Reading: 10-16 March 2013

Photograph by Rebecca Curry

Reading 10-16 March 2013 (ZiR)

Jennifer Dean, Zeteo Contributor

[One in an ongoing series of posts. For the full series see Zeteo is Reading.]

12 March 2013
On the subway ride home from the company that rented me equipment for my weekend film shoot I started reading Martin Scorsese’s introduction to Vachel Lindsay’s The Art of the Moving Picture. Scorsese decided to publish books on film, paying homage to the books that affected him as a youth. He writes:

Although film is primarily a visual medium, it combines elements from all the arts – literature, music, painting and dance. For my first list of books, I have chosen two that reflect the felicitous merger of words and images: one by a literary journalist and the other by a poet.

I could not help but think of my experiences over the weekend – reading visual images on a screen and how much I read before venturing to explore the creation of the visual and the difference between the written exploration of a subject and the doing of it…

13 March 2013

I read the article today on Google’s settlement in regards to one of its privacy violation cases in the New York Times by David Streitfeld – Google Concedes That Drive-by Prying Violated Privacy. The settlement means Google must police themselves and prevent future violations. The journalist quotes Consumer Watchdog,

asking Google to educate consumers about privacy is like asking the fox to teach the chickens how to ensure the security of their coop.

I couldn’t help but think what does privacy mean to people in this day and age when “free” services such as Facebook and Google charge people not by asking for money from their users but information?

Another quote from the article refers to a “rogue engineer” –

The company blamed a rogue engineer for the operation. But the Federal Communications Commission said the engineer had worked with others and had tried to tell his superiors what he was doing. He was less a rogue than simply unsupervised, the agency said. The F.C.C. last spring fined Google $25,000 for obstructing its investigation.

Keeping with the theme I began yesterday of the interplay between the word and the image – film and language, the above reminded me of The Conversation and Enemy of the State – something very evocative in terms of character about the phrase “rogue engineer.”

14 March 2013

Went to the stack of old New Yorker’s sitting on my side table today to read while on the go. The stack always provides a safe grab of interesting reading even when months old. An article on urban planning post-Hurricane Sandy addressed the issues of climate change and the desire to negate its effects.

For the past decade and a half, governments around the world have been investing in elaborate plans to “climate-proof” their cities – protecting people, businesses, and critical infrastructure against weather-related calamities.

Whether they come from governments or civil society, the best techniques for safeguarding cities don’t just mitigate disaster damage; they also strengthen the networks that promote health and prosperity during ordinary times.

15 March 2013

Reading the text of The Art of the Moving Picture by Vachel Lindsay (first published in 1915 – the second edition revised in 1922). It’s interesting to delve into a poet from the early nineteenth century’s view of the moving image. Lindsay proclaims:

I am the one poet who has a right to claim for his muses Blanche Sweet, Mary Pickford, and Mae Marsh.

Lindsay carried around poems in his pocket for sale on the street and titled some “Rhymes to be Traded for Bread.” In The Art of the Moving Picture he poetically describes his experiences as an audience member in the cinema and advises,

Sit on the front seat, where no one can hear your whisperings but Mary Pickford on the screen. She is but a shadow there, and will not mind.

Final Lindsay quote of the day:

American civilization grows more hieroglyphic every day. The cartoons of Darling, the advertisements in the back of magazines and on the bill-boards and in the street-cars, the acres of photographs in the Sunday newspapers, make us into a hieroglyphic civilization far nearer to Egypt than England.


Photograph by Rebecca Curry


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