When writer Tracy Chevalier looks at paintings, she imagines the stories behind them: How did the painter meet his model? What would explain that look in her eye? She shares the story of Vermeer's most famous painting that inspired her best-selling novel "Girl With a Pearl Earring."
Lizz Winstead has an impressive resume. She's a veteran stand-up comic, co-created both The Daily Show and Air America Radio, and is the author of the book Lizz Free or Die. But Winstead is also a bonafide word nerd and game fanatic. Which means she was right at home on the Ask Me Another stage.
Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 9:29 am
Stories ignite our imagination, let us leap over cultural walls and cross the barriers of time. In this hour, TED speakers explore the art of storytelling — and how good stories have the power to transform our perceptions of the world.
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Brian Castner arguably had one of the most nerve-wracking jobs in the U.S. military. He commanded two Explosive Ordnance Disposal units in Iraq, where his team disabled roadside IEDs, investigated the aftermath of roadside car bombings and searched door to door to uncover bomb-makers at their homes.
A sad tale's best for winter, Shakespeare tells us. I'm wondering if perhaps poetry, both lyrical and narrative, isn't best for summer. I'm thinking of how Keats, in "Ode to a Nightingale," describes that wonderfully musical bird as singing "of summer in full-throated ease"; and how, say, in three-time Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky's poem "Ralegh's Prizes," summer "turns her head with its dark tangle / All the way toward us" and however drowsy-making the weather, we pay attention.
All this wonderful poetry, it's filled up my throat as well:
As a relatively young man, French director Alain Resnais made films about loss, remembrance and the ghosts of a recent history that included the Holocaust, Hiroshima and the brutal Franco-Algerian war. He was 89 when he directed his latest film, You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet, which also considers the presence of the past. But the director's concern with real-life horrors has been replaced here by an outlook that's both playful and explicitly theatrical.
The best twists in The Twilight Zone weren't the ones that came at the end. The real genius of Rod Serling's classic series was how often and how effectively it twisted things up with simple but outlandish "What if?" queries in episode setups.
After the killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011, the soldiers of theparamilitary force JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command) who carried out the operation were lionized as national heroes.
They earned more ambivalent treatment in Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty. And according to Dirty Wars, a documentary based on a book by investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill, their shadowy outfit has pretty much taken over America's global war on terrorism — and in flagrantly unconstitutional ways, he claims.