When you listen to a professional newscaster, you are hearing an “all-purpose” American accent, very similar to how black comedians make fun of white guys. It’s a mode of speaking designed to be understood by a wide variety of ages and backgrounds. It’s also totally alien sounding, especially when they lapse into a Spanish voice for words like “Nicaragua”.
Outside of America, accents are seldom a focal point.
In 1990, I relocated from New Jersey to Georgia. Originally, I had a curt New Jersey accent, like Jim Norton. My first year, I roomed with a guy from Rhode Island, and when I went back to Jersey for vacation, my friends couldn’t believe what a horror show my speaking voice had become. I was the caricature of the braying Yankee.
So one of my favorite directors made an adaptation of a novel by my favorite writer. That’s a big deal.
In fact, it’s a huge deal. There was a time when I and friends who also read Thomas Pynchon thought that Mason & Dixon, his masterpiece from 1997, was his final effort. Then we figured the swan song was his sublime Against The Day, from 2006. Inherent Vice came along in 2009, and we finally realized that we were witness to a thriving, percolating phase in the lifetime of a literary master.
Director Paul Thomas Anderson read Inherent Vice in 2009 and rightly deduced that it would be the most filmable of Pynchon’s oeuvre. Oh, how I long for a Terry Gilliam adaptation of Mason & Dixon, with a big budget and perfect casting, but this does just fine for the time being. Besides, now it’s on record that audience interest in Pynchon adaptations exists. Maybe someday we’ll get Against The Day, or, since I’m really blue-skying here, Gravity’s Rainbow*. It’s now in the realm of possibility. Continue reading →
In 1999, four years after their previous album, Mr. Bungle released California. My friend George and I were/are slavering fanatics of Mr. Bungle. That shirt that says “There’s a tractor in my balls again”? I had that. I wore it so often I destroyed it, even after it survived a GWAR show in 1997.
This is the same one I had. The big B on the back was once stuck to my skin with GWAR semen and blood. Who amongst you would admit to such a thing?
So let’s just say we were very excited about Bungle’s third album. The band’s website teased this excitement, with minute-long samples of each track on California. This was 1999. I was using my first PC, the one I got from Gateway, which came with a set of Boston Acoustic speakers that I now use with my Xbox 360. Good, long-lasting speakers, my point here would be. Continue reading →