This has been a beloved internet classic for several years. If you like Ken Burns, have a quirky taste in N.P.R. or P.B.S., or simply enjoy pushing Americans’ racial hypersensitivity buttons, then you will love this rated R documentary, the Old Negro Space Program:
The whole production is golden, but I appreciate two things in particular: the 1957/58 joke (“It was a different time . . .”) and Dr. Warren Fingeroot. I know Dr. Fingeroot—many instantiations and variations of him.
By the way, the writer, Andy Bobrow, who played the professor, also worked on Malcolm in the Middle, which I really enjoyed.
If you attend what Americans call a “Renaissance Festival,” you will see, gathered in one place, the diverse elements of American geekdom. These so-called faire are not so much concerned with the Renaissance as with fantasy in general. Typically, they have a given themed year, usually involving Henry VIII and one of his unfortunate brides. Nonetheless, every SCA freak within a 200 mile radius descends upon the festival to live out a day of fantasy among his own kind. Sincere—or stoned—neo-pagans, Latin traditionalists, English teachers with a fancy for Shakespeare and everything Elizabethan, hordes of fratboys with a fetish for pirates, D&D tramps, pale and emaciated WoW victims, Conan the Barbarian devotees who fancy dark age chic, folks with a taste for the Arthurian, and, naturally, Trekkies defy time-lines and sensibility as they don their gay apparel and revel in superb silliness.
Adam and I had a fine time at Warwick’s festival in England; the skillful jousting, the real castle, and the historic significance of the place made it a real contender for best time-travelling festival. However, the British lack the flexible jollity of American nerds, who have a certain monopoly on geek taste. Warwick was like Jamestown or Williamsburg with more attitude and flair. To see the real deal, you must have a fake castle.
My favorite American RenFest is definitely Maryland’s Renaissance Festival . . . it makes for a very fun day. There are stage performances and travelling entertainers all day, along with endless shops for armor, body piercings, or period costumes, dozens of ways to consume food without utensils, and some opportunities for learning history. The artisans are usually very informative, and they take a lot of pride in their work. After all, there are not many traditional bowyers around anymore; even eccentric exclusivity brings pride.
At Maryland’s festival, I highly recommend Johnny Fox, Hack and Slash, and The O’Danny Girls. Besides these shows, there are real elephants, dunk-a-wench games, castle wall climbing, cirque du soleil-type acts, dog shows, and perhaps the best people watching available outside of comic/sci-fi conventions. Really, it’s a freak magnet; I love it!
Supposedly, the biggest Renaissance festival is in Texas—obviously, right? Well, I would like to see how the Lone Star State presents the faire . . . maybe next year.
I love the internet; it offers us such a bounty of tawdry goods without end. Several years ago, I came upon the Postmodernism Generator, which is a fitting testament to the idiocy of reason’s enemies. The generator is a clever program that pieces together strings of postmodern catch phrases into something suggestive of cognitive human thought. Naturally, it must fall significantly short of logical argumentation or else the semblance to postmodern scholarship would be ruined and the parody would not hold.
Each time that you reload the page, the mindless code produces a new set of similarly senseless rubbish. You can find many precious gems. In a trial case, we get,
“Sexual identity is fundamentally a legal fiction,” says Sontag; however, according to la Fournier, it is not so much sexual identity that is fundamentally a legal fiction, but rather the futility of sexual identity. The subject is interpolated into a that includes language as a whole. But the premise of textual nationalism implies that class, perhaps surprisingly, has intrinsic meaning.”
The joy never ends!
The generator’s host site, Communications from Elsewhere, also links to Alan Sokal’s Social Text affair, which humiliated and outraged humanities departments for exposing them to be the misologic posers that they are.
Finally, sensible academic subversion . . .
This “fun realm” is a useful substitute for forwarding links to friends and crowding their e-mail accounts with, “You got to see this!” If you are guilty of FW: harrassment, maybe you should start a blog, too. If, however, you are a victim of such behavior, you will likely sympathize with the girl from The Onion’s “E-Mail From Aunt Accidentally Opened.”
Well, I discovered the following delightful video over the summer, “The Yum Yum Train” from Robot Chicken:
I love the baby at the end.