Hello Dolly

The Dolly Parton show is in town and so it’s a good occasion to pay tribute to the veteran country singer’s work to promote literacy among poor kids. Since 1996, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library USA has mailed every child under five in participating counties a book every month until their fifth birthday.

Should YouTube have a literature channel? It’s a question raised by the blog The Fiction Circus (brought to our attention by Media Bistro). Needless to say, we endorse the campaign wholeheartedly so that videos such as this one may find their true home. But then again, we would say that, what with our own YouTube channel and all.

One of our favourite collective nouns is ‘murmuration’, in reference to groups of starlings. Murmurations used to be a more common and more spectacular sight in Europe, but starling numbers have dropped some 70% since 1970. It refers to the sound made by the great clouds of starlings that flock together on late wintry afternoons in northern Europe. We found this YouTube video of murmurating starlings hypnotic for all kinds of reasons. It’s a promotional video for a book on economics, although you wouldn’t know it from the footage, which inspires in the narrator all kinds of grandiloquent philosophising. Do murmurations of starlings have something to teach us about the future of humanity? We’ll reserve our judgment on that, but enjoy the spectacle. (More murmuration.)

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