August 30th, 2007

The Conquest of Cooling

When Thomas Frank's book The Conquest of Cool came out, I was torn between the appeal his incisive critique held for me and my reservations about its purpose. As much as its bite appealed to me at a time when too much cultural analysis was unwilling to draw blood, I worried that Frank had made mordancy an end in itself. A decade later, the differences I then perceived between The Baffler's political aesthetic and my own have been softened by nostalgia for an era that seems absurdly remote, like the Roman Republic viewed from the year 1000. Today, I'm far more likely to identify with Frank's work than to identify the ways in which it clashes with my convictions.

My metamorphosis has been facilitated by the ever-expanding access we have to cultural evidence that makes what I once regarded as Frank's exaggeration for effect seem like a model of understatement. The Presidency of George W. Bush has turned showmen into servants of modesty. And then there's the wealth of material available in collections like the Prelinger Archives, which reminds us that the madness of the present conjuncture represents the convulsions of a longer durée:

While the 2000s are probably the low-point of American history, at least as it is viewed from the perspective of foreign policy, the 1960s for which I still have vast born-too-late longing were not much better. But the confusion they introduced into consumer culture was considerably more intense. Those children, myself included, who were conceived in the Summer of Love were born into a Spring of Hate. And do-it-yourself refrigerator decoration: "Commodify your failure to dissent."

Coding Assistance Required

I'm going to do something I almost never do: ask for help. I was excited to be able to embed non-YouTube video material in my entries, but realized that the code I'd copied for my entry of earlier today was making the Westinghouse refrigerator infomercial play every time it was loaded. And that's not cool for "Friends" pages.

I've put the video behind the cut for now. But I don't like to use LJ cuts unless an entry is really long. Actually, I don't like to do LJ cuts period. What I'd rather do for circumstances like this is find a way to modify the embedding code so that it doesn't play unless you click first, a la YouTube clips embedded within LJ entries. Here's my question. Do any of you with more coding experience than I have -- it has been a long time since I was messing around with Modula-2 -- know how to realize this goal? I'll present the code I used earlier today, taken straight from the Internet Archive:
I've never seen this "lj-embed" tag before. The only thing I know about FlowPlayer is that it's the one that the Internet Archive uses, presumably because it's open-source. Anyway, I'd greatly appreciate any assistance you can provide. In the interim, if you see an LJ cut on one of my entries, it will most likely have video embedded behing it.

Problem Solved

Thanks to the help you provided in response to my last entry and the realization that I am capable, when pressed, of figuring extremely basic problems with code out on my own -- all hail Turbo Pascal -- I figured out how to embed video from the Internet Archive in my LJ entries with splash image a la YouTube so that they will not play until you, my readers, wish them to do so. My previous entry showed how the code looked before the fix. And here's how it looks now, with the minor but crucial changes I made indicated in magenta:
Remember if you want to follow my lead to replace the URL for the splash image. I made mine with a screen shot. Oh, and here's the link to my original entry, if you want to see how it works.