I’d like to know…

This past weekend I finally got around to watching a documentary that I’ve had saved in my DVR for ages called Charlie: The Life and Art of Charles Chaplin. It was a really well done doc, and I really enjoyed it. After watching it, I was inspired to rewatch some Chaplin. (I had not done so in a long time.)

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  • So I had a little mini marathon last night in which I watched A Dog’s Life, The Kid, The Great Dictator, and what is not only my favorite Chaplin, but one of my top five favorite movies of all time: Limelight. The thing, though, that I realized between the doc and the movies last night is just what an incredible genius he was. I’ve seen plenty of Chaplin before, and I have always enjoyed him, but it wasn’t until this past week that I have ever been just overwhelmed by his greatness. I literally can’t even contemplate being that good.

    This got me wondering about my fellow Lichtenbergians as artists. Since were are all artists in at least one way or another, I am curious. Who is someone that while you have a deep respect and admiration for, there is also a deep-seeded jealousy. You are amazed by the talent, you can’t even wrap your head around being that brilliant, and yet you secretly wish you were as gifted. Who is the Mozart to your Salieri?

    I ask because it is a silly thing to think about, but I am always wanting to discover new things. I’d love to hear of a nemesis that I hadn’t previously known and explore a new artists. (Do you see the irony? By revealing who your nemesis is, you may inspire someone to enjoy his work.)

    19 Thoughts on “I’d like to know…

    1. jeff on May 1, 2008 at 1:08 pm said:

      Krzysztof Kieślowski
      William Shakespeare
      Eugene Ionesco
      Samuel Beckett
      James Joyce
      Bill Sienkiewicz
      1970s-era Francis Ford Coppola
      Alexander Payne
      Walt Whitman
      Gene Kelly

      By the way, not that this is in any way significant, but I noticed your use of “deep seeded.” Not to bore anyone, but the correct term is, believe it or not, “deep seated.” Of course, this makes no sense, and “deep seeded” seems to be the more appropriate metaphor. But Google it. There’s an interesting story (kind of) as to how this phrase developed. Check it out.

      Back to your regularly scheduled programming. Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel.

    2. You know, I very nearly did go look it up. But then I thought, “No, ‘deep-seeded’ makes sense. It has to be that.” I literally had that conversation in my head. Funny.

    3. jeff on May 1, 2008 at 1:32 pm said:

      I used “deep seeded” for years, convinced that I was right. I still use it sometimes, out of spite.

    4. jeff on May 1, 2008 at 2:00 pm said:

      Here’s one of the many links, for anyone who may be interested:


    5. Any symphonist: Dvorak, Brahms, Mahler, and Shostakovich in particular.

      Thanks so much for bringing it up.

    6. In another vein, I downloaded and watched Lucille Ball’s “Vitameatavegamin” routine in order to learn it for the Relay for Life drag show tomorrow night. We always hear how Lucy was a genius blah blah blah, but OH MY GOD this sequence is genius. I’ll link to it later when I get home and have access to YouTube. (If you go looking yourself, look for the 9 minute clip.)

    7. Don’t get me started on Lucy. There are the obvious ones like stomping grapes, the candy assembly line, etc. But there are so many that don’t immediately come to mind. When Bill Holden lights her nose on fire. Practicing at the ballet bar. Walking down the stairs with that giant head-dress. Priceless.

    8. jeff on May 1, 2008 at 4:50 pm said:

      Lucille was, believe it or not, really a looker when she was young, too. Check out the MGM musicals, before she became really famous.

    9. marc on May 7, 2008 at 9:22 am said:

      I have not forgotten the question. And then Dale posted the Borgen quote. And now, as I start to re-assemble some kind of list in my mind, I’m thinking about how my list will be implicated in a self-portrait. Lacks and longings in my identity will no doubt be expressed in my choices of artists I admire and envy. And surely these artists will represent for me channels toward some imagined greater freedom and sense of being alive. As if I could find a process similar to their processes and that would make all the difference. And somewhere in that longing is the kink in the knot that, if I could find it, might be straightened out, my fantasy dissolved. Hm.

    10. I think sometimes we wring our hands over our imperfections vis-a-vis our heroes and how we’ll never undo the “kink in the knot,” etc., etc., to no good purpose.

      Is it not the case that the creative tensions between our thoughts/plans/ideals and our abilities to accomplish same, that these tensions are the engine that drive our creativity? Brahms, in terror of Beethoven, worked on his first symphony for fifteen years.

    11. Or as Garfield Minus Garfield puts it.

    12. Although in our case, this or this is probably more accurate.

    13. jeff on May 7, 2008 at 8:48 pm said:

      The blender on the face wins the prize.

    14. marc on May 8, 2008 at 9:26 am said:

      Sure, but I don’t want Oedipal rivalry and “the anxiety of influence” to be my sole motivators. Which may be a naive wish on my part.

      Didn’t mean for my drawing a link between two posts to come across as hand-wringing. Sorry.

    15. jeff on May 8, 2008 at 9:47 am said:

      I think my main motivator for the work I’m doing right this minute is just to make myself happy.

    16. I think I’ve changed my mind about the personal happiness thing. I want eternal glory instead.

    17. That’s what I’m talking about.

    18. jeff on May 8, 2008 at 5:50 pm said:

      Good luck on that.

    19. Turff on May 9, 2008 at 11:48 am said:


      Your motivations sound like Howard Roark’s.

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