Art for Art’s Sake; or, OK Go Videos Make Me Happy

OK Go videos: They’re surprising, clever, and eminently re-watchable. They also have an appealingly handmade feel to them, harkening back to a time when digitally manipulating images was too expensive for a music video. For the stop-motion classic “Sledgehammer” (1986), Peter Gabriel had to lie still for hours, beneath a plate of glass, while people from Aardman…

It’s Good to Be Curious: Mr. Rogers Remixed

Delightful remix of clips from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, in which (thanks to auto-tune) Fred Rogers extols the virtues of being curious.  John Boswell (a.k.a. MelodySheep) has done a fine job here.  If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of the song (“Garden of Your Mind”), it’s included on his album Remixes for the Soul. And…

What time is it?

Biegert & Funk’s QlockTwo is a beautifully designed clock.  I’ve an image below, but before reading further you might experience it for yourself (on B&F’s webpage). The clock contains the right number of letters to announce the time in a complete sentence.  Its sans serif typeface is easily legible, telling us that “IT IS TWENTY…

Pop Is Born This Way

Since Lady Gaga’s new single “Born This Way” made its debut last month, critics have alleged that the song is “derivative” or even a “rip off” of Madonna songs like “Express Yourself.”  And, of course it is.  But that also doesn’t matter in the least.  All pop music is derivative.  “Express Yourself” (1989) borrows from…

10 “Bests” from 2010

1. Best novel that I missed when it came out: Guus Kuijer’s The Book of Everything (Scholastic, 2006).  Narrated by a nine-year-old, this is an all-ages book about love, faith, and growing up.  It has a sense of humor, too.  I devoted a post to this book earlier in the month. 2. Album of the Year:…

Stephen Fry vs. Language Pedants

If you’ve not already seen Matt Rogers‘ brilliant kinetic typography video of Stephen Fry‘s critique of linguistic pedantry, then you’ll want to watch it.  And if you have already seen it, then you’ll want to watch it again. Before my fellow teachers raise an objection to Stephen Fry’s injunction that writers be less constrained by…

Inventing Language: Speech Acts and Their Creators

How many people have lent their names to a speech act? I’m not thinking of proper nouns that denote a literary style (Dickensian, Kafkaesque, Proustian), but of a specific syntactical, grammatical, or other linguistic act named for a person.  This is what I’ve come up with. Bowdlerize: named for Thomas Bowdler (1754-1825), who in who…

Scott Pilgrim vs. Scott Pilgrim: Believe the Hype

Just back from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, which (as you may have read by now) is a fantastic adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s si­x-volume series of graphic novels.  This is why.  Director Edgar Wright understands what O’Malley is trying to do.  As in the books, the film treats narrative as a playful, allusive, genre-bending…