Friday, March 14, 2014

Crisp Precision

If you watched the Olympics, or if you watch any kind of dancing competition, you've seen crisp. You've also seen the antithesis. I wish I had videos to show you to illustrate crisp and - you know - not. However. Speaking of not so crisp, since I'm posting late and I still have word count to rack up today, me surfing the interwebs isn't going to happen. I know my weaknesses.

So I describe. 

Crisp is during a football game, some guy leaps into the air, hangs there, and plucks the ball out of the sky as if he had all the time in world to wait for it. He lands, there's a beat, and then he takes off down the field. He makes it look easy.

Crisp in this context describes physical precision. When it's lacking, you look at someone's performance, nod and say, "Eh, not bad." If the performance is crisp, it becomes one of those cheesy "OMG You Have to Watch!" videos that makes the email and social media rounds. I know a little bit about it because of Stage Combat training. Without at least a little bit of physical precision on your part, your fight partners didn't last long. What?? Mine are all fine. I swear. Though I won't make any claims about having made swinging a broadsword look easy. It wasn't and I didn't.

Oh, look. It turns out I lied. I do have videos. This is music. In the first one, watch how Bing Crosby belts out his show tune while making it look like the easiest thing he's ever done. In the second, Bing is much older. Same song, but all the ease is gone. The song and the performance are as muddy as the river he sings about. I can't watch the second one all the way through.
Well, dang it YouTube. I don't guess there will be any kind of contrast/compare. YouTube won't play nice.  (Here's the URL, but YouTube won't let me put the video into the post. But really. If you're watching a performer make hot, sweaty work of whatever they're doing - unless, of course, hot and sweaty is the *point* - the performance isn't crisp.
What does it matter? Very little, probably. Some people like to see the work that goes into something - whether an athletic performance or a piece of art. Other people (I find I'm one of them) value the mastery demonstrated when someone makes the difficult or the impossible look like a cakewalk. Think Jackie Chan. He can't possibly be human. He has achieved a stunning level of physical precision and mastery. And he makes it look not only like it's easy, he makes it look like it's all an accident.
Is it stupid that I want that kind of mastery over storytelling?


  1. Oh, how I love Bing, but talk about destroying a song. ~weeps~

    "Jazzy Old Man...River." No. No, no.

    1. I know. Sorta defeats the intent of the lament, doesn't it? But from a sheer display of skill - it's something else.