I missed it, but MTV turned 31 on Wednesday. Mental Floss has coverage, plus the first video aired, “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles.
Ironic, given that over the ensuing 31 years, MTV killed music videos.
Random Fact: In my first year of college at Michigan Tech, the lead stoner on our floor, a guy named Snark, played us a cassette recording of “Video Killed the Radio Star” and had us convinced for several days that his band had recorded the song.)
IanniX is a graphical sequencer, open source for Windows, Linux, and OS X. Works with MIDI devices, a range of controllers (including Kinect), and software (Ableton Live, MaxMSP, PD, Processing, and more). Cool.
The subject of the video is Eschaton, a fictional tennis game played by Hal Incandenza, one of the main characters in Infinite Jest, and his peers at the Enfield Tennis Academy. The game is played in a futuristic world in which years are no longer numbered but rather sponsored (the Eschaton bit happens in the Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment), and much of the Northeastern United States is destroyed due to a nuclear “accident”–the area is now known as the Great Concavity (into which catapults launch hazardous waste and where babies are born without skulls).
Eschaton, a word which means something akin to “end times,” is played across multiple tennis courts, with various areas of the courts corresponding to parts of the globe. The highlighted areas represent the teams, and the combinations of countries, with nuclear capabilities– North America (AMNAT); the former USSR (SOVWAR); China (REDCHI); India & Pakistan (INDPAK); “the wacko but always pesky” Libya & Syria (LIBSYR) or Iraq, Iran, Libya & Syria (IRLIBSYR), and the somewhat weak South Africa (SOUTHAF). Sometimes, depending on the number of players, one may have other teams “like an independent cell of Nuck insurgents with a 50-click Howitzer and big ideas.” Players fire 5-megaton nuclear tennis balls at enemy areas, creating playful worldwide chaos, massive civilian casualties, and juvenile tennis rivalries.
In the late 1980s or early 1990s, after reading either Hofstedder’s Godel, Escher, Bach or Richard Powers’ Gold Bug Variations (I forget which), I bought a copy of Glen Gould’s Goldberg Variations. The album’s still remarkable.