Dancing With Benny Lava

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1. Filthy Habits, Ed Champion's new website, seems like the kind of place that'll allow a writer to stretch. Here's my first contribution there, an attempt at punditry titled The Politics of Boasting.

2. McSweeneys presents: Famous Authors Predict the Winner of Super Bowl XLII.

3. A useful in-depth conversation on the business of literary translation has been going on between Three Percent, Words Without Borders and The Center for Literary Translation.

4. Going from the sublime to the ridiculous, this music video shows what happens when totally unqualified people have too much fun with translation. But the translators can't even be having as much fun here as these great dancers.

5. If they can make a movie about Larry Flynt, they can make a movie about William M. Gaines, the brave publisher of Mad Magazine. I'll go see it.

6. Here's a book that doesn't get talked about nearly enough these days: The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud. When I was a philosophy student at college, one professor assigned this and two other Freud books (Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious and the memorable Civilization and its Discontents) for a course on Philosophy of Mind. I found it ironic that I was reading primary texts from the founder of psychology that no psychology student in my school would be required to read. Sigmund Freud should be read more often. Like William James, he is a dynamic and agreeably brisk writer, his books filled with sharp and highly personal observations. Maybe I'll take a cue from Bookslut and try to discuss some of Freud's books here on LitKicks soon.

7. I'm not completely clear on what this online community project Open Library will do that makes it distinct from Wikipedia and Project Gutenberg. But hey, I've missed the boat before, so who knows? The involvement of folks like Brewster Kahle makes this literary-minded open source development worth watching.

8. More literary moments on YouTube, courtesy of Kenyon Review.

9. Do you understand?

10. Check out Unquiet Desparation, a community poetry outfit that periodically publishes its work in PDF format (download latest issue here). I'm not sure what long-term value the PDF format holds for online literature, but it's another way of getting the work out there, and the design possibilities speak for themselves.

11. I couldn't make it to the O'Reilly Tools of Change Conference last week in New York, but here are Kassia Krozser's parting thoughts.

12. I often wonder why we literary bloggers so rarely critique film adaptations of novels we like. Too easy a target? Maybe. This person's response to Atonement lays out (more clearly than I did) what the film subtly lost from Ian McEwan's novel even as it retained most of the details and major plot points. On the optimistic side, I've just enjoyed another recently released literary British film very, very much, and I'll be sharing my excitement about this film in these pages soon.
1 Response to "Dancing With Benny Lava"

I recently read The Interpretation of Dreams and a bunch of other Freud writings. It was my first foray into psycho-analysis, so I don't know what has been added to our knowledge since. But the stuff is really interesting. His study of hysteria and neurosis is compelling. I visited the office of Freud in Vienna and it is like stepping back into the first part of the 20th Century. Another thing that Freud studied was Cocaine. He studied it for its use as an anaesthetic but apparently was not above taking some himself - for purely medicinal purposes, of course.

I think a discussion of Freud's writings would be quite interesting. His writing style is not ponderous or overly academic, so that the average person can easily follow what he is writing about. Plus, the guy was very literate. He discusses Goether and Schiller, amongst other writers, and quotes Shakepeare from time to time.