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Category: popular.culture

Inigo Jones FTW

Back in the Jacobean period, the early seventeenth century, Shakespeare was seeming a bit old-fashioned to the lord and ladies in the expensive seats. They wanted a little pomp and spectacle — well, a lot of pomp and spectacle actually — and they got it in the form of the court masque. The masques were little dramas that combined song and dances and a lot of stage machinery that allow gods and goddesses to descend from the heights. The stage machinery was usually designed by the king’s architect, Inigo Jones. The words were usually written by the foremost playwright of the day, Ben Jonson. Inigo and Ben had a falling out: Jonson said the words were the most important thing in a masque, but Jones said they were secondary to the spectacle.

I’ve never been a big fan of the Grammys, but I watched some of it this year. Talk about big productions! (Tacky, but big.) Clearly the Jones school of thought has triumphed.

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Image (detail) via USA Today, “Pink Sings, Spins, Sprays”

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Temporarily like Achilles

I’ve been reading about Bob Dylan’s recent scrape with the law in Long Branch, New Jersey, where being a complete unknown appears to be illegal. Trying to reconstruct the sequence of events, I figure it happened something like this.


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Overblown prose for the ages

spirit of 1976, by thomas christensen

Overblown prose often springs up exactly where you would expect to find it. But shouldn’t this extraordinary opening by Peter Hartlaub to his review of Grand Theft Auto IV in the San Francisco Chronicle get some sort of award?

Cultural revolution often comes from seemingly imperfect people and unpopular places.

The most influential athlete was labeled a draft dodger. The man who helped bring rock ‘n’ roll to the mainstream grew a huge gut, wore sequined jumpsuits and then died in the bathroom. One of this country’s greatest defenders of free speech was dismissed as just a pornographer. But Muhammad Ali, Elvis and even Larry Flynt are remembered for their contributions – just as one day, the makers of Grand Theft Auto will be known as more than peddlers of video game sex and violence.

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Shown: Spirit of 1976, by Thomas Christensen

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Is our journalists educated?

This is pretty awesome. When Hillary challenged Barack to a “Lincoln-Douglas” style debate, Fox TV’s national news ran the following graphic.

lincoln - douglass debate

I guess they thought she said “Lincoln-Douglass.”

What a debate that must have been!

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via Wonkette

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The Writer’s Life … in Film

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