20 minutes of Shame and the Knight of the Woeful Countenance

(I wrote the original version of this post yesterday, conscientiously using Word in case Blogger proved tricksy as it has with past drafts. Alas, my version of Word was suddenly possessed by a demon of deletion, which crashed the program just as I attempted to save my post. So I took a day to mourn its loss before trying again.)

I have just been bobbing along of late, trying to accomplish a plethora of irritating tasks (you know, minor ones, like submitting the final, revised copy of my dissertation, and trying to get a job). I have been devoting most of my time to preparing Don Quixote for class, which is equal parts delight and weight-lifting (both intellectual and physical), but I have also been trying to put my toe back in the water of blogging, blog-reading, actual reading, and movie-watching, after many months of starvation in all of those activities. Last night I finished off both The Bitter Tea of General Yen and Ingmar Bergman’s Shame while trying to get to sleep, and enjoyed them both tremendously. I will admit that my schedule is still crazy enough that I am forced to watch films episodically, rewarding myself for having completed fixed work goals with a short segment of film. This is hardly an ideal way to watch a movie, but it has created a rather odd feature in my work planning over the last several days: my To Do list has been dotted regularly with entries that read “20 minutes of Shame.”

So here are a few more notes before I have to return to the Knight of the Woeful Countenance.


Polaroid has announced that it will stop producing film, and Geoff Dyer writes a wonderful essay that reflects on the peculiarities of a form that is photographic but not endlessly reproducible - a photograph for which there can be only one copy in existence, and where you can be almost certain that every subject performed the exact same ritual mere moments after it was taken (flap flap flap – [peer peer] – “not ready yet” – flap flap flap). How often can you suppose such unity of experience for the subjects of any other art form?


Iliana at Bookgirl’s Nightstand was seeking suggestions for literary podcasts to listen to on her iPod, and this led me down the long procrastinatory lane of wondering which podcasts on a range of different subjects I would deem my favorites at the moment. (I am, you see, a mad podcast fiend. If there were a podcast den where people did nothing all day but listen to talk radio and its offspring on their iPods, I would be there. Actually, my podcast addiction mostly rears its ugly head when I am doing what I might call transitional tasks that preclude reading, like doing the dishes or walking to work.)

So, a list. What are my favorite podcasts right now?
1) On film: Filmspotting
2) On food: KCRW's Good Food (thanks for recommending this one, R!)
3) On poetry: alt.NPR: Poetry Off the Shelf
4) On journalism/media issues: On the Media
5) On literature/cultural events: Start the Week with Andrew Marr
6) On life: This American Life.

Does anyone else have a favorite podcast they would like to share with me, thus becoming an enabler of my rampant addiction?


Last, but not least, a delightful twist of form - a short story in footnotes by Gregory Norminton. I think I will put his novel Serious Things on my “to acquire” list.

2 Responses so far.

  1. Iliana says:

    Thank you so much for the tips! I am getting hooked on these things :)
    I may have mentioned this in my email but have you checked out Nancy Pearl's book lust podcast? You can find her via NPR. I love her and always miss her when she's on the radio so it was nice to find her podcast.

  2. my To Do list has been dotted regularly with entries that read “20 minutes of Shame.”

    I just love the out-of-context gorgeousness of that! :D

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