Everyone knows music videos are a little silly: candles, dry ice and miles of white silk in the romantic ones; incomprehensible plotting in the serious ones; dancing girls that appear out of nowhere. They're usually an afterthought to the song itself, a marketing promotion forced upon reluctant artists. But what if it were the other way around, and instead of the video being made to fit the song, the song were made to fit the video? Welcome to the weird world of "literal music videos," the latest viral video meme. Unlike most video memes -- like the Hitler subtitle videos -- literal music videos aren't easy to make. You have to dig up a kareoke version of the song with no singing on it, then re-write and re-record the vocals yourself (or have a talented, soundalike friend do it). This is where most literal videos hit the wall -- they're trying to ridicule the music video but they sound too ridiculous themselves. But there are a handful of great ones, which I'll share here today.
An across-the-board favorite seems to have cropped up amongst the bloggerati: this literal video for "Total Eclipse of the Heart."
Tears for Fears' "Head Over Heels" is pretty sweet, too.
Here's a literal reinterpretation of A-Ha's "Take on Me" --
And the classic-but-ridiculous video for Billy Idol's "White Wedding" was crying out for parody:
The literal video for Radiohead's "No Surprises" is fun. Except that lines like "Now I am completely submerged / Why am I singing in a fish tank?" don't sound all that different from regular Radiohead lyrics.
This one isn't great, but it was inevitable -- the literal Rickroll. (What the hell's a Rickroll? This.)
Madeleine L’Engle’s acclaimed science fantasy novel A Wrinkle in Time has been delighting readers since its 1962 release. Whether you’ve never had the chance to read this timeless tale or haven’t picked it up in a while, here are some facts that are sure to get you in the mood for a literary journey through the universe—not to mention its upcoming big-screen adaptation.
1. THE AUTHOR’S PERSISTENCE PAID OFF.
She’s a revered writer today, but Madeleine L’Engle’s early literary career was rocky. She nearly gave up on writing on her 40th birthday. L’Engle stuck with it, though, and on a 10-week cross-country camping trip she found herself inspired to begin writing A Wrinkle in Time.
2. EINSTEIN SPARKED L'ENGLE'S INTEREST IN QUANTUM PHYSICS AND TESSERACTS.
L’Engle was never a strong math student, but as an adult she found herself drawn to concepts of cosmology and non-linear time after picking up a book about Albert Einstein. L’Engle adamantly believed that any theory of writing is also a theory of cosmology because “one cannot discuss structure in writing without discussing structure in all life." The idea that religion, science, and magic are different aspects of a single reality and should not be thought of as conflicting is a recurring theme in her work.
L’Engle often compared her young heroine, Meg Murry, to her childhood self—gangly, awkward, and a poor student. Like many young girls, both Meg and L’Engle were dissatisfied with their looks and felt their appearances were homely, unkempt, and in a constant state of disarray.
4. IT WAS REJECTED BY MORE THAN TWO DOZEN PUBLISHERS.
L’Engle weathered 26 rejections before Farrar, Straus & Giroux finally took a chance on A Wrinkle in Time. Many publishers were nervous about acquiring the novel because it was too difficult to categorize. Was it written for children or adults? Was the genre science fiction or fantasy?
5. L’ENGLE DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO CATEGORIZE THE BOOK, EITHER.
To compound publishers’ worries, L’Engle famously rejected these arbitrary categories and insisted that her writing was for anyone, regardless of age. She believed that children could often understand concepts that would baffle adults, due to their childlike ability to use their imaginations with the unknown.
6. MEG MURRY WAS ONE OF SCIENCE FICTION'S FIRST GREAT FEMALE PROTAGONISTS ...
… and that scared publishers even more. L’Engle believed that the relatively uncommon choice of a young heroine contributed to her struggles getting the book in stores since men and boys dominated science fiction.
Nevertheless, the author stood by her heroine and consistently promoted acceptance of one’s unique traits and personality. When A Wrinkle in Time won the 1963 Newbury Award, L’Engle used her acceptance speech to decry forces working for the standardization of mankind, or, as she so eloquently put it, “making muffins of us, muffins like every other muffin in the muffin tin.” L’Engle’s commitment to individualism contributed to the very future of science fiction. Without her we may never have met The Hunger Games’s Katniss Everdeen or Divergent’s Tris Prior.
7. THE MURKY GENRE HELPED MAKE THE BOOK A SUCCESS.
Once A Wrinkle in Time hit bookstores, its slippery categorization stopped being a drawback. The book was smart enough for adults without losing sight of the storytelling elements kids love. A glowing 1963 review in The Milwaukee Sentinel captured this sentiment: “A sort of space age Alice in Wonderland, Miss L’Engle’s book combines a warm story of family life with science fiction and a most convincing case for nonconformity. Adults who still enjoy Alice will find it delightful reading along with their youngsters.”
Although the other four novels are not as well known as A Wrinkle in Time, the “Time Quintet” is a favorite of science fiction fans. The series, written over a period of nearly 30 years, follows the Murry family’s continuing battle over evil forces.
9. IT IS ONE OF THE MOST FREQUENTLY BANNED BOOKS OF ALL TIME.
Oddly enough, A Wrinkle in Time has been accused of being both too religious and anti-Christian. L’Engle’s particular brand of liberal Christianity was deeply rooted in universal salvation, a view that some critics have claimed, “[D]enigrates organized Christianity and promotes an occultic world view.” There have also been objections to the use of Jesus Christ’s name alongside figures like Buddha, Shakespeare, and Gandhi. Detractors feel that grouping these names together trivializes Christ’s divine nature.
10. L’ENGLE LEARNED TO SEE THE UPSIDE OF THIS CONTROVERSY.
The author revealed how she felt about all this sniping in a 2001 interview with The New York Times. She brushed it aside, saying, “It seems people are willing to damn the book without reading it. Nonsense about witchcraft and fantasy. First I felt horror, then anger, and finally I said, 'Ah, the hell with it.' It's great publicity, really.''
11. THE SCIENCE FICTION HAS INSPIRED SCIENCE FACTS.
American astronaut Janice Voss once told L’Engle that A Wrinkle in Time inspired her career path. When Voss asked if she could bring a copy of the novel into space, L’Engle jokingly asked why she couldn’t go, too.
Inspiring astronauts wasn’t L’Engle’s only out-of-this-world achievement. In 2013 the International Astronomical Union (IAU) honored the writer’s memory by naming a crater on Mercury’s south pole “L’Engle.”
12. A STAR-STUDDED MOVIE ADAPTATIONS WILL HIT THEATERS IN 2018.
Although L’Engle was famously skeptical of film adaptations of the novel, Oscar-nominated filmmaker Ava DuVernay (13th; Selma) is bringing a star-filled version of the book to the big screen next year. Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, Mindy Kaling, and Zach Galifianakis are among the film's stars. It's due in theaters on March 9, 2018.
In April, Audible announced that it would be releasing an audio drama based on The X-Files, a sort of prequel to the latest TV revival in audio form. Now The X-Files: Cold Cases is finally here, and you can listen to two exclusive clips from it below.
Complete with voicing by members of the original cast, the plot takes place between 2008's (terrible) The X-Files: I Want to Believe and last year's revival series. In “An Old Acquaintance,” you’ll hear Agent Mulder and get a sneak peek into the appearance of a mysterious figure with a prosthetic arm. (Alex Krycek, perhaps?)
Obviously, the best part of the original X-Files is the banter and simmering tension between Agents Mulder and Scully, so here’s another tidbit featuring Scully trying to prod Mulder into their scheduled FBI Reinstatement Training. You know you've been craving those snarky Mulder comebacks.
The four-plus hour audio drama is no replacement for the TV show, however. You just can’t substitute David Duchovny’s smirking face. From the previews, it seems like the script is a little cheesy, and the actors won’t be getting any awards for their performances. But then again, The X-Files never shied away from camp.
Audible / Chris Sanders
The audio is out there, and you can get it for $25 on Audible or free with a 30-day trial membership.