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« A New Class of Writing Tools for the Mac | Main | Left? Or Right? »

April 20, 2007


Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Amazing what miracles a cheapo computer paint program can be made to perform.

* CyndiF links to some tasty foodblogs.

* Michael Bierut raves about the new typeface documentary "Helvetica," and recalls those long-ago days when civilians knew nothing about fonts.

* Alan Little observes how yoga people dress, and thinks yogis need to beware of inexperienced yoga teachers. A lovely -- and sensible -- passage:

I've been though a lot of challenges and changes in [the decade during which I've studied yoga], and my yoga practice has been a thread of continuity and sanity through all of them. I've been content and inwardly at peace with myself for the first time ever in my life, largely due to the yoga. Why on earth would I consider trusting my valuable practice time to somebody who hasn't themself been through something at least vaguely similar?

* Robert Nagle is one serious fan of sitcoms.

* Those addicted-to (or just befuddled by) libertarianism -- and isn't it astonishing how much space libertarianism takes up online? -- won't want to miss this interview with Llewellyn Rockwell.



posted by Michael at April 20, 2007


In my late twenties (in the VCR days), suffering from a nasty, debilitating depression, I improvised a sitcom rehab for myself: Ernie Bilko as therapist. There was a manic feel to the earlier episodes (shot in New York, I think)-- I always imagined the live audiences as really unruly and falling about in their seats, and I figured manic was a step in the right direction. My cracked brain couldn't handle complications, so I watched three taped episodes endlessly: A chimpanzee makes it into the Army without anyone noticing; Bilko paints moon and stars on the inside of Colonel Hall's window shades so he'll think day is night (he wonders why the men are drilling on the parade ground at midnight); Bilko's theory of homely men having gorgeous sisters gets the winner of a bet a date with Doberman's look-alike sister.

It worked. Really, really strange, but it did. I referred to everyone I knew as Papparelli, Barbella, Ritzic, Zimmerman or Henshaw for about a year, but it actually worked.

Posted by: Flutist on April 21, 2007 1:47 AM

You raise a serious question about art with your Mona Lisa video.

1. You know, as your painting shows us, it's not that impossible to make your own Mona Lisa given enough effort and some artistic talent. Certainly the painting can be reproduced. Yet we regard da Vinci as one of the greatest artistic geniuses of all time. Why? Because of the stylistic innovations, and because of the psychological complexity, from what I recall. But there have been plenty of stylistic innovations in modern art, and I happen to think most of them kind of suck, and I think a lot of people on this blog agree with me, probably because of the beauty issue. But a reproduction of da Vinci isn't considered art, whereas the Mona Lisa is. But (assuming a perfect reproduction, which is at least theoretically possible) they're the same painting and hence each is as beautiful as the other. So it's not just beauty, and not just ideas. Some combination thereof?

2. BTW, has it occurred to you that if beauty grows out of the human condition, and the human condition is biologically determined, then we have a way out of the modern art trap ('my blank canvas is beautiful if you understand the ideas behind it') and the problem of some pieces of art producing a universal response? We can all relate to the tender figure of Madonna and Child because most of us, as humans, had a mother who took care of us and hence the painting resonates with us in a way that a blank canvas cannot.

What do you think?

Posted by: SFG on April 21, 2007 6:54 PM

I'm not sure that Robert Nagle is at all wrong in his regard for sitcoms. I may be getting fanciful in my old age, but it seems to me that any work of art in a repetitive format--a situation comedy or even a situation drama--is presenting a vision of utopia. The strongest characteristic of ordinary reality is its quality of "once-throughness," whereas a work of art in a repetitive format suggests reincarnation or Nietzsche's eternal recurrence--in either case a transcendant mystical state brought on by repetition with variations.

Hmm, the sitcom as a religious symbol...or the spiral of shamanism. I wonder...

Posted by: friedrich von Blowhard on April 24, 2007 1:08 AM

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