This week has been blissfully busy, so as life often goes, I spent far less time on the internet this week than usual. Some of these items will be from my secret stash of meh-fu.
1. Dimetri Martin’s 224 word palindrome.
2. Kitty, the transsexual Sicilian mobster.
This is Kitty. What you may not know is that Kitty was once Ugo Gabriele. Or that Kitty was a mafia ‘capo’ or godfather who masterminded a drug dealing and prostitution racket in Naples for the Scissionisti clan of the Camorra.
3. Audio illusions:
Listen to this with stereo headphones.
4. Michel Gondry’s favorite music videos.
All of these are worth checking out, but two of my favorites are:
*now that I write this, I can’t remember if those two are on the list, but it doesn’t really matter, both are super good.
5. Zadie Smith
For those of us who have not overdosed on Barack Obama, here‘s a really interesting article from Zadie Smith on Barack Obama’s voice.
For Obama, having more than one voice in your ear is not a burden, or not solely a burden—it is also a gift. And the gift is of an interesting kind, not well served by that dull publishing-house title Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance with its suggestion of a simple linear inheritance, of paternal dreams and aspirations passed down to a son, and fulfilled. Dreams from My Father would have been a fine title for John McCain’s book Faith of My Fathers, which concerns exactly this kind of linear masculine inheritance, in his case from soldier to soldier. For Obama’s book, though, it’s wrong, lopsided. He corrects its misperception early on, in the first chapter, while discussing the failure of his parents’ relationship, characterized by their only son as the end of a dream. “Even as that spell was broken,” he writes, “and the worlds that they thought they’d left behind reclaimed each of them, I occupied the place where their dreams had been.”
To occupy a dream, to exist in a dreamed space (conjured by both father and mother), is surely a quite different thing from simply inheriting a dream. It’s more interesting. What did Pauline Kael call Cary Grant? ” The Man from Dream City.” When Bristolian Archibald Leach became suave Cary Grant, the transformation happened in his voice, which he subjected to a strange, indefinable manipulation, resulting in that heavenly sui generis accent, neither west country nor posh, American nor English. It came from nowhere, he came from nowhere. Grant seemed the product of a collective dream, dreamed up by moviegoers in hard times, as it sometimes feels voters have dreamed up Obama in hard times. Both men have a strange reflective quality, typical of the self-created man—we see in them whatever we want to see. ” Everyone wants to be Cary Grant,” said Cary Grant. ” Even I want to be Cary Grant.” It’s not hard to imagine Obama having that same thought, backstage at Grant Park, hearing his own name chanted by the hopeful multitude. Everyone wants to be Barack Obama. Even I want to be Barack Obama.