The gracious lady who compiled a list of questions for me has been very patient. She is the Strange, Dark Gypsy Girl, whose blog you should visit and admire. I've taken a while to answer her questions, but I'm sure she appreciates how lazy thoughtful I've been.
The Gypsy-question I have chosen for today is one that sounds suspiciously like a meme. Until today, the Deutschland über Elvis has pursued a strict no-meme policy, out of general grumpiness and irascibility. So officially, this is not a meme; it is a personal question. (OK, Ian in Hamburg?) And a deceptively challenging one, at that.
Recommend three books, movies or periodicals.
What, only three?
Books? I give up from the start. There are just too many; favourites for different reasons, at different times.
Look to the sidebar for a good selection, or click on my LibraryThing profile for the high rating books.
(By the way, I recommend LT for anyone who has a personal library; it is incredibly cool. Check out their “I See Dead People’s Books” page.)
However, in the spirit of this almost-meme, let me share the last three books I read.
- The Leopard, by Guiseppi de Lampedusa. A melodrama of love tinged with cynicism. The author gives an historical account of the last Prince of Salina, his grandfather, as Sicily fell under the rule of a unified Italy. The prince's description of the character of his fellow Sicilians is breathtakingly cruel. A gift from my pal Cash McBuck. Many, many thanks.
- And Then There's This, by Bill Wasik. Boy, have I had it with Tipping Points, Flat Worlds, and anything 2.0. But, y'know, I gotta read that shit for work. So imagine my delight when one of these so-called business books turns out to be a gem. Wasik is a gentleman adventurer in the world of new media. An amateur pundit with a day job as a rock journalist, he dips a toe in the water of viral culture every so often, and manages to beat the pros. He was, after all, the man who invented the flash-mob. Name one other writer on cyberculture who starts his book by quoting John Stuart Mill. That's class.
- Pre-Code Hollywood, by Thomas Doherty. It was six years between the birth of the talkies and the enactment of the draconian MPAA Production Code in 1934. But in those few short years, Hollywood relased some of the most subversive, racy and cynical movies it would ever make. The parallels with our own time, as the forces of censorship stir again, are frightening.
To the right we see the cover, depicting ten items which the Production Code would never allow. Among them, an inner thigh, wickedness unpunished, drug use, consumption of alcohol that is not essential to the plot and the mockery of religion.
Which brings us to the subject of Movies. Again, too many. But I do have some faves.
- Heathers. Mean, bitchy, cruel, and cynical. Now that’s my kinda movie.
- Beetlejuice. Gloriously Kafkaesque. BTW, can somebody explain the joke about Miss Argentina slitting her wrists? I tried googling it, to no avail.
- Brazil. Quite simply, a masterpiece. Michael Palin and Katherine Helmond as supporting actors do some of their best work. Tom Stoppard wrote the screenplay. Terry Gilliam directs. Plus, it has Jim Broadbent in it, always a hallmark of quality cinema.
Jim Broadbent makes over Katherine Helmond in Brazil
- Mon Oncle. Jacques Tati was a one-gag comic. Mon Oncle is the gag. But it’s a brilliant gag.
The set design for Mon Oncle was supposed to send up the pretentousness of so-called mid-century modern. Over the years, though, it became an icon of the style. So much so, that a recent Paris exhibition re-created the set indoors. The joke's on Jacques, I guess.
Hochgeladen von domeauperes. - Sieh vorgestellte Filme und komplette TV Shows an.
- Duck Soup. The Marx Brothers make a Heathers for grumpy, middle-aged men.
- All About Eve. I’m gay, you see.
Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe and George Sanders in All About Eve.
"Fasten your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy night."
Periodicals? In this age, more online ‘zines than 3D.
- The Economist teaches the rest of the publishing world the true meaning of fairness and balance. When the Economist takes an editorial stance, it says so. The writing glistens with clarity and insight. Quaintly still calls itself a newspaper.
- Vanity Fair and Esquire. Both champion long-form feature journalism. Prefer British Esquire and US Vanity Fair.
- Queerty. An online ‘zine that bills itself as “free from an agenda, except that gay one.” Queerty maintains a new, fresh and smart outlook on all matters gay. But it should really be Qweerty to get the joke, no?
- Mother Jones. A nonprofit magazine devoted to investigative journalism, but also raises issues that have surfaced in the mainstream and deserve more attention. Pulls no punches. Superb.
- Auto Bild, Auto Motor und Sport. The German car bibles. If you’re a serious revhead, you can’t do without them. Even if you don't speak German.
- Oh, and I check out The New York Times online every day. A lot of people bag the Gray Lady, but there is simply no alternative. The Guardian runs a distant second.
That just about does it, Gypsy. Remember, though, we still have one question to go.
(I can hear AFM now: "HH, are you still dragging this out...")