Inland and sea-coast we go, and pass all boundary lines,
Our swift ordinances on their way over the whole earth,
The blossoms we wear in our hats the growth of thousands of years.
Eleves, I salute you! come forward!
Continue your annotations, continue your questionings.
–The Good Gray Poet
Avidly approaches its first birthday!! Nearly 100,000 unique visitors to the site later (!), this “summer school experiment” has obviously turned into much more than we expected. In honor of Walt and all of those who have brought their annotations and questions to the world through the site, we’ll be republishing some pieces that deserve to be unendingly read.
So, why not spend your lunch hour today revisiting Hester Blum’s excellent piece on Drunk History, a piece we salute as an exemplar of Avidity. Continue, friends!
By Hester Blum
I avidly follow the sketch series Drunk History. From the first sketch I felt that shared recognition, that moment of contact that readers of nineteenth-century literature will know as a constitutive in the genre of the novel.
If you’re not familiar with the Drunk History sketches–a deficiency you should remedy right away–the format is this: for each episode a person gets very drunk and narrates a historical event on film. The facts of the historical event are pretty accurate, if colloquialized. As the drunk storyteller proceeds, his or her narrative is acted out, and lip-synched, by well-known comic actors in period costumes.
What makes Drunk History work is the rigor and investment of the wrecked narrators in telling their stories–this series does not condescend to history. Here’s Drunk History creator Derek Waters on the people who become its narrators: “All the stories they tell, they really love and are excited to tell. Works better that way, rather than some idiot making stuff up…” Read more.