Seder-Masochism: Nina Paley began at the end and ended at the beginning

by Bill Benzon Seder-Masochism, the whole film Nina Paley recently finished her second feature film, Seder-Masochism. Her first, of course, is the award-winning Sita Sings the Blues, a retelling of the Ramayana from a feminist point of view which Paley released in full in 2008. However, she had started posting segments to the internet several…

Thomas Naylor’s Paths Peace in a world of small states

by Bill Benzon A small-state world would not only solve the problems of social brutality and war; it would solve the problems of oppression and tyranny. It would solve all problems arising from power.  – Leopold Kohr, Breakdown of Nations This insight was the late Thomas Naylor’s lodestone; it informed and animated everything he did. Primarily an economist – who taught at…

Moretti and the Stanford Literary Lab: Computational criticism in two senses and the prospect of a new approach to literary studies

by Bill Benzon Franco Moretti and his colleagues at the Stanford Literary Lab have collected a number of their pamphlets into a book: Canon/Archive: Studies in Quantitative Formalism by Franco Moretti (Author, Editor), Mark Algee-Hewitt, Sarah Allison, Marissa Gemma, Ryan Heuser, Matthew Jockers, Holst Katsma, Long Le-Khac, Dominique Pestre, Erik Steiner, Amir Tevel, Hannah Walser,…