Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Monday, March 05, 2007

The form/content conceptual divide has never rung true because the "form" of a piece has always had a huge impact on a how its content -- or meaning -- has been experienced. Form is bound up with tone, and tone can be more important than semantic content.

The substitute formulation I stumbled upon -- prosody/vocabulary -- isn't much better, but it avoids equating "content" with paraphrasable verbiage.

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I'm looking forward to seeing Music & Lyrics, the new movie musical with Hugh Grant & Drew Barrymore -- two charming screen presences -- and songs by Adam Schlesinger, who wrote the title song to That Thing You Do, which I love. Jody Rosen sent me a link to the movie’s big ballad, and it's totally sweet and catchy. Several months ago I got obsessed with the soundtrack to That Thing You Do, that Beatles pastiche. Very smart that the filmmakers didn't try to imitate the Beatles exactly, and modernized the sound, with much louder drums and contemporary mixes -- and nobody tried to sing like any of the Beatles. Also it interested me that the licks lifted from Beatles records were from Beatles covers -- a little guitar lick from "Mr. Moonlight," another figure from another cover that's slipping my mind right now. But listen to the stuff back-to-back with With the Beatles, and there's no comparison, obviously. Tom Hanks wrote or co-wrote most of the non-Beatle-esque songs, and they're jokier and less skillfully managed (though my son really likes the New Christy Minstrels-esque "Lovin' You Lots and Lots" and it's become a catch phrase for him). The subject of imitation in music is endlessly interesting. McCartney early in his career was a talented mimic whose gift obscured his own personality, to his detriment as a vocal presence; for the most part I'd rather hear George's relatively weaker but more distinctive voice than Paul's Little Richard (or, on the BBC Sessions, Elvis) imitations.

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Thinking more about Mr. Clover's talk on politics that I posted on last night, and another slick rhetorical trick he slipped in there: Positing the completely truth-valueless notion that only "a jot" separates the D's from the R's. Mr. Corey found Clover's talk "unimpeachable," but Seth in Corey's comments section nailed the truth-valuelessness of the "jot" idea -- really, it's not reality-based, and it's designed to depress inattentive liberal-leaning voters, to persuade them not to vote; Clover's calls to activism are half-hearted and uninspired, and even if he personally is an activist, that's not where his rhetorical heart is, his rhetorical heart is in obfuscating and denying differences between the two major American parties. I'm sick of listing the myriad significant material differences, but I will say that I'm glad to see that Senator Jim Webb has introduced legislation forbidding Bush from taking military action against Iran without express Congressional approval.

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My beloved spouse's sister sent this to us: William Shatner live with Joe Jackson. Rockin'!

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