Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Take That George Lucas!

"He's a three P-O," they say, meaning that such a person surrounded himself with cheap copies made from declasse substances.

So says Frank Herbert in Heretics of Dune, and the reference is obvious:

So is the insult.  When Star Wars came out in 1977, the similarities were abundant and generated some commentary.  Interestingly, Herbert wrote another Dune book, God Emperor of Dune, after Star Wars came out and made no mention of the Lucas' successful doppleganger, only inserting this jab after 1983's Return of the Jedi.  Apparently Jabba the Hutt was too on-the-nose an imitation of the God Emperor Leto.  From Justine Shaw:

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Freude Schoner Gotterfunken x 10,000

Rather than me quote all of Schiller's masterpiece, you can listen to it here, as sung by 10,000 Japanese.  Apparently an annual New Year's Eve community event in Osaka, something like this has been done every year for quite a long time.  They make everyone in the audience a part of the production.  Here's the scene from New Year's 2012 (gotten from this source):
The soloists are professionals, clear and very sharp, as are the orchestra and conductor.  Speaking of the conductor, at the end of the performance he looks like he's been through the war, and no wonder - any chorus of 10,000 will be hard to manage, even if comprised of professionals.  And these folks are amateurs, some old and some very young.  The chorus is a big, lurching, heaving beast, reliably a note behind the orchestra.  Such a dispersed group could hardly expect to stay together, and it hardly matters.  There's something deeply impressive about a performance where there is no audience.  And for this song, in particular.  No one is passive, all are singing about the universal effects of joy and amity.  There are no listeners, or rather everyone is a listener, and the small sing right along with the great and all are contented.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Watching the Watchers

This charming image is from a National Geographic photoblog:

Kids still like watching airplanes today, but the gawkers furthest down the sidewalk don't appear to have any with them.  Those lumbering beasts were novel enough to inspire fascination, and air travel still had a mystique.

Very different today, where air travel is uncomfortable, tedious, and fraught with frightening police state theater.

I also like that they felt free to pull over to the right lane of an expressway to relax and watch.