Archive for the ‘media’ Category
…Under God, well maybe not God, maybe Literature.
Erin and I were in the Crapters recently and she asked me an intriguing literary question. If you could only read one nation’s work of literature, the authors must have a birth certificate from this nation and (here is the fun part) you are restricted from reading authors outside of this nation, which nation do you choose?
It is a difficult question to answer. So many wonderful authors from so many different countries: Ireland, Great Britain, Japan, United States, India, Mexico.
Going to think on this for a bit and will respond later, but enjoy. Cheers.
Reading an introduction to The Surrealist Manifesto written by Andre Breton in 1924 I was struck by a phrase that Rainey, the editor to my Modern Literature Anthology attributes to a young Breton growing up, “his omnivorous reading habits.”
I like the idea of certain books being meat oriented (Carnivorous) and some being vegetable based (Herbivorous). It makes me reflect on which category certain authors would find themselves being placed in. Someone like William Shakespeare would be considered a carnivorous read, full of meaty content and sustenance. A writer like Albert Camus though would in my mind be herbivorous by nature. Camus is indeed filling but gently and lightly, not as weighed down by all of the meat, scraps, and offal that Shakespeare brings with his epic folio.
Maybe this is crazy, something to consider though.
Ted Kennedy died last night and while I recognize the passing of a significant political figure and legislator I find myself fairly apathetic towards his death.
I think I feel this way towards most politicians. A couple of months back when President Barack Obama was inaugurated I watched coverage of people who were swept up by all of the emotion and energy of this figure. And as I said above about Ted Kennedy, I recognize the significance of someone like President Obama, but I have never been moved to tears or to such a degree that I feel the need to attend a speech or a rally.
I think that I am much too jaded for the world of politics and I distrust the politicians that represent me. Do not misjudge me, I vote and pay attention to the news and listen to the topics and issues that affect me. But I find myself unable to be moved emotionally in any way by most politicians.
Writers and authors are figures in our culture that inspire me. The deaths of David Foster Wallace, Susan Sontag, Arthur C. Clarke; these are the types of figures I tend to feel great emotion for, frequently because their passing is often overlooked or quickly forgotten and so too their contributions to literature, media, and culture.
But this should not be surprising as my blog focuses primarily on authors and writers that I’ve read and that I find inspiring. I have devoted my life towards English Literature and so I focus more on these figures.
Still, there is something very uninspiring to me about so many of the politicians I see before me. I will note their significant contributions towards society and history, but I have not been moved by such figures, at least not yet.
It is easy to fixate on Michael Jackson’s passing or Ted Kennedy when there is 24/7 news cycle of these figures, but a writer like Alexander I. Solzhenitsyn gets a few days and then the world moves on.
I figure Ted Kennedy should last towards the week’s end. Hmm, how sad that the media coverage a person receives reflects our current societies value of that person in our culture.
I do not personally smoke cigarettes. But let me be clear, I have no problem with people that do smoke as long as it does not get in my face as I hate the smell and would rather not breathe it in.
The following article is interesting though: ‘Smoking Martyr’ Lynn Barber pulls out of festival.
I believe that this festival has every right to deny access or limit the types of people that attend and this includes the type of documentation that they publish (advertising, etc). But even though they have every right to do this it seems a bit much to ask that a photograph of an author be replaced because deemed unworthy of the “good health habits’ that the festival wished to promote.
This is a book festival not a health fair. I could understand if the primary sponsors of this festival was an organization that was about lung cancer or something of that nature, but this is a festival. Should the festival censor the types of writing that authors and publishers are promoting. God forbid an author have a character that smokes or does drugs or dare I even think it: have sex.
The festival responds as follows:
“A Richmond council spokesman said: “We don’t like to use images of people smoking in our promotional material. As a local authority we are responsible for encouraging good health habits in the area, and to be seen to be endorsing smoking, no matter how unintentional, doesn’t complement this.”
What do you think? Is it out a bit much for the festival to demand this photo be changed? I think that she was right to pull out of the festival. I’m sure that if other authors were scrutinized along with their photographs someone, anyone, would find a reason to object.
I am going to hold a Literary Festival of my own and invite famous authors and publishers but I swear to God if I see one photograph of an author sitting in an armchair it’s off with your damn head.
Your thoughts and commentary?
Several things are interesting about Dr. Louis Bakay. The first being that he is a brain surgeon and historian on the Faculty of Harvard Medical School, chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery of the University of Buffalo. The second is that in his past time he enjoys reading and writing about a history of epicures and societies obsession and love for all things food-related. The third is that he is not even a passable cook but an enthusiastic gourmet.
Random books are the best and I stumbled across this in the food section a week ago while browsing for some gifts for a few of my friends. Dr. Bakay takes the reader through a history of eating from the Stone Age where “the bones of animals found during excavations in Europe reveal what man ate in prehistoric times” all the way to modern French cuisine.
The book is full of interesting facts and random information surrounding the history of how society (mainly Western) has consumed food. For example:
“A typical example of feudal meals was one recorded of the wedding of Wilhelm von Rosenberg at his castle in Bohemia in 1578: 370 oxen; 98 wild boar; 2,292 hares; 3,910 patridge; 22,687 thrushes; 12,887 chickens; 3,000 capons; a large number of eel, carp, salmon, and pike. Also 5 tons of oysters and 40,837 eggs. It was washed down by 6,405 pails of wine.”
You have to love the excess of it all. Not that much has changed since then, but still all of that for a single wedding is impressive.
If you can find this book, it seems to be out of print, or if you can find me and remind me to lend it out, this is definitely a fascinating review of how we eat through the ages. Cheers.
I’ve read two recent articles over at the Guardian and it has made me reflect on a trend that seems to be occurring at the moment, the blending of mixed media when it comes to the book form.
Nick Cave, a musician, poet, artist, actor, dare I say it: renaissance man recently released: “Nick Cave’s new novel The Death of Bunny Munro – the story of a sex-maniac travelling salesman taking his last road trip – goes to market through the iPhone App Store, in an enhanced edition that is being launched before the print version.”
The enhanced app has the following advantages:
you can faff with fonts, change colour, bookmark it, and so on; and there’s some smart social networking stuff attached. But it also includes enhancements that could have a noticeable effect on the experience of reading. Instead of paginating the book conventionally, it’s presented as a continuous vertical scroll (one geek-pleasing trick is that you can adjust the scrolling speed with the angle of tilt of the phone), and the App includes an audiobook that syncs with the written text. Pop on the headphones, thumb the screen and Cave’s voice picks up where you left off.
So the question is? Is all of that necessary for the enjoyment of a book? Thomas Pynchon’s latest release Inherent Vice now has an added feature to “enhance” the reading. Pynchon has released a playlist to accompany the reading: