Inspiration and work

Via Justine Larbalestier, Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk on genius, inspiration, and “mulish” work. It’s a beautifully presented talk, though I’m not sure that I agree with her final premise of talent as a kind of transitory gift. I do agree, and I’m pretty sure I’ve gone on about this before, that the post-Romantic (Gilbert says…

On little gestures

Repetitive things usually annoy me: repetitive motions like finger-tapping, repetitive sounds, even spoken choruses in songs when the rhythm of speech fights the beat. (That’s not repetitive, exactly, I guess, but it bothers me in the same way.) One of the things I thought was most charming about WALL-E, though, was the way the animators…

Fantasy and violence in film

There’s a particular pleasure in reading an articulately written and deeply negative review of something you also despise. For example, Momus reviews Pan’s Labyrinth: I thought it was a terrible film, deeply impoverished both in imagination and in its moral vision, stale to the core, and brutal to boot. It actually saddens and infuriates me…

more scenes from the HRC

Friday I looked at a fourteenth-century manuscript of the Divine Comedy, with marginal notes in Latin. Tiny, spidery, beautiful pale blocks of notes, accompanied by sketched “manicules” — also known as digits, hands, fists, or indices, apparently — pointing out important passages in the main text. At least two different annotators had worked on the…

media bits, &c.

For a lesson in how to take a perfectly decent series and ruin it in the last installment, see X3. Or, rather, DON’T. Ugh. Last night we went with some visiting friends to the Paramount Theatre, where we saw The Maltese Falcon. I hadn’t seen it since I was little, and I’d forgotten how funny…