Video of the day

Sylvia Plath reads "Daddy" ... sort of.


Kate Harding
January 10, 2009 12:24AM (UTC)

Since a few Broadsheet readers have repeatedly and adamantly expressed their distaste for our frequent use of the word "creepy," I was going to put on my thinking cap and come up with another word to describe this video, in which a still photograph of Sylvia Plath is animated to make it look as though she's reading a poem. But you know where I found it? At a New York Times blog. And you know what the New York Freakin' Times called it (albeit indirectly)? "Creepy." So stow it, "creepy"-haters. Sometimes, that really is le mot juste. 

Well, that and "fascinating," which the "Ideas" blog also indirectly called it. At times, Jim Clark's animation is so effective, you can actually sort of believe this is a video of Plath speaking, even as you wonder why it looks like an olde tyme movie. At other times, however, her mouth becomes a gaping black hole, her eyes go all squinty, and the overall effect suggests nothing so much as Chucky. And that, my friends, is the c-word, pure and simple. Don't even try to tell me otherwise.

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Kate Harding

Kate Harding is the author of Asking For It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture--and What We Can Do About It, available from Da Capo Press in August 2015. Previously, she collaborated with Anna Holmes, Amanda Hess, and a cast of thousands on The Book of Jezebel, and with Marianne Kirby on Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere. You might also remember her as the founding editor of Shapely Prose (2007-2010). Kate's essays have appeared in the anthologies Madonna & Me, Yes Means Yes, Feed Me, and Airmail: Women of Letters. She holds an M.F.A. in fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a B.A. in English from University of Toronto, and is currently at work on a Ph.D. in creative writing from Bath Spa University

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