Tuesday, September 27, 2011

More Clever Writing- Glee critique

Here is some clever writing by Jace Lacob from the Daily Beast about Glee: (Annotation my emphasis of technique)
What is Glee doing when other shows would be moving forward, or showing their characters in challenging, or funny, situations? (1) Well, Glee has become a music single-delivery mechanism. (2) Scenes involving dialogue or plot development are shoehorned between massive musical set pieces, which draw from the vast and varied world of popular music. (3) Instead of illustrating the unspoken and inner desires or fears of the characters, the songs here seem like coldly calculated viral videos, designed to rapidly spread across the Internet.(4)
The more it focuses on the music and less on the characters, the higher the ratings climb. (5)
Why, I ask as I tear my hair out, is the show so beloved? (6)
Perhaps the answer is as simple as why people loved American Idol so much for so many years. The songs on Glee are not original; they’re culled from a huge catalogue of singer-songwriters, rock bands, and alternative types, but what they have in common is that they’re all part of the pop-culture lexicon already. These are songs that people know the lyrics to, after all. By redoing them within the context of Glee, Fox and its sister studio, 20th Century Fox Television, have created a cottage industry of mass-produced knockoffs, easy to consume and cheap to buy. (It might also be why Idol is so successful, but the original songs for the finalists fall flat every time.)
  1. Rhetorical question which bluntly exposes the show's lack of creativity.
  2.  Shoehorn connotes a forced attempt to avoid character development to adhere to the show's "winning" formula.
  3. Cold metaphor meant to strip the show of any artistic merit and reveal its equate it to boiler plate replication of industrial production.
  4. Simile meant to continue the slight by raising the content to creativity of LOL cats.
  5. Clever use of an antithesis.
  6. Hyperbole to capture intellectual exasperation.

Album Review- Bjork Homogenic from Deadspin

From Deadspin (normally a sports blog)

And, oh, God, the wonders of that voice. She speaks, she chants, she howls, she snarls, she screams, and she travels effortlessly and purposefully from one mode to the next. Few artists can make this seem so easy, and fewer still can freight their virtuosity with so much meaning. This is where Björk surpasses Beyoncé, or Whitney, or Mariah—she has a vocal-emotional range that surpasses the range of her pipes. The listener must learn how she feels, even when she garbles inaccessible lyrics. (Sometimes it's because the lyrics don't make much sense, and sometimes it's because they'd be painfully uninteresting without her stylings.)
Not from Homogenic but fun.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Clever Klosterman- Guilty Pleasures and Roadhouse

From Chuck Klosterman's Esquire review of the Encyclopedia of Guilty Pleasures
What the authors of The Encyclopedia of Guilty Pleasures (and everyone else who uses this term) fail to realize is that the only people who believe in some kind of universal taste—a consensual demarcation between what's artistically good and what's artistically bad—are insecure, uncreative elitists who need to use somebody else's art to validate their own limited worldview. It never matters what you like; what matters is why you like it.
Take, for example, Road House. This is a movie I love. But I don't love it because it's bad; I love it because it's interesting. Outside the genre of sci-fi, I can't think of any film less plausible than Road House. Every element of the story is wholly preposterous: the idea of Swayze being a nationally famous bouncer (with a degree in philosophy), the concept of such a superviolent bar having such an attractive clientele, the likelihood of a tiny Kansas town having such a sophisticated hospital, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Every single scene includes at least one detail that could never happen in real life. So does that make Road House bad? No. It makes Road House perfect. Because Road House exists in a parallel reality that is more fanciful (and more watchable) than The Lord of the Rings. The characters in Road House live within the mythology of rural legend while grappling with exaggerated moral dilemmas and neoclassical archetypes. I don't feel guilty for liking any of that. Road House also includes a monster truck. I don't feel guilty for liking that, either.