“Nobody owns David Foster Wallace anymore. In the seven years since his suicide, he’s slipped out of the hands of those who knew him, and those who read him in his lifetime, and into the cultural maelstrom, which has flattened him. He has become a character, an icon, and in some circles a saint. A writer who courted contradiction and paradox, who could come on as a curmudgeon and a scold, who emerged from an avant-garde tradition and never retreated into conventional realism, he has been reduced to a wisdom-dispensing sage on the one hand and shorthand for the Writer As Tortured Soul on the other.”
2. “Technology and the Evolution of Storytelling.” John Lasseter on why it’s such an exciting time to be a filmmaker.
“Alfred Hitchcock is one of my favorite filmmakers and one of the reasons why I’ve studied and admired his films is that guy used new technology in incredible ways, but it was completely invisible in everything he made. You study his films and realize there’s no way he could have made that film, that shot, without that technology. But he didn’t want you to notice it. We focus on entertaining people in new ways, and if you focus on the technology too much you get caught up. It’s important, I believe, to make the technology invisible, but have it push to do something new. That’s when you make real breakthroughs. If you love a technology, if you really, really, really, really love a technology, then dig into it. Learn as much as you can. It’s fun. That’s what I did with CG.”
3. “How same-sex marriage could ruin civilization.” In the wake of the US supreme court ruling that legalised same-sex marriage throughout America, many commenters and objectors have claimed it will have disastrous consequences. But rather than just dismissing them as irrational bitterness, it’s important to consider the genuine scientific basis for such claims.
“Legalising same-sex marriage has one obvious result; more marriages. This means, more weddings. Weddings mean a lot of people gathered in one place, a situation which normally makes a place very warm, seeing as how people give off body heat. People also have to travel to weddings, often over long distances. This requires vehicles, the vast majority of which give off CO2. This situation is even worse if you include destination weddings, where the happy couple and guests fly to other countries to tie the knot, and flying gives off even more CO2. Increasing the number of weddings will no doubt lead to more of this, and thus increasing the threat and potential damage of climate change. Overall, opponents of same-sex marriage could make an effective and logical case against marriage simply by highlighting the dangers of climate change. None of them seem to be doing this though. Weird.”
4. “Blank’s Canvas.” Angelo Muredda on A Poem Is a Naked Person.
“Predictably, though, it’s the world just outside the expected frame that most appeals to Blank’s digressive nature, and that inspires an ineffably beautiful time capsule of particular places in particular moments. Whether because of Russell’s reticence to grant longer interviews or because Blank saw him more as an entryway into a wider setting than as the proper subject himself, Russell operates here largely as a compelling but aloof cipher, a key that opens doors into other, more interesting rooms. Some of those other settings, like a tableau of a child’s unvarnished outdoor rendition of Three Dog Night’s ’Joy to the World’ or an interlude that layers Nelson’s recording of ’I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry’ over images of a lake glistening at sundown, feel like rare moments of grace and stillness amidst the din.”
5. “Interview: Piotr Szulkin.” For Film Comment, Other worlds, Ela Bittencourt chats with Poland’s master of allegorical science fiction during and after communism.
“Film is a scream. A slogan that you throw out there to attract people, whereas painting must be contemplated at leisure. With film, you gather viewers for some 90 minutes. They may get something out of it, or not, depending on how strong your film’s formal aspects are. But film is a type of shorthand, when it communicates thought. You cannot subject it to the infinite analysis that can be achieved when facing a painting by someone like Leonardo da Vinci.”
Video of the Day: A NSFW teaser for Gaspar Noé’s Love:
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