Tea With Chris: Mysteriously Enormous

Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Friday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week:

Chris: I’m covering the Toronto International Film Festival for the first time right now, and it feels a little like this:

So brevity is better. Via batarde, the only television appearance Georges Bataille ever made:

A D.C. consulting firm is building an unpopulated “test city” in the New Mexico desert.

When he’s hosting the long-running Toronto lecture series Trampoline Hall, our friend Misha Glouberman begins every night with a perpetually witty spiel about how to ask good questions. The New York Times just published a written version of it: “Pay attention to your mental images as the question is occurring to you. When you picture yourself asking the question, are you mysteriously enormous? Are you made of gold? These are signs that you may possibly have a bad question.”

A Luc Sante essay devoted to his uncontrollable library is obviously going to be great, but his nuanced speculation on the physical medium’s future surprised me; he praises Google’s systematic digitization of literature and seems curious about the various e-readers, yet remains eloquently concerned for printed matter: “Many books are screwy, a great many are dull, some are irredeemable, and there are way too many of them, probably, in the world. I hate all the fetishistic twaddle about books promoted by the chain stores and the book clubs, which make books seem as cozy and unthreatening as teacups, instead of the often disputatious and sometimes frightening things they are…I realize that books are not the entire world, even if they sometimes seem to contain it. But I need the stupid things.”

Carl: This book seems screwy, dull, disputatious and the entire world all at once. Of the recent spate of “things” books, though, maybe the most intriguing: The idea that there was once a popular genre of “it narratives” related by inanimate objects, body parts and animals is so delightful; the prose in which it seems to be told looks much less so on quick perusal but I am willing to give it a more slow-paced chance: The Things Things Say is a cool title.

On a similar level this video is too long & not as funny as it wishes but I agree so much with its thesis that I can’t help but endorse it.

Best music journalism on the web of late: Geeta Dayal’s extensive piece on German performance/noise artist and synth-pop (Tangerine Dream, Cluster/Kluster) innovator Conrad Schnitzler; and two less-than-reverent considerations of the intersections of music with 9/11: Maura Johnston and Chris Weingarten’s list of the worst Sept. 11 response songs (which nervily includes both “Empire State of Mind” and a Xiu Xiu song – agreed, and I love Xiu Xiu – along with the usual suspects, – though I would stand up for Alan Jackson’s “Where Were You” despite the wince-worthy Iraq/Iran line, for turning to Christian love as opposed to biblical vengeance as the value it wants to defend); and Hua Hsu’s subtle memoir about how he had an overdue record review that day, which ends up being a sidelong meditation on several virtues that can bring you through trials more reliably than the recent American predilection for demonstrative emotion.

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