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November 16, 1995 - Image 18

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-11-16

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18 - The Michigan Daily -Thursday, November 16, 1995

,-,BOOKS
Continued from Page 16
The Secret Art of Dr.
Seuss
Dr. Seuss
Random House
Ted Geisel, otherwise known as
Dr. Seuss, has left a large body of
work for the world. Characters like
the Cat in the Hat and the Grinch
are known to just about all of us.
But there's another side to the good
doctor that has only been shown to
s since he shuffled off this mortal
coil, a side expressed in paints and
plaster. And it is found in this book.
Various different 'styles can be
found in the paintings in the book.
A couple of watercolors are remi-
niscent of El Greco in their per-
AY

spectives and colors, and used on
arid subjects, such as the cock fight
in "Peru 3." The washed-out colors
and rather earthy subject are quite
different from the stereotypical
Seuss.
There are a few works that look
like a mix of M.C. Escher, German
Expressionism and Art Deco. "Pink-
Tufted Small Beast in a Night Land-
scape" presents a very Seussian cre-
ation in front of a menacingly dark
set. The beast sits upon an impossi-
bly designed building, while gray
rings of unknown import rise at dan-
gerous angles in the background
from a distant peak. Significantly
darker than even the darker of the
man's storybooks.
The styles continue to change,
from surrealism to impressionism
to line drawings reminiscent of
those of the Indians of the Great
Plains. If nothing else (other than a

lasting image of cats), the book
imparts the wide range of ability
Seuss had that failed to be show-
cased in his public oeuvre.
There are numerous images that
reappear in the works, naked women
being some of the more interesting
ones. Possibly the most interesting
example can be found in an untitled
painting, which features a nude red-
head on her knees, face hidden in
the vehicle she is ridding on, while
a man about a tenth of her size lies
on his back with his feet up to sup-
port the woman's breasts. Various
other odd things happen in the paint-
ing (including a hanging), but the
primary image is of the bent over
nude.
There is an even greater prepon-
derance of cats in the works. Placed
in various human positions, from
lover to gondolier, Seuss makes
plenty of returns to cats. "A Plethora

of Cats" presents a sea of cat heads
and necks, distinguished by differ-
ent colors but with their primary
feature being their eerie, burning
yellow eyes. There are even fairly
abstract cats, as in "Green Cat With
Lights," where the head of the stand-
ing green cat blends oddly into the
rushing green background.
Some of the most memorable
things in the book are, however, the
sculptures. Seuss made three dimen-
sional artifacts as well as two di-
mensional ones. Made of painted
plaster and various other things
(such as shaving brushes and ani-
mal horns) mounted on wood, the
sculptures are excessively eerie in
their realistic look of their two di-
mensional cousins. Like gnarled
storybook roadkill (or, more prop-
erly, game trophies), the sculptures
present an entirely different media
that the late Seuss worked in. And
they are intriguing.
"The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss" is a
look into portions of the work of a
well loved artist that have seldom
been seen outside of his circle of
acquaintances. And it's about time.
- Ted Watts
Hillary Johnson and
Nancy Rommelmann
The Real Real World
MTV Books, 1995
Ifyouthought the"Real World"tele-
vision show was the epitome of MTV's
stylized repertoire of gen-x cable pro-
gramming,just wait until you see their
addition to the literary world - "The
Real Real World" book. But wait, it
can't be all that bad - it comes with a
"Real World" application! You've
watched it, loved it, loathed it - now
you, too, can join next year's "Real
World" cast. After reading this nause-
ating work, however, why anyone would
want to become a member of the Real
World is inexplicable.
Any socially aware connoisseur
of the show will (hopefully) de-

scribe the "Real World" as very
unrealistic. The situation: seven
twenty-somethings, each unique in
some cultural way, placed together
in some bourgeois, $5,000 a month
pad in the city. Half of them don't
have jobs, and some don't even go
to school. Sure - that's real.
Ever notice some of the trends of
the members of the "Real World"?
Every cast has an up-and-coming
band member, a homosexual, an
innocent-bright-eyed urban rookie,
a rebel (read: asshole), a model and
a token conservative. Odds are that
each character from any season of
the "Real World" can be placed into
one of these categories. Puck: rebel.
Eric, Jacinda: models. You get the
picture. Of course, this is pretty
realistic, as well.
The "Real Real World" book
claims to be "Off Camera, Behind
the Scenes, and Beyond the Cen-
sors." The latter claim is dubious,
as this book must have slipped past
the truth censors as well: the words
"t*ts", "sh*t" and "a**hole" appear
as written here, and there's a little
black box over Becky's private parts
during a beach shot. Apparently,
it's just dandy to say "piss," though.
As previously mentioned, the lay-
out of the book is simply nauseat-
ing - was it laid out by a "Rolling
Stone" or "Details" editor on acid?
In any event, the text overlaid on
photos is impossible to read at some
points, and just figuring out what
you have and haven't read on a page
is taxing. I lost count of the book's
different fonts by the fifth page,
and there's little logical cohesion
to the book as a whole.
Presentation aside, there is a ton
of information in the book. There
are charts of info on each character:
name, occupation, age, car, favor-
ite band, etc. There are examples of
successful applications (University
alum/cartoonist Judd's is pretty
neat), and the episode synopsis are
essential to the proper "Real World"
fanatic.

The content is melodramatic. Au
thors Johnson and Rommelmann
might not be to blame, though, as
each cast member (besides the in-
telligent ones whom abstained)
wrote an biographical essay for their
respective two-page layout. From
frat-boy Mike's dude-speak to
Eric's urban rhetoric, each essay is
an argument for anti-colloquialism.
After a few too many "likes,"
"dudes," and "cools," the essays
became intolerable. Some of the cast
members did have construtitive
things to say, and many offered cri-
tiques of the show. Those that com-
plain that the show was too itotru-
sive or too impersonal gain little
sympathy, though, as objectivity is
to MTV as Puck is to Pedro. In
other words, the two just don't mix.
This brings light to the one over-
whelming good thing about the
"Real Real World Book"- the fact
that "a portion of the proceeds.from
this book will be donated to thc
Pedro Zamora Foundation." This is
certainly better than MTV profiting
from this "book," and it's hard not
to argue that the "Real World"Xnust
have educated at least some gf its
viewers on the subject of AIDS,
which grants at least some merit to
the program. Or, rather, was it MTV
profiting by documenting an4 ex-
ploiting ayoung man's struggle with
AIDS? MTV's intentions aside, at
least the book will amount to some
good. In addition, the book's posi-
tive consideration of gay rights is
one of its few decent properties,
and at the very least, the book does
address some real issues.
"The Real Real World" is same-
thing of a non-fictional "Sweet Val-
ley High" for gen-x twenty-some-
things. As if that's not scary enough,
the book describes the show as'a "tele-
vision phenomenon." As if that's just
what society needs - a cultof view-
ers living their lives vicariously
through seven cast members of the
"Real World."
- Greg Parker

I i

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The Politics of meaning

Some of Dr. Seuss' secret art.

Michael Lemer, founder and editor of
Tikun magazine, will lecture on "The
Politics of Meaning" Sunday night at
7:30p.m. In the Irwin Green Auditorium
at Hillel. Lemer has initiated a campaign
for a "politics of meaning" - an attempt
to get liberal and progressive thinkers to
move beyond the categories of the past
and to adopt a new paradigm about
human nature that encompasses the
ethical, psychological and spiritual
facets of humanity. Because he does not
fit Into any one political catergory, he is
praised by both the left and right and
was honored as one of the 100
"visionaries" by the Utne Reader this
January. He Is an Inspiration to many
political leaders including President
Clinton.Tikun, established in 1986, has
achieved national recognition for its
secular political and social analyses, and
Its essays have frequently been selected
to appear in collections of Best American
Essays and its fiction has won 0'Henry
awards.
Lemer is also the author of several books
including "Jews and Blacks: Let the
Healing Begin," co-authored with Comel
West.
Tickets for the talk are $6 and $4 for
students and can be purchased at Hillel
or pre-lecture.
- Stephanie Glickman

Class registration starts TODAY.
Do YOU know your schedule yet?
The Students' Counseling Office can help you...
o Understand distribution, cognates, ECB, R&E, and other
cePrjzs g requirements
Bw Avoid the professor from HELL
o Choose classes for Pre-Med, Pre-Buisiness, and Pre-Law tracks
e Gain an insider's knowledge about many classes
Finals start in three weeks.

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