04 March 2008

Alanisitis Is Actually a New Strain of Material Girl Syndrome

I loved Wired magazine, really I do but their website is truly dire - almost to the point of being unbrowsable. Of course, this is the point: they want you to take out a subscription, and indeed, I probably would were it not so expensive to have it delivered to the UK and if there weren't about ten other periodicals to which I would like to subscribe (whose web options are even worse than those of Wired).

Most of the time, this isn't a problem as I subscribe to the RSS feed for updates to the news and science sections of the site and listen to one of the only few available podcasts, Alt Text with Lore Sjöberg. I usually follow a link to the relevant article, have a quick scan, maybe have a quick look at the homepage and then leave because the whole site is so unsearchable and un-browse-friendly - odd for a magazine that's all about technology...

Anyway, I wanted to link to this week's Alt Text podcast to make a point but there appears to be no way of finding available podcasts on the Wired website, and nor is the text version of the podcast available in the Alt Text section of the site, yet. A Google search for "Wired podcast" takes you to Wired's definition of A New Twist on Net Audio; the first search result is actually a link to an older, more user-friendly version of the Wired site with a list of previous Wired podcasts, although sadly, this was last updated in July 2006. Nice.

iTunes does have the Alt Text podcast, though, even if it is - somewhat inappropriately - entitled Wired News (and the URL given in iTunes links back to the 2006 podcast list...). Anyway, this week's Alt Text podcast is on the linguistardery of Madonna's song La Isla Bonita and the way Mrs Guy Ritchie has mangled the English language so thoroughly in the lyrics to this song. Although they are mostly just stupid, this verse is particularly challenging to parse and would indeed cause much trouble for poor high school students forced to "diagram it" (thankfully not a practice we have in England):

And when the samba played
The sun would set so high
Ring through my ears and sting my eyes
Your Spanish lullaby

I tried colour-coding the parts of the sentence that are supposed to be linked but it's pretty hard to unravel. At least Alanis is in good company with her nonsensical and/or ungrammatical lyrics. Madonna, though, seems to have acquired some concept of irony - or her marketeers have, at any rate.

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