Invisible Playgrounds

Cap'n in Duvall (signed)

I can’t run no more
with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places
say their prayers out loud.
But they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up
a thundercloud
and they’re going to hear from me.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
– Leonard Cohen

Jason Brown on Exploding the Phone by Phil Lapsley:
“The Invisible Playground: Phone Phreaking and the Criminalization of Curiosity.”
Los Angeles Review of Books.

Will you include everything?

Jason Scott looks at a Wikipedia documentary in which the filmmakers are confronted with shifting facts around an over-sized personalty. Although Scot disagrees with the perspective, he contemplates their situation with understanding and empathy:

How could this reconcile with the documentary? What about the shots of him and his wife and her opinion of the project? How about his portrayal as the guy behind this? Will you include everything that just happened, or will you just cut it out, leading to endless squirming moments when this is shown at Wikipedia festivals and gatherings?

I don’t envy their job. Not at all.

Scott carefully considers the difficult position of these filmmakers when dealing with active conflicts in which at least one side is going feel wronged no matter what they do. What to leave in? What to leave out? How to fairly portray people when the basic facts are in dispute? In the case of Wikipedia and Jimmy Wales, Scott sees this as an unenviable balancing act without a black-and-white answer. (Just coincidentally, Jason Scott has decided he will never make a Wikipedia documentary.)



Jason Scott slammed the film King of Kong for being “loaded with falsehoods” (and, incidentally, causing him to lose access for his own arcade documentary).

When shown that some of his assertions were wrong, he took time for further research.

In a short follow-up, he said that King of Kong is generally accurate.

In a long autobiographical follow-up, he talks about objectivity in documentary film and how King of Kong makes people feel.

Well… okay.

But viciously attacking a film for being packed with falsehoods “like the last Japanese subway car before they have to shut down the line” is just a tiny bit different than speculating about how Billy Mitchell might feel.

And when you’re following up on a rant where you blast people as liars and whores without any corroborating evidence, calling for thorough objective research and universal empathy sounds a little insincere.

Jason Scott is a good historian. But this isn’t quite history yet, and he has admitted his own tangential stake in this series of open controversies. Which makes his self-interested declaration that King of Kong is “fraudulent” hard to reconcile with his sermon on the respectful construction of a complex and nuanced Truth.

lee harvey

lee harvey

If the backyard photographs are valid, they are highly incriminating of Oswald because they apparently link him with the murder weapon. If they are fakes, how they were produced poses far-reaching questions in the area of conspiracy. “Faked” backyard photographs would indicate a degree of conspiratorial sophistication that would almost necessarily raise the possibility that a highly organized group had conspired to kill the President and make Oswald a “patsy.”

From Volume VI of the House Select Committee On Assassinations