Daily Archives: June 25, 2011

Saturday Night Video: The Jacksons

“ABC” on American Bandstand

Michael Jackson died two years ago today.

His solo work is so saturated into the culture that there’s little point in representing it here. However, the work with The Jackson 5, even though it’s enjoyed classic status for decades, can still startle with its freshness. If this isn’t Motown at its best, it’s close. I don’t know if it’s possible to hear “ABC” and not feel joy — it’s involuntary, like a heart beat. If you’ve seen how the song is featured in Kevin Smith’s Clerks 2 — here you know just how exuberantly that joy can be rendered. (Thanks also to Rosario Dawson who reminds us what it’s like to fall in love during the course of a single song.)

More after the jump.

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Quote of the Day


From The Tudors, Lord Surrey reads his translation of an epigram by Martial to Charles Brandon

Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, was “sincere in all his doings. If he was alive today, he’d be Canadian.” — Nicola Shulman, Graven with Diamonds: The Many Lives of Thomas Wyatt: Courtier, Poet, Assassin, Spy (via TLS)

Frye on Wyatt and Surrey:

Wyatt and Surrey, at the court of Henry VIII, were the pioneers of a new conservatism, though this has to be qualified for Wyatt, as we shall see. Surrey in particular established for the sixteenth century a new pentameter line, based on the contemporary pronunciation of the language, heavier than Chaucer’s line though lighter than the post-Miltonic ones. The two poets introduced the sonnet into English from Italian and French sources, mainly Petrarch. Petrarch is earlier than Chaucer, but in English (this does not apply to Italian) the sonnet has a rounded, epigrammatic, almost three-dimensional quality: like perspective painting, it belongs in the Renaissance, not to the flat narratives or the delicate pastel lyrics of medieval poetry. Wyatt followed the five-rhyme Petrarchan form, but Surrey introduced the freer structure, of three quatrains and a couplet, which is more suitable to English, and which Shakespeare alsoused. Surrey also brought in the major invention of blank verse, and both poets experimented with other forms, such as the so-called “poulterer’s measure” of alternating six and seven-foot lines. (CW 10, 16-17)

Michel Foucault and the Invisible God


Foucault on the disciplinary society (part 2 after the jump)

Michel Foucault died on this date in 1984 (born 1926).

This observation from one of Frye’s late notebooks stemming from Foucault’s Discipline and Punish dovetails with our ongoing consideration of Frye on God:

Michel Foucault has written about the control of a space of visibility as the central idea of the 19th c. hospitals and the like, and cites in particular Bentham’s invention invention of a Panopticon. Ramifications include 1984 and its “telescreen.” The idea of a watching God, developed partly to inspire children with guilt feelings about masturbation, is closely bound up with the sense of shame about sex, the need for covering the body which Adam felt when he realized that God was looking for him and wanted to see him. The etymology of dragon means the all-seer. The God who watches is a demonic God; as I’ve said, the true God is invisible because he does the seeing. But what does he see? Something to do with seeing to recreate and not to judge, much less to punish. The taboo about seeing God is of course the reverse side of this. (CW 6, 559)

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