Wednesday, August 22, 2007

20/20 Torah

I am a sucker for what’s cool. Lucky for me I get to define “cool” for myself, and “cool” at the moment is pecha-kucha, the Japanese word for “chatter.”

As used by Tokyo-based architects Mark Dytham and Astrid Kelin, pecha-kucha refers to a hot new trend in presentations where each presenter is limited to 20 slides displayed for 20 second each. That makes for a six minute forty second talk. Businesses are using the model as are artists of all kinds who have turned to pecha-kucha competitions to showcase their work.

How does this apply to religion? I have always thought that if you can’t say what you mean in ten minutes or less, or ten pages or less, you were bullshitting. Given that I talk for hours on end and write books much longer than ten pages I admit to using a lot of bs. The truth isn’t that complicated. We make it seem complicated so we can excuse our own bs.

So here is my thought for the moment: why not host a pecha-kucha Torah-festival were commentators are invited to come and explore Torah in the 20/20 format. Images, sound, would have to work with your words, enhancing what you say and deepening it. No point in wasting your 20 seconds by reading a slide. The slide would have to build on what you say ala Stephen Colbert’s The Word.

This would be fun, funny, and insightful.

I imagine holding this in LA. Why? I have no idea, it just seems a lot sexier than Middle Tennessee, and there are so many creative types there. It would be a one day event, probably on a Sunday. People could vote for their favorite pecha-kucha presentation in several different categories, and we could present the winners with statues of Oscar holding a Torah scroll.

And why stop with Torah? The pecha-kucha Gospels would be next. And then the Gita, Lao Tzu, and Kor…. Well, I’ll the Danes worry about that one.

If you have any suggestions as to how to host a pecha-kucha Torah festival next Simchat Torah (a little over a year from now) let me know.

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