ELS Blogs rock!

Even if I must say so myself. Ok, so Gardner Campbell is at it again with ELS Blogs and the results are nothing short of amazing -did you expect any less from him? I try and keep up with the the student blogs as much as possible, but such a task is not always easy because there is always so much action coming down the pipes. Let me highlight a few gems I have come across, while acknowledging that these are a small cross section of a much richer series of conversations:

“How I learned to stop worrying and love the blog”:

  • How I learned to stop worryingA recent post on this blog had the video clip of Werner Herzog publicly eating his shoe to fulfill a bet he made with Errol Morris. Namely, if Morris would finish his brilliant first feature Gates of Heaven, Herzog said he would eat his shoe. And so he does, but in fact he uses this occasion to go on a tirade about the state of contemporary culture in 1980. This was a particularly special find for me, because I have quoted this story to others on a number of occasions, but never thought about actually trying to find footage that documented the event. I had no idea it was even filmed. Many eyes… (Link).
  • For an added bonus, check out another post on this blog that discusses how the book Little Women was re-imagined as a pulp fiction novel. The image of the cover is well worth the price of admission.

¿Qué Onda?:

  • A post on this blog offered up a preliminary cross-cultural examination of the hard-boiled novel. Linking Dashiell Hammet’s The Glass Key with an Argentinian novelist, José Donoso´s El Lugar Sin Límites (The Place without Limits). A link to a novel I am now quite interested in reading, how would an Argentine writer invoke the Noir to talk about their culture? I wouldn’t be surprised to imagine a framing of the Pinochet nightmare or the disappeared. But I can only imagine, but I didn’t even think to do that before reading this post. (Link.)

And why not? it worked in Blazing Saddles:

  • Blazing SaddlesThis example illustrates just how willing students are not only to do extra work, but to blog about them in order to make connections.

    This post is a bit random, but after watching Miller’s Crossing I decided to rent another Coen brothers film. I chose Barton Fink—and wow. What a film.I wanted to talk about it for a bit, even though it’s not technically part of our class material.

    Moreover, the analysis of the hotel in Barton Fink as representative of the Dantean spirals of Hell is very engaging to boot. (Link.)

Ellie’s FTC Blog:

  • Elie’s FTC BlogThese two posts about hairstyles are really a fascinating way to imagine film. These post deal with the impact of fashion and style in film upon the culture at large. This blog traces hair styles throughout the decades in order to suggest the role film plays in defining a more pervasive cultural identity. See “The Veronica” and Hairstyles Cont..

Kathleen’s Blog:

  • Kathleen’s BlogA post on Kathleen’s Blog discusses the implications of The Thin Blue Line by Errol Morris. She offers a nice overview of her impressions of Morris’s film-making acumen, and then includes a clip from the film that profiles David Harris which is a perfect example of the unbelievable moral imperative driving this film. It is really exciting to see that students have the ability to meaningfully quote films like this within their reflections. Moreover, the shots of the cassette tape towards the end of the highlight Morris’s unbelievable ability to inform his documentaries as much through the aesthetic of the shot as the compelling stories he so tightly weaves together. Brava!

I’m continually blown away by all the great stuff coming out of these blogs, and I have only focused on one of Gardner’s two classes. How does he do it? And if that wasn’t enough, UMW is currently preparing the next iteration of WPMu that will be a much broader, campus-wide multi-user blog initiative that even has working dynamic sub-domains -boooyah! You can get a sneak preview here, though keep in mind that this space is still very much in its infancy as of now.

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