Strange Brouhaha

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Desert Island...what?

I was watching something on the television device the other day. It's the Futurama where Bender goes Luddite, gets himself a wooden body and returns to destroy New New York.

In one portion of the episode, Bender is playing some music on a desert island, and the other robots there ask what it is. Bender says something like, "It's one of my desert island discs. I never thought I'd actually get to use it."

I thought, "Ooo, that's something I can write about," and I tried to come up with a list of discs. Then I started thinking about the entire concept of the Desert Island Disc.

Is it even relevant anymore in the age of the iPod? Why pick out ten albums without which you cannot live when you can fit thirty times that (or more) on an MP3 player? Why choose, for example, one Rush album, when you can have all of them and then some?

Movies, too. Since this fantastical desert island is going to have the power to play CDs or DVDs, why not just pack along a PC with a terabyte's worth of disk space that contains all of your DVDs? (Shoot, all the DVDs we have in our house wouldn't take up nearly that much space, even without the benefit of reencoding.)

And books...look, if all you want is something to read, you can start with the entire contents of the Project Gutenberg archives. Or the stuff on Blackmask. Or the Baen Free Library. You would not run out of reading material.

The problem with all this theorizing, of course, is that your collection of CDs and DVDs, and the collection of books available for free on the Internet, might not contain everything that you would consider essential. There's still some legitimacy to the idea of Desert Island Media. But there's also some support for the argument that it's on its way out--after all, if you have three hundred albums on your iPod, is it really going to impact your Desert Island Enjoyment if one of them doesn't happen to be "Kind of Blue"?

It might be interesting to think about "Desert Island Companions," ten people (alive or dead) that you would want to be trapped on a desert island with. The only rule, I think, would have to be that they'd have to be people you don't know. Something to think about.


  • 1) Despite the fact that he would, of course, have to be in charge, I'd pick Alexander the Great.

    2) Since Alexander is going to be there, we'll need Mary Renault, his most devoted and insightful biographer. I would learn way more about him through what *she* asked him than through what *I'd* think to ask him.

    3) Anthony Mann.

    4) Billy Wilder.

    5) Meena, the assassinated founder of RAWA (an Afghan women's group).

    6) Rudolf Nureyev.

    7) Judy Garland.

    8) Oscar Wilde.

    9) Frederick Ashton.

    10) Beau Brummell.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:54 PM  

  • Not in any order:

    James Cook (The explorer)(Where are we?)
    The Apostle Peter (Pray for us)
    Louis Armstrong (Entertain us)
    Isaac Newton (survival)
    Babe Ruth (Play with)
    Andy Warhol (Make something out of nothing)
    Al Capone (In case there's a rival group on the island)
    Bill Gates(bring your money and your brains)
    Marilyn Monroe (Obvious)
    Julia Childs (Cook for us)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:36 PM  

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