Top 5 | Random Stuff On the Internet

Today, I will be sharing a few articles or videos that I came across on the internet that have left an impact on me one way or another. I know that posting reviews of stuff found on the internet here is probably wide off the mark seeing as the operative word in this publication’s name is “Buku”, but if you know where to look, the Internet has some pretty cool stuff to offer. I mean, it is after all the source of all worldly wisdom*. So here goes my all-time Top 5 random stuff on the internet:

  1. Tim Robbins’ Award Acceptance Speech at National Guild for Community Arts Education

For the longest time, I was a fan of Tim Robbins solely because of his powerful performance in The Shawshank Redemption. Then a few years ago, because of the internet of course, I found out about the many sociopolitical causes that he has been championing and I was surprised to discover that many of them are causes that I myself deeply believe in, like arts education, rehabilitative criminology, and freedom of the press. This particular speech given by Tim Robbins is about the importance of arts education, a topic that is profoundly relevant in Malaysia where an almost manic focus on science in schools exists at the expense of artistic literacy. It is a sad state of affairs when we see how art is now the realm of the rich and the privileged simply because exposure to art in its various forms is denied to school kids as a matter of policy. Robbins even argue that for some kids, art can be the reason school is even worth going to in the first place and that art deprivation may just drive these kids away from education in general. Fantastic read.

2. Conan O’Brien’s 2011 Dartmouth College Commencement Address

“There are few things more liberating in this life than having your worst fear realized.”

For most people, Conan O’Brien is a funnyman whose Late Night sketches and remotes were golden comedic touches. Hell, if he had done nothing else after penning the script of The Simpson’s Marge vs. the Monorail, I would still consider him a comic genius. So when he left the Tonight Show in 2010 after that scheduling debacle with NBC and Jay Leno*, it was hard to imagine that his funny bone had not been completely shattered by the very public disappointment. To everybody’s surprise, he came back, as goofily funny as ever and in this speech, he shared what he had learned from his experience with Dartmouth’s graduating class of 2011. Very funny, poignant at times and ultimately inspiring.

3. Kenneth Branagh’s “Relax, Darling, It’s Sunday”

I have always been slightly in love with the theatre, from working with a company of actors, to the creative process behind it. In fact, one of my fondest memories of school is of directing a Bangsawan stage production in KYUEM. In this article, Kenneth Branagh captures brilliantly the romantic side of that creative life spent traveling the country with a close-knit troupe, trying to sell a repertoire of Shakespeare plays and those of other playwrights outside of the West End. It is like combining a fun road trip with friends and the excitement of performing on stage, though the administrative side of it can be a pain as well. I suspect that this article, laden as it is with fine details of an actor’s life, would not be half as entertaining to people who do not care for the theater, but I really do, and much of the charm of the article speaks to me very directly. If you love the theater, this article will you smiling.

4. “Enjoying Hamlet” by Ed Friedlander, M.D.

Now, this is an interesting one. When I was studying for my A-Level literature exam, I tried to make my web surfing procrastination productive by limiting it to Shakespeare related web sites, which was how I ended up on this “Enjoying Hamlet” site. It was one of a series of pages created by Ed Friedlander, a pathologist who calls himself “Pathology Guy”. I was astonished by the amount of information and details that this Pathology Guy crammed in on the site and all of his commentaries are nuanced and deep. And I particularly like that his main focus is to make classics fun and enjoyable, hence the name of the site. Give it a try, and if you like it, do check out his other sites. He has a few on religion (don’t worry, they are neither didactic nor proselytizing), John Keats’ La Belle Dame San Merci, pathology (obviously), and other interesting things. They are all amazingly fun to read and you get the impression that your life is that much richer after reading one or two of them. Thanks, Pathology Guy!***

5. Alec Baldwin’s Podcast with Eric Shiner, director of The Andy Warhol Museum

Before we go to Andy Warhol, let’s talk a bit about Alec Baldwin and his collection of podcasts on Here’s The Thing. He has had some very talented guests on, and his voice is just the kind that you can listen to for ages and ages without getting tired. Okay, maybe you will get tired of it after a few hours but that is just a flaw in the design of human beings in general. Now Warhol is as iconic as his art. I was introduced to him through The Velvet Underground (been a fan since secondary school) whose Album “The Velvet Underground & Nico” was co-produced by Warhol together with Tom Wilson. All his masterpieces, whether films or paintings, draw massively from the gay underground culture (see the Lonesome Cowboys for example) and Orthodox Catholicism, which is fascinating in my view. Shiner talks a great deal about Warhol the private person, and it is as interesting as his Campbell Soup (which he did really love, by the way).

So there it is, guys, my Top 5 Random Stuff on the Internet as of even date. I am sure the list will undergo changes as time goes by, which is what I love about the internet. Do you guys know of anything on the net that you think are worth sharing? Hit us up and we will help spread the word!

*I am being sarcastic if you cannot tell.

**Jay Leno took back the Tonight Show from Conan after publicly promising a smooth transition. You can read more about the 2010 Tonight Show Conflict here.

***I emailed Pathology Guy to thank him for creating these non-profit sites for other people’s benefit. His reply is just so down to earth that I printed it out and had it up on my work cubicle wall as a source of daily inspiration.

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