Wednesday, 07 March 2012

On notebooks–and the thirty seconds of narrative time I can squeeze into them. (On Doctor Who, "The Impossible Astronaut.") (I hadn't planned on writing another rhetorical analysis of Doctor Who until next quarter, but my Wednesday night class is composed of nerds and whiners who insist we keep on pushing through the Sixth Season even though the quarter's nearly over. Adding to the difficulty is the fact that the Sixth Season is infinitely more complicated than its fairy-tale precursor. In short, imagine an English seminar full of committed Jamesians who demand to read late-James even though every sane person knows that–outside of the hilariously foreshortened "year" you spent preparing for qualifying exams–it's damn well impossible to do anything with The Golden Bowl, The Wings of the Dove, and The Ambassadors in two weeks. That's what this feels like.) First let me tell you about how the sausage is made: I watch a film or an episode and I either enjoy it or I don't. If I enjoy a film, I'll watch it again to figure out what I enjoyed it. If I enjoy an episode, I'll usually wait for the next episode and then enjoy the season once it comes on DVD. I typically don't have the depth and complexity–such as they are–evident in these visual rhetoric posts when I'm watching them for the first time. Unless some detail is particularly compelling or some technical mistake particularly galling, I watch like a normal human being. It's only on those second watchings that I pull out the notebook and begin to figure out what I don't know. So what don't I know? Judging by the number of notebooks I've burned through since Christmas, the empirical answer would be that I don't know a damn thing. That I'm constantly confused by everything in the world and have begun to hoard the finer points of other peoples' narratives on the off chance they or I forget them. The obvious stuff is obvious and mentioned just in case its obviousness becomes important subsequently. Consider the opening sequence of the premier episode of the Sixth Season of Doctor Who ("The Impossible Astronaut"), in which director Toby Haynes begins by showing the audience some paint: Paint can be important in this series, I think to myself, so I scribble "H. op w/ c-u paint & brushes." (That's "Haynes opens with a close-up of paint and brushes" for those who can't read my ideoletic shorthand.) I pause here because I want to remember what could be at play. Clearly there is a reason Haynes introduces the Sixth Season via the artistic tools the audience most closely associates with Vincent Van Gogh, but given that Gogh met his beastly death shortly after drawing an exploding TARDIS in the penultimate episode of Season Five ("The Pandorica Opens"), this likely has nothing to do with him. Then it occurs to me that Haynes directed and Steven Moffat wrote "The Pandorica Opens," "The Big Bang," and "The Impossible Astronaut," so the presence of meaningful continuity–even if that's not what I spy here–is more likely than not. I take a note...
The New Conservative Orwell is, Finally, Consonant with Conservative Values I’ve decided to get out of the academia game while the going’s so abysmal there's a chance that hope might peak behind a horizon, and like many a former liberal turned charlatan, I’ve decided to leave academia an albatross trove of intellectual history that’ll include “so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant.” The first component of my donated library of significant foretelling is a study in modesty, entitled simply Dinner Party One. The book consists of the first time its hostess, Laura Stoddard, embellished her “lovely hand lettered type” with charming watercolors that depicted Laura’s own unique brand of humor. No stockpile, no matter how fanciful it’d rather now be, could survive a nuclear winter without the cards and invitations outline in Dinner Party One. Now that everyone is inclined to be excessively polite despite the caffeine coursing through our theirs veins, it is time to turn to more serious matters. Back in 150, W. Bernard King was us of the dangers of Chemistry, elementary (The New Littlefield college outlines), but did we listen? Not only didn’t we listen, we refused to read its slim 216 pages despite the fact they were in English. The fact that not a single “intelligent” “liberal” bothered to read any of the forty books he read says all you need to know about what goes on in those colleges your so-called betters want your children to attend. That time can be better spent reading Alphonse Daudet–not the crank who wrote all those awful French novels–but the English author who’s Letters to my mill, to which are added Letters to an absent one. Some men are capitalists, and as such should be applauded for their obvious commitment to our cause. But there are others who send today’s mill a bouquet of her beloved peonies while lining absent’s deck with lavender enough to mind the headwinds of a whorehouse. But perhaps no single book in my new library belongs as much as in yours as Richard M. Fenker’s Where Rainbows Wait for Rain: The Big Bend Country. As the saying goes, possession of this chestnut makes one healthy, wealthy, and more able to forgive a national debt than most countries in human history. It is a must have for anyone who’s every been afraid of anything. Now, I want everyone to line up behind those links and Do The Reynolds! Da Da Da! Click Click Click! Da Da Da! Smith Smith Smith! Hey! Don’t be naughty Glenn, your rainbows won’t be waiting for my rain much longer … so long as that colorful brat from Big Bender Country keeps her distance.

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