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Recommendations for January 28, 2012

I have a fairly short list this week. In particular, I did not hear a lot of new music that really did it for me, which will generally be a major part of these lists.
First, a couple of articles on anonymity, in some quite different forms. 
Article: “Our Weirdness is Free,” by Gabriella Coleman.
A long, thoughtful piece on the “hacker collective,” Anonymous.
Article: “Haterade,” by Meghan Daum
A first-person account of how a writer can be affected by the response of their audience, and how that effect has changed in the era of anonymous internet comments. Daum deals with the by-now-familiar characteristics of anonymous internet comments, which tend to be, well, mean. Senselessly, incoherently cruel for the sake of cruel. Her point is that it is basically impossible for a writer planning to put anything online not to think about the comments he or she might get, and that this creates a danger that writers will alter what they write to avoid upsetting people (or, depending on one’s personality, to maximize the offense). Given that people will say horrible things no matter what you write, this is a losing tactic, but also a temptation that is hard to ignore.
For more on this, see this piece, in which Farhad Manjoo argues against anonymous comments;  this report on the trend away from allowing anonymity; and, for the sake of argument, a defense of anonymity.  
And finally:
 Song: “Amanaemonesia” by Chairlift
 I suppose the vocal style of this band will bug some people, but on this song, which has a kind of Bat For Lashes via the late middle eighties vibe to it, it is impossible to imagine it being sung any other way.

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