Saying What You Mean

Dropped by the New York Times today and watched a segment on ‘The Sweet Spot’. A.O.Scott and David Carr were discussing what A.O. Scott called, ‘…something that gets a little under my skin, which is the jargon of the digital universe.’ The segment video starts with Scott giving Carr a ribbing for using technology terms in his writing. My favorite part of the exchange:

David Carr: ‘My site’s in beta. I’ve been dogfooding the product to check its scalability, its user interface, and see just how sticky it is on the social graph. And I’m going to use big data to do it.”

A.O. Scott: ‘It does give me a little frisson, I have to say. It’s like, wow, this guy, this guy is on top of it…’

David Carr: ‘But you have no idea what I just said.’

I work in technology. Most of my coworkers — who generally are smart people, many of whom read the NY Times — probably wouldn’t recognize the word ‘frisson’. Words that mean what you want to say can be hard to avoid.


Anita Hill Should Be On The Supreme Court

This morning we saw the Seattle International Film Festival screening of ‘Anita‘ at the Egyptian — a documentary focusing on the confirmation hearings at which Anita Hill testified, and their fallout for Ms. Hill. We had just seen ‘The Punk Singer‘ — about Bikini Kill and Le Tigre principle Kathleen Hanna — and then ‘Before Snowfall‘ — about an Iraqi Kurd who travels to Norway to kill his sister because he believes she’s dishonored the family. SIFF created an experience in which feminism was front and center; demonstrating that it’s clearly needed and very much alive. All three are powerful movies. ‘Anita’ demands a coda: Anita Hill should be on the Supreme Court.

Freida Mock, the academy award winning director of the film, answered questions after ‘Anita’. (As did Sini Anderson — the very talented and articulate director of ‘The Punk Singer’, after that film.) One audience member related that her experience watching the hearings led her to conversations about harassment at her own workplace, and in universities generally. Another, a young woman born after the hearings, said this was the first time she’d heard of them. She was clearly moved by the film. When it’s available in general release (which it will be), go see it. Bring your high school age kids.