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Louis Theroux’s The Call of the Weird

Cover of "The Call of the Weird: Travels ...

Cover via Amazon

In The Call of the Weird, Louis Theroux revisits people in various American subcultures that he covered in a BBC documentary series over 10 years ago. He reconnects and reexamines porn stars, a white supremist stage mother who’s Aryan twin daughters are recording pro-white hits, rappers, Ike Turner, who’s living in a parallel universe to keep his ego in tact, or so it seems, a Get-Rich-Quick motivator and more. Theroux relates the difficulties he has getting in touch with these folks and is genuinely surprised by those who agree to see him. He writes well and examines not only the weird people, but his equally weird relation to them all.

It’s an interesting read. I’d never have known about these folks otherwise. I liked learning about them from a safe distance.

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2011 in contemporary, non-fiction

 

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Chaucer and the Canterbury Tales

From the archives:

My inattention to my Netflix queue landed a documentary on Chaucer, that I placed there last February, but it was unavailable then, in my mailbox. I watched it anyway though I had no particular urge to see it. Chaucer & the Canterbury Taleswound up being an edifying, though sometimes dry, look at Chaucer’s life and times. I learned a lot about the peasant revolt, the early stirrings against church corruption and how Medieval politics and government worked. The people were beginning to be more involved than I expected. I had never heard of this major peasant revolt against the baronage. The peasants wanted a good king to rule with no self-interested class in between. (They’d have seen a self-interested king as a tyrant.)

Terry Jones from Monty Python offered lots of interesting commentary. That was a high point. The weakness of the documentary was the long narration. The visuals were fitting when they should art of the period or some of the building from that time, but often it got repetitive. It seemed they were at a loss as to how to visualize Chaucer’s life and times. I do see this as good for students learning about Chaucer, because they’ll get a lot of information, though I’d probably break down the viewings to half hour segments.

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2011 in British Lit

 

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