The Prisoner - Old and New

I wanted to like the new version of The Prisoner on AMC but so far it’s been a failure. A big part of the problem is the absence of Patrick McGoohan. He was the key to the success of the original series and Caviezel is an inadequate replacement. What made McGoohan so good was his anger and a sense of danger. You really felt like he wanted to destroy the whole village if he didn’t escape.

Professionalizing Academia and Breaking Bad

Marc Bousquet rants eloquently about the crisis of the humanities and the academy.  What I really like in this recent post, When “Bad” is Right, is the righteous indignation he builds up about professionalism and the generally absurd connection management literature has implanted in our heads between profession and success. In this vein, “professionalism” is today more of an ideology than a lifeway. As an ideology useful to one’s employers, for instance, professionalism as devotion to one’s clients, the public good, and the culture of one’s field is clearly a vector for the super-exploitation of all kinds of other workers, from retail sales to schoolteachers.

Gross Comedy and the Origin of Slapstick

I was watching a few of my favorite episodes from Ren and Stimpy on DVD last night and I started thinking about comedy and taste. Commedia dell’Arte is a form of improvisational comedy theater which flourished in Italy from the 16th to the 18th century. It consisted of stock plots, and characters, which were often adapted to fit the local audience. I was reading up on this subject for last Tuesday’s book club, The Innamorati by Midori Snyder.