Friday, July 14, 2006

Incinerate - Sonic Youth (d. Claire Denis)

Context: Excited by the announcement that French auteur Claire Denis has lent her visual genius to Sonic Youth, I began trolling YouTube every couple of weeks, finally locating the video today.

Thought: In L'Intrus, Trouble Every Day, and Friday Night, Denis's camera transforms the human body into something like an alien landscape, the contours of human flesh lit and shot like a desert on Io. Astonishingly radical in a narrative film, Denis' tight shots of pixellated body parts are little more than just another decorative effect in the music video context.

Cool video, but more intriguing in concept than practice, sorta like Sonic Youth's score for Olivier Assayas's Demonlover.

Jon Stewart on GOP internet follies

Hilarious, especially the graphic representation of Ted Stevens' brain around the 4:30 mark. And in case you're wondering why his name sounds familiar, this is the same Senator Stevens who famously threw whiny-ass titty fit over the Senate plans to kill his "Bridge to Nowhere" pork project. Now this moron wants to create a two-tiered internet and effectively ban internet poker.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A pat on my back

Hey, why have a blog if you can't brag on it from time to time, right? Today in Slate, Jack Shafer explores the incredible phenomenon of the NY Times' "What Shamu Taught Me About Marriage" article, which has topped the web site's most e-mailed list dating back to at least the Carter administration. The Times piece itself I found unremarkable and obvious, and like Shafer I long held a theory about the enduring popularity of animal articles and relationship features -- which I guess is not exactly a revelation to anyone who pays attention to the Times' "Most e-mailed" chart (1. "How to Calm Your Dog with Cell Phone Ring Tones" 2. "The Stepfather: Perils of Dating Your Mom's Ex-hubby." 3. "Lupe, an Abyssinian, Finds Comfort in the Meatpacking District", etc.). Shafer traces the Shamu article's astonishing popularity to the way the author andheadline writer combine both "mundane" mainstays -- animals and relationships. That's probably right.

But maybe readers just took to heart the column's thesis? What then? Upon re-reading the piece today, I realized something: the basic premise was employed by a post I made six months back, in an open letter to my girlfriend (whose resemblence to my actual girlfriend, if any, is purely coincidental -- except when it's not). We both say: Ladies, quit the nagging and instead try a little lovin'. A little positive reinforcement may very well turn that caterpillar of a boyfriend into a beautiful butterfly. Or something.

Sure, my post was labored while the Times' piece was breezy and charming. But genius advice is genius advice. And you fifteen loyal readers saw it here first.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Armageddon thwarted

You might think the greatest threat facing our great civilization is the Islamist/jihadi/Islamofascist menace. If so, maybe our top priority should be to guard against terrorist attacks, especially if they attack our treasured petting zoos in Indiana. Or, if you caught Al Gore's movie (or better yet, read Elizabeth Kolbert's Notes from a Castastrophe), you might be rightfully terrified by the planetary disaster that awaits if carbon emissions continue at our current pace. Or perhaps you're most concerned about North Korea and their errant missles, or Iraq, which is has just erupted (again).

Look, I won't belittle you: these are all legitimate fears. But you'd be mistaken to believe that these should be our top national priorities. Let's instead turn to our elected representatives, who, in their infinite wisdom, have identified the greatest threat to our way of life: a fence-jumping Mexican who arrives on our shores, burns Old Glory for kicks, and wants nothing much than to destroy the sacred bonds of married people everywhere by marrying some dude out in El Paso. Worst of all, this America-hating homo illegal siphons away American dollars by playing internet poker! To rub it in, this donk types in "en fuego," "tu es un pesco!" and other non-English taunts with his dirty brown fingers as he sucks out on red-blooded American males whose only crime is to flop top pair against the villain's gutshot draw. Suffice it to say, these dark degenerates must be stopped.

Budget deficits, Iran, Gitmo, health care costs and all that crap can, of course, be consigned to subcommittee hell. The most urgent point of business is to do something about internet poker. Make no mistake: a clear and gathering threat is on the horizon. If we fail to act, those ragtag Full Tilt bandits will seek to shut down Wal-Mart, take away our guns, and force us to speak French while praying to Allah. We can't let that happen. We must defend our way of life, with treasure and blood if need be.

There are those who don't think Congress can stop internet poker completely. Well, sure. But they sure can stop the flow of fish. And for that, we have our great GOP congressional leadership to thank once again. Thank you, Roachman Delay...or should I thank that new guy, whathisname?

One of the most dangerous criminals alive?