Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘tragedy


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Tuesday Night

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* Post-Apocalyptic Book List. Awesome.

* Slavoj Žižek: The Wire, or, the Clash of Civilisations in One Country.

* Back From Yet Another Globetrotting Adventure, Indiana Jones Checks His Mail And Discovers That His Bid For Tenure Has Been Denied.

* Final Polls Say Michigan Primary as Close as Possible. Rush Limbaugh says Romney stinks, Santorum’s dirty tricks are just fine. Romney says no brokered convention. Exit polls show Romney winning the rich. McCain on the GOP primary: “This is like watching a Greek tragedy.” How they did it to themselves.

* Which persona is real? Neither. Romney’s soul isn’t in the five minutes he spent as a pro-lifer in that interview, or in the two seconds he spent as a pro-choicer. It’s in the flux, the transition between the two roles. It’s in the editing of his record, the application of his makeup, the shuffling of his rationales. Romney will always be what he needs to be. Count on it.

* Wisconsin working hard to make us feel just a little bit more welcome when we arrive this summer.

* Meanwhile, Olympia Snowe has unexpectedly retired, dealing a serious blow to Republican hopes of retaking the Senate.

* Dow Jones Closes Above 13,000 For The First Time Since May 2008; Obama-Style Communism Responsible.

* NPR says it’s going to try to be “fair to the truth” rather than report the lies of both sides equally. Blasphemy!

* Colorado looks to legalize it. Vermont’s on board.

* I was very disappointed to have actually read none of the 10 Weird Science Fiction Novels That You’ve Never Read.

* “In 1994, the Air Force proposed a magic bomb designed to turn foes into gay vampires with bad breath.”

* The New Yorker has your secret history of Mormonism.

* Ze Frank has your insanely successful Kickstarter project. Almost $100,000 in 24 hours!

* Netflix takes another big hit.

One big difference between patents and other kinds of intellectual property, like copyrights and trademarks, is that patent-holders who want to sue someone for infringement don’t have to show that their patents or their products were actually copied by the defendant.

* This conspiracy theory is pretty byzantine, but I bet it could be more byzantine: Rep. Issa Says President Obama Wants To ‘Convert’ The Constitution ‘To Some South African Constitution.’

* And your ecology minute: Will the EPA’s new climate rules get killed in court? Scientists: Global Warming Played ‘Critical Role’ In Snowpocalypse Winters. NYRoB: Why the Global Warming Skeptics Are Wrong.

Two Tragic Tastes That Taste Tragic Together

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Two recent headlines tugged at my heartstrings: Could ocean acidification deafen dolphins? and Ancient tribal language becomes extinct as last speaker dies. Naturally the universe has found a way to combine these into a single, terrible Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup of Tragedy.

For the last 12 years, a single solitary whale whose vocalizations match no known living species has been tracked across the Northeast Pacific. Its wanderings match no known migratory patterns of any living whale species. Its vocalizations have also subtly deepened over the years, indicating that the whale is maturing and ageing. And, during the entire 12 year span that it has been tracked, it has been calling out for contact from others of its own kind.

It has received no answer. Nor will it ever.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 6, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Genius in the Works of Wes Anderson

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The Suicide of Genius: Owen Wilson and Wes Anderson in Life and Art. At 24LiesaSecond, via The House Next Door.

The subtext of The Royal Tenenbaums is one of collisions. The sanctified world of genius, creativity and art collide with the world of contemporary psychology. Diagnosis, psychosis, breakdown, and divorce emerge like a hydra in the wings of Anderson’s work. And the point of collision is Eli Cash, played by Owen Wilson. Through Cash, Anderson’s tragic-comedic vision reaches its apex and foreshadows its decline into sentimentality and self-apologetic quirk.

Of course, as an unrepentant Wes Anderson fanboy, I don’t agree that his later works are failures in this or any other way—but the thesis is interesting. And I think there’s something to Lasky’s idea that Anderson shifts in Tenenbaums from a model of autonomous, tragedy-laced genius towards a comparatively more hopeless one of psychological and psychochemical dysfunction:

Genius, in their early work, is ineffable, resplendent with the trappings of depressive, rumple-haired Nietzschean eccentricity and Faustian striving and discontent. Anderson as writer/director and Wilson as writer/actor depict the creative spirit that defies diagnosis as it is ratified by its own insatiable drive, as it rebels against social pressures and cultural environments. Conversely, the therapeutic imperative of our contemporary society is to contextualize and diagnose, to encourage radical self-assessment in hopes of propagating permanent stability and happiness. As of late, Anderson’s original vision has been compromised by this imperative: his idea of the troubled genius has lost its romantic cache. Its integrity as a thing of heroism and beauty has been ostensibly diagnosed.

This may go a long way towards explaining why Rushmore is so much better-loved than Zissou.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 21, 2008 at 5:37 pm

Literally and figuratively

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Police are investigating one of the largest* art heists in Vermont history: the $1 million theft of 30 bronze statues from the home of artist Joel Fisher, some weighting as much as 1,000 pounds.

The sculptor’s life work is likely to be smelted for the material—unless, of course, he’s lying, which is what the police rep more or less accuses him of doing at the end of the article:

The burglary was reported last week, said Senior Trooper Callie Field of the Vermont State Police in Derby. Law enforcement has “no idea what the heck is going on,” she said. She has received no evidence to establish clearly what was stolen, or even whether the works were on the property, Field said.

“A lot of stuff’s not adding up,” she said. “Who knows what was taken?”

* not a pun

Written by gerrycanavan

December 5, 2007 at 2:54 pm

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The Sad Story of the Zápara

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Via the first page of The World Without Us, the sad story of the Zápara. More at NativeWeb and UNESCO’s list of oral tradition.

The smallest Indigenous group in the Ecuadorian Amazon is the Zápara. Often they are called “Zaparos,” which refers to a type of basket, while “Zápara” in their own language means “person of the forest.” Their history demonstrates the devastating impact of Western civilization as their numbers collapsed from about 200,000 people in 39 different groups at the arrival of the Europeans to approximately 200 people today living in five Zápara communities in Ecuador in addition to two other related groups in Peru.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 6, 2007 at 12:20 am

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