Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bumper Stickers, Personalized Tags, etc. are for Agressive People

People who use bumper stickers, personalized tags, or (one would assume) art cars, are more aggressive than those who don't. The reason is that those who personalize their car are making the "public" space of the car into "personal" space and therefore, they are more aggressive in defending their space. I always thought I was just to cheap and/or lazy to put a bumper sticker on my car. Turns out, I'm not aggressive enough. I am a very likable guy.

Hit tip: Dirty Harry's Place

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Critics, what are they worth?

A few places have been talking about the role of the critic lately. David Bordwell talks about "In Critical Condition" and the decline of film criticism (among other things). I just read a couple of books on criticism, Five Stars: How to Become a Film Critic, The World's Greatest Job by Christopher Null and Beyond Popcorn: A Critic's Guide to Looking at Filmsby Robert Glatzer (I recommend Five Stars even though it's only available electronically for $20 or used paperback for $80).

I am also reading the fantastic From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life 1500 to the Presentby Jacques Barzun. On page 73 Barzun is talking about the 16th Century and the way perceptions of art were changing:
Aesthetic appreciation is something more than spontaneous liking; a good eye for accurate representation is not good enough; one must be able to judge and talk about style, technique, and originality. This demand gives rise to a new public character: the critic. The future professional begins by being simply the gifted art lover who compares, sees fine points, and works up a vocabulary for his perceptions. He and his kind are not theorists but connoisseurs and ultimately experts. [italics his]

A good definition of a critic, if a lot shorter than Bordwell's.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Bo Diddley Remembered

Bo Diddley, one of the least known pioneers of rock 'n' roll, died Monday, June 2, 2008. He was respected by lots of musicians and was in a few movies. In fact, I just watched Trading Places on Saturday before he died. He was the pawn shop owner.

You may have seen him in a George Thorogood video shooting pool. Was it Bad to the Bone? I can't find the video.

Bo Diddley was easily recognized with his flat-brimmed, flat-top hat, square guitar and thick square glasses. He lived in near poverty for many years after his initial fame because the record companies basically stole the copyright to his songs (this is not unique to Black artists, John Fogerty wouldn't play any of his own Creedence Clearwater Revival songs for years since the record company has taken his copyright and hince his royalties).

Bo Diddley's hit songs (all of which you probably recognize even if you don't know it) include Bo Diddley, Who Do You Love, Can't Judge A Book By Looking At The Cover, and I'm A Man which also has a similar version by Muddy Waters called Mannish Boy.

Diddley was similar to John Lee Hooker in that they would do entire songs in one key. Just keep the driving rhythm the same throughout the song.

A few good write ups on Bo Diddley are at USA Today (which surprises me), and Wikipedia has a good article. Of course, the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame inducted him many years ago.

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