| contact: drbenway at priest dot com
| blogging since Oct '01
This is Gordon Osse's blog.
NOTE: Though the comment counter is not working, you can leave comments and I check for them. if you want to leave website info or your name, do so within the textbox, not the signature box, which isn't operative. Thanks.
"He who does not at some time, with definite determination consent to the terribleness of life, or even exalt in it, never takes possession of the inexpressible fullness of the power of our existence."
all faces followers of
All colors, beams of
-- Akhenaton, "Hymn to the Sun"
Opt your children out of Pentagon harassment
WHO I WORK FOR: Mount Hope Wholesale
Wholesale nuts, grains, fruits and spices (and more) shipped from Cottonwood AZ
(Tell them you heard about them on Gordon's blog!)
WHAT I'VE SEEN LATELY:
(r) = re-viewing
God Told Me To (1976, Cohen)
Whispering City (1947, Otsep)
Times and Winds (2006, Erdem)
Dirty Money (Un flic) (1972, Melville)
10th District Court (2004, Depardon)
RFK Must Die: The Assassination of Bobby Kennedy (2007, O'Sullivan)
The Furies (1950, Mann)
In a Lonely Place (1950, Ray)(r)
The Adjuster (1991, Egoyan)(r)
Mad Men The Buddha of Suburbia Intelligence (2006, Haddock) Family Guy
SUGGESTED VIEWING: The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear (2004, Curtis) [available for streaming/download here]
Which reminds me of a quote from Dennis Lehane's first novel, that I posted 3 years ago:
They tell us it's about race, and we believe them. And they call it a "democracy," and we nod our heads, so pleased with ourselves. We blame the Socias [gangsters], we occasionally sneer at the Paulsons [latest crop of craven pols] but we always vote for the Sterling Mulkerns [good old boys]. And in occasional moments of quasi-lucidity, we wonder why the Mulkerns of this world don't respect us. They don't respect us because we are their molested children. They fuck us morning, noon, and night, but as long as they tuck us in with a kiss, as long as they whisper into our ears, "Daddy loves you, Daddy will take care of you," we close our eyes and go to sleep, trading our bodies, our souls, for the comforting veneers of "civilization" and "security," the false idols of our twentieth century wet dream. And it's our reliance on that dream that the Mulkerns, the Paulsons, the Socias, the Phils, the Heroes of this world depend upon. That's their dark knowledge. That's how they win.
North American Plate pressures building according to Russian scientists
Speculation that tectonic pressures and powerful storms are connected to red tide & unusual riptides off New England, rising temps in the lower Great Lakes and the increasingly volatile New Madrid Fault.
The generation of '68 was thus responding not to the sexual repressiveness of the Nazi regime but to a postfascist formation, the cultural work of their parents in coming to terms with defeat and the Holocaust without getting into moral deep water. A brief period of postwar libertarianism and openness—a sort of breezy time that extolled the return of heterosexual romance, cheerful femininity, and chivalrous masculinity, which Herzog argues banalized the worst aspects of the Nazi regime and provided cover for a renewed persecution of homosexuals—gave way to the astonishingly repressive and hypocritical years of Christian Democrat rule. Adenauer represented a return not to the '20s but to the most conservative norms of Wilhelmine Germany. This regime the baby boomers mistakenly identified as fascist.
Creating a world safe for husbands who were "real men," able to support their families single-handedly, and for wives who uncomplainingly tolerated whatever their men did and happily sacrificed themselves for the greater good of society, became, as Herzog shows, a widespread project that deflected attention away from what really stank in Germany. The churches and the state struggled mightily to distinguish their antiabortion, anti–birth control, antigay stances from those of the Nazis: Killing the unborn was cast as a version of the Holocaust, for example; federal commitment to Paragraph 175 as a defense against a seemingly communicable wave of homosexuality was made without any reference to the legislation's odious, murderous history. It was precisely these continuities that the '68ers would cite when they insisted that the postfascist culture of conservatism was really just a continuation of the Nazi regime in unconvincing disguise. Parents and teachers, and a flood of religious and secular publications, preached the virtues of premarital chastity as if it were the highest good at the same time as they remained silent about their own lack of virtue during the years 1933 to 1945.
Sex After Fascism is one of the best books of the past twenty years on the history of sexuality, and certainly the best book on this particular subject. But it is also a book for anyone who wants to figure out why homophobia, antifeminism, and a passionate opposition to abortion and premarital sex have become the emotional core of right-wing politics in the United States. Other possibly than death, nothing is more important to making meaning than sexuality.
Meanwhile, in the even more archaic world of classical musicians, just the prospect of a female conductor astounds and angers the inhabitants of a world holding fiercely to a "classic" example of hierarchy and the patriarchal concentration of power
Hot little piece by Gibson on how technology is eroding the artist/audience polarity
Today, an endless, recombinant, and fundamentally social process generates countless hours of creative product (another antique term?). To say that this poses a threat to the record industry is simply comic. The record industry, though it may not know it yet, has gone the way of the record. Instead, the recombinant (the bootleg, the remix, the mash-up) has become the characteristic pivot at the turn of our two centuries.
We live at a peculiar juncture, one in which the record (an object) and the recombinant (a process) still, however briefly, coexist. But there seems little doubt as to the direction things are going. The recombinant is manifest in forms as diverse as Alan Moore's graphic novel The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, machinima generated with game engines (Quake, Doom, Halo), the whole metastasized library of Dean Scream remixes, genre-warping fan fiction from the universes of Star Trek or Buffy or (more satisfying by far) both at once, the JarJar-less Phantom Edit (sound of an audience voting with its fingers), brand-hybrid athletic shoes, gleefully transgressive logo jumping, and products like Kubrick figures, those Japanese collectibles that slyly masquerade as soulless corporate units yet are rescued from anonymity by the application of a thoughtfully aggressive "custom" paint job.
We seldom legislate new technologies into being. They emerge, and we plunge with them into whatever vortices of change they generate. We legislate after the fact, in a perpetual game of catch-up, as best we can, while our new technologies redefine us - as surely and perhaps as terribly as we've been redefined by broadcast television.
Meanwhile, here in our great democracy, Americans go along with the program or remain silent, too afraid of the Muslim bogeymen thousands of miles away to recognize the Christian ones in our midst. Fearful that we will be verbally attacked, or shunned, or lose our livelihoods if we dare question the meanness that characterizes our government and, increasingly, defines our national character.
I do not feel safer now than I did six, or 12, or 24 months ago. In fact, I feel far more vulnerable and frightened than I ever have in my 50 years on the planet. It is the United States government I am afraid of. In less than two years the Bush administration has used the attacks of 9/11 to manipulate our fear of terrorism and desire for revenge into a blank check to blatantly pursue imperialist objectives internationally and to begin the rollback of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and most of the advances of the 20th century.
In an interview with the newspaper, Tom Galley of National CineMedia, owned by the AMC and Regal theater chains, observed that "churches are very expensive to build" and that it costs only about $2,000 per month to hold church services in a local theater. One church in Gaithersburg boasts a website, ilovethischurch.com, a live band on Sundays, movie clips, skits, and refreshments. Pastor Darin Brown said the theater "feels less churchy [and] less traditional ... It feels like a kind of Christianity where you'd like to get comfortable and invite your friends."
I never got around to seeing Cube, the sf cult film by Canadian director Vincenzo Natali, but I stumbled upon his IMDB page and saw that he's apparently going to tackle J G Ballard's classic High Rise
I've found Cronenberg's "versions" of Burroughs and Ballard to be among his least satisfying films (though still worth seeing, as is all of his work), so I look forward to a fresh take. High Rise is one of my favorite Ballard books, along with The Drowned World and the Vermilion Sands collection. I'm still waiting for his Complete Short Stories to be published here, though I'm not holding my breath -- his work has seen very limited exposure here, save for his autobigraphical novel Empire of the Sun, which some American director made a passable movie of . . . though it did have the virtue of featuring Christian Bale in his firstsecond film role.
In the late '90s, after The Newton Boys flopped, Linklater was unable to get financing for any of his ideas, so he used a digital video camera to make Tape (three friends in a motel room talk about an old date rape) and the footage he would eventually turn into animation for Waking Life. "I was back to square one. There I was with my little videotape walking around the streets of Austin with my friends," he says. "I'm sure I'll be there again. Life is cyclical."
I have hopes that his version of Dick's A Scanner Darkly will be the PKD movie fans have been waiting for, since nothing since Blade Runner has come close to his ethos.
My only attempt at watching a Jacques Rivette film has been Va Savoir a couple years ago, the shorter 154 min. version (apparently a different edit done by the director -- see link for La Belle Noiseuse below) on tape which didn't work for me then...
... but David Thomson (who devotes several rapturous columns to Rivette in his Biographical Dictionary) and many other commentators speak so highly of his work I may give The History of Marie and Julien a whirl, as it's being released next week. Though La Belle Noiseuse is probably much better.
I think a longer cut was already out on tape, it rings a bell. And the Anchor Bay version on disc too (though apparently not Roeg's edit -- see comment on amazon page). But the extras include a copy of the book it's based on and new commentary by Roeg, Bowie and screenwriter Buck Henry, which I'm sure will be fun to listen to.
Obviously aimed at Bowie fans, though it's a cult classic. I'll check it out as a rental anyway.
Stumbled on what looks like an interesting book: William Russo's A Thinker's Damn: Audie Murphy, Vietnam, and the Making of the Quiet American on the IMDB page for the movie which has just been released on disc
The original movie version of Graham Greene's novel is worth seeing, though the recent Michael Caine vehicle adheres closer to the book.
I posted severaltimes back in '02 about the new version, since it was basically suppressed after 9/11. But I wasn't as blown away by it as I'd hoped to be; as always, whenever something is suppressed it's never as good as you think it'll be, as though the mystery and power of the piece has been leeched away by the distraction of the controversy.
Jack Nicholson (who stars along with Maria Schneider) owns (at least) the N American rights to Passenger, and is finally letting go for whatever reason. Found out about this at DVD Beaver (kind of an unfortunate name, but it's Canadian so at least there's a connection), which also claims this will be the longer (126 min, 7 min longer than the US release) cut, though the Sony page above lists the shorter time.
Hopefully the DVD will do the stunning photography justice. One of my favorite movies, and one of Antonioni's best -- and most accessible -- I think.
I saw Passenger when I was spending the summer in Wildwood NJ, playing across the boardwalk from Jaws, which also made an impact that's hard to imagine now it's on TV every other day. But Passenger always stuck with me, well before I knew much about the director. A sense of space and time way out of Hollywood's universe, kind of like the bombdrop Another Green World was a year or so later in the world of pop music. Messages from the future, like Ballard, which others only began to catch up with 20 years later.
And it's only more relevant now than 30 years ago, like all of his films.
Also of interest from Sony: a bio of Truman Capote starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Yes, starring Joan Allen in a new more um expressive role.
I'd never heard of (or just forgotten) the Winter Soldier event of 1971 until I read at TCM's site that the documentary made of it is being re-released
Winter Soldier was made at a time when public opposition to the Vietnam War had reached new heights in response to the revelations of the killing of civilians at My Lai. Leaders at the VVAW and other antiwar activists began to organize an event at which vets could talk candidly about their experiences in the war. Celebrity activists including Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland, Graham Nash and Phil Ochs helped raise money for the Detroit meetings.
The Winter Soldier Investigation took place in the second-floor ballroom of a Howard Johnson's motel in Detroit, January 31 - February 2, 1971.
Over the course of four days and nights, using donated equipment and film stock, the Winterfilm members shot footage of more than 125 veterans (including a very young John Kerry). These men, who represented every major combat unit that saw action in Vietnam, gave eyewitness testimony to war crimes and atrocities they either participated in or witnessed. Members of the collective next spent eight months editing the raw footage from the hearings together with film clips and snapshots from Vietnam into the 95-minute feature documentary Winter Soldier. Because the proceedings went virtually unreported by the media, the film became the only complete record of the testimony.
The Winter Soldier meetings revealed the horror and extent of civilian murders and prisoner abuse in Vietnam, as John Kerry described it, "committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command." These young men talked about their participation in rapes, electrocutions, stonings, tossing prisoners from helicopters and destroying villages. Even more disturbing was the revelation that these crimes were ignored, even condoned by official US military policy. The hearings also exposed for the first time that the US had illegally and secretly invaded neutral Laos.
A transcription of at least most of the event is available here.