BLOG POWER….Via Electrolite, check out this truly remarkable story of how AccordionGuy’s life was saved by his blog. And we all know that Matt Yglesias’ blog has helped him get a job at The American Prospect. Blogs have power!
My blog has not produced anything nearly so dramatic, but this morning it did provide an electric little moment of coincidence, and although this is entirely personal and probably of little interest to anyone, it’s my blog and I’m going to write about it anyway. Besides, my mother reads this blog and she’ll be interested.
Anyway, at the right is a picture of my study, and as you can see one of its dominating features is a poster of the Danish film director Carl Theodor Dreyer looming over me. Although not well known among casual moviegoers, Dreyer was an extremely influential early director whose most famous work, The Passion of Joan of Arc, was the first film to make extensive use of closeups. Premiered in 1928, it’s also considered the last of the great silent works.
If you look closely, you’ll see that the poster dates from 1967 and was part of an exhibition about Dreyer at the Danish art museum Louisiana. I have this poster because in 1967 my family was in Denmark and we went to this exhibit. In fact, we went there in the company of Carl Dreyer himself. (My mother tells me that, somewhat amusingly, Dreyer was able to wander around an exhibit of his own lifework without being recognized by anyone.)
Why? Because my father was a professor of (among other things) film history and criticism and had been a longtime correspondent with Dreyer. In 1966 he decided to write a biography of Dreyer, and a year later, after he and my mother had spent a year learning Danish, he took a sabbatical and we all decamped to a rented house in the town of K?ge, about 30 miles south of Copenhagen. While there, my parents spent their time at the Danish Film Museum researching Dreyer’s life, watching his films, interviewing Dreyer, and traveling around Europe.
The biography was duly written but never found a publisher. In 1991 my father died, but several years later, while in conversation with the director of the Danish Film Museum, my mother decided to shop the book around once again. She found a publisher, spent a few weeks in Denmark updating the material, and in 2000 it was published by Scarecrow Books. In fact, for a mere $45, you too can now own My Only Great Passion, the only full-length biography of Dreyer in English. (But not the autographed copy that I own!)
OK, so what about this coincidence I promised you? Here it is: this morning I got an email from Richard Einhorn, who runs the blog Tristero. He and I exchange emails frequently, and today he wrote to tell me that since I had mentioned here that I like classical music, maybe I’d be interested in his composition Voices of Light, which is available from Sony Classical.
Huh? You’re that Richard Einhorn? You see, Voices of Light is an oratorio written to accompany Dreyer’s Joan of Arc, so I’ve been familiar with Einhorn’s name and work for quite a while but never put the two together until now. Likewise, it turns out that Richard has read my parents’ book but had never connected the authors back to me. (Apparently he skipped the dedication: “For Karen, Kevin, and Stephen, who loved p?lser and wienerbr?d.” That’s me, my sister, and my brother, who tagged along in the back seat of a VW bug as we traipsed around Europe that year.)
I’m pretty skeptical about the allegedly revolutionary power of blogs, but they certainly can provide odd moments of personal connection. A couple of former classmates have gotten in touch with me after discovering the blog, a distant cousin of mine reads it, and now this. So anyway, go buy the book and the CD, or better yet (since I’m sure Richard’s royalties are the same either way), buy the DVD of Joan of Arc and watch it to the accompaniment of Voices of Light. You’ll surely be a better person for it!