Comics and Sequential Art by Will Eisner. Comic book on how to write comic books by the famous comic book artist and writer.
Fairly interesting, though not sure how much use it would be to someone actually wanting to create comic books. It doesn't cover how to draw, but might be useful for someone who's already a decent draughtsman and wants to apply that knowledge to comics in particular.
He points out various things, like how panel borders can be used: small and narrow to create tension and claustrophobia, large to indicate space, borderless to indicate thoughts and flashbacks, and so on.
Most of the examples he gives are from his own work, often "The Spirit", so at times is does seem a bit like "look how clever I am". But you do get to see some of his work, even short complete scripts.
It's also fun to see his examples of how subtle differences in posture and lighting can completely change how a scene works. He also explains some things that I should really have worked out long ago, like how BOLDING in dialogue HELPS the reader SKIM. Comic readers often skim the page first then go over it in detail, or if there's a lot of action will just skim the text entirely.
Overall, interesting, possibly useful.
Short TTC course this time, only 12 lectures: Science and Religion by Lawrence M. Principe. Wasn't sure he'd be able to cover much, but he actually packs a lot of information in. Pretty much sticks to Christianity and Western science/philosophy, though with a little bit on Judaism and Islam.
He starts off with three different models for the relationship between science and religion: the warfare model; the separate realms model; and the complexity thesis, which of course he favours. He then goes through the history of science and religion in the light of these models.
He provides very convincing arguments against the warfare model; and some fairly solid evidence for the complexity thesis, that science and religion have influenced each other in diverse ways. The separate realms model seems to be quietly abandoned early on.
Principe describes the conflict model as originating in the late Nineteenth Century with two authors. John William Draper wrote "A History of the Conflict between Religion and Science", a book with many historical errors, very anti-Catholic and associating Protestantism with science. Andrew Dickson White wrote "The Warfare of Science" and "A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom" less vitriolic but equally error-prone. Apparently White promoted the false notion that before Columbus educated people thought the world was flat, and the myths that the Church forbade human dissection.
I found this particularly interesting. It's often been noted that the Evangelical Atheists are very similar in their views to the Evangelical Christians. This may be more than convergence since the warfare model seems to have begun among ultra-protestant Christians who associated Protestantism with science. Over time, one branch of the movement largely abandoned science, and the other branch turned against all religion, but they still retain very similar characteristics in their worldview, their methodology, and some of the myths. They're recognizably part of the same tradition.
Principe supports the complexity thesis by rapidly going through the histories of science and theology, pointing out where one influenced the other. It's hard to condense this any further, but a few examples stand out.
White quotes St Augustine talking about the heavens being stretched like a skin, in an attempt to prove that Augustine had naive notions. Principe points out that Augustine was quoting the Psalms, and using this as a specific example of why the bible cannot be interpreted literally. Augustine also had an account of Genesis that was already figuratively interpreting the "days" as being longer periods of time. His view on dissection was that as we learned more, even the innards of the body would become beautiful since we understood them. Augustine believed that theologians had a responsibility to learn about natural science so as not to look ridiculous in front of educated non-Christians.
Principe says that one reason it was important for Christian theologians to understand nature, was that to identify miracles, you needed to know what nature could do. He also goes through the usual scientist/theologians like Newton and Priestly.
Later, Principe covers the rise of fundamentalism and the notion of biblical literalism in the Nineteenth century. One reason he gives is the increasing influence of "higher criticism" that applied sophisticated textual and philological analysis to the bible: this alienated those without the knowledge to do it, who then created their own simpler ways to interpret the bible. He also covers the familiar rise of Creationism, which seems to have undergone growth spurts in the 1920s and 1960s.
Overall, a very interesting, informative and well-presented course. Well worth listening to.
Saw the Chris Ofili exhibition at Tate Britain.
He's the guy who uses elephant dung in his work. It sounds quite irritating when you just read about it. The thing is though, that his pictures are bold, colourful, often figurative, and aesthetically pleading: if it wasn't for the elephant dung he'd be every cultural conservative's dream artist. Usually they're just fist-sized blobs as bases to the frame, or stuck to the canvas. Think of it as the price of getting into the gallery if you like.
Pretty impressive and worth a look. They're also flying his recoloured Union Jack flag outside.
Mentioned the low-budget horses in the BBC Shakespeare's "Henry VI Part One". Forgot I grabbed a camera-shot as I watched.
Heart-sinking entertainment news. William Shatner to star in Shit My Dad Says sitcom pilot. Roland Emmerich to make Foundation into 3D effects extravaganza.
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