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Wednesday
May072008

I Never Metafiction I Didn't Like


I've been pondering all things meta this week.

Well, not all things. But definitely many things meta-related-to-the-arts.

I've been playing a game inside my head as I've done the dishes or driven people to sports practices or tried to get back to sleep in the middle of the night after going to the bathroom for the fourteenth time.

(It's just one of the many crazy games I play all alone in this head o' mine, another being "List all the adjectives with the suffix '-id.'")

The game is this: list all the films about film. Now all the songs about songs. Now all the poems about poetry. Now all the theater about theater. And now (my favorite part) all the fiction about fiction.*

Ready? Go.

Films About Film
(or TV About TV)

The Player
Singin' in the Rain
The Truman Show
30 Rock
Studio 60
The Simpsons
Stranger than Fiction
(borderline: a film about fiction writing)

Songs About Songs, Singers, and/or Singing

"Hey, Mister Tambourine Man" (The Byrds)
"Thank You for the Music" (ABBA)
"Sing a Song" (Earth, Wind, and Fire)
"I Write the Songs" (Barry Manilow)
"If Music Be the Food of Love" (Shakespeare/Purcell)
"Piano Man" (Billy Joel)
"Rock and Roll Band" (Boston)
"Killing Me Softly" (Roberta Flack)
"The Day the Music Died" (Don McLean)
"This is Not a Love Song" (Public Image, Ltd.)

Poems About Poetry

"Essay on Criticism" (Alexander Pope)
"Don Juan" (parts of it; Lord Byron)
"Ars Poetica" (Archibald MacLeish)
"The Uses of Poetry" (William Carlos Williams)
"There is no frigate like a book" (Emily Dickinson)
"The High-Toned Old Christian Woman" (Wallace Stevens)

Theater About Theater

All That Jazz (Well, okay. It's a film about theater.)
Kiss Me, Kate
The Taming of the Shrew
The Producers
A Chorus Line
42nd Street
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Hamlet
Picasso at the Lapin Agile
The Mousetrap

Fiction About Fiction (and this would be my wheelhouse, people)

The Princess Bride (William Goldman)
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (Susanna Clarke)
Little, Big (John Crowley)
Canterbury Tales (Geoffrey Chaucer)
The Decameron (Giovanni Boccaccio)
Don Quixote (Miguel de Cervantes)
If on a Winter's Night a Traveler (Italo Calvino)
Anything written by Jasper Fforde
The Neverending Story (Michael Ende)
English Music (Peter Ackroyd)
The Thirteenth Tale (Diane Setterfield)
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
An awful lot of Kurt Vonnegut
And a whole bunch of that Pratchett genius
Leaf by Niggle (J.R.R. Tolkien)
A Series of Unfortunate Events (Lemony Snicket)
Atonement (Ian MacEwan)
The Dark Tower, etc. (Stephen King)
Possession (A.S. Byatt)
The Book of Three (Lloyd Alexander)
A Princess of Roumania, etc. (Paul Park)

What about you? Can you add to the lists?

*LDS readers, here's a fun study topic: revelation about revelation. And extra credit: revelation about Revelation.

Reader Comments (26)

Luisa, I wish I could take a vacation week inside your brain! ;-)

Wonderful post!

May 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJen of A2eatwrite

Film about Film - Ed TV
Songs about Singers - Down on the Corner (CCR)
Fiction about Fiction - The Shining by Stephen King
Theater about Theater - The Phantom of the Opera
Poems about poetry - I'm stuck on this one which is sad, cause poetry is my "thing" but I refuse to cheat and Google it.

oh yeah and um: rapid, stupid, vapid, horrid, splendid, candid, sordid, torrid, lurid...how'm I doing?

May 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLilacspecs

songs about singing/music

* singing in the rain?
* last night a dj saved my life (mariah carey and others)

May 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGoofball

Fun stuff! Right off the top of my head - Crazy For You is theater about theater. I'll think of more!

May 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSydneyMin

Keep 'em coming in all categories, friends!

Lilac, you ROCK--and I'm glad you didn't cheat!

Also: tepid, placid, fluid, avid, rabid, turgid, torpid, turpid, gelid, arid, rancid, valid, gravid, florid, putrid, acid, frigid, vivid, humid, acrid, fervid, liquid, solid, and timid...I'm sure there are more!

May 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLuisa Perkins

I wish I could remember titles of anything, let alone meta-relate them!

May 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Bradshaw

Love the punny title, and what a fascinating thing to contemplate. I'm going to have to give it some more thought as I just woke up.

May 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly

Film about film:

Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story

Would mocumentaries count? If so, This Is Spinal Tap and Fear of a Black Hat.

Fiction about fiction:

Oral History by Lee Smith

This is fun. I'll have to think more on it.

May 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNoodle

Does the Bartimaeus trilogy by Johnathan Stroud count? The demon footnotes his comments and speaks directly to the reader.

May 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKarlene

How about Death about death? Like, Meet Joe Black and The Book Thief...

Does Fame count as theater about theater? Or what about Rent? What is that about?

Song about songs: Do Re Mi?

May 7, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteranjmae

Anj, it's true that there are many subcategories: movies about theater, songs about books, etc. They're all meta, in my opinion.

Lilac, I forgot flaccid and limpid.

May 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLuisa Perkins

You kept listing all the ones as I thought of them. What a great game!

A couple I don't see on your list:

Fiction about Fiction: Misery, by Stephen King.

Film about Fiction (that "sort-of" category): Throw Mama from the Train

As for your bonus LDS question, I don't remember the section, but there's at least one revelation about Revelation in the Doctrine & Covenants. Yay me!

I have a feeling I'll be thinking about this all day.

May 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnnette Lyon

Annette, that's because you and I both have obsessive, nitpicky brains.

(That's a compliment.)

Pallid. Viscid. These came to me as I woke up from my nap just now.

May 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLuisa Perkins

Noises Off is theater about theater that I thought of earlier today. I need to expand to other areas... The Stephen King reference made me think about Misery - I never read it, but it is technically about a writer (not an author), not about writing as far as I understand.

May 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSydneyMin

Noises Off = good one, Sydney.

Actually, there are a lot of portions of the book-within-a-book quoted in Misery, so that one definitely counts. It's a terrific book.

(Fervid. Livid. Insipid. See? It just never stops.)

May 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLuisa Perkins

You'll have to forgive me for putting this one in your heads, but I can't get it out of mine unless I share!

The Song that Never Ends (song about a song). Back to work!

May 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSydneyMin

LOVE the title! I was lauging about that for a good five minutes. I can't think of anything to add right now but I think you may have started a new obsession for me. My husband thanks you.

May 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCrystal Liechty

How about opera (shows within shows)? Pagliacci, Ghosts of Versailles, Tosca (stretching it--it's just about an opera singer).

Melissa

May 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

My head hurts...

As for revelation about revelation, I'm sitting in my mother's office right now staring at about five thousand books that would fit that category. It's pretty all she and her colleagues ever write. And many of those colleagues have written revelation about Revelation, but none top the D&C section referred to by Annette...

As for the other categories, I'm going to try VERY hard not to think about such things, since I'm pretty sure my brain will explode if I allow it to go there. Maybe tomorrow...

May 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBrillig

Once again, Brillig hits "publish" before she proofreads her comment. Sorry, Fascista.

May 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBrillig

Well, I thought of Misery too, but Annette beat me to it. All I know is, it's far more interesting to be in your brain than mine these days! And this is you on pregnancy? Good night, Nurse!

May 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJenna Consolo

Began a novel yesterday that fits the bill as fiction about fiction--The Man Who Was Poe, by Avi. Fascinating so far.

May 8, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnnette Lyon

Great post. Love the Title.

Film About Film: (I promise I did not cheat and ask my husband on this one!)

Purple Rose of Cairo
Cinema Paradiso
Day For Night
For Your Consideration
Sunset Boulevard
Muppet Movie
Bugsy
A Star is Born
Chaplin
The Aviator


TV about TV:
Mary Tyler Moore Show (TV news)
Frasier (oops -- radio)
Dick Van Dyke Show (TV writers)
Broadcast News (Film about TV news)
Groundhog Day (Film about TV news)


Theater About Theater
(personally I think there are WAY too many of these, but of course now I can't think of any):

Chicago (sort of)
Showboat
Funny Girl
High School Musical 1, 2 and 3 (TV about theater)

Songs About Songs, Singers, etc.
"Honky Cat" (Elton John)
"How Can I Keep From Singing?" (Enya)
"Sing" (Carpenters)


Fiction about Fiction:
Bachelor Brothers Bed and Breakfast
84 Charing Cross Road
Jane Austen Book Club (hated this book)
Austenland

Revelation about Revelation:
D&C 9:7-9 and most of Section 6

Oh, and did anyone list lucid?

May 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercharrette

i thought of noises off right away, too. cabaret?

songs:
song sung blue (neil diamond)
turn the page (bob seger)

tv about film:
extras

May 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterpainted maypole

Sing a Song by Big Bird
Sad Songs (Say so Much) by Elton John
You're so Vain by ?

May 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPEZmama

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