Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Britpop is popular

Ah Brit Pop! That most maligned of genres on U.S. shores, exclusive to elites and kids who don't listen to Korn or whatever it is that kids who beat up on other kids listen to these days. That struggling brotherhood known as Oasis are back with a new album which can only mean that it's time here at List Of The Day to observe and analyze the entire genre--until it hurts.
As is usually the case, in order to make the list interesting--and to annoy my faithful readers--I've expanded the definition ever so slightly. The band still must originate from one of the British Isles (that means England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, people) and the band must exist sometime between 1980 and the present day. While some smart readers might want to include the Beatles on this list, since they were British and sure did play pop music, they've been barred as simply being "too old." So, Sir McCartney, take your AARP card and shop for your discount somewhere else! However, I'm sure any of these bands below would be proud to be considered one of your "children," if only to be cut into the inheritance. But if you think I'm going vegan just to get on your good side, Macca, you've got a double cheeseburger coming!

The Atlantic: Controversial then and now.

In the Small Magazines, Ezra Pound wrote:
The elder magazines, the Atlantic, Harper's, Scribner's, Century, had even in their original titles more or less and in varying degrees abjured the pretentions of the London "Reviews," i.e., to serious and consecutive criticism of literature. They had grown increasing- ly somnolent, reminiscences of General Grant being about their maximum effort toward contemporaneity.

This was in November 1930.

Storytelling in Fashion

There’s a great piece in today’s Business of Fashion from Debra Scherer about the importance of storytelling in fashion. Here’s the link, or you can read the article below: NEW YORK, United States — I once began a fashion meeting at French Vogue in Paris with a question to the rest of the team: “Why do we take pictures of clothes?” Everyone just gave me that look and said “Debra!” I know it probably seemed crazy for a fashion editor to say this, but sometimes we need to ask ourselves the question and I think now is a great time to revisit this topic. Franceline Prat, an editor at French Vogue and a mentor to so many of us, always reminds me that the most important work she did for the magazine was less often inspired by the clothes themselves than by the great stories that she and many of the forces in fashion’s creative ecosystem pulled directly from their own life experiences. As Franceline said herself, “always remember the great characters you meet in your life, they will inspire you later on and you never know when.” Our own life stories will always be, for fashion, the strongest and most powerful reference of them all. An example she often cited was the shoot she did with Helmut Newton, inspired by a young lieutenant belonging to the Cadre Noir de Saumor, the elite French mounted cavalry which was stationed not far from where she grew up as a young belle of Nice society. The lieutenant had loved her from afar. Many years later, trying to think of an idea that would please the very difficult Mr. Newton, she remembered the Cadre Noir and the young lieutenant, the beautiful black horses and the magnificent black uniforms, which were a particular fetish of the photographer. So, 20 years later she called up her young lieutenant (then a colonel!) and said, “Do you remember me? I want to come and do some photographs with you!”

Bursts, Facebook, and Twitter: Social Media Stories

On April 13, 2010 I discovered a fascinating approach to publishing a book. It kept me up late and I intended to revisit it when I had time. Then I forgot about it. This was what I thought of when told to bring in an example of alternative storytelling.

The Lift

This is the story of an elevator and the people who ride it. I chose this as alternative form of storytelling because it has so many different layers of story telling all being shared in different ways.


Monday, January 30, 2012

An Albums Artwork and the National Storytelling Network

  Initially, as I thought about an alternate storytelling I instantly thought about Tumblr. I thought of Tumblr for the reason that texts, images, videos, quotes and links take part of someone’s story. Not only can you find out a lot about that person through the serious of post they have but also you can find out a lot more by what they have decided to post and tell.

DNA as Storytelling

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the ultimate nonfiction storyteller. 

It does not lie. It does not exaggerate. It has the awesome ability to tell us everything about a person, from their gender to their predisposition for inheriting certain diseases. The genetic makeup (or story) of any given individual is housed in their genome, which contains all of the information that makes you you. 

Alternative Storytelling: Living History

Alternative Storytelling: Living History with the Archers

The Archers are a couple after my own heart. Most of us have, at least once in our lifetimes, sat through a particularly uninspiring recounting of America's history. The constant, monotonous drone of the teacher is reminiscent of Ferris Beueller's economics teachers is enough to force any person of sound mind to close the book, so to speak, on history. However, the Archers along with other have found a unique and fascinating way to share the story of America during the Edwardian Period and the Roaring Twenties!

alternative storytelling: compulsively oversharing a unique roadtrip

 In 2010, Mark Baumer walked across America in 81 days and blogged the whole way. One afternoon in 2011, when I undoubtedly had more pressing concerns, I read every post.

Upon discovering the blog, I learned all about the trip: what Mark brought with him, his favorite foods on the road (Subway, Skippy Naturals peanut butter), the legal gray area of walking on interstates, how many pairs of shoes he went through (4), etc. Because he was able to post so frequently with his cellphone, what this blog unveiled to me wasn't a banal assortment of travel photos, but rather a very honest and frequently amusing documentary of endurance.

While blogs are an obvious form of alternative storytelling, I feel that Mark's blog (hosted on Tumblr) is a unique piece of nonfiction because of the process he used to craft the narrative. If Mark had written a heartwarming memoir after returning from his trip, it's unlikely that I would have even read it. But I clicked through the whole trip (>500 posts) in a single afternoon and I did because it really felt as if I was walking next to the guy; laughing at the same litter and sleeping in a lawn chair off the side of the road.

Bon Appétit!
I am choosing to talk about food as an alternative form of storytelling because of my passion for it—not just for eating it but for making it too! The food we eat, like our apparel, friends, and attitudes communicate many things about us, including messages about—our culture, personality, emotions and identities. Food is the center of so a many social activities in our lives such as holidays, cookouts, parties, ect.  It may just be the social appetizer that premiers much of our storytelling!

Think about the attention we pay to our food in its preparation—for those who take great joy in preparing delicious dishes for family and friends. This attention to detail not only tells a story about the person making the dish—it also communicates something to the people enjoying the dish. It communicates that the culinary artisan cares about the people enjoying the dish as well as their palettes!

Our food preferences and choices are further an expression of who we are and who we identify with. Think about consumer personalities selling clothes and brand name labels, or even generic, non brand name apparel to niche markets of consumers. Our food purchases and cooking tell a similar story about our cultural identities and values—do we purchase only organic foods, gluteen free foods, vegan, or vegetarian foods? Do we cook a lot of meats, what types of meat do we like, what quality cut must our meats be?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Journalism as storytelling

Good afternoon all,

My search for alternative storytelling led me to Google*, where I discovered The 18 Most Innovative Alternative News Stories of 2010. There, it lists slideshows, twitter feeds, facebook posts, maps, graphs, and timelines as ways to tell a story. Oddly enough, it also lists Groupon.

The repeating factor seemed to be use of social media to tell a story or "citizen journalists."

Because my examples are journalistic, truth is the ideal. They beg the question, what is the "truest" way to tell a story?
As we read in the Walter Benjamin essay, "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" modern knowledge and power affect the technique and notion of art. He touches on the topic of authenticity, and how traditional perceptions of art relied on authenticity and veracity.

Friday, January 27, 2012


When thinking about stories, and about "alternative" kinds of stories in particular, it raises a question about what does or doesn't count as a story. Some might say a story has to have a beginning, middle, and end. Some might say it has to involve a series of related events building to some sort of climax. But as with any art form (if you do, in fact, consider storytelling to be an art form, which I think we all do) one can no sooner try to elaborate a set of rules or condition by which we judge something to be a story than someone comes along and proves them totally wrong.

So it's probably best to just treat it as though there are no rules at all.

There are elements that typically comprise a story, sure, like characters, scenes, a plot, a setting, things like that.
Are jokes stories? Surely the longer ones are, ones with characters and arcs and climactic punchlines. But what about one-liners? What about knock-knock jokes? A knock-knock joke has a beginning, middle, and end, and assumes at least two characters, each on either side of a door (setting).

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Welcome to Online Publishing!

Welcome to ENGL 449/549 Online Publishing's electronic spin space! Use this, as much as you want, and enjoy!

Lily & Jen