…and I’m sorry for this tiny little obit on page whatever on the N.Y. Times. I’d never seen this clipping before today. Posted last night on Facebook by film scholar, author (books on John Ford, Howard Hawks, Orson Welles) and San Francisco-based educator Joseph McBride.
…it’s probably all over, everywhere, in the back of everyone’s mind. Chloe Zhao has the Best Director Oscar in the bag, no question, but the ragtag mob wants to stop Nomadland. It’s not about how good or great Zhao and Frances McDormand‘s film is on its own terms — the mob is simply starting to resent this apparently inevitable outcome and some are snorting about it. Plus the likelihood that aside from David Strathairn‘s kindly character the various 65-and-over nomads whom Fern shares stories and philosophies with are almost certainly Trumpsters, and the film ignores that probable aspect. In my book that’s a demerit. You can hear the drumbeat, feel it…muffled drums emanating from the dense jungle mist like an echo of Max Steiner‘s score for King Kong….”stop Nomadland, stop Nomadland…everyone gather ’round and stop Nomadland.”
…in a present-tense context? I’m not sure but maybe it’ll come to me if I think hard. Perhaps if I ask the HE commentariat? I seem to recall that Arthur Miller’s 1953 play was an allegory about some kind of prosecutorial atmosphere that was going on in the early ’50s. Ahh, forget it. Wasn’t Miller some kind of a leftie crackpot? What did he know anyway? Why didn’t he try harder to just, you know, entertain people and give them a little respite from their troubles?
Tatiana had to watch Saving Private Ryan for a film class, so last night we streamed a 4K UHD version on Amazon.
During the last half hour I was reminded how enraged I was by the cowardly behavior of Jeremy Davies‘ Corporal Timothy Upham, and particularly by his failure to come to the rescue of Adam Goldberg‘s Private Stanley Mellish, who resultantly dies when that German with the tennis-ball haircut plunges a bayonet into his chest.
I was doubly infuriated by Upham’s subsequent inability to fire upon some nearby German troops as they’re shooting at his fellows, and particularly as that crewcut Kraut (i.e., the one who’d just killed Mellish and had earlier begged the platoon for his life) shoots poor Tom Hanks in the chest. And all through it Upham just sits there, trembling and sweating like the worst little candy-ass in the history of the U.S. military.
In the HE rewrite, Ed Burns‘s character, PFC Richard Reiben, is the one surviving guy in the platoon who spots what Upham is, and what he’s failed to do. After Hanks dies and Matt Damon is busy transforming into that stumbling old guy at the cemetery, Reiben walks up to Upham and says “you little quivering piece of shit…you’re worse than an enemy agent…I feel more respect for the Germans I just killed than I do for you…you worthless little turd, get ready to meet the Father, The Son and the Holy Ghost.”
And Upham whines and moans and begs for his life….”puhhleeze, don’t kill me…I swear I couldn’t help it…I got scared, please.” And Reiben says “you worthless fucking worm” and raises his M1 rifle and plugs him twice in the chest, and then walks over, pulls out a pistol and gives him one more in the forehead.
The way director Steven Spielberg and screenwriter Robert Rodat dealt with Upham in the actual film was horrible — they offered a measure of sympathy to a contemptible slimey coward. My ending would be much more satisfying. If it feels good, do it.
The Police’s Synchronicity popped on 6.17.83 — nearly 38 years ago. I used to listen to the cassette version on headphones, or via my little two-speaker system in my Harper Avenue apartment. I still listen to this album occasionally, and as I was driving to the market the other night I was feeling especially turned on by the perfectly mixed “Miss Gradenko.” And chuckling, I should add, at Stewart Copeland‘s nonsensical lyrics.
Please read them after the jump — you could call them a criticism of Russian Communism in the ’80s, but to me they’ve never amounted to a hill of fucking beans. But of course, what is rock music if not great-sounding songs with WTF take-’em-or-leave’em lyrics, and sometimes spazzy, dead-end lyrics that would anesthetize your soul if you paid them any mind? I’m intensely proud of the fact that I’ve been ignoring the lyrics to “Miss Gradenko” for nearly 40 years.
Name your favorite nonsensical rock-tune lyrics. And don’t bring up “Louie Louie” — that song is about a guy who wants to get laid and can’t stop dreaming about it.
“The governor peppered his speech with conservative catchphrases like ‘cancel culture,’ underscoring how Republicans are seeking to make access to voting a wedge issue that they can wrap into the cultural debates that animate the base of the party.”
Excuse me but while certain loose-cannon Republicans have seized upon “cancel culture” as a rhetorical bludgeon, the term is not a “conservative catchphrase” — it is a frank, cards-up description of punitive wokesterism, which is widely recognized by many if not most thinking liberals and sensible centrists as an unfortunate reality these days.
Opportunistic rightwing politicians and rabble-rousing media types have tried to co-opt the term, yes, but they don’t own it.
Trust me — Corasanti is describing cancel culture as a “conservative catchphrase” because the N.Y. Times culture that employs him is, right now, a cauldron of wokester ideology and advocacy. Corasaniti and his editors don’t want average readers to understand that cancel culture is as real as it gets right now — they want you to think that wokesterism is a figment of paranoid rightwing imaginings when in fact it’s the New McCarthyism.
The Times used to be the gold standard of thorough, trustworthy, fair-minded journalism; from a certain perspective it is now largely about activism first and journalism second, and I’m hardly the first person to take note of this.
Yesterday (Friday, 4.2) Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that the 2021 All-Star Game won’t happen in Atlanta — a fuck-you response to Governor Brian Kemp and the Georgia voting law he and his Jim Crow cronies recently enacted, one that is largely aimed at disenfranchising Black voters.
Kemp howled and harumphed, of course. “Yesterday, Major League Baseball caved to fear and lies from liberal activists,” he proclaimed. “In the middle of a pandemic, Major League Baseball put the wishes of Stacey Abrams and Joe Biden ahead of the economic well-being of hard-working Georgians who were counting on the All-Star Game for a paycheck.”