The PopuList: 3 October 2010

Starting this week, MiddBlog will be rolling out The PopuList, a bi-weekly feature that offers readers five links around the web which highlight current affairs in pop culture, news, and politics.

“Don’t Surrender U.S. Influence to Beijing” (Paul Kennedy, The New York Times)
Recommended by Deng Xiaoping’s ex-interpreter Victor Gao (lecturing at Midd earlier this evening), this op-ed by Kennedy posits the imbalanced economic relationship between the U.S. and China in mockingly abstract terms: “I suspect that on the whole, the American economy will benefit far less because so much of it is structurally founded upon Chinese imports. What doth it profit America if, say, Walmart’s $8 made-in-China T-shirts rise to an epic $10 apiece?”

“Was the Rutgers’ Web Voyeurism a Hate Crime?” (Maureen O’Connor, Gawker)
You’ve probably heard about the tragic suicide of 18-year-old student Tyler Clementi after his roommate secretly broadcasted a video of him “making out with a dude.” O’Connor has coverage of the events following, but notes that “with nobody with direct knowledge of the events preceding Tyler’s death talking, both his and his tormentors’ motives remain unclear.”

“Television’s Two Leagues” (Jason Mittell, JustTV)
Our own Film and Media Culture professor Jason Mittell blogs about the differences of broadcast and cable television shows, specifically in light of the recently canceled show Lone Star, struck down by FOX after a mere two episodes were aired: “Such is the short-term demands of network broadcasting, where the wandering attentions of fickle Nielsen families can kill your beloved pets.”

“Sorkin Vs. Zuckerberg” (Lawrence Lessig, The New Republic)
According to Lessig, the excessively hyped film The Social Network is a great film, but a flawed story of Facebook: “…the most frustrating bit of The Social Network is not its obliviousness to the silliness of modern American law. It is its failure to even mention the real magic behind the Facebook story. In interviews given after making the film, Sorkin boasts about his ignorance of the Internet. That ignorance shows.”

“Why It Might Not Be Easy to Fix Digg” (Alexis Madrigal, The Atlantic)
For those of you who follow social media, or just like procrastinating on the web, may have heard something about how Digg’s new website had alienated its audience by favoring the content of big publishers: “For the site’s casual users, Digg is a way of finding interesting stories. But for the site’s hardcore users, the site is an elaborate social game in which the stakes are actually quite high.”

Bonus video after the break: Donald Duck, affected by the economic crisis, finds a sympathetic voice in Glenn Beck’s radio show.

Follow Michael Suen, the author of this post, on Twitter.