Excerpt from Scooby-Doo: A New Critical Analysis (forthcoming)
And thus the Mystery Machine manifestly symbolizes the violent pathos of writing. The “gang” ceaselessly divests their enigmatical foes of their native alterity and diminishes them to a repetition of the same, artifacts of representation. The repetitive structure of the series suggests an eternal return, the human destiny of sublation on an infinite scale; but, ironically, no perfect repetitions occur. Even this structure always already is subverted by Dionysian revelry, reflected blatantly in Scooby and Shaggy’s playful, culinary bacchanal. The gang’s Apollonian crusade is problematized; not even essentialist demarcations between man and beast are spared.
Still Eating Oranges
Blue back and black lines 1-3.
Still Eating Oranges
Great television sometimes hides on lesser-known channels. Take Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s fascinating HitRecord on TV, for example, which plays on Pivot. Or take the Audience Network show Off Camera with Sam Jones—the best interview program on American TV. In each episode, Jones talks to a celebrity for one hour, without edits or commercial breaks. His style is relaxed and conversational; and he never talks longer than necessary. The result is light-years ahead of the typical celebrity interview.
Since Off Camera started last year, it has featured the likes of Dave Grohl, Michael B. Jordan and Laura Dern, among others. In Jones’ hands, each person is allowed to show their depth. Jordan describes his attempt in Fruitvale Station to find Oscar Grant in the conflicting anecdotes of Grant’s friends and family—and the advice he received from Forest Whitaker not to consciously imitate any of those anecdotes. From Dern, we learn that the 21st century longing for fame differs radically from her hopes as a 1970s child. And Grohl tells us why his musical idols are disco drummers.
Jones says that he wants to run a magazine, a television studio and a radio station. With Off Camera, he is well on his way. The show is best experienced visually, but it is also released online in text and audio formats, each with certain advantages. Fourteen episodes of Off Camera have been produced to date, and already it has set a new standard in interview programming. Anyone with an interest in the creative process should watch it; and they may find a good starting point embedded after the break.
I was an invincible knight. Arrows and blades pinged off my armor like pebbles and castles crumbled before my strength. But even an invincible knight has to make that scratch.
So I got myself recruited by a local prince (I can’t give names) to defend his fief. He realized pretty quick that I was more efficient than his whole army put together. To save money, he downsized and put me to work alone. Bandits and such stopped even bothering to harass the villagers, let alone the castle. But the fired knights weren’t happy about their drop in class and pay, and they conspired to overthrow the prince and lock him in his own dungeon. I knew about this and could have stopped them, but I thought they had a point. So I didn’t show up for work that day.
Pretty soon another nameless prince hired me. He had more imagination. His first plan was to use me to annex the neighboring fiefs, but I let him know that, despite my reputation when I was younger, I didn’t do that stuff anymore. So he used me as a deterrent. He put all his defense spending into his economy, and converted his land and people into a production machine. He cornered every goods market. His neighbors were crippled. The work was easy and the pay was good, but I felt guilty. So I left one night.
I didn’t make any friends working for princes. Most people stayed away. Even the princes themselves only had me over for dinner once or twice. I kept to myself, eating apples under trees and such. I didn’t really enjoy fighting, anyway. Poetry was better. So I gave up on the soldier idea. I took a job as a milkman for a little hamlet, far away from anyone who recognized me as an invincible knight. The brisk mornings were nice.
Still Eating Oranges