In which a group of graying eternal amateurs discuss their passions, interests and obsessions, among them: movies, art, politics, evolutionary biology, taxes, writing, computers, these kids these days, and lousy educations.

E-Mail Donald
Demographer, recovering sociologist, and arts buff

E-Mail Fenster
College administrator and arts buff

E-Mail Francis
Architectural historian and arts buff

E-Mail Friedrich
Entrepreneur and arts buff
E-Mail Michael
Media flunky and arts buff


We assume it's OK to quote emailers by name.







Try Advanced Search


  1. Seattle Squeeze: New Urban Living
  2. Checking In
  3. Ben Aronson's Representational Abstractions
  4. Rock is ... Forever?
  5. We Need the Arts: A Sob Story
  6. Form Following (Commercial) Function
  7. Two Humorous Items from the Financial Crisis
  8. Ken Auster of the Kute Kaptions
  9. What Might Representational Painters Paint?
  10. In The Times ...


CultureBlogs
Sasha Castel
AC Douglas
Out of Lascaux
The Ambler
PhilosoBlog
Modern Art Notes
Cranky Professor
Mike Snider on Poetry
Silliman on Poetry
Felix Salmon
Gregdotorg
BookSlut
Polly Frost
Polly and Ray's Forum
Cronaca
Plep
Stumbling Tongue
Brian's Culture Blog
Banana Oil
Scourge of Modernism
Visible Darkness
Seablogger
Thomas Hobbs
Blog Lodge
Leibman Theory
Goliard Dream
Third Level Digression
Here Inside
My Stupid Dog
W.J. Duquette


Politics, Education, and Economics Blogs
Andrew Sullivan
The Corner at National Review
Steve Sailer
Samizdata
Junius
Joanne Jacobs
CalPundit
Natalie Solent
A Libertarian Parent in the Countryside
Rational Parenting
Public Interest.co.uk
Colby Cosh
View from the Right
Pejman Pundit
Spleenville
God of the Machine
One Good Turn
CinderellaBloggerfella
Liberty Log
Daily Pundit
InstaPundit
MindFloss
Catallaxy Files
Greatest Jeneration
Glenn Frazier
Jane Galt
Jim Miller
Limbic Nutrition
Innocents Abroad
Chicago Boyz
James Lileks
Cybrarian at Large
Hello Bloggy!
Setting the World to Rights
Travelling Shoes


Miscellaneous
Redwood Dragon
IMAO
The Invisible Hand
ScrappleFace
Daze Reader
Lynn Sislo
The Fat Guy
Jon Walz

Links


Our Last 50 Referrers







« Digital Organizers | Main | DVD Journal: "Shaun of the Dead" »

May 28, 2007

DVD Journal: "Wordplay"

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

In honor of an especially DVDish stretch around the Blowhard household, I'm treating myself to a DVD roundup. First up:

Wordplay. Filmmakingwise, Patrick Creadon's documentary about crossword-puzzle fanatics is a competent exercise from the school of PBS. (Those damn solo-piano scores ...) But it's a very enjoyable -- moving, engrossing, and suspenseful -- look at a special kind of nerdiness anyway.

The film's central figure is Will Shortz, the New York Times' crossword-puzzle editor, and the storyline builds towards a get-together / competition that Shortz hosts at a Marriott Hotel in Stamford, CT. Along the way, we meet celebs (Bill Clinton, Ken Burns) whose days aren't complete until they finish the Times' puzzle, as well as high-end competitors who are able to whip through the toughest crosswords Shortz can dish out in under ten minutes.

What I found especially fascinating was the intensity of the relationship that puzzle buffs have with their puzzles. These people possess brains that are wired in very special ways, and Creadon does a good job of conveying the concentration and energy that obsessive puzzle masters bring to bear on their puzzling. (The film makes nothing of the fact, but it's clear that most of the freakishly gifted puzzlers are male.) It's interesting too what a wide range of personality and physical types are represented among the buffs -- as with child molestors, you apparently never know who's going to turn out to be a crossword-puzzle whiz.

My least favorite celeb appearance was by Jon Stewart, whose evening comedy-news show I've never watched. What a disagreeable and overbearing beast he seems to be. Do people really find this guy funny?

Best,

Michael

posted by Michael at May 28, 2007




Comments

I like Stewart, but I'm 27 and a liberal. Generation gap. Don't worry about it.

Posted by: SFG on May 30, 2007 9:24 AM



I love Jon Stewart! He is completely within his element on the Daily Show. I have noticed, though, that he can come off as a bit arrogant and snotty when he's not on the show. But on the Daily Show his personality and bad attitude is perfect for this type of political and cultural satire. You really ought to give the Daily Show a try sometime.

Posted by: Alexandra on May 30, 2007 9:37 AM



SFG -- I'm not sure it's so much a generational thing -- I know a lot of oldies who like Stewart too. They're generally people who used to love Spy magazine, come to think of it ...

Alexandra -- You're right, the way a personality is framed and presented can make a lot of difference. ("Arrogant and snotty" is a good description of how he came off in the docu I was writing about. Wrong frame, I guess.) So I should check out "The Daily Show" sometime, darn it. Keeping up with the culture is hard work!

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on May 30, 2007 10:21 AM



Yes, people really think Jon Stewart is funny---at least on the Daily Show. I think he's funny.

Posted by: annette on May 31, 2007 11:40 AM






Post a comment
Name:


Email Address:


URL:


Comments:



Remember your info?