This week: old expressionist movies, disrespectful obituaries, and more, more, more on dystopic fiction! Yay!
- Ed Howard’s essay on M, a hauntingly creepy masterpiece of the early 1930s, thoughtfully elucidates what makes the movie so powerful.
- I have a morbid fascination with frankly unflattering obituaries, so art critic Jerry Saltz’s reflective yet withering take on Thomas Kinkade, who died last Friday, was bound to capture my attention.
- Early onset of puberty has more serious repercussions than this, but the effect on boys’ choirs hadn’t occurred to me, and it saddens me.
- As one who values insights over encyclopedic knowledge (in large part I myself have never had the discipline to commit myself to one particular subject), I can’t bring myself to mourn the Internet-fueled demise of the old-school music geek, but Alexandra Molotkow’s essay on the subject is still fascinating.
- This AV Club discussion on whether dystopic fiction should explain how civilization got to its particular nightmarish point is a fun read. (Part of me is annoyed that my long-time favorite genre is now incredibly trendy—I’m not special anymore, damn it!—but the other part of me is enjoying all the exploration of such a compelling subject.)
One Reply to “Links of the week, 4/13/2012”
I agree that all the articles on dystopic fiction are fascinating. It is a genre that is finally getting its rightful share of attention. This article sets up an interesting argument about the importance of back story. I do appreciate a little back story, but I don’t think it’s that necessary in making the reader feel a connection with the dystopic society. In a way, wanting to know the back story is like when we ask questions about a victim of a crime or a disease – “What did the victim do to put herself in that situation?” “Was that cancer sufferer ever a smoker?” etc. We want to know the reasons something bad happened to other people so that we can convince ourselves that it won’t happen to us. “I would never dress that way” or “I exercise every day and only eat healthy foods.” In the same way, we want to know the background history of a dystopic society so we can convince ourselves that it could never happen here. But just like with the lung cancer victim who never smoked, when we find out the answer to our questions it may not be the answer we want to hear. Because bad things can happen to us no matter what we do, and it is uncomfortably plausible that our society could be on the road to a dystopia.
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