Tag Archives: Inglourious Basterds

Piety pimps

This morning, the twinkies on the Today show leavened their standard mix of blather — vapid analysis of the “fiscal cliff,” weight-loss advice, celebrity gossip — with a rundown of the movies opening today. Naming Texas Chainsaw 3D, one twinkie said “some are questioning its release so soon after the Newtown shootings.” I don’t know what’s worse: the weasel-word evasiveness of “some are questioning,” or the hypocrisy of someone tut-tutting the fictional violence in a horror movie from his perch at a TV network that spent weeks sucking every last tear off the face of anyone in the vicinity of Sandy Hook Elementary School. 

I get the same sense of exasperation while while listening to Terry Gross’ interview with Quentin Tarantino, in which the filmmaker gets audibly testy when Gross clumsily links the violence in his films to the real-life carnage in Newtown and too many other places where psychos did their bloody work. And while I’m no great fan of Tarantino’s work — Death Proof was dull as dirt, and Inglourious Basterds struck me as juvenile gamesmanship with history — I’m with him when he chides Gross for the offensiveness of her comparison, and describes the differences in the ways violence can be depicted on page and screen. The fact that he’s entirely correct won’t make a bit of difference in this discussion, but I salute him for the effort.

We are a species that searches for patterns and connections everywhere, and this leads to a propensity for magic thinking. In this case, it’s the notion that writing about bad things (or showing them on a screen) will make bad things happen. Piety pimps like Joe Lieberman (now gone from the Senate, praises be, but certain to return as a talking head on the cable shows) build whole careers on this kind of witch doctor talk. Taking away Quentin Tarantino’s fake blood squibs won’t keep real blood from being shed, any more than inflicting parental advisory labels on musicians keeps teenagers from learning cuss words, but it does create a semblance of action for people who are unable or unwilling to deal with the real sources of what’s ailing society. I would venture to say that’s part of what makes Tarantino so testy, and I know exactly how he feels. 

   

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday finds

Northbynorthwest

Thanks to Mystery Man on Film, I learned about these mosaics depicting scenes from Alfred Hitchcock movies that line the entrance corridors of the Leytonstone tube station in the east of London. Hitchcock was born in Leytonstone, and the mosaics were begun just before the turn of the century to mark the 100th anniversary of Alfie’s birth.

Here’s what happens when POD book covers go drastically wrong.

Face to face with the Nihilistic Kid, recommended to those wonder what Haikasoru is all about.

It’s time to leave Monk Eadwine alone!

Here’s a collection of scholarly essays to put at the top of your J.R.R. Tolkien reading stack. And here’s probably your only chance to see Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast compared with The Silmarillion.

I remember sitting down and thinking that I was about 30 percent too famous. I needed to be able to walk down the street.”

How are writers coping with the recession? Well, there’s the dog-walking poet, the poet who ruthlessly schedules himself to balance poetry and day-work, and the novelist who became a professional sports blogger.

How the collapse of a tax shelter proved a benefit to Leonard Cohen fans. And if you don’t know why that’s a big deal, this here site will get you up to speed.

Another professional slimeball writes a way-too-late confession in order to score a fat payday. There was never any doubt about the political intent of terror alerts, but I guess it’s nice to have it confirmed by one of the players.

Come get your free Melvin Van Peebles download.

Can books make you, or ruin you?

Monty Python’s Life of Brian done as a Handel oratorio? Is the world ready for such a thing?

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,