Sunday, April 12, 2009

"and it's all because of...."

In honor of Zombie Jesus Day, I thought I'd recommend something a little less crass and commercial than that. I thought about recommending the word "monetize," because in the past 24 hours, it has rapidly become my new favorite word, and I had lots of exciting dreams last night about playing it in Scrabble.

But, I have to slow down before I can make blogging moves like that. Both in Scrabble and on my blog. As it is, right now, I am barely a piece of flotsam floating through the storied "blogosphere," and it'd be in poor taste to make an opening gambit into a bingo. I think I just mixed games there. Um, where was I? Oh yes.

Anyway, apparently not everyone was on board with my attempt to give a crowd-pleasing recommendation yesterday. Some people get migraines from coffee; some people just don't like it (...). Some people are just contrarians. So let me try again.

Therefore, today I am recommending an old favorite of mine.

Today's recommendation is...
The (Your Name Here) Story (Calvin Communications) is a 1960 film made for a convention of industrial filmmakers. I first saw this film in an excellent course on industrial and sponsored film that I took as part of my Master's degree.

(n.b.: I can't get this to embed properly; to see it in its full glory please click here & sorry for the inconvenience & please come back & click on some ads!

It is a brilliant piece of insider commentary that raises a lot of theoretical questions (I am trying to write a paper on this in another window. Like right now. unfortunately, my paper adds more questions than it answers, and does so both naively and inarticulately).

Most films of the sort that they are parodying - industrial films pre-1960 - do not survive, at least not in forms where lay people can readily see them. I think many were disposable objects, never meant to be viewed outside of their immediate context. Their contribution to history is all the more fascinating because of their stubborn situation as objects totally situated in their present.

But unlike most of those films, The (Your Name Here) Story addresses future and past in its acknowledgment of the greater body of industrial films and attempts to make summing statements in its parody, which attempts to create an all-purpose industrial film. Its parodic rewriting of hegemonic Western history speaks volumes. Its slippage of address and proto-interactivity are both hallmarks of postmodernism and antecedents of hypertexts.

Also, the hats worn in this film have little parallel in modern cinema.

The way this film dances around the central characteristics of these films - the way it plays with the edges of what can and cannot be said - the way it implies a lot, says very little directly, and still manages to make us laugh, even nearly 50 years after the fact - is one of the reasons that The (Your Name Here) Story is my recommendation for today. Ironically, if you have never seen any other industrial films, this one really is an all-purpose film, and as so many others have faded and crumbled - literally! - it has inadvertently achieved its goal.

Watch, enjoy, and let me know if you like this better than Coffee or Clicking on Our Ads. Also let me know if the embedding doesn't work.

yr. humble servant,


  1. That is awesome.
    However, when I first glanced at this entry, I was hoping there'd be a video about the word "monetize." That would have also been awesome.

  2. A., if you find a video about the word "monetize," i may recommend it at a later date.

  3. i agree with you.

    ...those are some pretty sweet hats.


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