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They animated Alan Watts! You bastards!
July 13, 2007 1:08 PM   Subscribe

Flash animations of lectures by Alan Watts, produced by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park fame. (via)
posted by thatweirdguy2 (64 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
Bleh, fuck matt and trey. I liked this one though, although I think the animation didn't add much to it.
posted by delmoi at 1:24 PM on July 13, 2007


These are fucking brilliant! Thanks!
posted by humblepigeon at 1:27 PM on July 13, 2007


I would have never in a million years expected to see the words "South Park" and "Alan Watts" in the same sentence. Cool!
posted by scody at 1:29 PM on July 13, 2007


"We call it an apple tree because the tree apples. And the earth peoples."
And the blithering idiot blithers and idiots. Deeeeeeeeeeep!
posted by hexatron at 1:41 PM on July 13, 2007


Marvelous. It the first time I have been able to listen to Watts uncritically enough to take him seriously - and to enjoy him. Thanks
posted by donfactor at 1:42 PM on July 13, 2007


Anyone who thinks Alan Watts is an idiot don't know much.

Very fun, but way too damn short. Thanks for the link.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:47 PM on July 13, 2007


"Oh my God, they killed Kenny Buddha!"
"You bastards!"
posted by MtDewd at 1:50 PM on July 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


Crap, I always read the title too late
posted by MtDewd at 1:51 PM on July 13, 2007


Calling Alan Watts an idiot? Man, you don't know shit.

The animations aren't great, but it's always good to hear Watts in popular culture.
posted by boo_radley at 2:00 PM on July 13, 2007


These are great, thanks! Only there need to be more of them. And they need to be longer.
posted by treepour at 2:13 PM on July 13, 2007


Is there any back story to these? They are no longer linked from fresh minds' website- the direct link is the only way to get to them. Why Matt and Trey? I'd enjoy knowing more of the context here.
posted by bobot at 2:16 PM on July 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


I really didn't know anything about Watts beyond the first few seconds of the first animation, so after being chastised here I spent a minute with Wikipedia.


He recovered from Republicanism, and from his picture he was not given to overeating, so I consider him at least a few steps up from idiot. But spending one's entire life in made-up-story-land is pretty contemptible.
posted by hexatron at 2:18 PM on July 13, 2007


Unexpected pairing. I dig Watts (there's a podcast, doncha know) but could do without the South Park creators. I enjoyed these, though they're awful short.

Zen and philopsopy and metaphysics makes strange bedfellows?
posted by artlung at 2:18 PM on July 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think they're great - my 6 year old wanted to watch them because of the animation, and I was especially glad to show him the one on music and life.
posted by bashos_frog at 2:26 PM on July 13, 2007


I could swear I've seen this before - that there was actually an earlier, crappier, but very similar version of the apple-ing / people-ing animation, made by some kid as a class project.
posted by unmake at 2:31 PM on July 13, 2007


But spending one's entire life in made-up-story-land is pretty contemptible.

If you wanna hang with Budha and Jungian space vixens you have to do it on their turf. They demand more than one day a week.
posted by kid ichorous at 2:32 PM on July 13, 2007


I am holding out for Joel Veitch to animate Dogen.
posted by everichon at 2:32 PM on July 13, 2007


With Iraqi badgers which kick the ass of lions!
posted by everichon at 2:32 PM on July 13, 2007


hexatron, if you're not willing to go beyond a few Wikipedia factoids, please don't assume you have enough information about him to determine whether or not he's "a few steps up from idiot" or worthy of your contempt.
posted by treepour at 2:34 PM on July 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


I really didn't know anything about Hexatron before this thread, but I'm pretty sure he's an idiot.
posted by 2sheets at 2:45 PM on July 13, 2007 [8 favorites]


kool
posted by zouhair at 2:49 PM on July 13, 2007


Weren't Prickles and Goo both characters on Gumby?
posted by darksasami at 3:04 PM on July 13, 2007


He hoped for change, but personally he preferred amiable, semi-isolated rural social enclaves

Ok that's a cheap shot under the belly, the best ones : did he live in one ? It seems much like a bucolic reminiscence, happyness in simplicity that can be so easily turned into hate for complication and change. Probably something ought to remain simple, but that shouldn't be an imperative.
posted by elpapacito at 3:23 PM on July 13, 2007


Alan was my gateway drug that led me to Buddhism.
posted by philad at 3:57 PM on July 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


Thanks for that! I've been enjoying the podcasts a lot. Watts may have been an engaging old lush, but he was also someone who knew a lot of things, and had the understanding to put them together in a very clear, comprehensible way.

Anyone who doesn't realise that we're all living in made-up-story-land is deluding themselves on a cosmic level, though.
posted by Grangousier at 3:57 PM on July 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


hexatron, are the following also "contemptible" for their "made-up-story-land"?

John Lennon
Mr. Rogers
Bob Ross
Jim Henson
William S Buroughs
Kurt Vonnegut

....and about a million other people who decided to spend the better part of their lives making positive change through an imaginative understanding that could make others happy.

on-topic : great post. thanx!
posted by revmitcz at 3:59 PM on July 13, 2007


Me too, Philad.
posted by kozad at 3:59 PM on July 13, 2007


Anyone calling Alan Watts an idiot clearly has never bothered to read any of his books. Watts can be a life-changing thinker to get to know, and all dogma-free.

That hexatron formed a knee-jerk, condemnatory opinion of a thinker/writer about whom he knew nothing speaks only to the poor quality of his opinions.

The animations are terrific--I find that seeing a little bit of visual reinforcement of a lecture that is conceptual in nature helps to focus what Watts is saying. Thanks for the post!
posted by LooseFilter at 4:02 PM on July 13, 2007


Alan Watts podcast
posted by KokuRyu at 4:07 PM on July 13, 2007


No
John Lennon
Bob Ross
Jim Henson
Kurt Vonnegut
worked in made-up-story-land, and knew it.

I'm not sure about Mr. Rogers--I was once told (by someone who did a little work for the show) that he really was what you saw, as was most of the cast. There were a few harder-edged producer-directors who kept things on track.

As for William S Burroughs--the rich can create their own reality. They don't have to, but they can. Sometimes with chemistry.
posted by hexatron at 4:08 PM on July 13, 2007


Also, oo.
posted by hexatron at 4:08 PM on July 13, 2007


Am I missing something here, Hexatron, that makes you dislike Alan Watts so much?

Is there something wrong about bringing a little bit of much needed perspective and perhaps motivation for further exploration of unconventional perspective to people?
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 4:14 PM on July 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm a little embarrassed to admit I was not previously aware of Alan Watts. I enjoyed this post immensely.
posted by katillathehun at 4:23 PM on July 13, 2007


If you meet Alan Watts on Metafilter, scorn him.
posted by Ritchie at 4:25 PM on July 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


I am in no way embarrassed to admit I was not previously aware of Alan Watts, but am glad to have been introduced. Katillathehun, do not feel ashamed. Be proud of the ignorance you wish to tame, just as the lion-tamer... uh... the lion-tamer.... or... something else that tames... uh...
posted by klaatu at 4:30 PM on July 13, 2007


katillathehun : Don't worry, I didn't know about him either until now. Along with klaatu, our numbers make it safe :)
posted by revmitcz at 4:40 PM on July 13, 2007


worked in made-up-story-land, and knew it.

dude, stop talking out of your ass, really. If you actually read even one chapter of one of Watts' books, you'll realize that he knew he worked in made-up-story-land, too.

It's called 'metaphor', and it's a great teaching device.
posted by LooseFilter at 4:44 PM on July 13, 2007


This post is.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 4:52 PM on July 13, 2007


A good flameout would make my Friday.
posted by everichon at 5:00 PM on July 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Anyone who thinks Alan Watts is an idiot don't know much.

Myth and Ritual in Christianity, published in 1960, is like an extended tour of the Vatican would be if you could be guided by the most eminent architectural historian who ever lived. Here is an excerpt from the brilliant preface of the book which might give an idea of its character and a sense of Watt's style:

Of course the "Books of Hours" contained, not the mysteri/ ous hours of time themselves, but the so/called Day Hours of the Breviary, the seasonal ritual of the Work of God whereby, day after day and year after year, the Catholic Church relives the life of Time's redeemer and creator. And this cyclic re/enactment is the surest sign that the Christ'Story is not primarily an event which happened some two thousand years ago, but something perennial, both in all time and beyond all time. As the changing miracle of the seasons brightens the mere march of days, so Time itself is delivered from mere inanity by being lived sub specie aetemitatis, under the shape of eternity. In so far, then, as the inner life of Christianity the contempla/ tion of God is not just the reverent remembering of a past history, but the recurrent celebration and reliving of a timeless truth, it is possible for us to discuss the Christian story as something much more profound than mere facts which once happened, to give it not only the status of history but also the tremendous dignity of myth, which is "once upon a time" in the sense that it is behind all time.

Ratzinger could do no better for his Church, in my opinion, than to read and digest this book as thoroughly as he is able, and dedicate his papacy to finding a way to infuse the moribund tedium of the empty forms of observance he has inherited with the vital lambency of Watt's insights. If he did, I have my doubts Islam, Evangelical Christianity, or scientific realism would be able to stand against the tide he might unleash, as it swept across the world.
posted by jamjam at 5:07 PM on July 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


I' ve enjoyed Alan Watts over a period of two decades now - and I profited immensly from his dry humor, insights and knowledge.

He is a a class apart from all these self help gurus and 'faith based' helpers. Most of the time he talks of our human psyche and we struggle to comprehend life and the universe - that's pretty universal and useful for everybody. He rarely get religious ...
posted by homodigitalis at 5:19 PM on July 13, 2007


Awesome, and I totally needed it today. They don't seem to all be Matt and Trey's work though (in particular, the one that features an animated Alan).
posted by Chuckles at 5:34 PM on July 13, 2007


I was in a small group that Alan Watts spoke to in 1963. I had read one of his Intro to Zen books, so was expecting great things. Watts' false teeth didn't fit and he whistled and sucked on them all through his talk. I believed then, I believe now, a Zen master would either have teeth that fit or no teeth at all.
posted by CCBC at 5:37 PM on July 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've tried to read Watts a few times over the years, and always given up because of what seemed to me to be pretentious but puerile hippy handwaving. I might just be a style thing that bothers me -- it's always seemed to me that he takes simple concepts, wraps them in unnecessarily fanciful language, and by doing so, obscures more than he illuminates, when illumination is presumably what he's shooting for.

Perhaps it's time to give him another try, but judging by jamjam's quote upthread, I'm not sure my impression would be different.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:55 PM on July 13, 2007



Weren't Prickles and Goo both characters on Gumby?


I'm not sure if he met up with Alan Watts at any point, but Art Clokey did dabble in Buddhism.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 6:09 PM on July 13, 2007


Primary sources for Buddhism in general and Zen in particular are a wee bit more easily available now than in Watts's day. For those who find themselves put off by the excess of patchouli and flower power in Watts (less than a reek, but a lot more than just a whiff) -- use the source, Luke.
posted by jfuller at 6:53 PM on July 13, 2007


I'm not sure about Mr. Rogers--I was once told (by someone who did a little work for the show) that he really was what you saw, as was most of the cast. There were a few harder-edged producer-directors who kept things on track.

I'm pretty sure Rogers produced his own show.
posted by delmoi at 7:13 PM on July 13, 2007


Excellent, thanks!

These are dated 2004. Have they really been around that long? I can't believe I've never seen it before.
posted by fungible at 7:16 PM on July 13, 2007


The past is a memory,the future is an expectation,neither past or future actually exist.There is simply continuous now.
posted by hortense at 8:12 PM on July 13, 2007


"But spending one's entire life in made-up-story-land is pretty contemptible.

Hexatron, your ignorance is on full display.

My hat's off to Parker and Stone. I have to admit, that they were two of the last people I'd have suspected of being Alan Watts fans.

Those are good little shorts. Inspirational.
posted by rougy at 9:02 PM on July 13, 2007


"Perhaps it's time to give him another try...."

Stavros, I couldn't read him either, but check out that podcast link. His spoken words seem to ring clearer than his written words.

I try to listen to him every Tuesday morning on KGNU, Boulder, at 9:00am MST.
posted by rougy at 9:10 PM on July 13, 2007


One of my favorite techno records had some Watts lectures mixed in with the music. It worked really good. Can't remember who the artist was though.
posted by Goofyy at 12:09 AM on July 14, 2007


I believed then, I believe now, a Zen master would either have teeth that fit or no teeth at all.

Do not expect to recognise your own enlightenment.
posted by Sparx at 1:57 AM on July 14, 2007


I remember reading in one of his books that Watts assumed no one would remember his name or his work in a few hundred years.

I can see someone coming across these in some obscure database ages from now. I like that.
posted by brassafrax at 10:15 AM on July 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Fine holiday fun. Two enthusiastic thumbs up.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 10:46 AM on July 14, 2007


These are delightful. Thanks for the post.
posted by ibmcginty at 11:16 AM on July 14, 2007


Oh wow, I have no idea who Alan Watts is, but this is possibly the link of the year for me. Reminds me so much of little cartoons I used to watch on TV before I started school. Thank you so much thatweirdguy2!!!
posted by saturnine at 1:07 PM on July 14, 2007


I just recently had a chance to see the South Park episode where they compared homeless people to zombies. I thought that was entertaining and even in a strange way enlightening. I don't personally pay much attention to South Park (I don't pay for tv anymore) but i'm mildly surprised to hear so much displeasure among the ranks in this thread. It used to be 'cool' to be a fan of SP. Now you're treating them as if they were Ashlee Simpson clones.

Kenny didn't die in the episode I saw. Did SP stop being cool when they stopped killing off Kenny? I'm so (happily) out of the loop on coolness.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:28 PM on July 14, 2007


I am a dull and simple lad
Can not tell water from champagne
And I have never met the queen
And I wish I could have all that he has got
I wish I could be like Alan Watts

Fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa
Fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:33 AM on July 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


I could swear I've seen this before
Maybe you saw it when I mentioned it here [broken link]
posted by tellurian at 9:45 PM on July 15, 2007


Like produced, how, exactly? Didn't see 'em in the credits or anywhere else. In their style, yeah, but....
posted by Ogre Lawless at 5:18 PM on July 16, 2007


I'm late to the party, but this is frickin' awesome. Thanks for the links; I never would have known about the site otherwise.
posted by desjardins at 7:42 AM on July 17, 2007


This is wonderful, thanks. I'd never heard of Alan Watts before either, but I think I'll be adding some of his books to my Amazon cart.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 11:17 PM on July 17, 2007


Weren't Prickles and Goo both characters on Gumby?

Yes:
We had to ask Art how he invented his characters Prickle & Goo, another memorable pair of friends within the Gumby group of characters.

"I was a friend of a psychologist in Hollywood. He invited me to go with him up to San Jose to a convention of psychologists. I was interested in psychology at the time. We were in the lecture hall at San Jose State, and one psychologist would get up and make a speech. It was pretty boring for me. But the MC happened to be Allen Watts, the Zen Philosopher of Sausalito. He would crack us up and tell funny stories and get our blood circulating again. And they would put on another psychologist to bore us again.

"At one of these little humorous intermissions, he said there were two kinds of people in the world, the prickly and the gooey. The prickly are rigid and uptight, analytical, and critical. The gooey are easygoing, flowing in the here and now, friendly and jolly.

"I said I have got to make two characters to symbolize those two types of people. Then people all over the world will be able to identify with them. So we created the little, yellow dinosaur with his spines, and named him Prickle. Goo is a very gooey blue mermaid." [....]
posted by pracowity at 1:41 AM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


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