Jamie York is a producer for On the Media.
OTM Staff Picks Volume 46
Tuesday, March 05, 2013 - 02:17 PM
A few of our favorite things.
Florida seems to produce more weird news per capita than any other state. It's a wonderful and strange phenomenon that we've talked about on the show. My staff pick this week is a twitter account, Florida Man, which is just sort of premised on the idea that all the awful things that are happening in Florida are happening to one anti-superhero.
Florida Man Admits Feeding Child Hallucinogenic Mushrooms | largo.patch.com/articles/polic…— Florida Man (@_FloridaMan) March 4, 2013
Florida Man Arrested For Harassing Police Dog | buff.ly/Z1OiVr— Florida Man (@_FloridaMan) March 4, 2013
Florida Man Armed With Shovel Calls Local Shock Jock's Radio Show During Standoff With SWAT Team | on.wtsp.com/Z3EOW8— Florida Man (@_FloridaMan) March 2, 2013
Anyway, you're welcome.
I have to admit, I enjoy a good mash-up -- maybe too much. But I kinda love this spoof of Lena Dunham’s Hannah Horvath as her character auditioning for Zero Dark Thirty.
Is it bad to say that I’m really getting into the ABC show Scandal? When it first premiered last year, I didn’t give it much thought, but now that my sister has encouraged (pushed?) me to sit down and watch it, I’m loving it. Once you get past the over acting, and seeing Half Baked’s Guillermo Diaz in a serious role, the complex conspiracies developing underneath the surface stories are quite addictive.
My two picks this week are obsessives, one I’ve been fascinated by for awhile and one I just learned about. If you start feeling like you’re overly fixated on a project, take heart, these two have easily out-fixated you.
In 1955 the celebrated photographer W. Eugene Smith got a freelance commission to photograph the city of Pittsburgh, a celebration of the city’s bicentennial that was supposed to take 3 weeks and produce 100 prints. Smith had just quit his high-salaried job at Life magazine and his family life was falling apart. This may have fueled his ambitions in Pittsburgh – imagining that a visual study of the city could rival Faulkner and Joyce’s novels and Beethoven’s symphonies in both scale and perfection – Smith arrived with little intention of meeting his deadline:
“Lorant was astounded to see him (Smith) unload some twenty pieces of luggage, a record player, and hundreds of records and books from his station wagon, all for the projected three week stay. Smith spent the first month in Pittsburgh wandering the city and reading its history. The three-week deadline passed with hardly a click of his shutter.”
Smith photographed over the next three years and ultimately took over 17,000 photos. The project was never finished to his satisfaction and it haunted him. It’s described in the beautiful and harrowing Dream Street as “a spectacular failure”.
The second obsessive (and Smith kindred spirit) is Aby Warburg. Warburg’s ambitions were there from an early age. As Brion Dillon wrote in Frieze magazine: ” In 1879 the 13-year-old Aby Warburg, the eldest son of a wealthy Hamburg banking family, is said to have traded his birthright for a more lasting inheritance. Already convinced (despite parental objections) of his future as an art historian, he struck a deal with his younger brother Max, who would inherit the family business on condition that he agreed to supply the elder Warburg with as many books as he required. (Max later wrote: ‘I gave him what I must now admit was a very large blank cheque.’) When Warburg died in 1929, his library contained 60,000 volumes and had been transformed by his colleague Fritz Saxl from a private collection into a research institution.”
Warbug, when he wasn’t traveling and soaking up culture, mined his library for visual and thematic associations that only he could see. In the last five years of his life he created what he called a “mnemosyne atlas”, an endlessly reworked kaleidoscopic summation of the connections he believed existed between various visual art and images. At the time of his death it consisted of over 2,000 photographs and was by its very nature unfinished and unfinishable.
Finally got to this genuinely hilarious series by Simon (son of Frank) Rich about Brooklyn Jews two generations and an entire universe apart. Genius.
First, this cover of “It Makes No Difference” by My Morning Jacket. Great band/cover song pairing.
And then this tweet – pretty amazing example of creating a little story within the confines of a tweet.
Our post-collapse descendants will have a ritual, origin obscure: they'll face away from each other every hour to polish flat black stones.— Matt Frost (@mattfrost) March 2, 2013
My staff pick this week is the Lemon Tree episode of the Simpsons. That is a classic jam.