Here’s what we’re reading/watching today:
1) “Celebrities: They’re just like us!” should probably be changed to “Celebrities: We’ll make you like us”, with feminism being at the center of some recent remixes.
Remember “Feminist Ryan Gosling“? With more than 3 million views a month during its heyday (the tumblr is defunct now), the tumblr via its creator Danielle Henderson brought the actor under the feminist tent whether or not he was, in fact, a feminist.
Now, the digital, feminist-ink-dipped fan brush has been swiped across country singer Taylor Swift. The 23-year-old Grammy winner may not identify as a feminist, but, as The Post’s Jessica Goldstein writes, one fan is bringing Swift — or at least her lyrics — into the feminist camp. Clara Beyer is the fan in question, launching @feministtswift. The account offers a stream of Swift’s lyrics modified to make them more — you guessed it — feminist. Take this modification of a verse from Swift’s “All too well”:
Now you mail back your things / And I walk home alone / But I still feel unsafe walking by myself after dark / What’s that about?
— FeministTaylorSwift (@feministtswift) June 17, 2013
Or this one from “Love Story”:
You were Romeo / I was a scarlet letter / Because I’ve had like, 6 boyfriends / Which isn’t even that many / Slut shaming is a real problem
— FeministTaylorSwift (@feministtswift) June 17, 2013
Whether celebrities like it or not, they’re becoming as much a byproduct of their fans’ public relations strategies as their hired PR team’s. If you’re in doubt, try out this little party trick: Ask someone to say the first person they think of when you say “Blue Valentine” and then wash, rinse and repeat with “hey girl.”
Take Suri’s Burnbook, which is still going strong, offering withering critiques of celebrity behavior since July 2011. Is it the real Suri Cruise? Of course not. But is it now and forever tied to her celebrity identity? Absolutely. The young celebrity-from-birth had a “voice” on tumblr well before she was old enough to join herself.
Then there’s Hillary Clinton. If you haven’t heard, she’s tweeting now (for real). But the tenor of her much-ballyhooed twitter account launch was shaped as much by the former secretary of state, first lady and senator as it was by Stacy Lambe and Adam Smith — the creators of “Texts from Hillary.” The tumblr account was an hilarious romp through fictional texts between a fake salty, sharp and, ultimately, stereotype-fulfilling Hillary Clinton and a slew of political and entertainment celebrities. Can you imagine the Hillary Clinton of 2008 referring to herself as a “hair icon, pantsuit aficionado,” while leaving an open door to 2016 POTUS speculation? I didn’t think so.
Prior to social media, fans had few ways to show their dissatisfaction, support or interest other than to buy movie tickets, albums or, at least in politics, go door to door, attend political rallies and, of course, vote. (Okay, that sounds like a lot, now that I list them). But those pathways were nowhere near as powerful as one Twitter account with nearly 73,000 followers and counting.
But the field for multi-million-dollar PR teams and fans isn’t level yet. Celebrities (see: West, Kanye) still have an incredible amount of influence when fans, as they see it, go too far in attempting to reinvent them. After all, the 73,000 followers for @feministtswift is impressive, but nothing near Swift’s 29.3 million … and counting.
2) What is it like inside Jack Dorsey’s brain? Wired’s Marcus Wohlsen offers a tour of sorts. Wired took a tour around the San Francisco offices of Square with designer Chris Gorman. Gorman was in Tokyo at the time, so he conducted the tour via remote-controlled robot — his head displayed on a screen mounted on top of a rolling base. Gorman, writes Wohlsen, was charged with making a space that encouraged Square’s employees to collaborate:
“Ways of coming together range from an open office floor plan dotted with “cabanas” for informal chats and work sessions to the practice of taking notes on any meeting involving at least three people and posting them to a hub where anyone in the company can access them.”
That said, here’s another look at fuseproject’s stab at creating the office of the future for Herman Miller:
3) The future of food could be either on walls (as we’ve previously explored) or encased inside them. Gizomodo’s Attila Nagy offers an interesting photo tour of 14 indoor gardens (both the legal and illegal kind) where produce, such as arugula and endives are being grown.
4) NASA has generated a full, 360-degree view of Mercury, the first time the entire surface of the planet has been mapped. The video was posted as NASA’s astronomy picture of the day on June 12, and offers a rare, detailed look at Mercury. The images were taken by the MESSANGER spacecraft, which has been orbiting the planet since 2011. The video was compiled using “thousands of images of Mercury rendered in exaggerated color to better contrast different surface features.”
5) Engineers and scientists at MIT have created an automated life coach called MACH, or My Automated Conversation CoacH. The system allows users to talk to a virtual person and then provides an analysis of the flesh-and-blood human being’s social behaviors
MIT offers before-and-after videos of MIT undergraduates using the system, and, if the videos are to be believed, the technology could prove useful for those who suffer from social phobias.