This is So Last Year: The Best of 2004

acdickson: eBay Powerseller--Portland's most famous thrift-shopping advocate of self-employment continues his quest of all-too-serious/is-he-serious global domination by running away with the TBA Fest, starting a blog that we pray turns into a book someday, and planning to lose his mind and move to Los Angeles.

Rem Koolhaas' Seattle Library--All respect due to the Multnomah County Library, which I patronize heavily, but the new central Seattle Library leaves our downtown building--and every other building in America--in the dust. Koolhaas got the 21st Century stamp of approval when Volkswagen created their Jetta ad with the library in the background, suggesting some absurd kinship between the two. Please. because something is morally abhorrent doesn't mean that it's not fascinating. To describe what this man creates (he terms it "forniphilia") would stop 50% of you from taking the free tour, but you've got to admire Gord's devotion to craft and obvious love of what he does.

Naomi Klein's Smoking While Iraq Burns--Klein's essay (available on ) begins as a deconstruction of the new Gulf War's first non-scandalous iconic photograph, then turns to examine the mass hysteria that masquerades as moral outrage in our country, and ends as a blistering indictment of the nationalistic attitudes displayed by both presidential candidates this year.

Frontline: The Persuaders--Douglas Rushkoff's follow-up to 2001's The Merchants of Cool was a fascinating and chilling exploration into the world of marketing, manipulation, and branding. The broadcast angels of PBS have built an amazing website for The Persuaders where you can read essays and interviews, and watch the entire program online. This ought to be required viewing for all Americans.

Mark Romanek/Rick Rubins/Jay-Z: 99 Problems--Both Rick Rubin and Mark Romanek redefined the production of cool over the past two years with their parallel work with both Johnny Cash and Jay-Z. Romanek's vision for 99 Problems is a masterpiece of style to match the year's best song. --Claiming to "crash your browser with content," is the only truly brilliant piece of internet art I've ever seen. Combining the aesthetics of early Nam June Paik videos, Lightning Bolt's dissonant sonic fury, and late '90s Y2K hysteria, screenfull is the new techno-psychedelic wasteland.

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