Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014
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'The Wire' and the Realism Canard

David Simon's The Wire, which is set to soon be re-broadcast in high definition, continues to be hailed, in some corners, as the greatest television show of all time. In an effort to elevate it to the level of high art, many critics (including Simon himself) have reached for comparisons with other, less lumpen forms, from Greek tragedy to Dickens—anything, in short, that isn't a television show. But Linda Williams, a professor of film studies and rhetoric at Berkeley, in her new book, On The Wire, thinks that the show's greatest accomplishment is its use of melodrama. I talked to Williams last month about melodrama and [...]

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An Interview with Black Metal's Green Prophet (of Doom)

Alan Weisman's 2007 The World Without Us is a lushly bleak non-fiction vision of apocalyptic utopia—a scientific extrapolation of what would happen if all the people on earth disappeared, all at once. Our parasites and dependents would die; carnivores would thrive; trees would push their way up through the asphalt; bridges would fall; nuclear power plants would fail, spilling radiation into the countryside, poisoning the land for millennia; plastics would be everywhere, virtually forever; and the earth would go on.

I asked Otrebor, the one-man force behind the black metal, green freak band Botanist, if he'd ever read Weisman's book. He said he hadn't, but that hasn't stopped him [...]

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