Thanks to the dot-com explosion a few years back, we’ve been
inundated with countless new media, almost all related to our
ubiquitous friend, Mr. Internet. Downloadable digital music tops
the list, but blogging is a close second, followed in no particular
order by podcasting, daily e-mailers, vlogging — the list goes on
and on into notions sometimes brilliant, but usually
Leave it to the true geniuses at McSweeney’s — that Dave Eggers
literary vehicle responsible for some of the best writing read in
years — to come up with a new medium that’s finally not web-based.
They call it Wholphin: A DVD Magazine of Unseen Things,
and if the first $22 edition is any sign — a blend of shorts,
poignant documentaries, government tutorials, foreign cartoons, and
more — we’d better take note and subscribe.
The idea to “make sure important films … are not lost, that they
reach the audience they deserve” was inspired by a Spike Jonze doc
about Al Gore that was made but never screened before the 2000
election. DVD editor Brent Hoff, who included said doc in this
collection, writes, “This film might have wiped away, in 22
minutes, Gore’s reputation as a robot.” As an engaging, funny
portrait of the former veep as a normal dude, the film does just
that, and shows that he would have been one of the most honest and
real presidents ever.
Other highlights include Jeroen Offerman singing “Stairway to
Heaven” perfectly in reverse, a Turkish sitcom subtitled thrice
with three different plots, some U.S. government propaganda about
how having a clean house will save you from a nuclear attack, and
the awesomely intriguing short The Big Empty, about a
vacuous vagina. No matter what your artistic taste, you’ll find
something to think about on this DVD. And you needn’t use the
Internet at all — well, other than buying it off mcsweeneys.net.
— Matt Kettmann