Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
The Original Johnson is eyepopping and intelligent. None of the rote "fantasization" crap involving classic realfolk, as so decreed by publishers seeking gimmicks. This is visceral, exciting and enlighting stuff. Seldom does the New York Times laud a four color comic or graphic novel. They have. Check it out before the holidays end and the real world starts again January 5...
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Read it here and comment.
Friday, December 26, 2008
OK. Nothing amusing, nasty or even mildly Mencken-esque (he's spinning in his grave over what the barking spiders and oozing starfish on Wall Street have done to newspapers and book publishing). Nope it's this, from Charles Dickens. Something to think about for the next 11 months, and perhaps reflect upon as we look at 2008. Some say Great Expectations or Martin Chuzzlewit are Dickens' best work. For Literature professors, perhaps. Unh- unh, not for the real world. I say it's A Christmas Carol. Look at this pivotal passage. It will apply to so many things. And it's nimble: applies to each of us, and, in turn— each of can project it as a dodge or denial. Hope you had a Merry Christmas. Best for the New Year.Nat…
The Ghost calls, "Look here." From the folds of its robe, Spirit reveals two children; wretched, abject, frightful, hideous, miserable. They knelt down at its feet, and clung upon the outside of its garment. They were a boy and a girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where angels might have sat enthroned, devils lurked, and glared out menacing.
Scrooge recoils in horror. “Spirit…who are these children?”
"They are Man's," says the Ghost, looking down upon them. “This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it." The Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city, cries, "Slander those who tell it ye. Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse. And abide the end."
"Have they no refuge or resource?" cries Scrooge. "Are there no prisons?" the Spirit mocks in Scrooge's own words. "Are there no workhouses?"
Monday, December 22, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Check this out from Nat's pals at Bossip here or click on video below (though I'm sure some of you horny negroes have seen it on youtube a billion times)...
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Porn is a billion dollar industry...hell billions if you count what's coming out of Eastern Europe and bound for the Middle East (so much for pure Islam). Who's to say some of her biggest fans aren't on the Board? Thoughts?
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
From "The Grey Lady" (the NYTimes, which is groaning under "bad times" as well), news of layoffs at Macmillian, the publisher which owns Holt and of course our friends at St. Martins and Tor/Forge.
Macmillian's owned, in turn, by a German combine, Holtzbrinck. Yep, Random House is owned by foreigners as well. Nice to see folks tasked with keeping American brains trained, creative, imagining controlled by Germans. Between that and cheap Chinese garbage folk are buying at Wal mart, I'd say it's "evening" in America. "Mourning" in America? How about that play on words? Nevermind their business model is warped--books aren't Beyonce CDs. Nevermind the real reason for this crap has more to do with, by analogy, Sam Zell loading the Tribune Company with debt from his leveraging spree, or the perfidy and non-regulation of the financial sector than with "young people not reading." The result is the same. Shrink. Dummi-fy. It's a self-fulfilling prophesy.
All of a sudden, that movie Idiocracy doesn't seem so amusing. Just like Office Space is hitting a bit too close to home now.
Part I of interview:
Monday, December 15, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
...as I'm off to a string of Christmas parties...er...sorry HOLIDAY parties (as corporate America/marketing clowns have ordained) from K Street to NJ for the weekend, so I'll be scarce on the blog. Check me out as a regular contributor in http://www.blackpower.com/. I was wondering what "Joe the Plumber" would say about his beloved GOPs torpedoing of the auto bailout in order to screw the working man? The LA Times (in a last gasp of pre-Zell journalism) reported so. He's now already on record saying to fellow douche Glenn Beck that he felt disgusted after “being on the campaign trail and seeing some of the things that take place.”
So the Republicans love folk like my boy Drierer and Bernie Madoff . Scions of laissez-faire . Ummm...the GOP became socialists and have dispensed over $300 B from the TARP, no questions asked, to folk just a cut or two above Drierer and Bernie. Yet they go back to wingnut-sim and try to dismantle the UAW? Newsflash...even the workers hate the UAW. Umm...they hate it b/c they thought they were in bed with company executives. What's Joe the Plumber's take? Likely still anti-Obama? If so, I guess gaybashing, guns and the flag really ARE are more important than self-preservation and common sense. Imagine that. Perhaps the GOP is onto something. Or, Barack's about to pick up this one last stubborn demo?
New track. In a bizarre twist, it seems Fox personnel are acting more responsible on this Blagojevich thing regarding the President-elect, even Val, Rahm et al than the supposedly pro-Obama MSNBC and CNN. Thoughts?
Enjoy your weekends and Merry CHRISTMAS.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
SLAVEFISH!!! I love the origin backstory, and his method of communicating with sea creatures. Watch out next time you sink your fat, Oxycontin-gourged spiderveined ass in the ocean, Rush. There lurks...SLAVEFISH. I just cannot stop laughing...
A queer...okay pretty much African American bull dyke... pal and former schoolmate of mine, embittered over the bobbled opportunity and loss in Cali's Prop. 8 told me: "Ellen Degeneres is our version of Sammy Davis Jr. So eager to fit in as an entertainer that she's become an irrelevancy to a larger movement and a response to a lack of civil rights, like Sammy in the 50s and 60s."
Unfair to Sammy, based on the research. Unfair to Ellen, too. But do you understand her point? My pal applauded Wanda Sykes. But she says other black gays need to step up, stop lying, and put a real, relateable face on things. She wasn't talking about "umasking" dudes on the DL. That stuff re: Tyler Perry, Shemar Moore et al is for another soap opera. Rather, what she's talking about is a wish that familiar names could humanize the yearnings of gays for the full civil blessings they pay for in the their taxes. They'd have the public megaphone of TV. They even, so goes the hope, would be eloquent spokespeople.
Or should they just STFU? Thoughts?
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Monday, December 08, 2008
The Tribune Company, saddled with the M & A debt splooged upon its august presses by Sam Zell, a "real estate mogul" (aren't "real estate moguls" usually they dullard husbands in all these "The Real Housewives of___" on Bravo?) has declared Chapter 11 protection. Zell owns the LA Times and hired a huckster named Lee Abrams as "Chief Imagination Officer" to dumb it and the Baltimore Sun down to preschooler/cage fighting fan level. H.L. Mencken's rolling in his grave. The last season of The Wire wasn't too far off, was it, Sam? Read here.
The Gray lady...the NYT...is borrowing against its building. Huh? Haven't they heard that the "too big to fail" thing is so, well, 90s? Who'll buy the building once the note's called? A big Nike Store...now that would be poetic justice. Read here.
Like the publishing industry, newspapers tried to be all things to all people...this in an age where "all people" are geting, well, dumber. Good music on the radio has gone to XM and other outlets. Of course bammas who can't afford an XM unit or an iPod still can listen to their favorite T-pain "music" on commercial radio, but that's the evolutionary exception, like the coelacanth or horseshoe crab. Most people still want news-sports-traffic-weather on "free" radio. Staying cheap and stupid, news hence becomes psycho talk radio, sports becomes ignorant fan-driven "sportstalk"...traffic and weather, that's immutable.
See the pattern? Leave stupid to the stupid people.
Newspaper (and books) can be the medium of smart people. There is a silent resevoir of smart cool people...hell even YOUNG people who want the depth, analysis, punchy investigative work. And yes there are people who want the tactile, stable experience of a paper, of a book. You can even send texts, job folks' schedules to tickle them into newspaper content. This isn't old-timer or Luddite stuff, folks. It's common sense. It's smart. It's evolution. Soar like birds.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Friday, December 05, 2008
Nope, this is about Wall Street rebounding on the news of murderous job losses. Click here. Draw your conclusions, send me your thoughts. There's a difference between being hurt, and being injured. I think most Americans have crossed to over to injury...
Thursday, December 04, 2008
white political machine in the old flick "The Last Hurrah." Like a bag
man for Harlem. Would that make him a bad attorney general. Not really. Again,
not compared to the hacks and morons who've held that position.
McVeighs who seem to congregagte in Wissila, Alaska LOL. A Bobby Kennedy. A Nicholas Katzenbach. A Ramsey Clarke, a Charles Bonaparte who took his boss Teddy Roosevelt's lead and went after Standard Oil and the railroads. Eric Holder's a bureaucrat and insider. He'd be "okay." We can't afford just "okay." We need great. Imaginative. Bold.
safe and ok. Ok, then...
P.S.--the give away here--that Specter, Grassley et al are not bowing to the radio freakazoids
and folk like Cohen, the wingnut bloggers. Why? Because they know Holder will just be "okay."
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Another: "Russert knows that the way to the top is to pretend that for all the Georgetown cocktail parties you attend, for all the money you make, for all your heart flutters when the powerful treat you with deference, in truth you may be in Washington but you're not of it. No, deep down you're just a regular guy from the wrong side of the tracks, standing up to the effete swells of the ruling class."
Indeed, Bill Moyers (a thinker) asked Luke's dad if he relied too much on the word of Bush administration officials during our fraudulent march to the Iraq War. Russert, who's not a journalist, recall, answered, "Look, I'm a blue-collar guy from Buffalo. I know who my sources are. I work 'em very hard. It's the mid-level people that tell you the truth." Huh? WTF?
Well, hopefully Luke's got some training, ethics, standards, you query? Wait. He just got out of school. OK, in the spirit of making the news "relatable" to younger folks (like texting, bite-sized) he's branded as the spirit of inexperienced yet energetic youth. I must say even the 20 and 18-somethings (white ones!) I spoke to thought he was a bit dry, dull, smarmy at times, though. But they were tickled he was "one of them." Yes, NBC learned from dad.
Listen, Luke's eulogy of his father was heartfelt, was heartwrenching. But why was it at the National Cathedral? Why was every self-aggrandizing tool from Bill Clinton to W there to pay homage. Folks, you are a sucky reporter if bigshots and politicians come to your funeral to wail. They should come to your funeral to spit on your casket. Otherwise you haven't done your job. But that presupposes your job is to inform, explain, uplift, rather than posture. That's Ed Murrow 101.
Has Luke ever learned about Edward R Murrow and his famous 1957 speech presaging the rise of folk like his dad? Nah. He's thinking revenue streams and new ways to sell to "Millenials" like himself. Hell I'm shocked he wasn't given Meet the Press, quieting the shrieks of his father's ghost when boring ol' Tom Brokaw took over Meet The Press temporarily. NBC has its standards of expertise, we hope. The trouble is, do we?
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
(From Bossip, link on the right)
No L'Oreal lightening. No weave. No red carpet posing with bodyguards. Just a schlumpy bruthah and wife watching a game.
For all we regular folks--like them--Happy Thanksgiving.
On a lighter note (much), the Association of Black Princeton Alumni, DC Chapter, is holding its annual Hoops Party in the skybox high above the court in the Verizon Center. 12/1, 1pm. Come see the Coach Thompson '88 and the Georgetown Hoyas as you sip your drink and dine on gourmet lunch fare. Email me for details. Michelle, come on by with the Secret Service.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Despite a lack of identifiable “victims,” all black conservative Ward Connerly had to was get petitions signed and place an anti-affirmative action question on the ballot. Quietly. White voters would do the rest. (http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2008/03/18/affirmative_action_foes_point_to_obama). Allegations of chicanery in the ballot petitions abound, and no there was no indication that affirmative action efforts were abusing white students, employees, businesses. Still, the measure passed easily. And quietly.
Many African Americans outside of Nebraska remain oblivious at best, insouciant at worse. Don’t step on my Barack high, we hear. And who cares anyway—how many black folks can there be in Nebraska other than in the Cornhuskers’ backfield and secondary? Indeed one longtime pro-Obama blogger states “There are what, 25 blacks in Nebraska?” Another Obama supporter in Washington, D.C. shrugs “This isn’t on my radar. I’m too busy celebrating.” Some of these opinions are from the same folk who mobilized thousands for the Jena 6. So where is the love for Nebraska?
Shawna Francis, lobbyist and former director of Congressional Affairs for the Democratic Leadership Conference, laments the result in her native Nebraska, and the muted initial response from African Americans nationwide. “Nebraskans are good, caring people,” she says. The state is home to a large, dynamic black community and culture there. Nevertheless, certain racist notions and power relationships remain. As for Nebraska not being on anyone’s map as opposed to Atlanta or D.C., she reminds people that Omaha is the cradle of Malcolm X. To Francis and many others, it is ironic that an outsider, Ward Connerly, could invade Nebraska and change lives, while some African Americans outside of the state scratch their heads or just don’t understand what’s at stake.
Newly elected Nebraska State Senator Brenda Council is certain Connerly coordinated the effort with conservatives in the state government to prevent key actors like the University of Nebraska from creating awareness and lobbying against the ban. Likewise, the initiative’s wording was “fraudulent.” One young black voter came up to her, frantic with apologies for voting for the ban because he thought it was a civil rights ban on discrimination. Council is certain this practice of artifice and muted TV coverage was central to the ban’s passage, as well as cloaking the issue for blacks nationwide. Nevertheless, she’s flabbergasted that African Americans in more populous states or urban areas ignore or shrug off this story. “It’s like what happened in Nazi Germany. You can sit back and say it’s happening to those folks but it won’t happen to me. Guess what—it will happen to you.”
And it did happen to someone else, in California and Arkansas. Not owing to a lack of knowledge or inaction by black folks. This time it’s with our active participation.
Student Jina Mowery is an Arkansan and proud of it. Her mother was a canvasser for Bill Clinton in ’92 and ’96, her stepfather is a retired police officer and deacon back home. The Mowery family voted for Barack Obama on November 4 and even drove elders to the polls. John McCain took the state overwhelmingly. But Jina’s parents voted for the ban on any gay couples adopting or acting as foster parents. They said the Bible is clear, and there is a gay agenda being pushed by white activists. Jina’s brother is gay. He moved out of Arkansas when was 16. Jina’s roommate in Washington, D.C. is a bi-racial lesbian. Jina volunteers for an advocacy group watchdogging what critics have a called dysfunctional D.C. Department of Child and Family Services—the same agency which paid accused child killer Renee Bowman to be a foster parent. Renee Bowman is charged with murdering and mummifying her adoptive daughters. But at least she isn’t gay.
“My parents didn’t want to hear that. They didn’t want to hear that the governor [Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe] is dealing with similar crisis back home, and this ballot thing comes along. Gay men and lesbians want to open their homes with love, most of them have more money and resources than average a lot of towns in Arkansas and a lot of them will raise children with special needs that no one else wants. But you say they are unfit?” Jina says the taxes they pay go toward a foster care system in which they cannot now legally participate and that system is stressed to the breaking point. (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/09/us/politics/09arkansas.html?ref=us)
“How many children will black people who voted for this adopt? How could they be allies to the same people in the state who openly hated Barack?” Of course, we don’t want to have such a thorny questions posed.
The President-elected posed it indirectly, of course, Tuesday night in Chicago, stating that this was our America, all of us, “gay and straight.” In California, Proposition 8 would not have but passed for black folks who asserted they were only keeping the faith.
Of course no one wants to check that moving speck in the potato salad—that more than a few African Americans don’t practice what they preach regarding the “sanctity” of marriage, monogamy, adultery, lying—not to mention “thou shalt not kill.” But that’s not the point, in the minds of some of our people.
The Washington Post quoted young Obama voter Jasmine Jones as saying “I think it's mainly because of the way we were brought up in the church; we don't agree with it," said Jasmine Jones, 25, who is black. “I'm not really the type that I wanted to stop people's rights. But I still have my beliefs, and if I can vote my beliefs that's what I'm going to do. God doesn't approve it, so I don't approve it. And I approve of Him.”
Michael Brown, a black AIDS activist in Maryland with married gay friends in San Jose angrily calls out “mega-preachers” like T.D. Jakes and Atlanta’s Eddie Long and others in the black pulpit for fostering this attitude that marriage isn’t about civil rights. “They [mega preachers] have long been associated with conservative white Republicans who stood against Obama but now they want to cheer for Obama.” Their duplicity matches Ward Connerly’s in Brown’s mind.
Even to someone lost in the fog of celebrating November 4, there’s one very simple notion about marriage that shouldn’t confuse or distract: rendered to essence, marriage is a civil and legal construct, not a religious convocation. You need a license from the government, not God, to perform one, and you need a license from the government to get one. When the government singles out a person or group in that context, the question becomes constitutional, not Biblical. And yet it appears many African Americans remain ready to deny one group a civil, legal right based on religion…or in Brown’s view, simple ignorance and fear. The irony is not lost on him. “The Civil War was fought and thousands died so black people could be citizens and have equal protection under the Constitution. This vote is like our Dred Scot. How could our own people abandon us?”
But don’t step on my Obama high. One blog and listserv commenter who fiercely supported Barack is still celebrating and doesn’t care about Proposition 8. “I’m entitled to be selfish now.” Another opines, “We should show solidarity to President-elect Barack Obama and not raise this kind of thing right now. But also, we are a very conservative people that should be respected by people who do not attend church regularly.”
Derek McCoy, a black Mormon and African American outreach director for the Protect Marriage Campaign stated in the Post, “What the church does is give that perspective that this is a sacred issue as well as a social issue,” he said “The reason I feel they came out so strong on the issue is one, for them, it's not a civil rights issue, it's a marriage issue. It's about marriage being between a man and a woman and it doesn't cut into the civil rights issue, about equality. The gay community was never considered a third of a person.”
Maybe it is now.
So there’s something ugly and dirty creeping about as we dance. How we address it will define our marrow. And our joy will either cement itself as an affirmation of our fortitude and belief in justice, or will betray itself as merely self-indulgent, temporary and fraudulent. Our new president is counting on the former.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Stony the road we trod, bitter the chastening rod, Felt in the days when hope unborn had died; Yet with a steady beat, have not our weary feet, Come to the place for which our fathers sighed? We have come over a way that with tears has been watered, We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered; Out from the gloomy past, till now we stand at last Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast...
Monday, November 03, 2008
Saturday, November 01, 2008
A few more days and you may have seen the the dawn of a new New Deal. Or more grist for your steel trap mind and Depression-hardened wit. Either way, we'll miss you. We're left with people like Hannity or Bill Maher. Yeah Studs, I know, I know...
Thursday, October 30, 2008
When the official removed his/her hand from my scapula I wasn't chilled, chagrined or confused. I laughed in his/her face for that was the dumbest thing I'd ever heard from a college official's mouth. Oh yes, that's a dominant "business model" now, whether you're at an elite instituition or a large public land grant university or community college, competing for bucks and bodies with proprietary online diploma mills (which indeed help a select few yet rip off the great mass of both hopeful folk and near- do- well retards alike, enticed by slick prime time commercials or low budget offers during Judge Hackett or Maury).
Let me repeat. Customer, like a someone in Wal Mart or Safeway or Carmax. Commodity, like cooch and crack and slave labor and packages of bacon and Jimmy Choo slingbacks. OK, I'd agree are "consumers." Consumers who must have access to accurate information so they may informed choices, and be protected from chickanery. We homo sapiens have been on this planet a mere pubic hair's breadth of time. Even in our own pitifully short tenure, it's only been in the last 9,000 years that we've truly re-invented ourselves as farmers, herders, then urban dwellers and true creators of great things. One of which is formal schooling, and its supreme expression: higher education. A pillar of our civilization.
Usually the "customer" paradigm is the province of bean counters or moronic politicians and loudmouths who want to short-shrift education. Indeed many of the latter two groups' denizens where dumbasses in school anyway, and such is their revenge. But to hear college officials who should know better recite this as some mantra, or worship it as golden calf, well, I just have to laugh. Laugh till I puke. Education is exposure and engagement, not pandering. We see the pander element destroy or news media, our political institutions and parties and set our religious sects to war. Hey, why leave university educations out? A workforce flows from enlightened people, not a least common denominator pipedream whereby everybody learns Excel and takes multiple choice exams, and are thus ready for an "Office Space"/Dunder Mifflin nightmare (only to be downsized or outsourced to Mumbai). Indeed, places like India are merely cheap. many of the folk doing the work however, have struggled hard to attain top flight university educations while we figure out to challenge students the least, or work around their desires, prejudices, entertainment schedules. Oh, and put butts in the lecture hall seats. Get the $$$. That's the most important. I mean what's next--the new proprietary "DillingerOnline University" for death row convicts? The experimental Princeton-Harvard-Yale funded The MS-13 get a B.A. in materials management and human resources based on gang experience? Or better yet, a large state system opening a distance learning center at Gitmo. Get your accounting degree with GI Bill money and it'll only take a hour a week away from the ennui of walking a post and the occasional thrill of waterboarded a raghead!
There HAS to be something mystical, wonderful, semi-unattainable about higher education, else it becomes trivialized, even abandoned. We have enough twisted anti-intellectual crap in this country, teenage wannabe hip hop moguls to Ted Nugent, from Sarah Palin to "Gossip Girl" and "Dancing With The Stars." And of course it shows in our economic, scientific and political standing abroad. But we've been lucky. Our size, our resources have been hedge and prop. That won't last. We must invest--if you like business terms like "customer"--in our physical and intellectual infrastructure.
So aren't customers but rather they're instruments. Securities. Seeds. And that official who patted my back would be wise to think of his/herself as an investor, a farmer, a nurturer, a herder, and not a carnival barker with an E.d. or Ph.d. By the way, I don't work for that college. I just know this official. But I'd laugh at anyone one else who comes at me with this customer bull. Better still I'll just give "A's" to lazy fools, send them out in the world, and then we'll see what happens to a college, university or community college's rep then. No matter, as long as the conveyor belt puts butts in the lecture seats (or online), and robots in the workplace. Nobody loses, eh? Except civilization.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
"W": Freudian father issues. Nuff said. Oliver Stone has cooked, warmed over and diced into hash this tale in what--about five of his flicks now? It's got nothing to do with liberal vs. conservative, or destroying Bush's legacy or Hollywood snobs offending O'Reilley's America. It's plain Ollie working out his issues on us, which would offend anyone regardless of politics. Ultimately, however, the film proffers empathy...then sympathy. I liked it on that level. A cross between Hamlet and an SNL/MadTV skit.
"Secret Life of Bees" is based on Sue Monk Kidd's paeon to post-racial sisterhood. Oprah's favorite novel. Of course, per my thesis, this was Oprah pre-Barack, as with Al Roker when he railed against Don Imus. Before the white housewife magic was gone. Director Gina Blythewood (who I met this summer) does the material proud. But make no mistake, this stuff is the next level of evolution vis. Donald Bogle's thesis of black woman as magical symbol/mammy/transformative benign necromancer/sassy sexual alter ego for a white female protagonist--and by implication white female audiences in middle America. The mamy stuff's been with us since "Gone With the Wind." Male counterpart: most Will Smith flicks from "Bagger Vance" to "Hancock." Indeed, the construct here is Black male as Peter Pan fantasy antithesis to The Color Purple's buffoons (Harpo) or brutes (Mister). There's pathos galore in the film. No banal reality, ugly reality. The film's set in the 60s when stuff expressed at Palin rallies or Southern wingnut churches was a daily occurence. And yet, womanly co-sanguinity and love conquers all. This is the old paradigm. Pre-Hillary vs. Obama. "Bees" is essentially a Lifetime movie on 'roids. Bring your box of tissues to collect your tears of angst and joy. And even Sarah Palin pre 2008 would have sniffled for a thick armed hug from Queen Latifah, right? The honey metaphor discussion at this point would be facile. Still, like W, it all seems quaint these days. Lifetime movie or not, conveying quaintness was neither the goal nor intent of Kidd or Bythewood. Ironic huh?
Too bad. We're coming to the gist, grist and graveman of my thesis. It stings us with why the DiCaprio-Crowe flick was a flop, as was "Miracle at St. Anna" (okay, Spike's style has something to do with that). It's why "Max Payne" and "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" rule the box office and "High School Musical 3" will rule them all. In our 2008 milieu of cognitive dissonance we retreat to ignorance...to things that tickle our base emotions. Ignorance is warm, safe. Mindless fear is energizing. In good times, calm times, even scary times like 9-11 mediocre flicks like W and Bees become pleasant distractions. But there's a difference between a distraction and pathological escape. Distraction, dear fanboys & girls, seems quaint these days...
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Aleksandar Hemon, “The Lazarus Project” (Riverhead)
Rachel Kushner, “Telex from Cuba” (Scribner)
Peter Matthiessen, “Shadow Country” (Modern Library)
Marilynne Robinson, “Home” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Salvatore Scibona, “The End” (Graywolf Press)
Drew Gilpin Faust, “This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War” (Alfred A. Knopf)
Annette Gordon-Reed, “The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family” (W.W. Norton & Company)
Jane Mayer, “The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals” (Doubleday)
Jim Sheeler, “Final Salute: A Story of Unfinished Lives” (Penguin)Joan Wickersham, “The Suicide Index: Putting My Father’s Death in Order” (Harcourt)
Frank Bidart, “Watching the Spring Festival” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Mark Doty, “Fire to Fire: New and Collected Poems” (HarperCollins)
Reginald Gibbons, “Creatures of a Day” (Louisiana State University Press)
Richard Howard, “Without Saying” (Turtle Point Press)
Patricia Smith, “Blood Dazzler” (Coffee House Press)
Young People’s Literature:
Laurie Halse Anderson, “Chains” (Simon & Schuster)
Kathi Appelt, “The Underneath” (Atheneum)
Judy Blundell, “What I Saw and How I Lied” (Scholastic)
E. Lockhart, “The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks” (Hyperion)
Tim Tharp, “The Spectacular Now” (Alfred A. Knopf)