[Five Deadly Everythings]

The Week in Culture

Posted in link dump, week in review by Jef on May 30, 2009

Reading Roundup: 05/24/09 – 05/30/09

It's finally official: Jughead is in love with Archie.

It's finally official: Jughead is totally in love with Archie.

Articles after the jump.

  • Newsweek looks at Sesame Street for the landmark program’s 40th anniversary. Lisa Guernsey notes that the street has seen sunnier days, currently languishing in 15th place against other children’s shows according to Nielsen. That doesn’t mean the show isn’t relevant, however. Guernsey says that Sesame Street addressed post-9/11 feelings better than most adult shows based in New York, and she also writes of fascinating developments in a Middle Eastern version where Israeli Muppets could only visit the Palestinian side of the street with permission (they currently don’t even exist on the same program anymore). [How Sesame Street Changed the World]
  • New York magazine uses Woody Allen’s new film starring Larry David to not only retrace the steps of the two comedians over the course of their careers, but also to celebrate the legacy of New York Jewish humour in Hollywood. However, there’s not much of a resurgence going on. Mark Harris shows obvious love for his topic and it certainly is a grand one; but Allen’s new film is based on an old screenplay he wrote in the days before he defected to European locales and sensibilities. Harris does note that Allen tackled the Whatever Works script because of the writer’s strike not because of a return to form, but it’s done almost in passing. Bittersweet, much? [Twilight of the Tummlers]
  • Walrus blogger Sean Rogers unearths a classic for us, sharing his love of a classic, underground manga called “Nejishiki” or “Screw-Style.” Rogers says the 1968 story by Yoshiharu Tsuge is one of the few landmarks of Japanese comics to be noted by western fans and writers. Rogers ably outlines the story and details the artist’s technique and the post includes some beautiful scanned artwork from, as he calls him, “one of our finest living cartoonists.” [Classic manga: “Screw-Style”]
  • If obscure Japanese comics aren’t your thing, how about something a lil’ more All-American? Everybody knows that Archie is going to propose to Veronica this August in a tale written by Batman movie producer Michael Uslan (I think it’s safe to say this storyline is as much a way of testing the water for an Archie movie as it is a stunt to sell books), but do you actually know the history? Macleans provides this handy summary so you can act like you always knew who the fuck Cheryl Blossom was: [Archie, Betty and Veronica: A Timeline] 
  • Another childhood favourite is finding new life not through gimmicky event storytelling, but through nuanced translations into another language. Susan Bernofsky writes for the Wall Street Journal about Donald Duck’s cultured status in Germany after being translated into an erudite, literary version of his bumbling self. “Fuchs applied alliteration liberally, as, for example, in Donald’s bored lament on the beach in “Lifeguard Daze.” In the English comic, he says: “I’d do anything to break this monotony!” The über-gloomy German version: “How dull, dismal and deathly sad! I’d do anything to make something happen.” [Why Donald Duck is the Jerry Lewis of Germany]
  • Reeeeeeach of the Week: The New York Times features a whopping six (online) pages on Zach Galifianakis, the avant-garde comedian who co-stars in the new film The Hangover and who most probably know for awkwardly interviewing Natalie Portman. So what warrants the feature? No doubt Galifianakis is on the radar and set to be a big name, but nothing he’s done so far deserves this large of a word count. It’s like gushing over Steve Carell after Anchorman. John Wray could have written a broader piece on the “indie comedy” movement of which, he writes, Galifianakis is a part; but instead Wray jumps the gun to be the first on the Galifiankis train, regardless of where it’s going or if it’s even taken off yet. By that logic, the Times’ piece on rapper Drake needs another five pages — at least he already has a certified summer hit. [The Making of Zach Galifianakis]
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