Nathan Pensky


The Mixed Magic of “Looper” (SPOILERS)

Looper is an elegant, beautifully rendered time travel story with quality performances and cool action sequences…completely hijacked in its second half by an evil kid who talks like a 50-year-old man.

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The Harry Potter/Glass Family Connection

J.D. Salinger published very little, considering his literary legend. His place in classic American literature of the 20th century is secured mostly by his single novel The Catcher in the Rye, his collection of short fiction Nine Stories, and his series of short stories and novellas known collectively as the Glass Family saga. His idiosyncratic prose and dialogue, as well as his oddball characters, tend to elicit strong reactions from readers, either positive or negative.

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Twitter, Epigrams, and Alexander Pope

One of the most interesting aspects of the advent of social networking is the "transcription" of our social lives into text. More than ever, our digitized world as reflected in social networking puts a high premium on being able to use written language concisely. Twitter even has an automatic message that pops up if a user goes over its 140 character schema, "You'll have to be cleverer!" It seems that cleverness has become a prerequisite to interact in the modern, digital world.

While Twitter as a digital forum for natural language interaction is undoubtedly a tech innovation, the subsequent text-transcription of our social lives actually can tend toward some fairly old literary concepts. In particular, some of the literary elements hard-wired into the Tweet resemble a poetic form hailing from ancient Greece, the epigram. If technological advancement can be expressed linearly, and aesthetic styles cyclically, then it is inevitable that within a given culture the ever-turning cycles of literary style and the upward-tilted line graphs of tech innovation would intersect, which they seem to have done here.

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