Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘animation’

17 JULY, 2012

Bill Plympton’s Quirky Animated Guides to Kissing and Making Love

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“Here’s to every him and miss who loves a pure and sunny kiss.”

In 1896, Thomas Edison scandalized society with the very first kiss in cinema. Nearly a century later, in 1989, animation legend Bill Plympton created a charming short film for Rolling Stone, titled How to Kiss, examining with equal parts pragmatism and delightfully violent irreverence the art of the smooch, and laying out the technical components of the different kinds of kisses in his signature colored-pencil technique.

The face is the jewel in the crown of desire.

In 1995, Plympton upped the ante with the equally quirky and much more NSFW How to Make Love to a Woman, an animated guide to “the slippery and challenging path to true [heterosexual] romance”:

For more on and of these classic Plymptoons, see The Complete Early Works of Bill Plympton (1987) and The Classic Works of Bill Plympton (1985).

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11 JULY, 2012

The Family That Dwelt Apart: Lovely Vintage Animated Film Based on an E. B. White Short Story

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Misadventures in happy isolation.

E. B. White was a timeless champion of literary style, crusader for the writer’s social responsibility, vocal pundit on matters of the free press, unsuspected New Yorker cover artist, and one of my two favorite authors of all time.

This wonderful 1973 animated short film is based on White’s New Yorker story The Family That Dwelt Apart, directed by Yvon Mallette, produced by the National Film Board of Canada, and narrated by White himself.

The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film at the 47th Academy Awards, but lost to the claymation short Closed Mondays. It appears in the 1974 compilation More Animation Greats.

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21 JUNE, 2012

Against Positive Thinking: Uncertainty as the Secret of Happiness

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Exploring the “negative path” to well-being.

Having studied under Positive Psychology pioneer Dr. Martin Seligman, and having read a great deal on the art-science of happiness and the role of optimism in well-being, I was at first incredulous of a book with the no doubt intentionally semi-scandalous title of The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking (public library). But, as it often turns out, author Oliver Burkeman argues for a much more sensible proposition — namely, that we’ve created a culture crippled by the fear of failure, and that the most important thing we can do to enhance our psychoemotional wellbeing is to embrace uncertainty.

Besides, the book has a lovely animated trailer — always a win.

Burkeman writes in The Guardian:

[Research] points to an alternative approach [to happiness]: a ‘negative path’ to happiness that entails taking a radically different stance towards those things most of us spend our lives trying hard to avoid. This involves learning to enjoy uncertainty, embracing insecurity and becoming familiar with failure. In order to be truly happy, it turns out, we might actually need to be willing to experience more negative emotions – or, at the very least, to stop running quite so hard from them.

The American edition (once again with an uglified, dumbed down, and contrived cover design) won’t be out until November, but you can snag a British edition here, or hunt it down at your favorite public library.

Thanks, Natascha

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