| contact: drbenway at priest dot com
| blogging since Oct '01
This is Gordon Osse's blog.
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"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]
Well, the Ikea riots happened when I was writing the book [Kingdom Come, not published in the US yet]. ‘There we go,’ I said to myself. Yes — that was an incredible event in many ways. It fed into the novel. England is a much more socially divided, unstable and violent place than people realise. This is not some sort of Switzerland floating in the North Sea. We’re not a Scandinavian country, like Norway or Sweden. We ought to be part of that bloc, but we’re not. I don’t know what we are. That’s the problem.
The thing is, I wanted the protagonist — the narrator — to be more involved professionally, and emotionally, in the events that are unfurling. If you go back to my previous novels, something like Super-Cannes — the narrator of that finds himself in this strange business park in the south of France by chance, really, whereas the narrator in Kingdom Come is directly involved. I wanted to show how disaffected and deracinated intellectuals often get drawn into political conspiracies that turn out badly. We have a clear example at the present time with many of the leading American intellectuals who are involved with President Bush and his neo-cons — someone like Fukuyama, although I think he’s recanted. These think-tank intellectuals in America provided a lot of the rationale for the whole neo-con response to 9/11. And earlier than that, you see people like Joseph Goebbels — a fully-fledged intellectual, without any doubt — becoming the propaganda chief of the Nazi regime. Albert Speer’s another one. I wanted to show how rootless intellectuals do get involved in these conspiracies.
And here's a link to a ballardian something I've missed, apparently a hot topic in the blogosphere of late: Stephen Meisel's State of Emergency photo shoot.
Finally. a review of what looks like the best critical text on Ballard, Andrzej Gasiorek's JG Ballard.
Despite being an Australian non-self-governing territory, it's much closer to Java and is mainly ethnic Chinese with a faith breakdown of 36% Buddhist, 25% Muslim, 18% Christian, 15% Taoist, & 6% Other.
Hard Candy & The Proposition were primal, gut-wrenching and beautifully shot, and so packed the biggest punch. But Gilda (shot in 1946!) was surprisingly disturbing and weird, perhaps even more than the other two, because you have more time to be with the characters, and the script is a whole lot sneakier. It's not as tight a production and the ending is hokey, as many have pointed out -- though in this case I at least was so floored by the bracing depiction of l'amour fou that it hardly mattered. And the high production values -- which usually fatally deplete noir tensions -- here underlined the darkness beneath the glamour.
There are no ill-considered or thrown-away shots in any of these films; the least Nykvist scene is an astute piece of craftsmanship, and at his best, he is an astonishingly subtle painter of atmospheres. Ingmar Bergman called the movie camera "an incredible instrument for recording the human soul as captured in the human face." No one has used the camera to that purpose more sensitively than Sven Nykvist. [Chris Fujiwara]
Cinematographer for all of Bergman's films after 1960, including Persona & Scenes From a Marriage; Bob Fosse's Star 80, Kaufman's The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors, Tarkovsky's The Sacrifice, Malle's Pretty Baby, Siddhartha, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich & Polanski's The Tenant, among his total of 121.
Today is the 4th anniversary of this blog's debut, and I was thinking of some kind of giveaway or something to celebrate, but I'm way too squirrelly from the eclipse/equinox/whatever to figure anything out tonight; maybe over the weekend. . .
you've probably already figured out that this movie download thingie that's supposed to be the new hot shit will be anything but, if current models abide -- but if not, cory doctorow has some words for ya (specifically about the amazon model, but there's little dif between them, methinks)
The difference between Amazon and Amazon Unbox is like night and day. When you sign onto Unbox, you sign away all the amazing customer rights that Amazon itself is so careful to protect. Amazon Unbox takes away your privacy and every conceivable consumer right you have, and then tells you that the goods you buy from them don't belong to you, and they can take them away from you at any time, or change the deal you get from them without any appeal by you.
Amazon Unbox's user agreement isn't just galling for its evilness -- it's also commercially suicidal. No sane person will agree to this. Amazon Unbox user agreement is only a couple femtometers more dignified than being traded to another inmate for a couple packs of cigarettes.
why anyone is keyed up about the idea is a mystery to me anyway -- outside of the geek factor of being able to download a movie.
i can get used dvds so reasonably -- even new ones for that matter -- that i can't imagine needing or wanting to to download them. but then i don't need to see movies when they come out or whatever -- i'm perfectly happy with my netflix/blockbuster subscription for most of my viewing.
the only thing i'd change would be adjusting the subscription mix if nicheflix had a 1 or 2 at-a-time plan: there are a number of films available overseas that aren't here, or only in inferior versions.
The Burns doc has received unanimously positive reviews, and appears to be the comprehensive overview of the maddeningly elliptical and elusive artist who influence perhaps surpasses any American artist of the last century.
In the few short years since the first shackled Afghan shuffled off to Guantanamo, the U.S. military has created a global network of overseas prisons, its islands of high security keeping 14,000 detainees beyond the reach of established law.
Disclosures of torture and long-term arbitrary detentions have won rebuke from leading voices including the U.N. secretary-general and the U.S. Supreme Court. But the bitterest words come from inside the system, the size of several major U.S. penitentiaries.
"It was hard to believe I'd get out," Baghdad shopkeeper Amjad Qassim al-Aliyawi told The Associated Press after his release — without charge — last month. "I lived with the Americans for one year and eight months as if I was living in hell."
Captured on battlefields, pulled from beds at midnight, grabbed off streets as suspected insurgents, tens of thousands now have passed through U.S. detention, the vast majority in Iraq.
Many say they were caught up in U.S. military sweeps, often interrogated around the clock, then released months or years later without apology, compensation or any word on why they were taken. Seventy to 90 percent of the Iraq detentions in 2003 were "mistakes," U.S. officers once told the international Red Cross.
The U.S. military in Iraq has imprisoned an Associated Press photographer for five months, accusing him of being a security threat but never filing charges or permitting a public hearing.
Military officials said Bilal Hussein, an Iraqi citizen, was being held for "imperative reasons of security" under United Nations resolutions. AP executives said the news cooperative's review of Hussein's work did not find anything to indicate inappropriate contact with insurgents, and any evidence against him should be brought to the Iraqi criminal justice system.
Hussein, 35, is a native of Fallujah who began work for the AP in September 2004. He photographed events in Fallujah and Ramadi until he was detained on April 12 of this year.
"We want the rule of law to prevail. He either needs to be charged or released. Indefinite detention is not acceptable," said Tom Curley, AP's president and chief executive officer. "We've come to the conclusion that this is unacceptable under Iraqi law, or Geneva Conventions, or any military procedure."
A banner month on TCM, which I can't delve into right now, but I had to note the festival of short films running for 24 hours tomorrow in association with Hermes Films, including works by David Lynch, Ridley Scott, Martin Scorsese, Stanley Kubrick, Jacques Tourneur, Chris Marker, Roman Polanski and Francois Truffaut, among others, which you likely haven't seen
On the surface a bucolic, even naive portrait of English rural life during wartime, the film builds and develops, layering inference and intent until on almost every level the question of what the film is really ‘about’ seems all but unanswerable—the answer changes by the minute as our sympathies are questioned, our beliefs challenged, questions of history and identity are raised, examined and set aside, genres toyed with and discarded amid tonal shifts as liquid and unexpected as sunlight bursting through clouds, or through the projector onto the screen itself.
But for Christians within this generation, behavior and beliefs are unlike those of any archetypal rebellion that has come before. For every member of the Disciple Generation raised secular in a car or a commune, or had a lesbian mom or a pothead dad, plenty more grew up in traditional Christian homes, whether that affiliation took the form of an occasional Sunday service or a father who was an active church elder. There's a three-piece suit for every freshly shaved mohawk in this subculture.
Yet wherever they began their individual walk with Christ, and however they choose to outwardly identify themselves within the subculture, members of this movement all talk about a meaningless and bankrupt society; a world that offers no anodyne culture outside their faith. Their lives are in fact a criticism of our own. This youth movement isn't one that merely defines itself against its parents' generation; it exists in opposition to all culture and history that excludes evangelicalism.
The new disciples are ripping down their parents' white steeples and tearing apart the lumber to build a half-pipe. Christian youth is deinstitutionalizing the American church for the first time in about 400 years. This evangelical movement isn't just about internally held principles, it's a matter of lifestyle. Young evangelicals look so similar to denizens of every other strain of youth culture that, aside from their religious tattoos, the difference between them and the unsaved is invisible.
After all, shared culture is an opportunity for people to connect and gain one another's trust. Culture -- your favorite music, sport, pastime, style, you name it -- presents an opening for evangelism. Once bonds are forged over a beloved band or football team, then the Evangelical "message" can work its way into a relationship. Once the message is heard, a world opens in which God's love, as well as your cultural predilections, provide spiritual isolation from the secular world. It's hard to imagine an aspect of secular culture lacking a Christian counterpart: one can choose from Christian hip-hop ministries, Christian military intelligence classes, or Christian diet groups in this mirror society.
The evangelical culture is rooted in place, and it's expanding every day to swallow a generation whole. Shattering the perceived blue state–red state dichotomy, epicenters of this Evangelical movement are even swelling madly in leftist zip codes of cities like Boston, Denver and Seattle.
Jia Zhang-ke's (Platform, The World) Still Life won for best picture, much to the chagrin of movie industry mouthpieces (see 2nd link above), and it looks like the most interesting winner, along with Alain Resnais' Private Fears in Public Places.
Good stuff at Magpie: Lee Perry doc at Black Ark, a (apparently & unfortunately, rather humorless) new book on how post-WWII satire/comedians/comix changed the world, and the grossly mishandled marketing/suppression of Mike Judge's (Office Space, Beavis & Butthead, King of the Hill) new satire of corporate sodomization and dissociative retreat into the fetishization of stupidity (well, how would YOU put it?) in America, Idiocracy
What does Mike Judge have to do to get a movie released and marketed? He could stop making satires as merciless and spot-on as this one, for one thing. His second film in seven years, “Idiocracy,” was completed nearly two years ago and dumped on Friday, reviewless and unmarketed, in six markets not including New York and San Francisco. (Because who could possibly be interested in the long-awaited movie by the director of “Office Space” there?) It’s this sort of vote of no-confidence that gets people wondering — just how bad could it be? Which raises the issue of what “bad” means to the studio that unleashed “Date Movie” and “Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties” on an unsuspecting populace.
Judge has a gift for delivering brutal satire in the trappings of low comedy and for making heroes out of ordinary people whose humanity makes them suspect in a world where every inch of space, including mental, is mediated. The movie would be worth seeing for its skewering of the health system alone — in the future, hospitals will resemble a cross between a chain auto-diagnostic center and a Carl’s Jr., powered by Help Me technology — even if its opening thesis on the moment in history (roughly now) that evolution tipped into devolution weren’t so clear-eyed.
I had always felt that his inability to respond to crisis, as seen in his response to 9/11 and Katrina and Israel's bombing of Lebanon, was because he suffered from something called affective flooding, where overwhelming anxiety paralyzes any ability to think or even function. Such a response is similar to denial but writ large. Those who observe the president at such moments - thanks to smuggled film clips and his historic April 2004 press conference when he was asked if he had made any mistakes as president - see that he starts rapid blinking movements before his eyes glaze over and become almost fixed in a blank, mindless stare. This massive disconnection from inner self and outer world is called "splitting."
But a recent press conference (August 21, 2006) showed that when he is in control he is not flooded in this way. Rather, his splitting takes the form of hatred of reality. I use the term hatred purposefully. When he was pushed by a few increasingly frustrated reporters, he behaves like the untreated alcoholic he is - summarily dismissing material reality.
Upper-East-Side lady on cell: I know, but I was at a funeral all day...Yeah, it was sad, but I really didn't know him at all...This saddest thing was seeing his daughters upset. They're the same ages as--Wow! This shirt is only $19!! You can't even buy a freaking Frappuccino for $19! I'm getting it in blue.
The Pentagon claimed a victory for America's missile defence system last night when a mock warhead was successfully destroyed in space in a test which cost $85m.
A target missile was launched from Kodiak island, Alaska, yesterday morning. Seventeen minutes later, an interceptor missile left a silo in California, hitting the target above the Pacific Ocean at a speed of 18,000mph.
Military chiefs hailed the test as a "total success" for the defence system, originally known as Star Wars, which has been plagued by political opposition and technical troubles since it began in 1983.
A real interceptor missile has never before successfully destroyed a target missile. In the previous such attempts, in 2004 and 2005, the rockets jammed in their silos. "What we did today is a huge step in terms of our systematic approach to continuing to ... develop a missile defence system for the United States, for our allies, our friends, our deployed forces around the world," said Lieutenant General Henry Oberling, the Pentagon's missile defence chief. He said the system now had a "good chance" of shooting down a real enemy long-range missile. "I feel a lot safer and sleep a lot better at night," he said.
Critics dispute the Bush administration's claim that the system, which has cost almost $100bn to date, is vital to protect against attacks from "rogue states" such as North Korea. They argue that the end of the cold war rendered the scheme obsolete, and the test was unrealistic because the military knew the size, speed, and timing of the missile at which they were aiming.
The Pentagon said the interception was only a secondary aim of yesterday's test: the main point had been to gather and analyse data. But since the test was declared a success before any data had been analysed, opponents suggested it had been partly a public relations exercise.
There was Mona Letrovski, the actress from Chicago with wide-set eyes and dark hair on her arms who liked to shout, "Gareth, you're a fool," with her back to him, Dad's cue to run over to her, turn her around and see the Look of Bitter Longing on her face. Only Dad never turned her around to see the Bitter Longing. Instead, he stared at her back as if it was an abstract painting. Then he went into the kitchen for a glass of bourbon. There was Connie Madison Parker, whose perfume hung in the air like a battered piдa. There was Zula Pierce of Okush, New Mexico, a black woman who was taller than he was, so whenever Dad kissed her she had to bend down as if peeking through a peephole to see who was ringing her bell. She started out calling me, "Blue, honey," which, like her relationship with Dad, slowly began to erode, becoming "Bluehoney" and then "Blueoney," ultimately ending with "Baloney." ("Baloney had it in for me from the very beginning!" she screamed.)
Nothing quite goes the way we expect; but plot is not really the point of the novel. It is long (437 dense pages) and expansive; and I found it so absorbing that, when I was done, I only wished it were even longer. Despite the outrageous premise, the surfaces of life (both physical and social-cultural) are naturalistically depicted; the streets of San Francisco and London, and (as far as I could tell) the deserts of Nevada are all recognizably rendered, in loving detail. This is not to say, however, that Half Life in any way resembles either mainstream naturalistic fiction, or the sort of “world-building” fantasy that seeks to create an alternative world as rich and consistent as possible. Rather, Jackson creates a text in which ontological distinctions are abolished. There is no opposition here between the real and the fantastic, between actuality and mere possibility, between fact and fiction, or — most important of all — between language as a description of some extralinguistic real, and language as a dense, reflexive medium that performs and produces itself, rather than referring to anything outside itself.