Skip

Read so hard
March 21, 2012 12:28 PM   Subscribe


 
This is what happened (in emoticon form):

:-/

0_o

:-)

In that order.
posted by Fizz at 12:35 PM on March 21, 2012


Cute. I was expecting customer service horror, actually.
posted by jonmc at 12:37 PM on March 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


They had me up until The Fountainhead.
posted by aloiv2 at 12:57 PM on March 21, 2012 [18 favorites]


(and, yes, my place of employ is in the video)
posted by jonmc at 12:59 PM on March 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Gave The Fountainhead four stars? That's seven stars too many.
posted by zippy at 1:13 PM on March 21, 2012 [28 favorites]


"gave it four stars and then changed it"
posted by b1tr0t at 1:14 PM on March 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Is this something you need to read off of actual paper to understand?
posted by MangyCarface at 1:20 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Loved the concept, less whelmed with the execution.
posted by Miko at 1:35 PM on March 21, 2012 [8 favorites]


Nice Jernigan shout out!

Too bad there are only like 3 bookstores left in Manhattan.
posted by gwint at 1:42 PM on March 21, 2012


Is this something you need to read off of actual paper to understand?
"Sometimes people write novels and they just be so wordy and so self-absorbed," [Kanye] West said. "I am not a fan of books. I would never want a book's autograph.

"I am a proud non-reader of books. I like to get information from doing stuff like actually talking to people and living real life," he said.

West, a college dropout, said being a non-reader was helpful when he wrote his book because it gave him "a childlike purity."
"Proud non-reader" Kanye West turns author
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:42 PM on March 21, 2012


"gave it four stars and then changed it"

Was it "then I?" I heard that as "didn't."

posted by zippy at 1:52 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, unfortunately sounds like she read a book on how to rap . . .
posted by barrett caulk at 1:54 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Loved the concept, less whelmed with the execution."

Yeah, I was watching and finding all sorts of things to complain about and then realized (oh no, here he goes again...) that it's all about that social capital stuff. I'm questioning their choices and how so many are middlebrow aspirational (which, in my opinion, undercuts the message) and also weirdly normative for some random stuff. And, yeah, the Fountainhead thing was unfortunate, coming as it did right at the very beginning, which makes me think it's intentionally signaling something that badly undercuts its message and, like others, almost caused me to abort the video right off-the-bat. I mean, it has the whiff of someone who googled a list of favorite books. I don't know a lot of people who would both read Ayn Rand and Roland Barthes, let alone consider both among their favorites.

But, you know, it would be hard for the lyricist and director to pick things that would be acceptable to me or probably most of the people who will be critical in this thread without it either being precious or inscrutable or even just anodyne (though it comes perilously close to the last). Because of the emotional investment we all have in our accumulated cultural capital, we'll almost all, individually, find things not to like in any such video, inducing disdain.

Having written all that, I think that if I were to attempt something like this, what I'd do is de-emphasize any attempt at "impressing the audience with cultural capital" and, instead, emphasize the profound love of reading stuff like the "getting married in the Strand" and "won't bookmark with a folded page" (but they'll use a yellow highligher? hello?) things. Make it as much as possible about the love of reading and its way of life, much less about the particular books which one reads.

However, that would be an entirely different ethos, yes? This whole video reinforces the stereotypes it's trying to subvert. Maybe it's slyly satirical, though.

I won't even attempt to make any claims that pretty much everyone, certainly including myself, don't have a lot invested in cultural capital stuff with literature. But I'm a little embarrassed about this in myself and, in contrast, my experience being a part of a community that has a profound dedication to reading and books as reading and books, less as signals of accumulated cultural capital, tells me that a much better message and approach to reading is simply and yet profoundly just about reading as a joy and a way of life, not status.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:59 PM on March 21, 2012 [11 favorites]


here. Have a plate of beans. You've earned it.
posted by felix at 2:01 PM on March 21, 2012 [16 favorites]


It was cute. The video was well shot. The rapping started off passable if lacking, then drifted way down into not even being on beat. I'll give them credit though, I like that they did it. Just please, step your game up if you're going to put that much into making the video.
posted by cashman at 2:06 PM on March 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ima read that bitch.
posted by pmcp at 2:11 PM on March 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


From the YouTube comments,

"I love this so much I've gone right over the edge of the spectrum to violent, love-induced nausea."
posted by Blasdelb at 2:11 PM on March 21, 2012


"I am a proud non-reader of books. I like to get information from doing stuff like actually talking to people and living real life"

People who say the second never need to say the first. It is all too apparent they've never read a book.
posted by DU at 2:12 PM on March 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


Goosebumps? J.K. Rowling? Okay I know we're not supposed to judge their selection or whatever, but could they have at least stuck with some classic novels instead of doing this weird "WE KLEERLY NO ABOUT PHILOSUFEE" and "OMG I LOVE HARRY POTER" dichotomy?
posted by Mooseli at 2:22 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was initially unimpressed, then entertained, then willing to forgive the rest of the video's faults when I saw what they did for credits.
posted by ooga_booga at 2:30 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


"I am a proud non-reader of books. I like to get information from doing stuff like actually talking to people and living real life"

I assume Kanye wants the same from his tax preparer too.

"I don't need any of this IRS code. I just like to go out and do stuff."
posted by zippy at 2:31 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


But, you know, it would be hard for the lyricist and director to pick things that would be acceptable to me or probably most of the people who will be critical in this thread without it either being precious or inscrutable or even just anodyne (though it comes perilously close to the last).

I actually don't really think it would be so hard. One of my friends works for a major NY bookstore and is deep, deep into the lit-fiction scene. There is a surprisingly solid canon of writers that she and her peers admire, and since I presumed that's the audience for this, I'm surprised they didn't hew closer to that. It's not the same stuff I like, but it's on the nerd-glasses hotlist. This does in fact seem like someone cherrypicked a college reading list, not like the product of a real voracious reader.
posted by Miko at 2:31 PM on March 21, 2012


Just should've realized if you try to be inclusive of everybody's favorite books and/or authors, you'll include at least two or three of everybody's least favorite.

It's the end of the library as they know it. And they didn't start the fire in the stacks.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:35 PM on March 21, 2012


I'm nursing a crush or two right now.
posted by bongo_x at 2:45 PM on March 21, 2012


I figure they went with books and authors a general audience would probably be familiar with. Not much point in name checking things ten people have heard of, you ain't going to get likes that way.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:49 PM on March 21, 2012


The Fountainhead line is a joke, that I also misheard, but the lyrics are in the video description.
posted by graventy at 2:53 PM on March 21, 2012


"I actually don't really think it would be so hard. One of my friends works for a major NY bookstore and is deep, deep into the lit-fiction scene. There is a surprisingly solid canon of writers that she and her peers admire, and since I presumed that's the audience for this, I'm surprised they didn't hew closer to that. It's not the same stuff I like, but it's on the nerd-glasses hotlist. This does in fact seem like someone cherrypicked a college reading list, not like the product of a real voracious reader."

I don't think that's who this video was aimed at. If it were, it would have been what you described because they'd have known better. And, anyway, in my opinion such a selection would have fallen into my "precious" designation. A lot of us wouldn't have been very impressed with something so clearly aimed at the "lit-fiction scene", exclusively contemporary American literary fiction. Likewise, a list that would have impressed me, loaded toward the "dead white males" canon, would have provoked a lot of disdain in several differently-minded groups of people — those who would see that as too aspirational and about cultural capital, or as a "cherrypicked college reading list", or whatever.

I've never encountered anyone serious about books — just like I've never encountered anyone serious about music — who were not snobbish in niche respects and who clearly have an emotional investment in their accumulated cultural capital. That's exactly why all music threads here are "your favorite band sucks". Because, in the cultural capital respect, the whole point (whether people realize they are doing this or not) is to place oneself in a hierarchy of taste and to necessarily be disdainful of those below oneself (uncultured knuckledraggers) and above oneself (pretentious, image-conscious phonies). It's pretty difficult to see someone with different tastes yet as a peer — that requires a favorable impression of the cultural capital of the other's tastes, yet a lack of interest in it that doesn't inspire any envy. In music, for example, I'm not that interested in alt-country or certain kinds of folk, but I can recognize and appreciate the "quality" of someone's taste in those genres. But this peering is more the exception than the rule. Usually, different tastes mean different places in a hierarchy.

And, in my experience as a reader, this is especially true of literature. I'm hard-pressed to come up with equivalent examples in literature as those I just mentioned in music. Different subcategories have extremely strong social signaling implications and the heirarchical and/or xenophonic impulse is even more strongly provoked. This is likely to be especially true in the US where there's hardly (in relative terms) a subcultural literary tradition and, instead, an appreciation for literature is more strongly coupled to education, aspiration, and class.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:01 PM on March 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


The books they show at the end on the other hand. Le Père Goriot? Herman Wouk? Those are like the books college kids buy for $1 a pop off those guys selling paperbacks outside of bobst.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:04 PM on March 21, 2012


"The books they show at the end on the other hand. Le Père Goriot? Herman Wouk? Those are like the books college kids buy for $1 a pop off those guys selling paperbacks outside of bobst."

I really liked The Caine Mutiny, both the book and the movie. Actually, I think both are underrated because they are much more difficult than one might expect in terms of the central theme and message. I read the book my senior year in high school (it was in a friend's parent's bookshelf and piqued my interest) and then later saw the film. That was a good age for it — for me, anyway — as I had a sense of honor (so identified with Maryk) and also was pretty rebellious, literary, and intellectual (so I identified with Keefer) and it took a while for me to catch on to what wasn't right about Keefer; yet, even then, Greenwald's angry, drunken rebuke of Keith and especially Keefer at the end took me by surprise and, I have to say, taught me something important, transforming my entire experience of the book and film.

And the film has just an amazing and very unsympathetic performance by Bogart.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:14 PM on March 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Got all my friends on Goodreads
And they readin' Ulysses, Huh!?
['I don't even know what that means!' 'No one knows what it means, but it's provocactive! Get's the people going!']
posted by codacorolla at 3:15 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, I've always thought it was curious that the villain of the book, if there is one, is Keefer who, like Wouk, was a naval officer and writer. Apparently, the book is very autobiographical and so I think there's a strong element of self-criticism in it by Wouk, which I think adds a lot of meta-tension and makes the book that much more interesting.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:16 PM on March 21, 2012


All the haters pooh-poohing this video or nitpicking over elements here and there: FINE. GOOD. Your rejection of this video incrementally, if infinitesimally, increases the chances that I, I of all of you, will be chosen by Annabelle Quezada to read her to sleep. Annabelle, if you're reading, I can basically recite 60 Stories by Donald Barthelme from memory; I have a degree in Rhetoric; and I would even, briefly, consider moving to New York.
posted by felix at 3:26 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really liked The Caine Mutiny, both the book and the movie

Just looking at those copies in the video brings me back though.Pages all brittle and yellow. $1 marked on the inside in pencil. Random underlining. I bought hundreds of books just like that off the street.

The Balzac, Flaubert, and Budelaire are all French editions. So it makes sense.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:32 PM on March 21, 2012


Baudelaire, stupid iPad.

I'm not hating. I am more thinking about going to the used book store.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:35 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


A friendly last reminder from the Twittariat of the Ministry of Truth:

Book reading is for antisocials. Social people compress tought in 140 chars.
Have you stopped being antisocial?
posted by elpapacito at 5:07 PM on March 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


I love Herman Wouk. You gotta read some of his other stuff. I really like Please Don't Stop the Carnival too.

I'm not all het up about this social capital business. Some of what you say is true, taste can be a shibboleth. But some is just taste, and not all selections or niches are inherently snobbish. As a musician, there are few types of music I hate, and the more professional a musician is, I think the more they are able to respect, be interested in and enjoy genres that are not their own. To some degree. Some of it is purely idiosyncratic. Anyhow, book selection was only part of why I didn't dig the video that much. The performance and writing just didn't come together for me. I really wanted to like something like this and I think it could have been done with great wit even for books some of us might consider lowbrow. IT's more an issue of overall quality than of picking the right references.
posted by Miko at 5:38 PM on March 21, 2012


I think there's a strong element of self-criticism in it by Wouk

That's pretty much the point of the book - that we are all vulnerable to exactly the kind of in-group, self-reinforcing judgment you're on about here with your cultural capital discussion, and in fact that is why something like a Third Reich is not a distant improbability.

If you haven't read it since high school, definitely go back and reread. For some reason, in high school, our teachers had us just read the play, which the movie is based on. It was quite good, taut, but nothing like the book.
posted by Miko at 5:41 PM on March 21, 2012


I'm shocked, shocked to learn that Kanye West is arrogant.
posted by Apropos of Something at 5:54 PM on March 21, 2012


I'm all for reading. If you want to do it using paper, fine, but the whole support bookstores meme is the last few dying gasps of a culture in ruins and diatribes (such as this video) which set up a false (yes, false) dichotomy between paper and digital texts to judge the former as originary/authentic/precious/nostalgic/superior/tactile over and against the derivative/degraded/banal/mundane/subordinate/intangible latter are pure reactionary propaganda.

No one believes it except for the initiated.

The two will exist side-by-side with more highly specified domains for paper (rather than the default as it had been before the advent of electronic texts).

tl;dr: paper print:electronic texts :: vinyl:digital audio

GET OVER IT.
posted by mistersquid at 5:57 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


"get over it" is a great flag that tells you when someone's opinion is most likely wrong.
posted by bongo_x at 6:05 PM on March 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


Hey man, you know when people lament how MetaFilter's really had a high asshole contingent recently? I think of remarks like yours just now.

We aren't talking about the difference between paper and digital here--a well-trod and thoroughly frustrating topic on MetaFilter--we're talking about two women who produced an interesting if uneven rap video about their love of books.

Mostly people are snarking on the types of books they show in the video. Maybe you could follow that topic of discussion? It'd certainly be more productive than dredging up the old 'print books are obsolete/no they're not!' debate again.
posted by librarylis at 6:05 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


""get over it" is a great flag that tells you when someone's opinion is most likely wrong."

But not in this case. I'm not sure exactly what the flag is in your comment, but it's there, and you're wrong.

What librarylis wrote deserves some respect; but I didn't much like the dissing of e-books in the video, and I'm someone who doesn't much like to read e-books and really has a love of the physicality of books. Even so, the words, the content, are the whole friggin point and anyone who makes the physicality of books primary over their content is someone who doesn't deserve to think of themselves as a reader. Maybe a bibliophile in the strictest sense, but not a lover of the written word qua written word. And, generally, especially as it appears in this video, it's just a kind of snobbery and social signaling that very much has nothing to do with actual reading.

But, Miko's interesting comments notwithstanding, I think that this video is 85% about cultural capital, demonstrating it, and social signaling; and only 15% about being someone who loves to read.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:18 PM on March 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


anyone who makes the physicality of books primary over their content is someone who doesn't deserve to think of themselves as a reader.

Ooooh, really stretching there, as there are too many scholars for whom marginalia is essential in building their understanding of their subjects' literary influences and working habits....and I love the written word but also the act of reading print, so much easier on the eyes, and so much an art form of its own. For many, reading is a physical experience the pleasures of which are not so easily separated from our bodies.

I think that this video is 85% about cultural capital, demonstrating it, and social signaling; and only 15% about being someone who loves to read.

Sure, why not, and I agree with you I would have loved a more truly bibliophilic take that involved the honest quirky, omnivirous and obsessive habits of real lovers of reading more than name-dropping and styling. But no one like that has made a vidoeo.
posted by Miko at 6:31 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dude, mistersquid, that is exactly what I've been pushing. I think it's going to end up exactly the same as vinyl/cds/mp3s and the music industry.
posted by redsparkler at 6:38 PM on March 21, 2012


Um, and I liked the second verse better than the first.
posted by redsparkler at 6:39 PM on March 21, 2012


"Ooooh, really stretching there, as there are too many scholars for whom marginalia is essential in building their understanding of their subjects' literary influences and working habits....and I love the written word but also the act of reading print, so much easier on the eyes, and so much an art form of its own. For many, reading is a physical experience the pleasures of which are not so easily separated from our bodies. "

Well, sure. But notice that I wrote "makes the physicality [of books] primary over their content". I suppose that this was sort of a meaningless qualification because who, really, values books more as physical objects than their content who doesn't, say, think of themselves as a book collector or trader and less a "reader", anyway?

Perhaps I should have phrased it as "wouldn't read if books weren't physical" or "would read much less or refuse to read books they know are very good books if books weren't physical", which is closer to what I getting at. Such a person wouldn't be, in my opinion, someone who could fairly characterize themselves as a "reader" or a "lover of reading".

Your description of scholarly activity has everything to do with scholarship where the works concerned are objects of intense and extended study. Such persons are almost certainly readers and lovers of the written word in general, as well, but not necessarily so and, in any case, there is a distinction between the two activities.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:40 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Loved the concept, less whelmed with the execution.

After about 10 seconds, I found myself thinking: "Can someone who can actually rap please re-record this?"

That said, after reading Ivan Fyodorovich's many comments, I find myself focusing less on the issues with their rap skills and more on the issues he raises about this video being more about snobbishly signaling cultural capital than about saying how awesome books are.
posted by asnider at 6:53 PM on March 21, 2012


Books are awesome.

One of the questions on my college application essay was that I should explain how important books are in my life. So, aside from some other things I wrote, I explained how, when I was four years-old, the first time I "ran away from home", I filled my child's suitcase with all my necessities...which was nothing but my most beloved books. An older girl in my neighborhood (well, another child living in the married student housing at the university) stopped me and was perplexed that all I'd brought with me was books.

Honestly, I've not changed much. Which anyone who's been to my apartment could attest.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:58 PM on March 21, 2012


Books are awesome.

I agree. But, the video isn't really about that. It's like you said: I think that this video is 85% about cultural capital, demonstrating it, and social signaling; and only 15% about being someone who loves to read.

Again, I agree.
posted by asnider at 7:03 PM on March 21, 2012


Lybruns trine fine me?
posted by Brocktoon at 7:08 PM on March 21, 2012


there is a distinction between the two activities.

Sometimes it's not really a clear distinction, if it exists at all. If you are using the marginalia to better understand and shed light on the text, it's integral to the act of reading and the pleasure of reading; it just involves more levels of communication than the edited text alone. Reading Melville with marginalia is reading Melville, only better, because you're reading Melville with Melville.
posted by Miko at 7:12 PM on March 21, 2012


Lybruns trine fine me?

Until I actually sat and read the lyrics, I thought that she was saying: "Reading so hard librarians tryin' ta FIND me," which really didn't make sense.
posted by asnider at 7:19 PM on March 21, 2012


$10.25 for Mavericks?
posted by scose at 7:49 PM on March 21, 2012


the only book in the whole video that I've actually read is the one they flash at the end - I think it's Montaillou by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie. It's pretty good, but I prefer John Arnold's Inquisition and Power and Ladurie's own Time of feast, times of famine (a methodological book on the history of climate).
posted by jb at 8:28 PM on March 21, 2012


Can someone better at this than me put all of our collective snark into rhyming form?

I only got as far as:

Uh

I read Hesse on my lunch break,
And Burroughs in the bathtub.
Wittgenstein on the sub-
way. Circle Line. Fin's Wake.
I read Marx for larks,
I dig, am digging and have dug Heidigger.
Heck, I can operate a Steinbeck,
Edit you out of the picture,
Listen to my scripture!
I don't mean to be a bitch, yeah?
But you have reader's block,
You're ugly turds. Rock back up,
When you've read a thousand words.

Uh, one two. One, two.

You know fuck all about Foucalt,
You own no penguins, K Le Guinn,
Book shelf? Paper thin.
Your rhymes don't make the cut,
Where's your Kurt Vonnegut?
Your Dewey Decimal is rounded up to two places,
And I dislike your stupid faces.
Stop saying you are the best,
When you should have confessed,
Your books: Readers' Digest.

Now I'm off to seek solace,
In my David Foster Wallace.


There's a* reason I'm not a battle MC.

* Actually several thousand reasons.
posted by pmcp at 8:36 PM on March 21, 2012


So Ivan, this amateur Kanye/Jay-Z rap parody video doesn't meet your standards for the proper ratio of cultural signalling to earnest pro-literacy cri de coeur.

That raises three critical questions.

First of all, what is the approved ratio? Clearly, the amateur Kanye/Jay-Z rap parody video form itself must be primarily educational to avoid falling into the debauched proletarian trap of being mere comedy; on this by necessity we all agree. So it is important that the discerning among us delineate the acceptable from the unacceptable with a bright line. Might I suggest that the buildup and the bridge, at the minimum, be entirely composed of educational content?

Second, it then necessarily falls upon us to devise an appropriate punishment for these young ladies, lest the righteous rectitude of our rigor be questioned. On one hand it appears that they are New Yorkers and hence already enmeshed in an existential punishment of their own making; but on the other, to allow them to brazenly make an amateur Kanye/Jay-Z rap parody video with an inappropriate cultural signalling ratio without fear of retribution from those who know better...

Third, and this is perhaps a sidebar question, but if someone were to, say, post a voluminous set of comments in, say, Metafilter, about how they have enjoyed reading all of their life, and indeed repeatedly signal their membership in a privileged elite, one which has the capacity to issue prescriptivist statements; again, merely out of hypothetical curiosity, would you regard that effort as being primarily about cultural signalling and less about the dissemination of the desperately held core societal values which we, my comrade, defend with our lives? Would you, perhaps, my dearest friend, find it ironic?
posted by felix at 8:56 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think you imagine that I'm much more disdainful and worked up about this than I actually am.

But, granting that I'm a little disdainful, it has everything to do with the fact that the fact that you're critical of me being critical of the attempt of a "Kanye/Jay-Z rap parody video" to be about women who love books and subverting expectations about urban women who rap in that it doesn't actually subvert those expectations because it's an inept attempt to signal a social affiliation that it doesn't seem to understand in the first place just proves that I'm right to be critical of it and that the diminished expectations involved is at the root of the damn problem.

That's a deeply nested sentence and I trust that you can work out its meaning. Basically, I think it's revealing that you think it's silly to hold a "Kanye/Jay-Z parody video" about urban women who like books to any standard beyond "well, it is about books and about reading, sort of".

As far as your hypothetical reader, it would depend upon how they've talked about their experiences and what else they've said. If, say, they talk about genre fiction quite a bit, say that it constitutes the largest portion of their reading, and that they even are writing an urban fantasy novel themselves, of all things, then I'd be disinclined to judge that they are primarily attempting to wield their cultural capital in a way that is intended to posture and impress, as opposed to just talking a lot about books and reading because they pretty much read anything that is printed. Hypothetically speaking, of course.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:32 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Allow me to disabuse you and lift the burden of your sorrows.

'Expectations' of an amateur Kanye/Jay-Z rap parody video are axiomatically undiminishable, even if they touch on a genre, field, category, theme or value which you hold dear to your heart.

If you look to amateur Kanye/Jay-Z rap parody videos to be, at last, the savior which redeems our pitiable scrivenings and our clenched-fist howling against the coming of the intellectual night, then you are looking in the wrong place, full stop. The genre of charming, witty self-produced one-day amateur Kanye/Jay-Z rap parody videos will doubtless one day produce a masterwerk of such unparalleled educational imprimatur that all who click onto youtube that day fall to their knees in awestruck rapture at the sheer volume of philosophical erudition lanced into their brains: the arrival of a lightning bolt of pure information.

But my comrade, my friend, we must away to the vodka; our Herodotus has not yet arrived. Clench not your furrowed brow over yon amateur Kanye/Jay-Z rap parody video further. Like Joseph Garcin, we must make do with the world we've made.
posted by felix at 10:09 PM on March 21, 2012


Mostly people are snarking on the types of books they show in the video. Maybe you could follow that topic of discussion
Great ad hominem, librarylis, identifying me as part of a so-called "asshole contingent".

Pace Ivan Fyodorovich, your comment is junk. Besides attacking me personally, your comment ignores a repeated refrain from the linked video which is that electronic text is inferior ot paper print

I have every intention of ignoring your rude and inconsiderate demand to fall into line and speak in the conversational channels that precede my comment: the dichotomy between electronic text and paper print as presented in the rap is a false one, failing as it does to consider that paper print is neither necessarily superior nor necessarily inferior than electronic text.

librarylis, I would like to extend my hand in congratulations to you for joining me in MetaFilter's asshole contingent. Of all people who have so far commented, you have demonstrated yourself to be an active member.
posted by mistersquid at 10:16 PM on March 21, 2012


Yes, unfortunately sounds like she read a book on how to rap -- barrett caulk

The rapping started off passable if lacking, then drifted way down into not even being on beat.
-- cashman
Have you guy heard the origional song? (I didn't like the song that much the first time I heard it, but I loved the video) I thought they matched the song petty well. The rapping in the actual song is kind of unusual (at least to me). It's a weird song. You could call it experimental.

In fact, watching this video again right after watching the real video... The songs sound really similar. To my ear it sounds like they nailed everything. The "Not even being on beat", is the stuff that matches up to the "throne" stuff on the song. It sounds pretty similar to me.
posted by delmoi at 10:23 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


could they have at least stuck with some classic novels instead of doing this weird "WE KLEERLY NO ABOUT PHILOSUFEE" and "OMG I LOVE HARRY POTER" dichotomy?

I went back to school last year to get my Masters in comparative literature and found myself amongst students 12-14 years younger than me. One of the young women did a presentation based on her analysis of Harry Potter and the importance of place and fantasy-place. It was very interesting.

I don't know a lot of people who would both read Ayn Rand and Roland Barthes, let alone consider both among their favorites.

No kidding. I'd be interested to know which works of Barthes she read and in what order with Rand, because dayum, that is some serious cognitive dissonance right there. (For those who haven't read Barthes: the Wikipedia section on his writings and ideas is a good overview.)

Nice opportunity to segue from Barthes to books and literature as cultural signifiers. I've always had open-minded literature profs and the value of that was finally put into words by one of my favorites, a professor in Lyon: "it doesn't matter what people read. The very act of reading is an opening of the self to others. Even reading something that doesn't challenge your dearly-held beliefs is opening yourself to someone else; acknowledging the independent existence of other individuals."

He would also often say, "montre-moi ta piaule et j't'dirai qui tu es." ("Show me your crib [home] and I'll tell you who you are." He loved Barthes.
posted by fraula at 3:11 AM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


That quotation from your professor is wonderful, and made me glad I read this thread. It reminds me of some of the observations in Reading Lolita in Tehran about how what reading does to the mind.

It also reminds me of a terrific sequence in MetaFilter's Own jscott's movie Get Lamp, about text-based adventure games. He says something like "We are working hard on virtual reality technologies. Imagine a virtual reality technology that can perfectly conjure a sustainable and convincing illusion that we are experiencing not just visuals in a narrative, but dimension, scents, textures, temperatures, motion, emotion. Now imagine that we can have that level of virtual reality technology without a helmet or special glasses, but that we could feed it directly into the brain so that the mind itself produces fully detailed, perfect illusions. And we already have that technology! It's reading."

The Harry Potter books are rather wonderfully done. I wouldn't knock them at all. They have that quality of good plot-driven fiction that makes it seem much easier to craft than it really is. Taken as a whole, the series is quite an achievement of construction, as once you end it it becomes evident that plot trajectories were in place from the beginning, set up subtly enough to underlie the whole story's logic, though as an adult reader I would never have noticed or suspected that those threads were going to develop. I know people who will spend a great deal of time parsing why Tolkien is so superior to Harry Potter, but there is something ludicrous in that project. Two approaches to fantasy, quite similar in some ways, different in a few others which are somewhat quality-neutral and taste-driven, both successful.
posted by Miko at 6:23 AM on March 22, 2012


The "Not even being on beat", is the stuff that matches up to the "throne" stuff on the song. It sounds pretty similar to me.

Right around 3:18, they fall off beat in a bunch of places and I had to turn it off. And not off beat in a (MF) Doom, Masta Ace, Saafir way. It's just off beat. I don't think the original is experimental. Something like Kendrick Lamar's Rigamortis is possibly experimental.
posted by cashman at 7:48 AM on March 22, 2012


I think they picked a lot of the books they did because the titles rhymed or scanned well.

Also, people can read and appreciate widely different kinds of books. Taste is weird and personal.

But I don't think they chose the books they did to represent any kind of canon or anything.
posted by k8lin at 8:02 AM on March 22, 2012


All I could think watching this was "What a beautiful spring day in New York!"
posted by msalt at 9:54 AM on March 22, 2012


« Older "The marathon can humble you." ~ Bill Rodgers   |   (but I still feel the faded... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post