Again, why didn't I think of this?
Also new to the blogroll are The Speculist and Shakespeare's Sister.
Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of Technorati's/Dave Sefri's State of the Blogosphere, August 2005. Lots of neat-looking charts and graphs and stuff.
In the Realms of the Unreal, as I mentioned earlier, was a very interesting documentary. It was about a guy named Henry Darger, who lived from the 1890s through the early 1970s and worked for most of his life in a series of janitorial jobs in Chicago. He was sent to a home for troubled children when he was a kid, and may or may not have been crazy. He developed a variety of, shall we say, eccentricities, but nothing (as far as anyone can tell) involving anything malicious.
Over the course of about 50 or 60 years, Mr. Darger wrote thousands and thousands of pages and created hundreds and hundreds of elaborate works of art, all for an audience of one. Those of us in the blogosphere can relate. He wrote a memoir and kept a journal, but his Magnum Opus was a 15,000-page epic fantasy novel about a war between good and evil whose protagonists were seven young sisters who led a Christian army against a ruthless, butchering dictator. The accompanying art was as elaborate and bizarre as the text. The artwork included painting, tracings, magazine cut-outs, collages, and combinations of all those things and more. After Darger's death, his artsy landlords discovered all this stuff and have spent the rest of their lives cashing in on it. So, the moral of the story is you should let crazy people live with you because they might make you rich and famous.
I'm not sure where he got the sisters, the armies, or the habit of including himself and his childhood schoolmates as characters in the epic, but I am familiar with a certain part of his mindset. I have a bunch of stuff (books, comics, magazines, newspapers, notebooks, videotapes, albums, puzzles, photographs, doodads, file folders, maps, posters, etc.) all over the place. And, I like them all as they are. The main reason I bought the house I had been living in was so that I wouldn't have to move all that stuff out. Darger, Edward Gorey, and I have the potential to drive the FlyLady to the brink of insanity. Yeah, you heard me, FLyLady. We will prevail. We will.
I'd like to read up on the Darger phenomenon and then watch that film again in six months or so. I'm going to see if the library has this book by John M MacGregor. In the meantime, I tip my hat to Mr. Darger's sticktoitiveness. I wonder what he would have done with the Internet...
Now I also liked The Yes Men -- kind of. It was a documentary about these guys who stumbled into anti-globalization performance art and cyberprotest in which they masquerade as representatives of the World Trade Organization. A couple of things about this. First of all, as I have said before, I think globalization and free trade are by and large positive forces for all involved. And trust me, their fair-trade proselytizing did not make me a convert. Tom Friedman calls this whole movement "The Coalition to Keep Poor People Poor" and I agree with him.
But I like it when people keep the media on their toes, and a large part of the film is spent showing these guys do just that. However, the actual incidents (as opposed to the preparation and debriefing) are fewer and farther between than I surmised from reading the box cover, and their second-to-last achievement was flim-flamming a bunch of idealistic college kids who had not yet learned to think critically and skeptically. As I said the other day, I'm glad I watched it once (twice, counting the DVD commentary) but I don't know if I'd watch it again any time soon.
One of these days I will have to blog about this guy named Captain Janks, who is responsible for most of the (higher quality) phony phone calls to big media outlets, which are subsequently aired by Howard Stern. I will furthermore have to blog about my theories on how Mr. Stern demythologizes celebrities and celebrity culture in a parallel manner to that in which the great Brian Lamb demythologizes politicians and political culture.