Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Book 'Em, Danno

Well, it's been a bit busy, what with getting ready for the beginning of the semester and then getting it off to a good start, and various and sundry other matters, mainly revolving around the written and printed word.  So, books have been on my mind, hey, it's an occupational hazard, and that being the case, the appeal of this video, The Joy of Books, which was first brought to my attention by my friend, Eric McLuhan, should be clear enough to see.  So go ahead, look, look and see:

And here's some text from the video's YouTube page:

After organizing our bookshelf almost a year ago (http://youtu.be/zhRT-PM7vpA), my wife and I (Sean Ohlenkamp) decided to take it to the next level. We spent many sleepless nights moving, stacking, and animating books at Type bookstore in Toronto (883 Queen Street West, (416) 366-8973).

Everything you see here can be purchased at Type Books.
Grayson Matthews (http://www.graysonmatthews.com/) generously composed the beautiful, custom music. You can download it here: http://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/awakenings-single/id496796623  

Now, despite the obvious charms of this piece, which is kind of  a Toy Story for books, it is not without its critics.  My friend Bob Blechman, who recently published a book of his own, Executive Severance, which I told you all about in my last post, Twistery Illustrated, left the following critical comment when I shared the video over on Facebook (and since he left the comment on my profile page, I figure I have enough rights to it to include it here, so don't go get on your sopa box about theft of intellectual property or nothing):

So...books become animated, that is, the content of animation. A book shop seems like the memory core of a mainframe computer. Display of visible movement of books on shelves replaces static perusal of stationary text. Though marvelous in scope and execution, this film has nothing to do with the process of reading, which is what books are really all about. Nice promotion for animation though.

Bob's comments remind me of Neil Postman's critique of Sesame Street, that the use of television and televisual techniques, including commercial advertising formats, to teach about the alphabet and reading,  in effect taught much more about watching television than anything else.  But then again, why shouldn't Bob echo Neil, since Bob was one of Neil's students, hence his self-described status as a model media ecologist.

And while I will grant Bob his point, I do think that this video is a celebration of the book as an object, the look and visual appeal of the book, of books, plural, in great number.  It captures something of the love affair of book lovers with the object of their affections, or if you prefer, their fetish.  I would go so far as to say, along the lines of some of McLuhan's commentary, that the video appeals to the tactile quality of book fondling (a topic Gary Gumpert used to bring up in his Mass Media lecture class, which I did lecture support for when I was an MA student), and even the scent, the aroma, the olfactory appeal of this most substantial of print media.

But lest this post be seen as too bookish, let me note that the title of the post is a reference to the classic line from the old TV series (not the remake) Hawaii 5-0.  At the end of the episode, when the bad guys were caught, the lead character, Steve McGarrett, famously played by Jack Lord, would utter the immortal words:  Book 'em, Danno!  And after all, that stop-motion animation is a rather arresting development, don't you think?


Robert K. Blechman said...

Lance, no SOPA harm done. What's mine is yours. Can we get together offline to discuss your share of my parental college debt?

Lance Strate said...

no SOPA, radio?

by which I mean, I think if your parents haven't paid off your college debt by now, there's nothing much I can do for you, but if need be, sure, I can do a blog post on it.

Mike Plugh said...

What's a person who deeply belives in SOPA called, anyway? A SOPhist?

Lance Strate said...

Mike, I think it's not so much a matter of deep philosophical differences as it is about wise guys using muscle to protect this thing of ours, SOPAranos style!