“The way Vermeer painted this wall is consistent with a photograph. It is not consistent with human vision.” In a fascinating new documentary by Penn and Teller, a digital-graphics artist spent five years building a lens, a room, and a harpsichord to figure out how.
In his speech at the Democratic National Convention, Barack Obama explained his weariness of campaign advertisements when he said, “If you’re sick of hearing me ‘approve this message,’ believe me, so am I.” These days, those ads are everywhere; it’s totally normal to feel overwhelmed. So as a refresher, consider a journey through elections past via The Living Room Candidate, an online archive of presidential campaign commercials from 1952-2008.
The big, blockbuster book this week is the final installment in the late Stieg Larsson's trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. Those just catching on to the Larsson phenomenon can also now get the complete set. Moving on to quirkier fare, there's The Hour: A Cocktail Manifesto, a reprint of a 1950s treatise on drinking with a new introduction by Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket). And finally, Library of America is putting out a volume of novels and stories by master of gothic fiction, Shirley Jackson.
“All poems of public grief are private poems first,” writes Mark Doty in his evaluation of Wisława Szymborska’s poem, “Photograph from September 11th.” Indeed, what Doty learned “over the course of those dozen years, was that the words one hammers out in private, in order to attempt some kind of sense, may end up being used by people in ways you could have never anticipated.”
Somewhat overshadowed by David Simon's recent op-ed on the state of modern America (if not capitalism itself) was the news that Wendell Pierce – featured prominently in both The Wire and Treme – secured a book deal for his meditation on Hurricane Katrina and "the effect it had on his family, his life, his memory, and his hometown."
Simon DeDeo writes for AGNI about the first line of Paradise Lost, John Milton’s first disobedience. As he explains it, “The line is a syllable too much. In Milton’s blank verse epic—iambic pentameter, five sets of two-syllable feet—the opening has eleven syllables, not ten.”