josh blog

Ordinary language is all right.

One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.

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19 Apr '13 11:16:48 AM

As I work on my TV project, I'm a little intimidated by the idea of images. There are supposed to be powerful images in film; I rarely feel like the power of an image is as important on television, or at least like I'm very good at watching for those images instead of letting them affect me as a matter of habit.

There's a rare powerful image in the season 11 Law & Order episode about a school shooting (around two years after Columbine, which the police and the students refer knowingly to). After Briscoe and Green confiscate a tape of the shooting made by a student (who's trying to sell it because he 'wants to be in the news business'), we cut to the squadroom, exactly when there would normally be a scene in which Briscoe, Green, and Van Buren talk through the kind of routine business they usually have at the beginning of an investigation, while barely interacting with the rest of the squad (save perhaps Profaci—'here's that ballistics report'—in the first nine seasons, and his various successors afterward), which continues to go about its business in the background.

Instead of that, what we see is the entire squad gathered around a TV set, still, rapt, silent, watching the tape. When there's a lull, Briscoe interjects: 'He's reloading'. Green flinches when the shots resume. The last image shown from the tape, as the shooting seems to have died out after the shooter runs away, is of one of his classmates, unharmed, frozen at her table, hiding her face in her hands.

The first shot in the scene, the first thing on our screens, is the screen they're watching, so that we know we're watching (people) watching TV.

The next shot, of the squad, is set up with the camera just a little bit higher than usual for a point-of-view shot of a conversation. The squad's TV set is at lower right, placed as if the speaking partner in the conversation.

The tape of the shooting is shot, just like the show is, on a handheld camera.

19 Apr '13 10:30:24 AM

What can you see, if you watch people talk?

18 Apr '13 11:30:33 PM

Something something Burma Shave

18 Apr '13 09:59:44 PM

More snow.

18 Apr '13 07:46:36 AM

'… one learns that without this trust in one's experience, expressed as a willingness to find words for it, without thus taking an interest in it, one is without authority in one's own experience. (In a similar mood, in The Claim of Reason, I speak of being without a voice in one's own history.) I think of this authority as the right to take an interest in your own experience. I suppose the primary good of a teacher is to prompt his or her students to find their way to that authority; without it, rote is fate. The world, under minimum conditions of civilization, could not without our cooperation so thoroughly contrive to separate us from this authority. Think of it as learning neither to impose your experience on the world nor to have it imposed upon by the world. (These are sorts of distortions of reason Kant calls fanaticism and superstition.) It is learning freedom of consciousness, which you might see as becoming civilized. Unless spoken from such a position, why should assertions concerning the value of, for example, film be of any concern to us?'

18 Apr '13 05:31:44 AM

'you ain't nice / regardless of your publishin deal / you can't write'

18 Apr '13 04:25:48 AM

The way culture works is that there can be people who want to get into Dylan, people who can't get into Dylan, people who refuse to try to get into Dylan, and people who can't see how you could not be into Dylan, and mostly when they talk to each other nobody feels like anything anyone else says could really be sincere or at all in touch with reality, kind of inexplicably, since how hard can it be to listen to a record? Then they talk some more about it.

17 Apr '13 11:15:21 PM

A typo, 'septics'.

17 Apr '13 11:25:32 AM

'…all / The dreary intercourse of daily life…'