The anticipation surrounding the release of Django Unchained newly demonstrates Quentin Tarantino’s establishment as a director in Hollywood and abroad. Some might say that he is eccentric, but the truth is that he is a talented director with an appetite for gratuitous violence. At the risk of contradicting this statement, this gratuitous violence is not just violence for the sake of violence.
What sets his violence apart from what is probably a plethora of low budget movies with loads of bloody vehemence is that his ultra-violent movies are often accompanied by a certain level of wit and a subtle highbrow effect. The cleverness of his scripts cannot be questioned. And it’s the scripts that make Tarantino’s work stand out. Throughout his career, he has had to explain his obsession with violence, and of course, the racial epithets in his work. Spike Lee is a fellow director who has questioned Tarantino’s use of the word ‘nigger’. Spike went as far as asking if Tarantino wanted to be made an ‘honorary black’ based on his seeming obsession with the ‘N’ word.
Moving right along to Django Unchained: This controversial tale set in the antebellum era of the Deep South and Old West United States of America.
Now without giving anything away, here’s a quick synopsis Lunar style: There’s a German immigrant dentist who frees a slave en route to being sold at a slave market. The newly free man helps the dentist with his shady day job and in return the dentist promises to help the free man find the wife he was harshly separated from by being sold to another plantation.
On their way to save the former slave’s wife there is blood and gore woven together in an intelligent & humorous script. And of course, it cannot be a Tarantino script without the ‘N’ word at least a gazillion times.
Another distinct feature to be mentioned, along with the script, is the soundtrack. Tarantino’s eclectic taste in music adds another layer of genius to his work (with the exception of the Rick Ross track specifically composed for the film. What can I say, I’m just not a Rick Ross fan.)
It’s entertaining and funny. It’s deep in an undercover way. It’s most likely to spark the slavery debate that no one really wants to talk about. Yes, some would argue that the movie has too many random scenes and cameos that could have been cut to save us all from the 150 minutes of watching a lot of blood on the screen. But for crying out loud, it’s Tarantino people, one of the most influential directors of our generation. Why not go watch it and form your own opinions?
Die nuutste boek deur Kleinboer, ook bekend as Fanie de Villiers, is onlangs gepubliseer en is bekendgestel by die Radium Beer Hall in Orange Grove, Johannesburg.
Een of twee gaste het verdwaal tussen die eenrigitingstrate in Orange Grove oppad na die Radium Beer Hall vir die bekendstelling van Kleinboer se nuutste boek, Werfsonde. Rondom sesuur het die mense van Umuzi die geleentheid afgeskop en twee kroegstoele nader gebring vir Kleinboer en gasspreker Tinus Horn wat heel informeel oor Kleinboer se lewe, sy nuwe boek en sy planne vorentoe gesels het.
Albei die gedeeltelik-biografiese boeke wat Kleinboer tot dusver gepubliseer het, verken onderwerpe soos seks en geloof wat polemies word in die manier waarop hy dit saam voeg.
Horn het Kleinboer uitgevra oor die outentisiteit van sy boeke. Kleinboer het vertel oor ‘n dramatiese voorval jare gelede toe sy pa ‘n spyker ingesluk het. Sy ma het haastig ‘n stuk brood vir sy pa gegee om te eet en die spyker het drie dae later veilig uitgekom. Maar of dié nou in die kombuis of in die sitkamer afgespeel het, is hy nie seker nie. En só, sê hy, is baie van die onthouproses van skryf eintlik fiksie.
Kleinboer beskryf homself as iemand wat kompulsief woorde bymekaarmaak en het verduidelik dat die titel, Werfsonde, ‘n woordspeling is. Een helfte van die titel het te doen met ‘n geskiedkundige storie met diep wortels: Johannesburg, ‘n plaas wat in ‘n stad verander. Die ander helfte het te make met “transgressions”: die sonde met jou bure, hulle honde of met jou vrou.
In die boek vertel Kleinboer hoe hy en sy vrou op ‘n matras op hul sitkamervloer in Yeoville slaap, maar die bure se honde hou hulle wakker. Dan gooi hy die honde met klappers. Eintlik hou hy van diere, sê Kleinboer. Hy sien baie renosters op die televisie in die aand, maar die klappers is al wat help vir die geraas.
Alhoewel hy nou ‘n rustiger lewe lei, met minder drink en minder rondloop, het Kleinboer nog steeds baie materiaal uit sy lewenservarings om vanaf te werk. Hy gaan beslis nie weer nege jaar wag om ‘n boek te publiseer nie en sê dat mense sy volgende boek oor ‘n jaar kan verwag. Sy derde boek gaan ‘n joernaalboek wees oor ‘n lotto-verslaafde en gaan blykbaar minder seks bevat.
Kleinboer het die gaste ook mooi laat verstaan dat hy reeds uitsien na die tweede drukoplaag van Werfsonde.
‘n Hipomatic resensie van Werfsonde volg binnekort.
1. Foto’s van die bekendstelling :
2. Boek Besonderhede:
Werfsonde deur Kleinboer
Boek se tuisblad
Teks en fotos deur Shaun Marais
Ou Skool Vs. Nuwe Skool
‘n Mens kan amper ou skoolse Afrikaanseliteratuur beskryf as dié wat deur die ou klassieke skrywers soos Dalene Mathee geskryf is, maar ook die nuwe Afrikaanse skrywers wie spesifiek vir die klein dorpie biblioteke skryf. Daar is waarskynlik nogsteeds ‘n moerse mark vir hierdie tipe boeke onder ou tannies en ooms en die konserwatiewe Afrikaanse tipe waarvan daar ‘n oorvloed is.
Nuwe skoolse Afrikaanse boeke is gewoonlike gepubliseer in post-apartheid Suid Afrika en behandel sosiale onderwerpe wat toepaslik is tot op die moderne samelewing. Hiér is waar die regte Afrkaanse literêre talent lê. Marlene van Niekerk se Triomf is ‘n goeie voorbeeld.
‘n Mens kan sien hoekom Deon Meyer se boeke so populêr is. Meyer se styl is ‘n kombinasie tussen die ou skool en nuwe skool. Dit is werklikwaar twee in een.
7 Dae volg die storie van Bennie Griessel, ‘n polisie speurder wat oorgeplaas word na die Kaapse Valke om die onopgelosde moord van oorlede sake prokureur Hanneke Sloet op te los. ‘n Obsessiewe sluipskieter met Christelike intensies wat dreig dat die polisie iets wegsteek begin op die polisie skiet oor die tydperk van sewe dae wat hulle forseer om die saak vinniger op te los.
Meyer gebruik gedurend stereotipes en clichés wat die boek vreeslik af water. Gelukkig is sy karakters vol lewe en persoonlikheid: Griessel se werk is nie sy enigste probleem nie. Sy private lewe is amper ‘n groter gemors as die saak wat hy probeer op los. Hy is betrokke met ‘n alkoholistiese Afrikaanse pop sanger wat met mense soos Theuns Jordaan uit hang terwyl sy seun kitaar speel vir Jack Parow (LAME). Griessel se kollegas Cupido en Mbali is eintlik meer interesant as hy en mens wonder soms, soos wat jy die boek lees, hoekom een van hulle nie eerder die hoof karakter was nie.
Miskien sou die boek beter gewees het as daar nie so baie ou-skool in dit was nie. Maar daar is dan nog ‘n hele paar foute in 7 Dae: Soos hoekom byvoorbeeld hulle nie vir Fick gebel het op sy selfoon om die tragediese einde van sy lewe te voorkom nie. Ek meen dis 2012, die Valke werk sekerlik met die beste tegnologie op die mark en mens sal aanneem dat hulle almal die beste slimfone het.
Baie mense sê dat 13 Uur een van Meyer se beter boeke is, maar die vraag is hoeveel kanse moet mens ‘n skrywer gee?
Vir verdere navorsing, gaan na:
Text by Jad Fair, Philippe Vergne, Harvey Pekar and an interview with Daniel Johnston
Published in 2009 in the USA by Rizzoli
In a book about Daniel Johnston’s drawings we discover that he was in “Johannisburg” in 2001. He was in a park in Sophiatown featured in Peter Friedl’s King Kong, an artwork about the life and love of boxer Ezekiel “King-Kong” Dhlamini.
Perhaps, the reason why Daniel Johnston’s drawings are so amazing is because their narratives are “both ludicrous and fearful, are populated by a cast of recurring characters: Jeremiah the Frog, a Johnston alter ego with dilated eyes standing for untainted innocence; the Duck, who is well-meaning and good-natured; Sassy Fras the Cat, who eventually evolves into a girl, then a man, then a superhero; a series of good monsters, who are all variations on individuals struggling with an inability to socialize, such as Frankenstein, King Kong, and the Incredible Hulk; superheroes or redemptive characters like Casper the Friendly Ghost or the Lightbulb Man; satanic creatures and multi-eyed beasts who corrupt the virtues of the women they lure in; and, finally, creatures of experience – Polka-Dot Underwear Guy (one of Johnston’s earliest alter egos) and Joe the Boxer, who is an average guy struggling with his demons.”
Below is a small selection of my favourite drawings from Daniel Johnston.
1. Daniel Johnston, Fair, J. Philippe, V. & Pekar, H. 2009. P33. Published in the USA by Rizzoli. 9780847832309
The first written texts on evolution never really focused on the links between humans and apes, but together with crucial anthropological finds and microbiology, it laid down concrete evidence. Yet, apes all around the world have been dismayed at the fact that humans and chimpanzees share up to 98.7% of DNA  because it led to an exponential growth of interest in and experiments on primates.
On 26 June 1931, a young female chimpanzee called Gua was sent to live with a human family at the age of seven months. A scientist called Winthrop Kellog convinced his wife, Leulla, to adopt a baby chimp and raise it with their son in an experiment to see how many traits in a chimpanzee are naturally inherited versus the amount adopted socially.
During the experiment, Winthrop and Leulla had to treat Gua and their son Donald, exactly the same. They weighed them both daily and measure their blood pressure and body mass. They tested their visual perception and motor skills. They kissed Gua and pushed her around in a pram. They toilet trained her and let her eat with a spoon.
However, after nine months they terminated the experiment without any explanation and only later, the reason was assumed. During the experiment Gua showed an immense ability to adapt to human surroundings. She could ask for forgiveness and ask to use the toilet.
Between their son and Gua, Gua was the leader. She discovered toys and invented games while Donald copied what she did. The same went for language skills: Donald would copy Gua who could not speak, but only made ape-like sounds. Nine months into the experiment they realised that raising their son with a chimp was hindering his development, and the experiment was ceased indefinitely.
Winthrop Kellog died at the age of 74 in June, 1972. His wife died a few months later. Their son Donald, studied medicine at Harvard Medical School. A few months after the death of his parents, he took his own life. People tried to link his suicide to the experiments with Gua who was returned to the anthropoid colony at Orange Park after the experiment. She had difficulty adjusting to a caged existence with her original mother and died a year later. 
Nim Chimpsky was born on November 19, 1973 and was raised as part of an experiment to measure the linguistic abilities of apes and to determine if language is inherent to humans only.
Nim was raised in two different human house-holds since the age of 2 weeks and was taught American Sign Language. During the experiment he learned and could speak 125 different signs. Nim bit and severely injured several of his tutors and with effect the experiment lasted only 5 years up to the age when male chimps get extremely dominant and aggressive.
Nim was returned to the institute for Primate Studies in Oklahoma who later sold him to the Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery and later still to the Black Beauty Ranch operated by The Fund for Animals led by Cleveland Amory in Texas. Nim died at the age of 26 in 2000.
In 2011, the British documentary directed by James Marsh called Project Nim was released. Project Nim explores the incredible journey of one chimp’s life and the wonderful adventures and terrible atrocities experienced. The film also looks at the language experiment and the scientist Herbert Terrace, who initiated the project as well as the different tutors, people and chimps Nim met on his journey. (Click here to read more about the director and Nim’s caretakers and tutors in an article on Guardian.co.uk by Gemma Kappala-Ramsamy) Like the little prince who tamed the fox, Project Nim looks at the consequences, effects and responsibilities of raising a chimp as a human from an early age. 
0. Bonobos Join Chimps as Closest Human Relatives, Gibbons, A. 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
1. Mad Science, Schneider, R. U. 2008. Published in Great Britain by Quercus. P 103 – 107
2.Project Nim, DVD. Directed by James Marsh. 20 January 2011. Published in the UK, US by BBC Films
3. The Ape and the Child: a study of environmental influence upon early behavior, Kellog, W. N. & Kellog, 1967. A.G. Published by Hafner Pub. Co
4. Nim Chimpsky: the chimp they tried to turn into a human, Kappala-Ramsamy, G. 2011. Guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 13 October 2012
When Jonathan Swift’s infamous novel Gulliver’s Travels was published in 1726 it enjoyed instant popularity. During the last hundred years, it has evolved into various feature films including more than one animated version.
For years Gulliver’s Travels has been enjoyed by children as a children’s book and it is easy to recognise its appeal. Gulliver sets out on various adventures where he encounters various strange and wonderful things: from a tiny race of people to beings that are 12 times the size of humans; to the floating islands of Laputa and the country of the Houyhnhnms. Yet, it has also been labeled as a forerunner of the modern novel. 
On completing Gulliver’s Travels Jonathan Swift was too scared to publish it. During the Age of the Enlightenment, hefty charges like imprisonment or the death penalty were braved by authors for creating works that might have degraded authority.
After rigorous persuasion by Swift’s original publisher Gulliver’s Travels was published. While some praised his work, others branded Swift as mentally insane for his strange and wonderful stories. Did this divert any controversies the book might have caused?
Even though his fear of punishment for what he had written probably proved his state of sanity (for it proves that he was fully aware and in control of what he was doing) he had to deeply and cleverly embed his criticisms symbolically into his novel – so much so that academics are still deconstructing and interpreting it today.
Lee Perlman in an article about The Truth About Human Nature asks her thirteen year old son, after watching the most recent film adaptation starring Jack Black, his thoughts on the meaning behind Gulliver’s Travels. It’s simple, “Don’t lie”, he says.
In her article, Perlman looks at the history of satire in literature, dating back to ancient Greece. She argues that literature as unrealistic pieces of fiction is important because facts are not easily accessible. People seem to be able to accept human truths more easily in the form of satire.
Fantasy froms an intergral part to the success of Gulliver’s Travels, and not only do children understand it, there is so much for adults to take away from it. It is an important book to read or re-read. In fact, it’s a must-have for your collection.
1. First Modern Novel, Edmund Gosse. Retrieved 4 September 2012
3. The Truth About Human Nature, Lee Perlman. Retrieved 4 September 2012