Breaking and Entering: On Guinness Winners and Random Achievement
The drive to build order and meaning into our lives is constant; its the concepts themselves that seem to change with the times. Since 1955, when the first Guinness Book of Records was published, the definition of whats valued in our culture has expanded like the waistline of the worlds fattest lady to accommodate those willing to trade large portions of their time to be recognized for largely random achievements. Breaking and Entering, Benjamin Fingerhuts survey of a host of such modern titans of the tiresome, does a fair, if sometimes frustratingly oblique, job of illustrating just how much the pursuit of the randomfrom the guy who rips phone books to the one who catches grapes in his mouthmeans to his subjects. He focuses on three would-be record breakers: a marathoning juggler, or joggler; the aforementioned grape guy; and an aging peacock determined to prove his worth by chapping his ass on a stationary bike for 100 straight hours. The latter embodies galaxies of grim pathos, and ultimately admits that his cold, discouraging parents set him down the path to suffering for what begins to feelacross the films dissonantly cheerful boardlike a terrifyingly small slice of fame.
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