Here are some of the things I’ve been reading or watching over my second cup of coffee this morning. I’d like to write longer blog entries about several of them, but that’s probably not going to happen:
- Even though it’s pretty much a promo piece for Michel Gondry’s Be Kind Rewind, I enjoyed Dennis Lim’s New York Times article on VHS nostalgia. I have an essay, currently in circulation, on VHS nostalgia in the American adaptation of The Ring, and Lim’s article touches on some of the key points, particularly the ways in which VHS becomes identified with concepts of authenticity, especially in the age of the DVD. Lim cites Barbara Klinger, author of Beyond the Multiplex, on these issues, but I think one of the more interesting aspects of the article is the discussion of how we interact differently with the “mechanical” VCR than with the “computerized” DVD player, an issue raised by Andy Hain, the coordinator of the incredibly useful website, Total Rewind, which provides a history of the VCR.
- Michael Wesch has posted a thoughtful response to Mark Marino’s mashup of his “A Vision of Students Today” video, which I discussed a few days ago. Not much to add here, but I think that Marino’s video has provoked an interesting conversation.
- I haven’t had time to comment on (or even process) the Oscar nominees this year, but I think it will be an interesting race this time around. But Anne Thompson has the text of an open letter sent out by Michael Moore that seeks to place this year’s nominees in a historical and political context. Moore also explains some of the rather confusing rules that govern the nominating and voting process, especially in the documentary category.
- One of the nominated films I’m most excited to see is the animated feature, Persepolis, an adaptation of the autobiography in comic book form by Marjane Satrapi about her experiences growing up in revolutionary Iran during the 1970s and early ’80s (I’ll respect Satrapi’s wishes and not describe it as a “graphic novel,” even if I don’t think the term has the high-cultural baggage she attributes to it). During some of my elusive spare time, I’ve been reading the Persepolis comic book, and I’m finding it pretty compelling. This interview with Satrapi in the Boston Globe provides a nice overview of the book.