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Showing posts from December 29, 2002
Notes The odds and ends have piled up around LI. We should gesture occasionally to the duty of the blogger to gather esoteric links and recommend them. We have two such links to recommend. The first is this Prospect magazine article by Bella Thomas, a tv producer . The article penetrates the smug assumption cultivated among Americans by flunkies in the press that our tv programs are the world's progams. This assumption has been alluded to as the explanation for anti-Americanism in the third world -- how are you gonna get em back from the jihad, once they see Jerry Springer? Thomas plausiblibly refutes that theory in favor of her own schema, which goes something like this: when Asia or the Middle East or Sub-sahara Africa experiences the tv boom -- and, according to her, tv sets are more plentiful than telephones in rural China and Egypt -- the first things broadcast to the little boxes are definitely made in the West: the soaps, Dallas, Baywatch, etc. The whole inane litany.
Remora LI saw the movie Chicago yesterday. We are a sucker for musicals. We notice that the New Yorker movie reviewer, Anthony Lane , is referentially lost on this one. Wet behind the ears. He is all about Rodgers and Hammerstein, and Chicago is all about the Three Penny Opera and Caberet. Lane goes into an unfortunate disquisition about the way audiences of yore could accept the musical's premise -- that people break into song and dance in ordinary life -- while audiences of today are much more cynical about that kind of thing. This just goes to show that Lane is reading too many pop sociology articles in the New Yorker. The contemporary audience is one of the most sentimental beasts ever conjured to the circus by fakirs and jugglers, there to be overawed by the most primitive tricks. Trained on happy endings and special effects, and cretinized, since childhood, by the grossly improbable logic of the standard movie narrative, this is not a cynical audience, so much as one expe
Dope LI took a bumpy flight to Atlanta last Monday. I went to spend Christmas with my family. My friend S. was patiently along for the ride, and displayed an admirable calm, as well as a blue cowboy hat perched at a jaunty angle on her head, while we dipped into various troughs and got our memento mori moment . S. was a singleton child -- no other siblings in sight when she was growing up. Merely the one on one with those gradually diminishing household giants, the parents, with their gothic voraciousness, their sudden, irrational ukases, their illogic, their dense weave of habit -- the afterwork tasks, the sitting before the tv, the petrified idioms of their conversation, what they found funny or disgusting or respectable -- and their own consciousness of a forward motion in time that is invisible to the singleton, for whom the parent comes as a complete and finished unit. This is a bit more visible to those who start out either before or after some other human bodies at the ta