Posts tagged “diegesis”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from steve_portigal] Camp Half-Blood, a real camp based on the Percy Jackson books – Fans ask me, “Wouldn’t it be cool to go to Camp Half-Blood for real?” We hope you’ll become a part of our demigod family. We’ll do anything to keep kids interested in reading. Since your kids are such huge Percy Jackson fans and have basically memorized the books I felt that it was more important to create an environment, with engaging backstories, that run parallel to the books without copying. This allows your kids to become their own demigod characters within the world of Percy Jackson. Your demigod will get to have adventures and go on quests as their own story unfolds over the course of their camp session. They’ll learn and utilize critical lateral problem solving skills and use creative play and teamwork to win the day. We try to make meaningful connections between history, mythology, literature, art, science, sports, current events, language and rampant creativity. Oh yeah, sword training, chariot racing, archery, lava wall climbing, and phalanx training are pretty fun too.

Homer Simpson’s Duff Beer: Barley, Hops and Cultural Stories?

My first column for Core77, Homer Simpson’s Duff Beer: Barley, Hops and Cultural Stories? is up. Here’s an excerpt (but click through to see the whole piece):

We were in Rome a few weeks ago – essentially the bonus portion of my trip to Munich to speak about culture at the UPA conference. Turns out it’s cheaper to buy separate return tickets San Francisco-to-Rome and Rome-to-Munich, giving us an extra opportunity to explore. Upon arrival into Rome, we took the train into the city, with jet-lagged eyes upon early morning haze, grabbing clues from the random bits we could see out the window. As we passed through a train station, I spotted a young woman on the platform wearing a sweatshirt that read "Duff Beer" with the typeface and logo that is probably familiar to anyone who’s watched The Simpsons. I was intrigued at the notion that the Simpsons was popular enough in Italy that the young-and-hip would be not only be wearing clothing from the show but something more obscure than, say, Bart exclaiming "Non hanno una vacca, l’uomo!"

While the Duff website (in German) makes liberal use of the (dare I say it) comic Simpsons font, the copy emphasizes just regular beer stuff and offers no content that connects back to the actual Simpsons television show. This may be the most quiet, understated bit of post-modern marketing, evar. Even if the product doesn’t mention Homer or Springfield, we the consumer have Homer in our minds. We bring that experience to it. Sure, that information is not technically present in the product, so in theory one might come upon the product with no knowledge (that was the premise of The Gods Must Be Crazy). But Homer is everywhere in the culture (probably even in the Kalahari) – you probably can not feasibly experience this Duff Bier without that context.

JPod: A Novel by Douglas Coupland

JPod is a new book by Douglas Coupland. I consider myself quite loyal to Coupland, having been significantly moved by Generation X to stick through a variety of highs (i.e., Hey Nostradmaus!) and lows (there have been several) over the years. But as I’ve written before, when an author introduces himself into the story as a character, I must quickly step aside. To me it seems like a cheap trick (akin to some Very Special Episode cliches from TV like the clip show, or the homage to It’s A Wonderful Life) that suggests the author’s ability to observe the world has been ruined by their own success (since the world that now includes the author). It could be a clever post-modern trick, but aren’t we really really tired of cutesy pomo hackery? Maybe I’m missing out on a great book or something, but I’m just a little bit offended by someone who I have long respected and enjoyed.


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