Sunday, September 26, 2010

Investing in Providence

Please considering supporting Christian higher education in Canada. Providence College provides excellent university-level education from a Christian perspective. I am the program coordinator for the Communications and Media major at Providence, and have done so for the last 2 years. I also teach most of the courses in the major. It is a great place to learn about the media that we invest in, and the highly visual world around us. For more information on how to give to Providence, go here.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Roland Barthes

It's no secret that the work of French theorist Roland Barthes is at the core of much of my academic work. I enjoy reading him, and I think that his ideas concerning pleasure and desire are quite useful in the study of celebrity. I find, also, that when I read Barthes, I am carried away by the prose (perhaps I lose subjectivity because of being assaulted by Barthes' "grain" within the "voice" of his writing?).

I was quite happy to hear that there is a new book by Barthes coming out in the next few weeks, called Mourning Diary, which is comprised of notes that Barthes made after the death of his mother (this is a subject that he speaks of in his wonderful Camera Lucida as well - students taking my course on photography next semester, take note). The New Yorker website happened to publish some of these cards (and their translations) recently, and I have decided to post one of the cards here.

—”Never again, never again!”
—And yet there’s a contradiction: “never again” isn’t eternal, since you yourself will die one day.
“Never again” is the expression of an immortal.

I was also looking at Advanced Book Exchange and found this:

$300 USD is a bit out of my budget, but it would be a nice thing to have. I will be buying Mourning Diary, though.

(You can see the other cards, and read more at the New Yorker website.)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Some random thoughts

I watched My Neighbours The Yamadas (Isao Takahata, dir., 1999) today. Of course, the version I was watching was dubbed in English, with Jim Belushi as Takashi (the father Yamada) and Molly Shannon as Matsuko (the mother). Though I own the DVD (released by Disney somewhere around 2005 or 2006), I've only watched the film once. Watching it today was a great experience. First of all, it is a funny movie. There isn't so much a consistent narrative, but there is a kind of bookend sequence: it opens with an older relative giving the newly married Yamadas some advice on how to weather the storms of life, and ends with Takashi giving some unscripted advice to another young couple. I found some sequences actually quite touching (especially one part where Takashi is asked to tell some local hoodlums to stop racing around the neighbourhood on their motorcycles - he attempts to confront them but ultimately fails to be a "hero"). If you haven't yet seen it, I would recommend it. It is not a normal North American cartoon (nor is it in the regular Studio Ghibli style that one might expect), but it is worth the time to watch.

In other news, I bought a new Douglas Coupland book today, called Player One. I was under the impression that the book came out in November, but alas the local bookstore had 31 copies. I picked mine up, and will start reading it tonight. I am currently slogging through William Gibson's Spook Country (second attempt). I love his stuff, but I'm having trouble with this one. His new book came out last week.

I am also reading through the old 1990s comic book run of Starman (from DC Comics). I am enjoying it, though perhaps not as much as I thought I would. A few days ago, I rewatched Watchmen (Zack Snyder, dir., 2009) and really enjoyed it. I am tempted to pick up the "Ultimate Edition" of the movie, but I probably won't. It is one of those movies that no one in my household enjoys, except for me.

On that note, I saw that Clerks 2 and Zack & Miri (both directed by Kevin Smith) were on sale at the local HMV for $6 a piece. I didn't particularly mind those movies last time I saw them, though I think I've grown out of that style of humour. In any case, I might pick them up - I think I would rather pick up Watchmen, though.

Thanks for reading. Good night.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

that pesky book

It's now in the hands of the people at McFarland.