Of the wide variety of articles in this week’s Common Room, one of the most fascinating is Laura Miller’s “Desecrating Poe,” posted over at Salon. Her scathing review of the new Fox TV show “The Following” includes commentary on art, beauty, and the artistic portrayal of violence. Sample quote:
Violence in popular entertainment is usually discussed in absolute terms: Either you think it should be reined in quantitatively or you defend it in blanket terms, as a matter of free speech. This bogus polarity obscures an important question: How is it used? Eyes are gouged out in “The Following” because the mutilated female corpses (all young and pretty in life) make a ghastly spectacle and enable Carroll to torment Hardy with talk of severing the victims’ ocular muscles one by one. Eyes are gouged out in “King Lear” to indicate that the play’s social order has descended to sub-human brutality as a result of the main character’s refusal to see the truth. It’s the same violent act, but in the latter case it is replete with meaning and induces an elemental despair, while in the case of “The Following” it’s just gleefully lurid.
Follow the link for the rest of the story, including many discussable points.
In other news and commentary:
Bloggers and C.S. Lewis fans: Review blog Pages Unbound is hosting a C.S. Lewis read-along throughout the month of February. Ways to participate include reviewing Lewis books or hosting discussions on your own blog, sending in guest posts to the Pages Unbound proprietors, and simply following along to read and/or comment on Lewis’ oeuvre.
The conference is over. There are many still at Universal Studios, some perhaps enjoying a “dive-in movie” at the Royal Pacific lagoon pool: tonight, it’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on the big screen. My family and I have moved on to the Coronado Springs Resort at Disney, and based on our experience so far, we wish we were back at Universal. We haven’t been in a park yet, of course, so that may all change once we see Sophia’s face light up at Winnie the Pooh, Mickey, and Pluto.
Mostly, it’s sad to suddenly be away from so many of my Potter friends after having such a brief time with them. I tried to soak up every minute of lit-geek conversation over meals with John Granger, James Thomas, Elizabeth Baird Hardy, Katie Langr and Joel Hunter. I thoroughly enjoyed wandering around the Wizarding World of Harry Potter with Susan Shirley, Rebecca, Greg, Penny and the others I happened to run into while exploring Hogsmeade and Hogwarts. I didn’t have anywhere near enough time to catch up with Melissa, John Noe, Frak, Andrew Slack, Jonathan Rosenthal, Terrance, Denise Roeper, Priscilla Hobbs, Melody Sutton, Stephanie Haney, Chelsea Masterson, and the Gras family. I never even ran into Danielle Tumminio. I didn’t have adequate words to express my appreciation to Jenn Clack, Robin Martin, Nikki Green, Lindsay, Aziza, Flourish, and the countless others from HPEF who made Infinitus the best conference yet. There are so many new and wonderful people I met and names I’m forgetting at the moment.
Ascendio 2012 is much too far away. LeakyCon 2011 will, of course, be a blast.