Category: Recommendations Page 2 of 3

Jon Carroll on the passing of David Foster Wallace

Jon Carroll, San Francisco Chronicle columnist, remembers author David Foster Wallace after his suicide at age 46.

I loved David Foster Wallace’s work and I was very sad to hear of his death. DFW was brilliant and he knew it. He skewered the absurdities of our society by being as complex as the ridiculous world we live in. And yet, as reported by Mr. Carroll, DFW understood that:

“The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.

“That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.”

George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language,” 1946

Apparently I’ve never posted a link to this essay by George Orwell. Now I’m rectifying that situation. Read it now.

From George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language,” 1946:

In our time it is broadly true that political writing is bad writing. Where it is not true, it will generally be found that the writer is some kind of rebel, expressing his private opinions and not a “party line.” Orthodoxy, of whatever color, seems to demand a lifeless, imitative style. The political dialects to be found in pamphlets, leading articles, manifestoes, white papers and the speeches of undersecretaries do, of course, vary from party to party, but they are all alike in that one almost never finds in them a fresh, vivid, homemade turn of speech. When one watches some tired hack on the platform mechanically repeating the familiar phrases — bestial atrocities, iron heel, bloodstained tyranny, free peoples of the world, stand shoulder to shoulder — one often has a curious feeling that one is not watching a live human being but some kind of dummy: a feeling which suddenly becomes stronger at moments when the light catches the speaker’s spectacles and turns them into blank discs which seem to have no eyes behind them. And this is not altogether fanciful. A speaker who uses that kind of phraseology has gone some distance toward turning himself into a machine. The appropriate noises are coming out of his larynx, but his brain is not involved as it would be if he were choosing his words for himself. If the speech he is making is one that he is accustomed to make over and over again, he may be almost unconscious of what he is saying, as one is when one utters the responses in church. And this reduced state of consciousness, if not indispensable, is at any rate favorable to political conformity.

A Brief Message

A Brief Message dot com features design opinions expressed in short form—200 words or less.

Roger Ebert on The Seven Samurai

A great reviewer reviews a great movie: Roger Ebert’s review of The Seven Samurai.

Just because.

East Bay Express: Get Your Brain Washed

Check out today’s East Bay Express Brainwash writeup!

From the review:

In the ensuing years, Krzysik worked hard to ensure the cult status of Brainwash. He’s tried to perpetuate a myth that festival director Shelby Toland is actually an alien — one of a strange foreign race that have infiltrated this planet in search of movies “that are less boring than what they have abroad.” He’s given the festival a sense of ritual, in that it begins with an invocation and culminates with an awards presentation in which all honorees get bowling trophies (along with more valuable prizes such as Gorilla Film Production software).

If we’re not exactly “respected,” we’re certainly notable!

Brainwash Movie Festival – July 25th & 26th – Oakland

Check out the mildly embarrassing trailer Dave and I updated last night for the 14th Annual Drive-in/Walk-in/Bike-in Brainwash Movie Festival (7/25-26, 9 pm-11 pm, 1357 5th St in Oakland, $9 each night):

I know, it’s all over the place, to put it mildly. But it establishes the precise level of quality and weirdness Brainwash has honed over the last thirteen-plus years.

(The old version had previews of movies from previous years instead of this year.)

I encourage you to come to the festival if you’re anywhere near the Bay Area. This year we’re featuring a solid crop of weird and funny shorts (none longer than 23 minutes), often with the famed “Brainwash twist” — and it’s a good deal. Bring your FM radio, and feel free to drive in, walk in (via BART, most likely), or bike in.

[We could also use help setting up the screen…. let me know if you’re interested in some hard physical labor (with the offer of free dinner and/or pizza during or afterwards). Looks like it’s going to be Tuesday night after work. The more the merrier.]

There’s lots more at BrainwashM.com.

Press release: 14th Annual Brainwash Movie Festival returns July 25-26, 2008

Bay Area’s own Drive-In/Bike-In/Walk In movie festival features original shorts from around the world

June 12, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Shelby Toland, 415-273-1545

The New York Times says the Brainwash Movie Festival “pirat[es] a piece of that old Hollywood magic and challeng[es] conventions on the role of public space in the process.” (“Now Playing, a Digital Brigadoon,” 7/29/04, Chris Thompson)

“We show movies on a big sail in West Oakland,” counters festival director Shelby Toland.

Learning To Love You More

Learning To Love You More (ah, Miranda July)…

[Note: this is the first entry in a series of entries, categorized “Unfinished Thoughts”, which were originally posted to gohlkus.wordpress.com ostensibly to blog about later. But, the vast majority never saw gohlkusmaximus.com until July 2010.]

All Your Baseball Questions Are Belong To Us

This is a great read for anyone who loves baseball, and I know you do:

Bill James Answers All Your Baseball Questions (from the NY Times “Freakonomics” blog)

I really need to get some Bill James books.

Saving the world, whatever that means

While I’m not blogging or anything, go ahead and read this post detailing The Top Root Causes of Everything Wrong With the World. Let me know what you find out. That is an early entry on a blog I probably want to read. I’m noting it here so that it will enter my consciousness every time I check to see whether or not I’ve posted a blog entry lately [I haven’t]).

I have been commenting on other websites a lot lately, which strikes me as, if not stupid per se, then at best wasted energy. Why should I provide my awesome content and insights to other websites, when I have one right here dying from lack of care and feeding? There is no good reason save sheer laziness. (I think there are other, bad reasons, though.)

Good old King Kaufman got me going on a bunch of tangents tonight by listing a few bloggers he liked a lot. That distracted me from my main task of the moment, which is (shh!) updating my online portfolio. Not just updating it — completely creating a new one almost entirely from scratch, since my current portfolio site was designed sometime around 2001 or 2002 and was last updated in 2004. Now that it’s “time for a change” (imagine me saying that in my best Bill Clinton voice), a new portfolio is due.

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