December 29th, 2010 / 12:41 pm
Web Hype

Literary Doppelgangers

Geoffrey Rush & Werner Herzog

Geoffrey Rush played a crazy musician whose genius affected his piano playing. Werner Herzog is a crazy director whose genius affected my attention span. Slugging through the tortured humanisms and thick accent in the latter’s films made me thankful for sitcom television. I have no problem with serious, but it ends for me at a meditation about a disorientated penguin’s existential crisis. Ever since the holocaust, the German accent just sounds unsettling (Achtung, Achtung!), and our Werner here continues to nail in the association between it and its subject’s demise. Maybe Geoffrey Rush can play Herzog in the latter’s inevitable biopic, with, of course, a haunting voice-over by the mensch himself.

Brian Eno & “Buffalo Bill”

I suppose a prematurely receding hairline and the drab English weather will make anybody want to recoil into the self-made world of ambient music. Young Eno’s effeminate looks may explain why he needed a drum machine: no date to come over and slap the ol’ pig skin, speaking of which, Silence of the Lambs‘ “Buffalo Bill” was inspired by Ed Gein, sick farm boy who skinned his victims and made body suits from them (Lady Gada, you’re so behind on the times). There’s an implicit safety in horror’s acute aesthetics, the genre’s allure being its impossibility of ever happening to you. I wish I could say the same thing about the Dune soundtrack.

Jack Kerouac & “Don Draper”

What they don’t tell you about mister on the road zen-ster is that he gave up Buddhism in part due to the demoralization of Dharma Bums by Zen teacher Sasaki, who didn’t think all that wandering around was very profound; Jack even referred to Sasaki’s “slitted eyes” in an indignant letter, another point for racism. Of course, this was in the 60s, the last decade white people could say whatever the fuck they wanted, a swansong decade homaged  by Mad Men. I imagine ad exec Don Draper buying Kerouac a drink to hash out a campaign for doing nothing. Times have changed, but beautiful men haven’t. Let’s raise a glass to the last white boys of America.

Groucho Marx & Bob Saget

I recall Bob Saget’s The Aristocrats joke involving a penis getting snagged by a girl’s optic nerve during a skull fuck; and this coming from the host of America’s Funniest Videos. “The Aristocrats” joke is Oulipo for comedians: the conceit and punchline are the same, so it’s is up to the comedian to be as crass and transgressive as possible. Groucho would probably argue that this is short of humor, so I guess the two gentlemen will have to compare royalty checks.  A subtler sex joke, he said, “A man’s only as old as the woman he feels,” which feels just perfect to me. Who needs to insert a skull fuck when you’re just funny?


  1. Ani Smith

      jimmy chen you rule, happy new year.

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  3. Hank

      I’m pretty sure Werner Herzog’s accent is not a regular German accent. However, my only support for this is that his voice happens to be pure magic.

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