Blank on Blank: Recommended Website

The roots of our culture are oral — storytelling, Homeric epics, parables, sermons, the Socratic way of teaching.

The roots of our culture are also visual — cave paintings, canvas paintings, sculpture, architecture, pottery, television, movies.

Of course, the roots of our culture are also textual — poems, novels, essays, articles.

There is a strong urge to pull these modes apart and make them each separate means of expression. I say no. Give me the mash-up. Give me the Blank on Blank Animated Interviews project.

Blank on Blank is a terrific podcast series in which professional journalists are encouraged to donate tapes from their unpublished archives so that listeners can benefit from the deep cuts of journalistic history, the stories behind the stories that no one ever got to hear. The podcast is eclectic and deeply fascinating, featuring interviews with people like Bono, Muhammed Ali, Christina Ricci, Alan Ginsberg and Dave Brubeck. The subjects discussed are similarly varied.

The problem with the podcast is that the audio quality is not always good. This is probably due to limits in the source tape. Since I listen to podcasts exclusively in the car, the audio quality is a big concern. I can’t hear muddy tones over the roar of my care tires.

That’s one reason why I was so grateful to discover the Blank on Blank video project, in which the source tapes are illustrated with an animated video. The video makes these interviews feel more alive and entertaining. I am a big fan.

As a librarian, one of the things I do is curate content and tell people where they should go to read, listen and learn. I am telling you to visit the Blank on Blank project. There are only a few videos posted so far, but this is a great idea and they deserve a great audience.

Here’s Jim Morrison explaining why fat is beautiful and Dave Brubeck on fighting communism with jazz. Enjoy.