Jan. 17th, 2014

bodlon: (cumberbatch - with book)

body with herbsWednesday night, one of my roommates and I were at a social function and she asked me whether I prefer Harold and Maude or Tenacious D.

I was confused, given that one is a really excellent film, and one of them is an amusing musical act, but then she clarified that she'd specifically wanted to know about Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny, and not necessarily Tenacious D in general.

You guys. Let me tell you about how I love Harold and Maude. Harold's obsession with acting out the idea of death, his ingenuity in the execution, how it changes when he experiences Maude's relationship with life and mortality, the way the story shows characters dealing with the reality of death and how that stands in contrast to the way we symbolize it, how the whole thing is informed by the concept of how a Good Death is a desirable thing, the mentoring/maturity storyline, how it destigmatizes suicide in a beautiful and sensitive way...

It is a hell of a film. Pick of Destiny is a laugh, but it's not even in the ballpark.

And really, of course I'd feel this way. Ghostbusters is the film that stuck with me more than any other, with Beetlejuice coming a close second. I worry may have come close to wearing out the copy of The Making of Thriller we used to rent from the Curtis Mathes shop when I was a kid. I have always loved monsters and dead things and death. The aptitude tests my high school guidance counselor gave me actually suggested I consider being a funeral director (among other things, including being a writer).

Cemeteries are my happy place. I think a lot about the implications of my own future possible deaths, the logistical nuts and bolts (both for myself and loved ones), and the disposition of my remains. I have a lock of my grandmother's hair from when she died. I keep meaning to build myself a nice coffin/bookcase.

Death is such a big part of who I am that I don't really notice until I notice it's not like this for other people, or until someone asks something death-related and then I get really, really excited.

So, uh, yeah.

And now, links:

In Which We Can Only Imagine The Decay
Sarah Wambold writes about embalming, and our weird relationship with it, and embracing death as it is.

Finally, Some Decent Leather Battle Armor For Cats
Because why not? I mean, how else are they going to be able to compete with well-armed guinea pigs?

The Aesthetics of Reading
Typography affects mood. While I'd venture that most graphic designers have known this for ages, it's nice to see it in study format.

Success with Style: Using Writing Style to Predict the Success of Novels
Relatedly, researchers think they've found some common traits shared by bestsellers. Still deciding what I think about this.

London Underground in the 1970s/80s
Some of these are really fantastic, and I got a good hit of nostalgia for the aesthetics of my early years (though the London Underground almost couldn't be more different from where I grew up). Possibly even more interesting: color film of London from 1926.

How to Save Local Bookstores in Two Easy Steps
I'm not sure I agree that Espresso and e-book shopping are the only fixes for the brick-and-mortar model, but the combo in a local shop context is intriguing.

'Mein Kampf' Was A 2013 eBook Bestseller
Speaking of e-books, Mein Kampf is apparently selling best in that format, possibly because of social stigma. It's an uncomfortable topic.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The danger of a single story
Adichie grew up in Nigeria, but had little early exposure to stories about people like her. The effect of that "single story" -- i.e. the experience of white Europeans -- was that she didn't realize that people like her, in places like her home, could exist in books. She cautions us about simple, limited narratives, and narratives that don't accurately describe the world as it is.

Hint: privilege != everything being easy. Hint #2: Intersectionality is a Thing.

This post has been mirrored from Christian A. Young's Dimlight Archive. To see it in its original format, visit dimlightarchive.com


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