The Literary Salon

A free salon wherein patrons and passers-by may view or contribute ideas on literary and generally intellectual matters. The blog will strive to maintain its commitment to wit, humour and perspicuous analysis.

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Location: Toronto, now Ottawa, Ont, Canada

Saturday, February 23, 2008

New Site

Every once in a while, I come across a site that merits a link. This latest one was brought to my attention by The Flakey Girl Next Door. I know at least a couple of you will enjoy it.

To be fair, the blog more accurately refers to "yuppies," not white people in general. The posts are hit or miss, but I find if a particular post is not funny, that it is at least accurate.

Comic Genius

This may be a little late, but Tourette's Guy has made my semester pass by far more easily so far. There are many videos, especially compilations, online on Youtube.

For the benefit of the discriminating reader, I have handpicked what are, in my estimation, the best clips. For best results, I recommend watching them in the order in which I have set them. Note: NSFW due to coarse language

This one is my personal favourite, which is best viewed after some familiarity with Tourette's Guy. It starts about 30 seconds in.

Note: I know not everyone will find this funny. Though I am a purist in many respects, I do admire creative cursing, especialy when it is indicative of great energy.

If you find yourself hankering for some more Tourette's Guy, search for him on Youtube. As far as I know, the main site ( has been shut down because the main actor died about eight months ago. As far as I know, he either didn't really have Tourette's, or he did but was exaggerating the symptoms since the uncontrollable swearing is in fact rare.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

V-day (Valentine's Day)

Sounds ominously like D-day.

As tempting as it is, I'm not going to rant about this day since most of my reasons are as clicheed as the cliches they seek to denounce.

I will, however, for the benifit and edification of readers, link to this interesting article a friend sent to me. It is a book review in French, but it essentially argues that the monogamous couple is an historical accident which owes much to Christianity.

One does not have to be Michel Foucault to understand that many of our courtship rituals and even familial structures are historically contingent. Marx himself believed that the family, presumably the 19th century working class nuclear one, was an ideological production (Marx himself was very conservative when it came to family). I'm not sure how true this, but there is probably at least a grain of truth to it. Monogamous, married couples did exist in the classical world, for example: Socrates, for instance, was married, but this did not prevent him, or others like him, from having recreational, casual relations with younger men.

I think, however, it is safe to say that our culture, especially now, places a greater emphasis on monogamy than ever before.

Wow, that's angry!

I've been known to rant, and that has given me a taste for it in others. A few months ago, I linked to Maddox, whose rants are deadly, accurate, and funny.

Today, I discovered another gentleman ranter, except his rants are in video format. It must be said that he lacks the bite and wit of Maddox, but I do appreciate angry humour when the target is apt. His title is "Angriest Man Alive," a title I myself bestowed on Maddox. Time will tell who's angrier.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tonson's miscellany

I experienced my worst ever computer crash over the weekend. I got not the blue screen of death, but the black screen of death, and it said "Error loading operating system," which it would repeat after restarting. Ultimately, I had no choice but to format and reinstall windows. The good news is the harddrive is fine, but I lost everything. Fortunately, I didn't lose anything utterly indispensable, such as a thesis!

I was not a little miffed that I lost my comps notes for this term on the 18th century novel. However, all was not lost: believe it or not, there are programs out there that can possibly recover files, even after a harddrive has been formatted! I suppose this is why harddrives are often used as evidence during inquiries. A friend told me that whenever he disposes of a harddrive, he actually destroys it. In unscrupulous and trained hands, much private/sensitive data could be gathered.

This was a good wakeup call for my thesis, which I will start around April. I'm backing up anything indispensable twice over henceforth.

On the lighter side of the news:

Funny collection. I thought the one for that annoying "Classmates" ad was very accurate. You know, these annoying assclowns:

Of course, I use Firefox's Adblock addon, so I don't see most annoying, epilepsy-inducing ads anymore.

Update: Almost exactly two years ago I posted what became the famous "Angry German Kid" video. According to (assuming their usual irony is absent here), the video is a fake: a (relatively) sane German kid made the whole thing up following a video game controversy in Germany.

Back to comps for me. The good news is I'm done reading a ton of 18th century novels and have now moved on to Prose, which will be followed by Poetry and Drama. I'm more familiar with these texts and there are far fewer of them, so my remaining comps reading is "relatively" light (I use the word very carefully).

I started watching The Last Temptation of Christ online tonight, and I will watch the second half tomorrow. So far it's decent, but it is a strange movie. Maybe it'll all make sense at the end.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Res Ipsa Loquitur, vol. VI

This picture had me laughing hysterically. The caption is very apt

!Spoiler! I think I've seen this image before, minus the swastika. My guess is the dude was wearing a shirt with the ancient Hindu symbol , which the Nazis adopted and modified because it looked cool, and someone merely photoshopped it.

By the way, the swastika is a very ancient symbol, and I just found out that its use was fairly widespread. The word itself is Sanskrit

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Make your own pop star

I may already have blogged about this some time ago, but it's just too good to pass up. The clips is about a year old, and it comes from a 2006 documentary called Before the Music Dies, which I just heard of today for some reason. Much of this should come as no surprise to many of us, especially those disposed to cynicism, but I couldn't believe the bit on the pitch-correcting software.


Saturday, February 02, 2008

Grad School

I've had this feeling before, and I'm sure I'm not alone.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Better Late Than Never and Critical Insights

I'm about 3.5 years late, but I finally watched the film Sideways last night. On the whole, I'd say it is an amusing film, but incredibly overrated.

This brings me to my next point: I absolutely loathe film critics, with precious few exceptions. Most of the time I remind myself that there is no accounting for taste and that people are different. However, what really grins my gears is the (near) unanimously encomiastic reception of certain films, which renders me a tad suspicious about the whole enterprise.

Apart from Sideways, the following recent films are all vastly overrated: Little Miss Sunshine, Superbad, and Juno. Are any of these bad films? Certainly not: I enjoyed them, but I simply cannot understand the universal praise the have received. When nearly every critic hails a half-decent film as the greatest thing since sliced bread, I begin to wonder.

Perhaps the best example of the bunch is Superbad. I like Judd Apatow's films (40-year-old Virgin is one of my favourite comedies of all time), so I watched and enjoyed Superbad, enjoying it for what it is: a raunchy teen comedy. I was surprised when I saw all the positive reviews the film garnered, especially since critics don't seem to like such movies. I've certainly seen better made or funnier comedies get completely trashed by critics, so I was (and am) a little suspicious.

As one critic who agrees with me on Sideways astutely observed, the positive reviews of the film say less about the film and more about the psychologies of critics. In the case of the latter film, one can chalk up its success to its appeal to critics who perhaps saw a bit of themselves in Paul Giamatti's character. But the appeal of Superbad to these same critics boggles my mind. In conclusion, I wouldn't be surprised if there were some secret relationship between certain directors or studios and critics, because the whole thing makes no sense.

In case you haven't noticed, I don't give a f@$ rat's ass about the biggest waste of time on earth, i.e., the Oscars. I'm no film buff, but it's funny how no one seems to remember recent winners (Brokeback Mountain anyone? What the hell was that, by the way?). The Oscars represents everything I hate about everything, and it's become more of a joke in recent years.

(Rant over, and it's not as vitriolic as I would have wished. )

New site and Simpsons

First, here's a funny site I discovered this morning. Don't ask me what the name means because I don't know. Here's a particularly funny and, for the most part, true article. It's funny how our lives are filled with "types" as opposed to complex characters.

I watched the most recent episode of the Simpsons yesterday ("That 90s show"), and I must say I was very impressed. I was one of the many people who would say that the Simpsons is finished and hasn't been funny in over a decade. However, after viewing some recent episodes, I've come to the conclusion that the Simpsons really deserves credit. For a show that's been on the air for nineteen (count 'em, nineteen!) seasons, it is still usually quite good. Conversely, Family Guy has been on the air for a mere six years and is, in my opinion, finished, though I'll still watch it from time to time.

I was having a discussion with a couple of friends the other night about the film Dazed and Confused, a high school 1970s film. Without knowing much about the film, I guessed that it was made during the early-mid nineties, which my friends disagreed with. When we discovered that it was actually made in 1993, my friends asked how I knew it, and I told them that sufficient time must elapse for a generational nostalgia to take hold. For example, Happy Days took place in the 1950s but was made in the late 70s, and the successful That 70s Show debuted in the mid 1990s. All this is to say that in a few years we will witness nostalgia for the 90s, and the Simpsons episode is indicative of this shift. I went to high school in the 90s an outcast, but I find myself thinking of the period with some fondness (that may have something to do with comps).

In addition, this episode was an hilarious satire on the excesses of liberal, post-structural thought, and it takes some jabs at academia in general, which I certainly enjoyed and can think of at least one other person who would get a kick out of it. For instance, when Marge asks her professor if he think that Western scientists have marginalized the contributions of those in the third world, he replies "the answer is, OF COURSE!".

To view the episode, follow this link. Enjoy.


I thought this was just an urban legend, but it does happen. I feel bad for the guy.