Christian Long

Rives: 4 a.m.

In TED Talks on April 11, 2010 at 9:51 pm

Reflection by VANCE L.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Rives:  4 a.m.

Have you ever enjoyed quirky comedic coincidental relationships?

In simpler words have you read or watched the DaVinci code?

Rives here talks about the “Giacometti Code” organizing the hour of four in the morning into a long chain of coincidences that are creepily inter connected.

In nine minutes:

A recent comic strip in the Los Angeles Times had the punchline, “On the other hand, I don’t have to get up at four every single morning to milk my labrador”.

A recent cover of New York Magazine tells of the best hospitals where doctors themselves would go for “4 a.m. emergencies”.
In a music medley Rives assembled “Its four in the morning, the end of december” (Leonard Cohen), “Well, it’s four in the morning, by the sound of the birds.” (Bob Dylan), and “Four in the morning. Crapped out, yawning” (Paul Simon).

As Rives himself says “did you ever notice that four in the morning has become a meme, or shorthand for something? It means: You are awake. At the worst possible hour. A time for inconveniences, mishaps, yearnings.”

Grim things happen at four in the morning. Isabel Allende’s book The House of The Spirits talks of embalming the lifeless body of a young woman. A scene from The Godfather happens at four in the morning when they plot to whack the chief of police. A short fiction piece in the 2006 New York times detailed how “On September 11, 2001, he opened his eyes at 4 A.M., in Portland, Maine, and Muhammad Atta’s last day began.

For a time that Rives “find[s] to be the most placid and uneventful hour of the day, four in the morning sure gets alot of bad press.” Across a lot of different media from a lot of big names, how is it that so many artists are defaulting back to this one “trope”? Could it be that something bigger is going on?

Watch for a quick laugh and to see an interesting use of verbal artistry about four in the morning that can both expand and entertain the mental palate for interesting historic connections.

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