Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘TV’

08 AUGUST, 2012

Twilight Zone Creator Rod Serling on Where Good Ideas Come From

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“Ideas are born from what is smelled, heard, seen, experienced, felt, emotionalized.”

The questions of where good ideas come from, what inspiration is made of, why some people are more creative than others, and how we can optimize ourselves for creativity are perhaps as enduring as the act of creation itself.

In this short clip from the vintage TV special Writing for Television, Rod Serling, creator of the cult-classic The Twilight Zone, manages to articulate the combinatorial nature of creativity in a mere 64 seconds:

Ideas come from the Earth. They come from every human experience that you’ve either witnessed or have heard about, translated into your brain in your own sense of dialogue, in your own language form. Ideas are born from what is smelled, heard, seen, experienced, felt, emotionalized. Ideas are probably in the air, like little tiny items of ozone.

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20 DECEMBER, 2011

Arrested Development & Philosophy: They’ve Made a Huge Mistake

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From Dr. Fünke to Freud, or what the use and abuse of language can teach us about family dynamics.

It’s been a grand year for Arrested Development fans, from the merry-making announcement of a new season to a LEGO rendition of the Bluth universe. This month, it gets even better: Arrested Development and Philosophy: They’ve Made a Huge Mistake enlists 23 contemporary philosophers in dissecting the cult comedy through the kaleidoscopic lens of various schools of thought, from Plato to Aristotle to Freud. Part of the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series (which features other such fine titles as Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy: Curiouser and Curiouser, Doctor Who and Philosophy: Bigger on the Inside, and The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy: Hogwarts for Muggles), it offers a witty yet surprisingly — or, perhaps, unsurprisingly — insightful meditation on everything from the follies of blind religion (“Don’t Know Thyself: Gob and the Wisdom of Bad Faith” by Daniel P. Malloy) to gender identity (“To Bias Tobias” by Darci Doll) to narrative and how we find meaning (“And Now the Story of a Wealthy Family Who Lost Everything” by Tyler Shores).

We philosophers really need to know the truth (about everything!); we need to know so badly that we even need you to know. If you don’t, we’re unhappy. On the other side of the debate is…basically, everyone else. Sure, when we’re being uncharitable, we’ll point to the MR. F’s and “moron jocks” (Steve Holt (!)) who prefer ignorance, but when we’re being fair, philosophers will admit that there are plenty of smart people who seem to think we’re wrong about self-knowledge being the key to happiness. Since there are no smart people on television, let’s take the Bluths as our guides in reconsidering whether ignorance really is bliss.”

Enlightening, entertaining, and all-around refreshing, you can be sure Arrested Development and Philosophy is no huge mistake.

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30 MAY, 2011

Geometry of Circles: Philip Glass + Sesame Street (1979)

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What the greatest composer alive has to do with The Muppets and the foundations of visual thinking.

I absolutely adore the music of Philip Glass, who is often considered the greatest composer alive, and I love all things Sesame Street — who doesn’t? In 1979, the makers of Sesame Street commissioned Philip Glass to compose music for a series of four unnumbered animation pieces titled Geometry of Circles, designed as a primer for visual thinking — something at the core of both Sesame Street itself and Jim Henson’s original vision that predated his creation of The Muppets. The combination, beautiful and eloquent in a multisensory way, feeds into my obsession with synesthesia and various visualizations of music.

Here is the final piece of the series, from episode 2415, the only high-quality version known to exist online:

Geometry of Circles is available on the excellent 2009 DVD, Sesame Street: 40 Years of Sunny Days — a collection of nearly five hours of the best Sesame Street segments from all 40 seasons, including over 50 minutes of rare, never-before-seen backstage footage, interviews and vintage episodes not available online. There are really no words to describe what a treat and treasure this is.

via Image Oscillite

UPDATE: The film was apparently designed, animated, and produced by Cathy Aison, at the time an independent filmmaker who proposed a detailed storyboard to CTW producer Edith Zarnow in 1978. Once the script was approved, Sesame Street contracted her to make the film and she reached out to Philip Glass to record the music based on the storyboarded images. Glass licensed her the music for 20 years, a license that expired in 1999. Says Aison, “Although Sesame Street paid for and owned the rights to the film they were only indirectly the true author.” Aison is currently an art director at Random House’s Vintage Books division.

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