the road. Facebook is a free service I use, as is this blag, and pandora, a sort of online radio station. I’m willing to let them advertise to me while I’m using their sites. It’s the sending my information to third parties and getting them to sell stuff to me that seems a little over the line.

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that The Shadow is an excellent movie. Perhaps I should back up. Three or so years ago, I mentioned to the young lady I was seeing at the time that when I was little I used to watch Dragnet on Nick at Night with my mother. The young lady got me the DVDs of Dragnet as a graduation present, which was possibly the most startlingly thoughtful present I’ve ever gotten. Anyway, a year later, possibly when full of beer (as I am when I make all of my silly extraneous online purchases) I bought an MP3 disc with the run of Dragnet the radio show from the 40s and 50s.

They were awesome. Or as they said back then, They were awesome, see? Anyway. I really liked them. A few months ago I found a site online where you can listen to a lot of old timey radio shows, and so I was really digging it. I mentioned it to my father, who happened to come across some of the old The Shadow pulp novellas, and gave them to me. After a long while of searching, I found the Shadow on MP3. Not all of them. Roughly half. Though I did manage to get all the ones with Orson Welles.

Now, back in the day, we had some episodes of The Shadow on cassette tape. We’d listen to them on the way to Phillies games in our green minivan. In 1994, a movie version of The Shadow came out. We saw it in the theatres and, as I recall, really liked it.

I just rewatched it.

There is no part of it that is not awesome.

Let me just pitch you the general plot: The Shadow is a man who uses hypnotism to make himself invisible and fight crime in 1930s New York City. One day, the grandson of Ghengis Khan arrives, convinces Ian McKellen to build an atom bomb, and then convinces Tim Curry to steal it. From his headquarters in a giant, invisible hotel, he demands billions not to set off the device.

If that movie doesn’t sound awesome to you, you can leave. Right now. You are a dullard and a philistine.

Are they gone? Good. So, it was made in 1994, and some of the special effects are… rough around the edges, but it’s certainly no Mortal Kombat. I remember that thing ROCKING back in the day, and upon rewatching, I was startled to realize that Tron had more believable special effects.

Look. The point is, at the end of the movie, they are trying to disarm the atom bomb, which is perfectly spherical, and it goes rolling through the invisible hotel fortress as though it was a level in Marble Madness. That scene alone was more entertaining than all of The Avatar.

Go see the Shadow. And then, the rest of you, start making products that are actually reasonable, and then you won’t have to cram it full of gimmicky advertisements to make a profit.

EDIT: Here’s a piece of trivia I just learned. How awesome was The Shadow, back in the day? It’s considered canon that Margot Lane, The Shadow’s confidante and companion, is the SISTER OF LOIS LANE.

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One Response to The Weed of Crime Bears Bitter Fruit

  1. Ed Anderson says:

    Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of Facebook? The Shadow knows!

    (Translation: Yes, The Shadow is awesome. Yes, Facebook continues to push the line of evil with what they’ll do to advertise. Color me old fashioned, but I liked it when I had one website for X, another website for Y, and I didn’t need to “like” one website on another or have all of my info from one given out to all its partners)

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