The video still isn't finished. Unfortunately my computer has trouble playing music consisting of multiple tracks (it slows down, pauses for half a minute or so, or sometimes just shuts down altogether) so editing the transitions between each version of the song was ridiculously time consuming. I was unable to include any facts about music's effect on the brain due to lack of time.
Jessica Horn's blog
I decided to create a video that shows the evolution of the song "I Put a Spell On You." The video isn't actually complete as it only goes through 1984 (it turns out that editing audio takes much longer than I had thought). I have much more to add to the video. Since I'm running out of time I decided to post the incomplete video now that I'm at a stopping point so that I might receive some suggestions for improving my video. I have more covers of the song to add to the video and I had also planned to throw in some information about the influence of music on the brain, hinting at music's ability to put a spell on us. I chose to use primarily videos of live performances (the one exception is CCR since their cover was fairly influential and I was unable to find a live video) because, at least in my opinion, live music is much more captivating.
To be honest, this class was absolutely frustrating. When I look back to see how I've grown, I discover that I learned to use forms of technology that were previously foreign to me. If I were to say that I have grown as a thinker I would probably be lying. I have learned how to express my thinking in new formats, but the thoughts themselves remain the same. I am fairly certain that the goal of this class, though partially dedicated specifically to fiction, was to open us up to a broader definition of literary expression. Though a broader definition of literature had never crossed my mind, just as many other concepts have never crossed my mind, it did not force me into a new way of thinking. The ability to accept a broader definition of literature requires a mind predisposed to the idea that definitions are somewhat arbitrary. Once this idea is accepted, the next step is to apply it to various subjects, literature being only one among many. So the necessary thought process was already there, I simply had not applied it to literature.
Jean-Baptiste Clamence's Playlist
I found that the playlist assignment allowed me to exercise my slight obsession with Camus. Though my obsession did not take me so far as to learn French purely to be able to read the works of Camus in their original language, a goal I have kept in the back of my mind for a couple of years now, it did cause me to forgo sleep in order to read a couple of books written about "The Fall" and reread novel itself several times. While creating the original playlist, I noticed a correlation between my favorite author and my favorite musician, Tom Waits. I found quite a few songs by Waits that could be used to represent the main character in this Camus novel. I suppose that the correlation should be expected as it makes sense for me to admire the similar work, but this just was not obvious to me until I began to work on the playlist. In my revision of the playlist I removed the David Bowie song since it seemed to reiterate the point I made with the song by David Karsten Daniels. I also included explanations of each of the songs and how they relate to Clamence, which were left out of the original due to an obsessive search for songs until the last minute, in my revision.
This assignment gave me the opportunity to learn and experiment with image editing software. My previous experience with any sort of image editing software was with MS Paint, so this was quite a step up for me. I found the character analysis to be frustrating because I expected the main character to change, and possibly experience growth, throughout the movie. Due to my expectation that main character of a movie would experience some sort of change, I nearly created the change I wanted to find.
I chose to use a poem from my childhood for this collage. Though I remember reading the poem in school, I am unable to remember discussing the meaning of the poem. In creating the collage, I was able to see how various aspects of the poem (tone, structure, etc) functioned to give the poem meaning.
To be honest, I am not quite sure what I learned from this assignment besides the basic concepts of wiki pages. It seems like the purpose of the assignment was to take a piece of the story and discuss its meaning in various contexts: history, society, the author’s personal life, etc. Maybe I chose glosses in which there was little discussion and other glosses would have provided a better opportunity for learning, or perhaps I would have gained more if I had participated in the required eight glosses as opposed to only three. The three glosses in which I did participate seemed to lack discussion. Maybe I just misunderstood the assignment.
Jean-Baptiste Clamence is both the main character and the narrator of Albert Camus' "The Fall." The entire novel consists of Clamence’s conversations with a stranger he met in an Amsterdam bar, conversations in which Clamence exercises complete control since the stranger’s responses are only assumed. Clamence tells the stranger about his former life as a Parisian defense lawyer.
1. Straight to the Top (Vegas) – Tom Waits
Tom Waits’ “Straight to the Top” expresses Clamence’s attitude towards life at the beginning of his story. The song is about a man who, much like Clamence, is going “straight to the top.” Clamence, the Parisian defense lawyer, took joy in helping his neighbors and offering his professional services, sometimes free of charge, to “widows and orphans” (17) and reached “that supreme summit where virtue is its own reward” (23). The elated lawyer would run “on like that, always heaped with favors, never satiated, without knowing where to stop” (30) in order to keep his spirits high. Similarly, the man in Waits’ song knows that he will not stop striving for something higher until he is certain that he is “wild and free.” Clamence, the storyteller in an Amsterdam bar, looks back on his previous life and suggests “few creatures were more natural than I, I was altogether in harmony with life” (28). The ease with which the lawyer approached life, which, no doubt, gave him a sense of being wild and free, is reminiscent of Waits’ effortless, Sinatra-esque vocals.
2. Jesus and the Devil – David Karsten Daniels
This song, by using Jesus and the devil as symbols for good and evil, makes the claim that good and evil are indistinguishable from one another. The claim implies that there is a gray area in morality, the same gray area that Clamence the lawyer, found himself in when he encountered a young woman on a bridge one night. Late one night, when few people were still out, the lawyer saw the woman standing alone on the bridge and looking into the water, causing him to hesitate for a moment before continuing his journey home. After he passed he heard the sound of something hitting the water and then heard cries coming up from the river. No one else was around to hear the cries. The lawyer hesitated for a second time and failed to dive into the river to rescue her, to seize an opportunity to reach those supreme summits he had previously climbed by seeking out good deeds. He justified this missed opportunity with the reassuring thought that it was too late for him to reach her since the river had carried her downstream. His failure to dive, or fall, in after her initiated his fall from moral superiority to moral indifference, the gray area in which good and evil are indistinguishable. In the eyes of the Clamence the storyteller, the lawyer’s fall is one from a time when “I freely held sway bathed in a light as of Eden” (27). Similarly, the song tells of a fall from Eden through an encounter with the devil in which the devil “told me I could be in charge and then he brought me a noose.” The noose, a form a punishment, brings in the aspect of guilt. It can be assumed that the lawyer felt guilt when the storyteller admits that “the next day, and the days following, I didn’t read the papers” (71).
3. Straight to the Top (Rhumba) – Tom Waits
The lawyer returned to his life of helping others and climbing summits and tried to forget his encounter with the woman on the bridge. It is possible that he blocked the event from his memory and pushed it into his subconscious for a period of time. Even though he was able to return to his previous state of mind, he sensed that something was not right. The lawyer found that life was not quite as easy as before. Looking back at this time in his life, the storyteller tells his listener that “I was half unlearning what I had never learned and yet knew so well – how to live” (42). His unease in life, and attempts to grasp at his former sense of innocence, is represented by the change in the style of the music from the effortless Sinatra styled swing to the faster, almost forceful rhumba.
4. Midnight Bicycle Mystery - Deerhoof
This song tells a story of a bicyclist who heard footsteps but saw no one walking. Clamence the lawyer had a similar experience while crossing a bridge one night after a successful day, a day that gave him that sense of innocence and allowed his spirits to rise. Several years after the first bridge incident, the lawyer was crossing a bridge on his way home and heard laughter coming out of the water. After seeing that no on was in the water, he came to the realization that his mind was playing tricks on him and that he was laughing at himself. The guilt he had suppressed from his previous bridge incident was coming back into his conscious and was laughing at him at a moment in which he felt he had regained his innocence. The unsettling, inharmonious feeling the lawyer felt at that moment is, as hinted at by the storyteller in Amsterdam when he tells of the lawyer’s return home and reflection in the mirror, a result of being double as opposed to being one with life. The dark and somewhat discordant music is representative of the unsettling feeling that rose up within the lawyer when his sense of innocence was countered with guilt he had previously been able to suppress.
5. Anarchy in the UK – The Sex Pistols
Clamence the lawyer began to question the motives of his actions. He realized that many of his good deeds were performed for himself, for the praise he received from being considered a benevolent person, and not for the person he helped. For example, he noticed that after helping a blind man cross a street he tipped his hat to the man. He wondered why he tipped his hat to a man who could not even see the hat, let alone the act of tipping the hat, if not to bring public attention to his act of kindness. Concluding that his good deeds were motivated by selfishness rather than the assumed selflessness, he decided to expose the duplicitous nature of these acts. Instead of helping the blind cross the street he “contemplated, for instance, jostling the blind on the street” (91). While this was merely a contemplation, he did “announce the publication of a manifesto exposing the oppression that the oppressed inflict on decent people” (92) and wrote an “Apotheosis of the Guillotine” (92). His determination to upset others is similar to the nihilistic attitude in this song. The song begins with laughter, which represents the lawyer’s desire to conquer, and laugh at, his guilt instead of his guilt laughing, and upsetting, his conscious.
6. When I Hear My Name – The White Stripes
Clamence found that he was unable to “destroy that flattering reputation” (93) as most of his peers reacted with embarrassment and chose to overlook his recent indiscretions. Since his nihilistic approach had failed, he decided to “leave the society of men” (98). His desire to withdraw from society is expressed in the lyrics of this song: “When I hear my name I want to disappear.” The anger in the music is representative of Clamence’s self-hate, which resulted from his failed attempt to publicly embrace his guilt.
7. Girls, Girls, Girls – Motley Crue
Clamence withdrew from society and “took refuge among women” (98). He first tried to love women, but found that, as he had multiple love affairs, he unnecessarily hurt them. After failing in love, he sought the friendship of women but grew restless and so he moved on to “debauchery, a substitute for love, which quiets the laughter, restores the silence, and above all, confers immortality” (102). Clamence used women, as well as alcohol, to escape his guilt. With lyrics like “But what I need to make me tight are girls, girls, girls” this Motley Crue song is representative of Clamence’s state of debauchery.
8. The Good Times are Killing Me – Modest Mouse
Clamence found that his new life style was hard on his liver and concluded that “one plays at being immortal and after a few weeks one doesn’t know whether or not one can hang on till the next day” (105). This Modest Mouse song expresses the same sentiment with the lyrics “Late nights with warm, warm whiskey. I guess the good times they were all just killing me.”
9. C – Deerhoof
Clamence, thinking that he had rid himself of the mocking laughter, vacationed on a ship and saw a black speck in the water. He then admits that “I had thought at once of a drowning person” (108). The lyrics of this Deerhoof song are “who on the water wonder far.” This question may have run through Clamence’s mind, as well as his answer – the woman who jumped off the bridge. Clamence had not completely silenced the laughter and his guilt came back to mock him, causing his mind to mistake a piece of trash for a drowning person. He was once felt himself to be duplicitous and inharmonious with life, which is represented by the dark, discordant tone of the music.
10. This Devil’s Workday – Modest Mouse
Unable to rid himself of his guilt, Clamence decides that he must extend “judgment to everybody in order to make it weigh less heavily on my shoulders” (137). He determines that in order to have the right to judge others, he must first judge himself, making himself a judge-penitent, a profession he claims for himself throughout the book. In assuming the role of judge-penitent, Clamence embraces his duplicitous nature. The lyrics “I could buy myself a reason, I could sell myself a job, I could hang myself on treason” express Clamence’s duplicity. The narrator of the song assumes the opposing roles of buyer and seller and judge and traitor. The song ends with laughter, which represents Clamence’s judgement of others. Now that he has decided to judge others in order to spread the guilt evenly amongst everyone, the laughter is no longer directed towards himself, but is instead directed towards the entire human population.
Camus, Albert. The Fall. New York: Random House, 1956.
Jean-Baptiste Clamence is both the main character and the narrator of Albert Camus' "The Fall." The entire novel consists of Clamence’s conversations with a stranger he met in an Amsterdam bar, conversations in which Clamence exercises complete control since the stranger’s responses are only assumed. Clamence tells the stranger his life story but interrupts himself with various anecdotes, universal truths, and small talk. Since the man introduced at the beginning of the novel is the same as the man at the end, the playlist will describe Clamence’s character according to his life story and will hopefully end with a description of a man who resembles Clamence’s character as the narrator.
1. Straight to the Top (Vegas)- Tom Waits
"I'm going straight to the top
Oh yea up where the air is
Fresh and clean"
Clamence was a successful man in all aspects of his life. He was a defense lawyer who believed himself to be on the side of justice. He found joy in helping the blind cross the street, giving directions, and performing various other good deeds. According to Clamence, he was "achieving more than the vulgar ambitious man and rising to that supreme summit where virtue is its own reward."
2. Jesus and the Devil - David Karsten Daniels
"I talked to Jesus and the Devil, they talked just the same
I talked to Jesus and the Devil, they talked just the same
And if God is really Good, the Devil, he knows His game
I talked to Jesus and the Devil, they talked just the same"
This song seems to be questioning the differences between right and wrong and implies that there may be some gray area in morality. Clamence finds himself in this gray area when he hears a woman jump off a bridge and call for help. Unsure whether he should continue walking home or dive into the water, Clamence paused for a moment before he made his decision to head home.
3. God Knows I'm Good - David Bowie
"So she closed her eyes to keep her conscience blind
God knows I'm good
God knows I'm good
God knows I'm good
God may look the other way today"
Clamence rationalized his decision to head home with the thought that if he had tried to save the woman he would have risked his own life.
4. Straight to the Top (Rhumba) - Tom Waits
"I'm going straight to the top
Oh yea up where the air is
Fresh and clean"
Clamence cleared his conscience of any guilt he held and returned to his good deeds.
5. Midnight Bicycle Mystery - Deerhoof
"I heard the
Turning the corner,
I see no one.
The song tells a story of someone who heard someone walking towards them but saw no one. Clamence had a similar experience while crossing the bridge the woman had jumped off. Several years after the first bridge incident, Clamence was crossing the bridge and heard laughter coming out of the water. He came to the realization that his mind was playing tricks on him and that he was laughing at himself. Clamence had to face the guilt he felt for allowing the woman to die and he looked for guilt in other areas of his life. He discovered that all his good deeds served to boost his ego and saw his hypocrisy. He then began to fear that others saw his hypocrisy and would judge him.
6. Anarchy in the UK - The Sex Pistols
"Anarchy for the U.K. its coming sometime and maybe
I give a wrong time stop a trafic line"
Clamence wanted to rid himself of his hypocrisy in order to escape judgement. He decided he should do evil things, like pushing the blind or giving bad directions, so that his actions would match his true feelings.
7. When I Hear My Name - The White Stripes
"when i hear my name i want to disappear
when i hear my name i want to disappear
oh oh oh oh
when i see my face i want to disappear
when i see my face i want to disappear
oh oh oh oh"
Clamence found that his peers did not take him seriously and believed him to be joking. Since he was viewed to be someone he knew himself not to be, he still considered himself a hypocrite and feared judgment.
9. The Good Times Are Killing Me - Modest Mouse
"Fed up with all that LSD.
Need more sleep than coke or methamphetamines.
Late nights with warm, warm whiskey.
I guess the good times they were all just killing me."
Clamence found that a life of debauchery was tiring and returned to his life as a lawyer. Though he was once again a lawyer, he no longer found pleasure in helping others.
10. C - Deerhoof
On the water wander far"
Clamence was on board a ship when he thought he saw a person floating in the water. There was no one in the water. The guilt from letting the woman drown after jumping off the bridge had not left Clamence. He had to face his fear of judgment.
11. This Devil's Workday - Modest Mouse
"I could buy myself a reason
I could sell myself a job
I could hang myself on treason
Oh, I am my own damn god !
HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA"
Clamence came to the conclusion that everyone judges one another and that guilt is a creation of man. He decided to accept judgment as a part of human nature and claimed that his self-judgment gave him the right to judge others. Since he has placed himself above others, he need not fear their judgment. His judgment alone will determine his guilt or innocence.
I had some trouble deciding what to post, as well as how flexible the definition of literary can be, so I began looking through all the pages I have given a thumbs up with StumbleUpon. I am posting a picture I found a little over a year ago. I may not be certain of the definition of literary, but I am certain that this picture can be considered literary.
The picture is of Little Red Riding Hood. The viewer will immediately recall the story itself along with memories of childhood. The moral implications of the story and accompanying memories may trigger emotions within the viewer. When the morals of the story, in its various forms, are brought into question, the picture is brought to an intellectual level.