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--------------- CURRENT PARAVIEW MEDIA GUIDE NEWSLETTER ---------------

Paraview Media Guide

July 2005

Paraview Media Guide is a monthly guide to books, magazines, websites, and other media that capture your attention, expand your mind, and transform the world. Leading experts in mind, body, and spirit and the frontiers of science and culture present their media picks. This free newsletter is distributed by subscription only. To subscribe, unsubscribe, or obtain sponsorship information, please see instructions at the end of this newsletter.


MaryAnn Johanson is one of the most popular and most respected film critics working online. According to Time Magazine, her website,, has featured "snarky, well-informed commentary in a breezy style," since 1997. The Hollywood industry newspaper Variety calls Johanson "one of Online’s finest" film critics. She is the only major film critic who is a member of The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, an invitation-only, 500-member body of leading Web experts, business figures, luminaries, visionaries, and creative celebrities best known for bestowing the Webby Awards. Her new blog, Geek Philosophy, examines pop culture from a geeky, Generation X outlook.




Movies are our modern mythology, the contemporary equivalent of the stories we once told sitting around the campfire on the savannah, and I frequently approach films from a critical perspective with that in mind. One of the books that has deeply influenced my understanding of where storytelling and mythology meet is Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces. In fact, I just wrote an essay for The Internet Review of Science Fiction about how the latest Star Wars movie fits into Campbell's archetypal "monomyth" that left the margins of my copy of the book covered in scribbled notes. Looks like I'll need a new copy!

There's a new mythology being created in Steven Spielberg's new film adaptation of H.G. Wells', The War of the Worlds… or at least new mythic imagery connected to global terrorism. It's a worth rereading Wells' novel for an appreciation of the differences -- and the similarities -- between what was primally horrifying in the late 19th-century, and what scares us profoundly here in the early 21st.

Actors Christian Bale and Hayden Christensen are both currently portraying the archetypically tormented men of Campbell's The Hero's Journey -- the former in Batman Begins and the latter in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith -- but they played even more intriguing characters recently in far smaller films that didn't draw huge audiences, but deserved to.

In 2003's based-on-fact Shattered Glass, Christensen portrays New Republic journalist Stephen Glass, who invented wild fictions and passed them off as factual reporting.

In last year's The Machinist, Bale's emaciated metalworker is teetering on the edge of insanity. Both men are anxious, insecure, almost mythically anguished, and the prosaicness of their tragedies only serve to make them all the more affecting.

Must-Hear Music Two of my favorite musical artists take traditional forms and do madly unexpected things with them. New York-based singer/songwriter Voltaire mixes European medieval and folk tunes with rock riffs, performs them on Gypsy violins and electric guitars, and combines them with haunting, and frequently hilarious, lyrics about pain, romantic suffering, and other Goth-y themes. Most of his albums -- like my favorite, Boo Hoo -- are as parodical as they are profound, but his new release, Then and Again, is all simple, lovely songs of love and honor and courage.

Straight out of Texas come The Austin Lounge Lizards, some of the greatest bluegrass musicians you'll ever lay ears on... and some of the wittiest satirists at work today in any medium. Their humor ranges from the lefty political -- their new album, Strange Noises in the Dark, features a ditty called "Why Couldn't We Blow Up Saddam?" From the achingly heartbreaking to the stunningly literary: their "1984 Blues," off my favorite Lizards CD, Paint Me on Velvet, pays whimsical homage to George Orwell.

For keeping up with what's happening in movies, media, and how the Net covers pop culture, I do a daily round of surfing to Jim Romenesko's Poynter Online, the online watercooler for journalists; David Poland's The Hot Button, where film is covered from a business perspective; and Movie City News, which gathers in one place the daily news on the movie industry.

And for a sense of what surfers are all hot and bothered about online, there's nothing better than Google Zeitgeist, which offers a behind-the-scenes glance at what people are looking for on the Web.

Featured Books
  Evidence of Alien Abduction Hair of the Alien: 
DNA and Other Forensic Evidence of Alien Abduction

Read all about the very first forensic DNA analysis of alien abduction evidence.
  Body Snatchers in the Desert:
The Horrible Truth at the Heart of the Roswell Story

Nick Redfern’s groundbreaking and completely new look at the Roswell mystery
  War of the Worlds
Rediscover this classic tale of alien invasion by H. G. Wells, and see how startlingly relevant it still is today, and not just because of the movie….
  The Power of Purpose Awards 2004
An inspiring collection of the winning essays on the subject of Purpose from a worldwide competition sponsored by the Templeton Foundation.

What's New


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