Media Diet, January 2024

A roundup of noteworthy things I’ve played, read, listened to, or watched over the last few weeks.

📺 For All Mankind: Season 3 – They don’t let up! The farther the show goes into speculative territory, the broader it gets. And it felt a bit rushed at times. High points: everything on Mars, even if the timing and logistics of the North Korean capsule don’t make sense to me (did they travel from Earth to Mars in that bucket? Seems unlikely). Low points: anything with the Stevens brothers, my goodness. (A)

📺 For All Mankind: Season 4 – The world building of this last season is still great, but in terms of stories, I didn’t like the distinct feeling of “too many arcs, not enough time”, as a few threads were left hanging or were buried abruptly (Kelly, anyone?). I’ve enjoyed the whole of it, but it was tonally different from the previous seasons. Side note: Ed Baldwin had a somewhat odd character arc, didn’t he? At this point, I fully expect him to open a detective agency on Phobos in S05. (B+)

📚 “Elder Race” by Adrian Tchaikovsky – A novella that takes up Clarke’s third law nicely. I found the insight into the anthropologist’s emotional life and the description of his depression very well realized. (B)

🎶 Mike Shinoda: Post Traumatic (2018) – I think it was his first solo album after Chester Bennington’s death, and you can feel a lot of pain. Not an easy listen, even though it is as tight as ever.

📚 “Annihilation” by Jeff VanderMeer – Weird, very weird. It tells a different story than the movie adaptation, I think. Still, the good kind of weird. (B+)

📚 “Authority” by Jeff VanderMeer – The follow-up to Annihilation. It is said that VanderMeer’s “Southern Reach” trilogy was a big influence for Remedy, the makers of the excellent game “Control” (which I replayed in December), and yeah, I see a lot of parallels. It has a somewhat unsettling feel to it, which I liked a lot. (A)

66 Good News Stories You Didn’t Hear About in 2023 – Focussing on what went well, on causes for celebration and hope. It’s a good list! (A+)

Germany’s surging far right Alternative for Germany party provokes a reckoning - The Washington Post – I won’t lie, it felt good to get out there and finally see that turnout. We are many! Also, the official numbers reported by the police are notoriously too low. In Munich, roughly 200k people showed up, not 100k. Anyways, the far-right’s narrative of “silent majority” is obviously utter bullshit. Don’t ever believe their brown hype, people. (Archived)

🎶 TIDAL - High Fidelity Music Streaming – Somewhat turned off by the business side of Spotify, I decided to give their competitor TIDAL a try, not least because the payout for the streamed artists is apparently quite a bit higher than with other services. It’s good, I guess? I kind of miss Spotify’s “Discover Weekly” list, which did a much better job of surfacing music that’s new to me. And even if their catalogs are comparable, I feel that in the curation department, Spotify has the upper hand. And navigating from a currently playing song from a playlist to the album feels a bit off to me. In any case, both services ask for €11/month. But artist payout is important to me, so TIDAL it is.

German language stuff

Alkohol: Ich, die aufgedunsene Frau im Spiegel | ZEITmagazin – Sehr guter, ehrlicher Artikel über Alkoholkonsum von Polina Schäfer. Hut ab. (Archiv / Ohne Paywall)

Großbaustellen der Politik: Kurz vorm Systemversagen | ZEIT ONLINE – Interessantes Essay von Georg Dietz in der ZEIT, gerade die Punkte Föderalismus & Parteienpolitik klingen sehr wahr. (Archiv / Ohne Paywall)

Dieselsubventionen, Bauernproteste und ihre radikale Unterwanderung – DerKlimablog – Richtig gute Zusammenfassung der Lage. “Stichelnde CDU, bröckelnde Brandmauer, instrumentalisierte Bauern, rechtsradikale Schwurbelsuppe und Putins digitaler Arm. Eine gefährliche Mischung. Die fossile Endzeit wird sehr ungemütlich, wenn wir nicht aufpassen."

Die Grünen: Es ist nicht ihre Schuld | ZEIT ONLINE (Archiv / Ohne Paywall):

[…] dass [die Grünen] derart angefeindet werden, liegt nicht in erster Linie an ihnen, es liegt daran, dass all jene Realitäten durch sie hindurchschimmern, denen sich diese Gesellschaft bisher nicht wirklich stellen will. Wut auf die Grünen ist ein wichtiger, wenngleich nicht der einzige Gradmesser für die ökologische, sicherheitspolitische, geopolitische, infrastrukturelle und demografische Realitätsverweigerung der Mehrheit. Diese Verweigerung trägt eine gewaltige, auch gewalttätige Drift in sich, denn die Realität drängt immer mehr durch, sie draußen zu halten, kostet immer mehr Aufwand.

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Carlo Zottmann @czottmann