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June 30, 2013


I would love to go see The Nose at the Met.

In need of revival/adaptation/resurfacing (I'm going with "limit one" since "all American avant-garde music of the 1930s" seems like a stretch):

Jurgen - James Branch Cabell

In need of figurative earth-salting:

Eh, I'm not much for banning books. But, since you asked, I do harbor a particular distaste for poisonous hypocrite Ayn Rand's dreadful prose (not to mention the litany of utter crap it's currently somehow legitimizing).

I think The Book of Revelations has done more harm to Western culture than almost any other work, and wish it had been suppressed.

"like the cat who ate cheese and sat just outside the mousehole, with bated breath!"

For that joke to really work, you need to spell it "baited"; 'bated' (Abated, or held) breath wouldn't get the scent out.

I've got plenty of candidates, my several thousand volume collection of classic SF paperbacks had to be sold to a dealer for pennies on the dollar when I moved from Michigan, no room in the moving van.

Jurgen was a fine book, I'm more of a Dunsany fan, but both are in print, so that kind of misses the point, no?

Mike Jitlov, the modern master of stop motion animation, made a series of incredible shorts, ranging from the full length "Wizard of Speed and Time" to the reworked commercial "Fashionation". All are real gems, none are available on modern media. (Well, the movie is available on ancient VHS.)

For the other leg of the matter, I'm the kind of guy who keeps Das Kapital on the shelf next to The Wealth of Nations. Censorship isn't my gig.

Brett, I changed that to bated, because that is the traditional spelling, dr ngo had it as baited and I just missed the joke as I was doing it on the shinkansen with intermittent connectivity.

On my shelf Churchill (WW2, one volume edition) stands next to Stalin (Questions of Leninism. Boring!!!). One day a legal edition of Mein Kampf will hopefully join them.

Probably not necessary in English speaking countries but over here Kipling could do with a revival (and proper editions). Most think the Jungle Book is by Disney. Stalky & Co is one of my all-time favourites but is virtually unknown.

There is so much worthy of suppression that we better don't start at all. And I am not just talking about stuff that I disgree with on political or religious terms but the neverending flood of bad 'art' (music, literature, visual) and the accompanying freak show. Surprisingly the standard book on that topic got published already in 1912 (Gustav E. Pazaurek:
Guter und schlechter Geschmack im Kunstgewerbe) and has lost litte relevancy since then. Don't get me wrong, I do not want to impose my personal taste on others but a bit more of a sense of quality should be instilled into the public.

In terms of bad art, I'm rather put out with the way rap 'cover' versions of some of my favorites manage to completely displace the originals. But I'm not so certain this is a matter of quality rather than taste.

You want boring, I've got an original edition of Korzybski's "Science and Sanity", (The seminal work of general semantics.) which I only pull out when I'm having trouble falling asleep. Which is not to say that it isn't an important work, in an historical kind of way. Just sleep inducing.

I think every kid should have what I had, which is an all-in-one edition of The Jungle Book, Kim, and Just So Stories.

Also, there's something magical about a bound set of encyclopedias. We had Childcraft, which of course we got as a gift, but later my father picked up a complete set of (rather antiquated) Britannica at an estate sale, along with a whole lot of other really good things like The Republic and similar hardbound classics. That magical thing is not really much present in online sources, I think.

Also (repeating myself) Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth.

Oh. Redos of songs are sometimes good, but mostly not. Limp Bizkit's redo of Behind Blue Eyes was so unnecessary that I would consider violating my normal aversion to censorship to expunge it forever from all recording media. Including YouTube.

The Fugees' reprocessing of Roberta Flack's Killing Me Softly With His Song was a step backward, and can be forgotten. In my opinion. And I like Lauryn Hill; I just don't think she's quite good enough to justify an attempt to improve on Roberta Flack.

Which is hard to do, IMO. Just giving it a beat so you can dance to it isn't enough.

Brett: Jurgen was a fine book, I'm more of a Dunsany fan, but both are in print, so that kind of misses the point, no?

Sure, but no one seems to know about it. I'm thinking an opera (or, I suppose, a film) version is warranted. It's full of delicious motivic bons mots and so forth.

Admittedly I suffer from trashophilia cinematica. No, not the kind the Emmerichs of this world produce, more in the line of The Golden Nazi Vampire of Absam II (Absam is a place in Austria, there is no part I. It's a rather competetntly made homage to trash movies made by German film students).

Revive: Baum - the Oz books. The Wizard of Oz is far from the best of the bunch, but any of them rank with the greatest children's books.

Plow under and sow with salt: Joyce - Prortait of the Artist as a Young Man and, especially, Ulysses. As I recall telling my Comp Lit professor many years ago, "Joyce's problem is that he doesn't know how to handle the English language." And continuing to inflict his scribblings on students is unconscionable.

I wish I could find a copy of jazz guitarist Mick Goodrick's voice leading almanac. Some things just shouldn't be allowed to go out of print.

Here's a cover of an old chestnut that's so bad it's good again.

Re The Phantom Tollbooth, just watched the 1970 movie on TCM.

A book back in print that deserves more attention than it has gotten:

Baseball Has Done It by Jackie Robinson

London after Midnight

I've been dreaming of somebody digging up a print since I saw stills at the age of ten, but I'm pretty sure that ship has sailed.

Googling reveals that the joke about "bated breath" comes from Geoffrey Taylor's "Cruel, Clever Cat" (1933):

Sally, having swallowed cheese
Directs down holes the scented breeze
Enticing thus with baited breath
Nice mice to an untimely death.

Most of you will no doubt rest easy knowing that none of my college term papers will ever see the light of day.

I'm no great fan of censorship, especially of books, since one does not usually crowd another off of the shelves. (There are exceptions; I was once asked to review a specialized Historical Dictionary that was not only a travesty of scholarship in itself, but that had, by its very existence, prevented a rival - putatively better - from ever being completed.)

The same is not always so for plays, movies, and the like. I would opt for a permanent moratorium on the Disneyfication of certain children's classics, such as The Jungle Book, Peter Pan, and Winnie the Pooh. By Gresham's Law, they have all but driven out the far superior original books from the consciousness of today's kids.

Won't somebody Think Of The Children?!

Henry: I knew the joke was not original with me, but never considered Googling its origins. (It's actually older than I am.) Were I to expose all my "humor" to such rigorous examination, I'm afraid I would be a sad old man, instead of a cheerfully deluded one.

I am still waiting (in horror) for a Disneyfied Titus Andronicus. They did The Hunchback of Notre Dame for Rabid Bambi's sake!

I am still waiting (in horror) for a Disneyfied Titus Andronicus.

The film with Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange, directed by Julie Taymor, was one of the most disturbing things I've ever watched in my life.

Rabid Bambi would be an interesting take on the original.

While we are at possible movie titles ;-)

Malcolm XI
Malcolm XI meets Malcolm Y
Bambi III (Bambi catches rabies)
Bambi IV (Rabid Bambie vs. the bumbling rabbits)
Hamlet III - The Return of Yorick
Fantasia 2010 (featuring the Jupiter Symphony and The Planets)
Dillinger is Alive (and well and living in Power Cable, Nebraska)
The Producers II-IV (Summertime for Stalin, Fall for Mao, Winter for Kim Il Sung)
(aka known as A Dictator for All Seasons series)
Alien V - Ripley goes to Washington
Indiana Jones and the Fireplace of the Witch of Endor
Indiana Jones and the Tripod of Nostradamus
Indiana Jones meets Tomb Raider
Friday 13th #? - Jason Slays the (teen) Argonauts
Matrix IV - Revolting
Some like it Lukewarm
The Small Blue Two
High Noon II - Half Past Five
Mary M - The Other Passion of the Christ
Mary M II - Revenge of Mary M
Mary M III - The Return of Judas
Mary M IV - Mary M Meets the Wife of Pilate
Mary M V - Mary M and the 4 Gospel Singers
Spin-Off Series : The Marvelous Apostles (vs. the marauding apostates)
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Sequel
All the Vice-President's Men
Godfather IV - The Quiet Don
Mr.&Mrs. Smith go to Washington (again)
James Bond - Spies Ring Twice
Escape from N.O.
Star Wars VII - Lack of a Plot
Full Kevlar Jacket
Mobina Slender
The Second Coming of Brian
Imhotiti - Mummy's Daughter
House of Flying Spoons (prequel with forks in development stage)
Missionary Impossible
Womb Raider II - The Return of Scrotus
A Tunnel too short (fusion of The Great Escape and A Bridge too Far)
Fragging Corporal Ryan
The Thick Blue Line
Professor Shivago
Santa Clause's conquest reaches Uranus
Gandhi II - Now he has had it with non-violent resistance
Vegetarierinnen zur Fleischeslust gezwungen (lit: vegans coerced into carnal desires)
(that's a real title, the English translation loses a bit of the connotations)
The public life of Henry IX (the very first Hammer movie, no surviving copies known)
Titanic II - the Lusitania (Kate Winslet takes another cold bath, this time with Elijah Wood)
I know what you'll do next summer
The Michelangelo Chiffre
Amadeus II (How Schubert murdered Beethoven)
The Euro of Zorro
The Dirigible of the Blind Dead (Das Luftschiff der fliegenden Leichen)
New Birthday of Dracula
Divorce of Frankenstein
Ghost Bikers in the Sky
Dr.Strangelove II - Mineshaft Gap

The comments have brought back many memories. I used to spend 2 weeks each summer near Cooperstown at my grandparents' farm, and worked my way through a 1930 edition of the Book of Knowledge, by Grolier, if memory serves. It was meant for young people, but written at a level far beyond what most young peoples' encyclopedias today would dare try. It was also chock full of assurance about things that were not so, or were, even then, obviously debatable. As for remakes and Roberta Flack, early in my relationship with the woman (African-American, the relevance of which will appear) now my wife, Dylan's "Just Like a Woman" came on the car radio and she asked who was ruining Roberta Flack's beautiful song. Reader, I married her anyway. As for the Malcolm X movie, it came out just after Xavier "X-Man" McDaniel had been traded from the N.Y. Knicks. Every time I saw someone with the black baseball cap with the white X that had been part of the film promotion, I'd remark that I never knew McDaniel had been such a fan favorite.

The reason Andrew Borde's treatise on hasn't been reprinted it that's been lost. Well, that's what it says in the introduction to the 1870 printing of another of his treatises. The 1870 edition does, however, include the text of Barnes in the defence of the berde: a treatyse made, answerynge the treatyse of Doctor Borde upon berdes, which suggests that the facially-hirsuite won out in sixteenth-century England, at least.

As for Pippin how can you possibly suggest reviving a show in which Louis the Pious is incorrectly said to be the son of Fastrada?

I didn't suggest reviving Pippin, I recorded the fact that this revival had occurred (and had won numerous awards).

We report, you decide.

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