is very likely that nearly every one has been very nearly certain that
something that is interesting is interesting them...
John P. Bowles | "Return to Black Mountain" | Rev. of Black
Mountain College: Experiment in Art, edited by Vincent Katz | Art
in America | September 2003 | 35-37
Mountain College did not simply provide visiting artists, writers, dancers
and composers with a quiet place to work, removed from the demands of
New York City. The school and its denizens must have intruded too much
for such reclusive activities. Instead, the demands placed on instructors
and students alike inspired active participation in a collaborative
process of learning and teaching. The four essays in Black Mountain
College: Experiment in Art contribute new evidence about what made
the campus so artistically fecund. Further inquiry into the disputes
and disagreements, the failures and weaknesses that helped to define
such an ambitious project as Black Mountain might appear unseemlyscholars
often do not like to point fingers or name namesbut would undoubtedly
prove historically useful" (37).
Of course, Martin Duberman's standard (if by default) history of the
college provides a full airing of the "disputes and disagreements"
that defined the college by bringing it to the brink of dissolution
any number of times, but Bowles oddly never mentions it or Mary Emma
Harris's 1987 book The Arts at Black Mountain College
(like Katz's volume, from MIT, though now out of print) in the course
of this lukewarm review.
Manny Farber and Patricia Patterson | "Our Critical Precepts"
(1977) | Negative Space | 2nd Ed. | New York:
Da Capo, 1998 | 392
preview in the current Artforum of a fall exhibit of Farber's
paintings alludes to this short text that accompanied Richard Thompson's
1977 interview with Farber and Patterson for Film Comment. As
a former San Diegan who used to know to the minute how long the drive
to LA would take, I especially appreciate number five.
primarily about language, using the precise word for Oshima's eroticism,
having a push-pull relationship with both film experience and writing
and coolness, which includes writing film-centered rather than self-centered
criticism, distancing ourselves from the material and the people involved.
With few exceptions, we don't like meeting the movie director or going
to press screenings.
into the movie, which includes extending the piece, collaging a whole
article with pace changes, multiple tones, getting different voices
being precious about writing. Paying strict heed to syntax and yet playing
around with words and grammar to get layers and continuation.
to put in a great deal of time and discomfort: long drives to see films
again and again; nonstop writing sessions.
the edge. For instance, using the people around you, a brain like Jean-Paul
the audience some uplift.
For the pdf-patient
(at least you get to look at Björk while the document loads) there's
more about Farber in a February 1998 Notes to Poetry
entry, archived at Arras
(go to page 158).
The Banger Sisters | Dir. Bob Dolman, 2002
| DVD | IMDb link |
See below, 24 August
Conference of Catholic Bishops warns:
"The movie would have audiences believe that Lavinia [Sarandon]
must channel the vamp within her to truly be happy. It is a superficial
story which, while admirable for presenting women in their 50s as sexy
and attractive, nonetheless relies on the foolish premise that only
through living it up is one truly liberated. Although Lavinia remains
faithful to her husband, when the two women pull out mementos from the
past (Polaroids of former lovers' private parts) and light up an old
joint, the story becomes more than a little off-putting."
Daniel Anderson | "Sounds and Sweet Airs: The Norton Anthology
May Be Bigger, But Is It Any Better?" | Harper's
| September 2003 | 84-88
of Howard Nemerov's Selected Poems dislikes
Jahan Ramazani's new two-volume edition the Norton
Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry (first brought to
market with a shorter title and in a single volume by Richard Ellman
and Robert O'Clair in 1973)and not just because his guy is down
to three pages out of the two thousand Ramazani has amassed. "Diminishing
the presence of Wilbur, Hecht, and Nemerov is a pronounced step in trivializing
not just technical expertise in poetry written today but narrative clarity
too. Their shortened entries, as well as the glaring absence of their
stylistic and intellectual heirs, such as Charles Martin, Mary Jo Salter,
and Greg Williamson, point to a significant and lamentable imbalance
in Ramazani's idea of contemporary poetry" (88). Anderson is irritated
equally by poets who write clearly about personal experiencefailing
to "extend beyond the particular in order to address the experience
of what it is to be human" (86)and by those whose "fascination
with the raw experience of language has, over time, often come to preclude
more a more accessible mode of poetic thinking" (87). He approves
of Li-Young Lee, Agha Shahid Ali, and Derek Walcott, while finding little
to value in Cathy Song, Marilyn Chin, and Sherman Alexie. He's troubled
by the legitimacy newly attached to Objectivism (Reznikoff, Niedecker,
Zukofsky) and language poetry (he names Susan Howe, Hejinian, Palmer)
and spots an unwarranted "tilt" toward lyricism (though to
the exclusion of what he never quite says) in Ramazani's selections.
Where the quality of Anderson's thinking
is probably best assessed is in the crude closing attack he mounts on
Michael Palmer's work ("the kind of hokum that makes poetry...largely
dismissible to the general reading public"). Here as elsewhere
in the piece (which reads, on the whole, much more like a Weekly
Standard article than something in Harper's), one senses
a seriously and purposefully narrowed mind, motivated more by anger
than argument, defensively clinging to a very few elders while lashing
out at a field the vastness and variety of which defies the narcissistic
wish that one's own tastes would everywhere prevail. Despite some thought
provoking moments, the article thus makes for depressing readingand
in that regard, it is not unlike the second volume of Ramazani's anthology.
Link to a 1998 PoetryNet member profile for Anderson here.
Mark Ridley | "Clues to
Catastrophe" | Rev. of When Life Nearly Died
by Michael J. Benton | Times Literary Supplement | 22 August 2003
most recent 500 million years of life on earth, as many as five catastrophes
have occurred "in which the dominant life forms die out and are
replaced by others." The book under review investigates one such
catastrophic event, taking place 251 million years ago and wiping out
something like "90 per cent of species." The cause of the
catastrophe is unclear: meteors, the reviewer points out, seem unlikely,
and Benton's hypothesismass volcanic eruption"remains
unverified. "But the Permian mass extinction could become one of
science's hot topics in the next ten years. Michael Benton's book is
an ideal preparation to follow the unfolding story."
Robert Ashley and Paul de Marinis | In Sara, Christ
and Beethoven There Were Men and Women | Text by John Barton Wolgamot
| CD | Lovely Music, 2002 | LCD 4921 | 40'54"
Thom Holmes | "Robert Ashley: Built for Speed" | The Wire
234 | August 2003 | 26-31
matter how hard Bob Dylan tried or John Lennon tried, you can't make
popular music into anything but a labelling of your own experience that
you never realised needed a label.' [Ashley] sits up straight and places
the palms of his hands firmly on the table in front of him. 'Opera doesn't
do that. Opera is supposed to present you with characters. In that sense,
it is amoral. You're supposed to be able to see it because it's brought
to you. That's totally different than labelling experience. You have
to continually refer back to what human beings know. My job is to establish
those characters'" (28).
The Son's Room (La Stanza del Figlio) | Dir.
Nanni Moretti, 2001 | 99min | DVD | IMDb link
Dargis, writing in the LA Weekly, hated it: "Professionally
mountedthe cast is winning, the mise en scène functionalthe
film portrays a family undone by grief over the death of a loved
one; that, in any event, is its plot synopsis. More accurately,
the film is a wallow of authorial narcissism, and a tedious, unrelenting,
uninteresting wallow at that." Jim Hoberman, writing in the
thought it "a movie more to be prescribed than recommendedas
visually bland as a dentist's waiting room, complete with soothing
Muzak and a cushion of predictable narrative rhythms." And
yet I liked it.
| Dir. Jonathan Kahn, 1998 | 99min | DVD | IMDb link
Kristen Kidder | "Giving It Up: Groupies at the Crossroads of Girl
and Grown-Up" | Bitch 21 | Summer 2003 | 75-79, 88
surveys books by Pamela Des Barres (I'm With the Band) and Bebe
Buell (Rebel Heart) alongside the films Girl (see above),
Almost Famous, and The Banger Sisters (see 29 August above).
Her thesis is that "female adulthood, Hollywood-style" amounts
to "a series of sacrifices that culminate in a self that is safe,
self-effacing, and stereotypically successful" (79, 88). Kidder
does find one consolation: "Hollywood's efforts to manipulate this
rite of passage wouldn't be necessary if there weren't something that
needed to be reined in. The countercultural spirit that figures so prominently
in these films is still alive in many womenDes Barres and Buell
are only the most visible" (88).
Slavoj Zizek | "Not a desire to have him, but to be like him"
| Rev. of Beautiful Shadow: A Life of Patricia Highsmith
by Andrew Wilson | London Review of Books 25.16 | 21 August 2003
me, the name 'Patricia Highsmith' designates a sacred territory: she
is the One whose place among writers is that which Spinoza held for
Gilles Deleuze (a 'Christ among philosophers')."
Attention Span | Signed and Commented Lists | link
sure some typos remain to be spotted (all help appreciated), but the bulk
of the formatting is now done. I'll concentrate on adding links in the
coming few daysif you contributed and want to be sure a particular
link is included (say, in your contributor's note), please let me hear
from you (email@example.com).
Brian Eno | "Lessons in How to Lie About Iraq" | 17 August 2003
| Guardian link
by the overtly imperial vision of the Project for a New American Century
(whose members now form the core of the American administration), the
PR companies helped finesse the language to create an atmosphere of
simmering panic where American imperialism would come to seem not only
acceptable but right, obvious, inevitable and even somehow kind."
Amy Taubin | "In the Shadow of Memory" | Rev. of In
Praise of Love by Jean-Luc Godard | Film Comment | Jan/Feb
2002 | 50-52
In Praise of Love / Éloge de l'amour
| Dir. Jean-Luc Godard,
2001 | 98min | DVD |IMDb link
| Wheeler Winston Dixon article mentioned here, 1
are many things that In Praise of Love laments
and a few in which it rejoices. It's been over three decades since Godard
last shot a movie on the streets of Paris, and doing so seems to provide
him with an elemental pleasure. Studied as they are, these unprepossessing
images of the city and its inhabitants (many of them dispossessed) feel
as newly minted as the earliest Lumière brothers' views; they
evoke the thrill of light becoming emulsion. Much of the movie is a
voluptuous urban nocturne with particular emphasis on the transitory
sensations that were the essence of the first motion pictures. More
specifically, the coordinates of Godard's free-ranging cinephilia are
mapped by his allusions to such modest and personal statements as Robert
Bresson's Pickpocket and teenage Samira
Makhmalbaf's docudrama The Apple, along
with the industrial simulations of The Matrix
and particularly Schindler's Listwhich,
in its totalizing re-creation of World War II and the Holocaust, serves
as Godard's prime negative object" (from J. Hoberman's Village
of September 2002).
Max Rodenbeck | "Bohemia in Baghdad" |
New York Review of Books L.11 | 3 July 2003 | 20-23
find [Fakhri] Karim on a noisy street corner outside the hotel where
he is staying, looking bemused and slightly uneasy. A former Communist,
he fled the country three decades ago. He runs a publishing house in
Damascus that has long been a haven for Iraq's exiled intellectuals.
Now on the fringe of the furious politicking among Baghdad's myriad
new parties, he has not been encouraged. Between fundamentalists intent
on seizing power and Baathists determined to keep their clammy grip,
and amid tensions between the 'insiders' and those coming from abroad,
there seems little room for dreamy liberals of the old school"
The blackout | NYC to Toronto
my view we're the world's greatest superpower but we have a Third World
electricity grid," [New Mexico Governor and former Secretary of
Energy under Clinton Bill] Richardson said. "We have antiquated
transmission lines. We have an overloaded system that has not had any
new investments and we don't have mandatory reliability standards on
utilities, which caused this problem" (qtd. in Larry Margasak's
AP story, picked up by the Washington Post here).
"After deregulation in the late
1990's, there was a burst of interest from many power companies in building
new plants, but the collapse of Enron and the markets it had
pioneered dried up much of the capital for such investments, and the
recession curbed demand slightly. As a result, decisions on nearly all
the plants proposed for New York City and surrounding areas are being
delayed" (David Firestone & Richard Pérez-Peña,
The view from Basra, NYT
Darko | Dir. Richard Kelly, 2001 | 113min | DVD |
is a martyred teenager, a sacrificial victim of his own empathy with
other people; that concept makes ''Donnie Darko'' insufferable. (It
didn't do Natalie Wood much good in ''Splendor in the Grass,'' either.)
Mr. Kelly tangos with attempted shifts in the narrative, trying to blend
comedy and tragedy, but the movie is often lumpy and dolorous"
(Elvis Mitchell, writing in the NYT).
Though I've now discovered I don't
share in it, I do recall with pleasure Never
Neutral's enthusiasm for the film, recorded here.
| Dir. Robert Altman, 1993 | VHS | 187min | IMDb link
future social historians want to know what the temper of life was like
in one corner of America in 1993, Short Cuts
will be a mother lode of information. It's also a terrific movie"
(Vincent Canby, NYT link
requires registration). Canby's pronouncement
shades pretentious, but the film does get something about SoCal lifethe
relentless misogyny, the drab distribution of opportunities lived with
careening energy, the preening psychic fascism of the cops, the copters,
the diners, etc. Despite some "off" performances (Canby pans
Jack Lemmon, I can't deal with Matthew Modine's wierd name shouting),
I still feel repaid by watching this film after four or five viewings
in the decade since its release.
Kevin Young | "The Black Psychic Hotline, or
the Future of African American Writing" | Introd. to Giant
Steps: The New Generation of African American Writers | Ed. Kevin
Young | New York: Perennial/HarperCollins, 2000 | 1-12
Poetry Forecasts | Publishers Weekly | 21
July 2003 | 188-190
volumes by ten writers: It Was Today by
Andrei Codrescu (Coffee House) ; Owls and Other
Fantasies by Mary Oliver (Beacon); One Kind
of Faith by Gary Soto (Chronicle); The Wind,
Master Cherry, The Wind by Larissa Szporluk (Alice James); Some
Values of Landscape and Weather by Peter Gizzi (Wesleyan); Ecstatic
in the Poison by Andrew Hudgins (Overlook); Zither
& Autobiography by Leslie Scalapino (Wesleyan); Selected
Poems and Then: Essays in Reconstruction
by John N. Morris (both volumes from Washington University in St. Louis);
Day by Kenneth Goldsmith (The Figures);
and Music or Honesty by Rod Smith (Roof).
| "Billionaire Commits $10M to Defeat Bush" | Gaurdian
Unlimited | 8 August 2003
Soros is giving the money to a group called America Coming Together
Jorie Graham | "The Art of Poetry LXXXV" | Interview by Thomas
Gardner | Paris Review 165 | Spring 2003 | 52-97 | link
to online excerpt
| "The Politics of Islam" | International Socialist Review
30| July-August 2003 | 42-49
Squawkbox tv | "No comments yet" | Suddenly everywhere
something poignant about that "yet."
Katie Terezakis | "Time Out of Joint: An Interview with Agnes Heller"
| Radical Society 29.3 (2003) | 41-49
Hungarian philosopher (and former protégé of Lukàcs)
has written a book on Shakespeare as a philosopher of history.
"Hegel, I suppose, loved Shakespeare, but he did not understand
what the Shakespearean conception of tragedy is all about. In Hegel,
history is about the necessary relation of contingencies. He never acknowledged
the independent roles character and contingency play in history, irrespective
of whether something is 'realized' or not. For Shakespeare, though,
this is the point,and that is why as a historian, Shakespeare is more
modern than Hegel" (48). "Maybe
my character has changed too little, I'll be self-critical about this.
It could be a kind of rigidity not to invent oneself again. So, I'm
not an ironic person who can keep inventing herself. I simply love life,
my life. That is why I sympathize with the Shakespearean heroines who
absolutely feel gratitude to life, yet must deal with its situations
as they are. I think this gratitude permeates all my work" (49).
Chris Lott | "Blogs, Time, Small Crowds" | 24 July 2003 | Ruminate
to discover this, and I'm not saying that I agree, but the ambivalence
interests me: "But it seems strange to me that weblogs often seem
to result in a cliquish divisiveness where I would have expected something
akin to a bazaar, or at least a convention where the spirit of a broader
notion of community often prevails."
John Leslie | "Return of the Killer Nanobots" | Rev. of Our
Final Century by Martin Rees | Times Literary Supplement
5235 | 1 August 2003 | 6-7
named Martin Rees has written a book called Our
Final Hour (in the US; the hour becomes a "century"
in the UK release) in which he details various doomsday scenarios for
earth. Dennis Overbye's 18 May 2003 review in the NYTBR mentioned,
among other potential species erasers, "bioterror or bioerror,"
the 70,000-bombs worth of enriched uranium and plutonium left over after
the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the possible "creation of
intelligent self-reproducing nanoparticles that could eat us and every
other living thing on Earth."
Some risks have already come and gone. When the first atomic bomb was
to be tested, one risk was that it would ignite all the nitrogen in
the atmosphere and incinerate everyone. They went ahead with it anyway.
More recently, an experiment "in
which atomic nuclei would be accelerated to collide at high speeds
[have] cause[d] all the matter in the earth to collapse into exotic
dense particles called 'strangelets.'"
TLS reviewer John Leslie cites several additional grim scenarios (designer
Ebola viruses, carbon dioxide chomping microbes on a rampage) and makes
an interesting point vis-à-vis the risks scientists non-consensually
expose us to: "Even a tiny probability of annihilating all intelligent
life could be intolerable, given Rees's principle that the large or
small scale chance of a disaster should be multiplied by the number
of people who would be killed or who would never live at allfor
he thinks that people stranded in the realm of mere possibility, people
never born because the human race became extinct too quickly, should
also count for something" (7).
Art Spiegelman | "In the Shadow of No Towers" | Installment
of 10 June - 14 July 2003 | London Review of Books 25.15 | 7 August
2003 | 20-21
Robert Irwin | "Ramadan Nights" | Rev. of The
Koran, trans. by N.J. Dawood | London Review of Books 25.15
| 7 August 2003 | 27-28
Arthur Arberry's 1955 translation (available as an Oxford World Classic)
to that of Dawood ("for my taste, rather flat"). "Though
somewhat archaic, Arberry's version preserves the verse arrangement
and with it some of the rhythm and rhetorical effect of the original.
He stuck to the emphatic repetitions of the Arabic, whereas Dawood tends
to weaken the effect by opting for elegant variation. It is in the Arberry
version that the majesty and mystical power of the Koran is most fully
Steve Erickson | "Interview with Kent Jones" | Senses
of Cinema | May 2003 | link
Westerners who've become immersed in Iranian culture think a film like
The Circle is great because it deals with the
plight of Iranian women in a way that other films haven't. Wait a minute!
Is that the reason it's a good film, or is it a good film that deals
with those issues?" | Jones on Claire Denis here
Drew Gardner | Notes on The Man Who Shot Liberty
Valance | Dir. John Ford, 1962 | Overlap
lawyer Jimmy Stewart goes west and gets his ass kicked and his lunch
money stolen for being a bookworm, and then threatens the thug-based
political economy of a small town with the twin forces of literacy and
J. Bottum | "The Last Public Poet: Rereading Robert Lowell"
| The Weekly Standard 4/11 August 2003 | 35-39 | link
Collected again serves to awaken memories
of a lost era of seriousness and responsibility (conservatives grow
so wistful when they steal a meditative moment from their otherwise
hectic days of busting unions, polluting the environment, and appointing
ideologues to the bench): "A new poem from Lowell was an event,
something to be talked about, in a way that we haven't seen since"
(36). Bottum, the books and art editor
at Irving Kristol's slender, low-circulation right-wing weekly, turns
in a calmly ambivalent review, though the following early paragraph
did make me wonder if I could persist: "Nothing except the recreation
of the world itselfnothing except being God, in factcould
have satisfied the cosmic ambitions of his poetry, and it's tempting
to say that he was never really serious about any of the subjects he
took up in his writing. But even to begin thinking this way is to sound
ridiculous, for Robert Lowell was perhaps the most serious poet
America has ever knownour last poet of high seriousness, as it
happens, and also our last public poet" (35).
Conclusion? "Robert Lowell survives the rainbow of his own willa
little tattered, a little less important than we once thought him, but
still alive, still the genuine thing" (39).
August 2003 Monday
John Boorman | "Bright Dreams, Hard Knocks: A Journal for 1991"
| Projections: A Forum for
Film Makers 1 (1992) | 5-120
Portland to see the Fairfield Porter show, I happened upon the first
issue of Projections at a used bookstore on Congress street.
Boorman's journal for 1991 makes up about half of the issue and provides
a candid and unusually sustained glimpse into the state of the industry
circa Iraq War I. In addition to making a short autobiographical film
(I Dreamt I Woke Up) and scrambling to finance
and cast his next feature-length project (Broken
Dreamthe fate of which remains uncertain
at year's end), the 58-year-old Boorman also serves as
an outgoing board member at BFI, a juror at the Venice Film Festival,
an eulogist for David Lean and Lee Marvin, and a careful and opinionated
watcher of other people's films.
"I have the movie in my head. With a lot of work and money, other
people could see it too" (120).
Of de Oliveira's A Divina Comédia:
"the fact that everyone in the film is 'pretending' allows us to
overcome the resistance we bring to every movie, the little voice in
the head which says, 'You are an actor trying to be someone else. Convince
me you are that person'" (95).
Of Oshima: "His film about his mother's life in Kyoto was
surprisingly gentle and stately, a forgiving documentary from a man
who had yearned for total revolution as the only remedy for Japan's
oppressive ills" (92). "With
the wisdom of age, one no longer feels compelled to finish bad books
or watch lousy movies through to the end, but as a jury member you cannot
walk out, fall asleep or even fidget. Eyes are upon us. The rigours
of this task are beginning to dawn on me" (89).
"There is a limit to what a director of photography can do if the
director provides him with dull set-ups" (88).
Of Chen Kaige's Life on a String:
"It recalls Tarkovsky in that you feel that film was invented for
such a movie" (79). Marcello
Mastroianni: "He said that for him acting is like making
love. 'It is wonderful while you are doing it, but when it is over you
forget about it, and hope that you can do it again tomorrow" (50).
At an LA stag party: "A book
called Iron John has swept the land with
new notions of manhood. Bob belongs to a men's group which comes together
once a week, sits in a circle, beats drums and honours their fathers
and grandfathers, and speak from their hearts on manly matters. The
stag party took that form" (46).
Of Dances with Wolves: "Almost the
only voice raised against it was Pauline Kael. She said it was a film
made by a bland megalomaniac, that his Indian name should not have been
'Dances with Wolves' but 'Plays with Camera.' Its enormous and universal
success...hastened her retirement from the New Yorker. She felt
profoundly out of joint with the times" (43).
On spectacular violence: "It is an outlet for frustration, it is
about hate. Is is to do with the repression of savage responses. It
is a release of our deep-seated secret contempt for other people. There
are too many people in the world and they jostle and crowd us and we
would like to kill them. [Peter] Greenaway's films are full of disgust
for other people, and they touch a chord. Baudelaire said, 'When
I hear laughter, I hear the roar of the wild beast.' That is what I
hear in movie theatres, particularly in the United States" (28).
Of Visconti's Death
in Venice: "Beautiful shot succeeded beautiful shot until
you wanted to scream" (19). Of
Goodfellas: "The script is relentless
in demonstrating that the characters are without redeeming virtuecruel,
ruthless, unforgiving, brutal. It is Scorcese at his virtuoso best.
The script may deplore these people but Marty's camera caresses them,
cherishes them, celebrates them, dances attendance on them like the
most sycophantic fan" (8).
All I Wanna Do | Dir. Sarah Kernochan, 2000
| Originally released under the title Strike!
in 1998 | Buena Vista | 94min | DVD | IMDb link
writing for Bitch magazine's "pink issue" (summer 2002),
called this film "a smart, resonant tribute to teen-girl tenacity."
Alas, it's duller than that with its recycling of elements out of
Grease, Dead Poets Society,
Little Women, Girl
Interrupted and other middling films, but there are about fifteen
minutes toward the end when the pace quickens and things become less
than totally predictable.
Christopher Caldwell | "Base Anger: Why Howard Dean Is Leading the
Democratic Pack" | The Weekly Standard 8.45 | 4/11 August
2003 | 15-17
Democratic Party is a wishbone of proletarian sloganeering and plutocratic
direction that, when snapped, always leaves one side disillusioned"
(15). "As for the general election,
Republicans seem unaware of how riled up Democratic activists remain,
even three years after the 2000 elections. A substantial segment of
the party's base has been radicalized to the point where it does
not recognize the legitimacy of the Bush presidency. This is a very
different thing than mere dislike of a president. It means that Democrats
are prepared to fight this election as if they were struggling to overthrow
a tyrant. One fears that 2004 could wind upin its rhetoric and
its electoral ethicsas the the dirtiest general campaign in living
Alan Maass | "Anybody but Bush?" | International Socialist
Review 30| July-August 2003 | 16-21
the Democrats are not a party that represents the interests of
working people. They represent big business. Whenever Corporate America's
preferred choicethe Republicansbecome too discredited, it
can count on the Democrats, waiting in the wings with predictable and
non-threatening policies" (17).
"What marginal differences there are between Republican and Democratic
presidents are no excuse for amnesia when it comes to the Democrats'
sorry record. Anyone who is considering voting for a Democrat as the
lesser evil in 2004 should think about how organized labor and mainstream
liberal organizations found themselves disarmed when they fell in line
behind the Clinton White House. As Robert Reich points out, if Democrats
know that they have the support of those to their left safely in hand,
they will always pander to the right in the search for more votes. That's
why those who vote for the lesser evil usually get both the lesser and
the greater evil" (21).
Anne Tardos | "Multilingual Writing, For Example" | 16min talk
archived on Try
Listen | link
Fairfield Porter: A Life in Art, 1907-1975
| Curated by Justin Spring | Portland
Museum of Art | Through 7 September 2003 | More Porter info available
from which the jpg below of "Iced Coffee" (not in the Portland
exhibit) is also taken.
August 2003 Saturday
Frank O'Hara | "Porter Paints a Picture" (January 1955) | Standing
Still and Walking in New York | Ed. Donald Allen | San Francisco:
Grey Fox, 1975 | 52-58
James Schuyler | "Fairfield Porter" I-IV and "An Aspect
of Fairfield Porter's Paintings" (1958-1975) | Selected
Art Writings | Ed. Simon Pettet | Santa Rosa: Black Sparrow, 1998
The Circle [Dayereh]
| Dir. Jafar Panahi, 2000 | 90min | DVD | Sight & Sound link
Habib's April 2001 review
on Hors Champ: "Le
Cercle se constitue autour d'un ensemble de micro-récits,
se produit à la faveur d'une série de bifurcations narratives.
Les personnages n'existent que le
temps de leur courte apparition, et nous n'avons que le temps de saisir
un bref tracé de leur situation et de leur volonté, même
floues: celles-ci ont fui la prison et tentent de regagner un paradis
imaginaire; celle-là est enceinte de son fiancé, exécuté
depuis, et veut obtenir un avortement; cette autre encore a trouvé
refuge auprès d'un mari à qui elle a dû voiler son
passé; cette mère désespérée essaie
d'abandonner sa petite fille, certaine qu'un orphelinat saura mieux
s'occuper d'elle; celle-là se prostitue dans les rues de Tehéran,
le soir, pour se payer de quoi vivre, et caetera, et caetera. Chaque
personnage prend le relai d'un autre, et nous plonge un degré
plus loin dans le cynisme, l'absurdité, la cruauté et
l'indifférence. Ce ne sont pourtant pas des sketchs que Panahi
enchaîne mais des strophes qui éclairent et approfondissent
un poème général. Nargess, Arezou, Salmaz, Pari,
tous ces noms de femmes sont autant de résonnances d'un symptôme
plus vaste et englobant : 'Si l'une échoue, toutes échouent',
confiait le cinéaste en interview." | See also Nasrin Parvaz's
account of prison life in Iran, noted here.
Edmund White | "More History, Less Nature: The
New Historical Novel" | Times Literary Supplement 5234 | 25
July 2003 | 11-13
historical novelista role into which White has eased for his Fanny:
A Fictionundertakes an "archaeology of feeling"
the results of which must not be narrowed to fit contemporary mores.
Edmund White | Our Paris: Sketches from Memory
| Drawings by Hubert Sorin | New York: HarperCollins/Ecco, 1995 | 143pp
and White collaborated on this brief and desperately charming volume
as a way to divert their minds from the suffering that AIDS was inflicting
on Sorin in the final year or so of his life. White deliberately keeps
the tone light and the focus on the "chattable" elements of
everyday life: the basset hound they love, their throwback concierge,
the gossip picked up at this or that dinner party. Sorin's sketches
distinctively illuminate the prose just as the prose zeroes in and comments
on elements of the sketches.
From White's afterword: "The subtitle alludes to Hubert's earlier
Mémoires dessinées and to something he once said
about his method. I'd suggested he sketch from life or from photos,
but he shot back with the speed and clarity of conviction that he worked
exclusively from memory and had no interest in letting reality sit for
him if it was unmediated by his fantasy" (139).
Fredric Jameson | "The End of Temporality" | Critical Inquiry
(Summer 2003) | 695-718
could not be mapped cognitively in the world of modernism now slowly
brightens into the very circuits of the new transnational cybernetic.
Instant information transfers suddenly suppress the space that held
the colony apart from the metropolis in the modern period. Meanwhile,
the economic interdependence of the world system today means that wherever
one may find oneself on the globe, the position can henceforth always
be coordinated with its other spaces. This kind of epistemological transparency
no doubt goes hand in hand with standardization and has often been characterized
as the Americanization of the world (if not its Disneyfication). The
attribution is not misleadingly incorrect but omits the way in which
the new system also transmits oppositional tendencies and their messages,
such as the ecological movement; paradoxically, like the anti-globalization
movement itself, these are political developments predicated on the
damage done by globalization at the same time that they are themselves
enabled by it" (701). "[W]e have been throughout evoking
a historical tendency, but a tendency is by definition never fully reached
or it would already have folded back into actuality itself. Let's follow
the psychoanalytic model even further; the tendency also summons up
complex patterns of resistance, such that what we are forced to observe
in the form of its symptoms are precisely those patterns and not the
unknowable tendency itself. This is what we are obliged to posit here:
the historical tendency of late capitalismwhat we have called
the reduction to the present and the reduction to the bodyis
in any case unrealizable; human beings cannot revert to the immediacy
of the animal kingdom (assuming indeed the animals themselves enjoy
such phenomenological immediacy). There is a resistance to this pressure,
which I hesitate to call natural for political as well as philosophical
reasons, for the identification of such a tendency and the organization
of resistance to it are not matters to be entrusted to any confidence
in humanist reflexes" (717).
Now | 1 August 2003 | PBS | link
devoted to the military-industrial-Congressional complex in 2003: "spending
other people's money, spilling other people's blood" (as longtime
Pentagon insider and critic Chuck Spinney puts it in his interview with
Wheeler Winston Dixon | "In Praise of Godard's In
Praise of Love" | Film Criticism 27.3 | Spring 2003
Varda's Les Glaneurs et la glaneuse (2000),
a film that chronicles with a handheld digital camera the underside
of French society, as well as Varda's own intimations of mortality,
seems far more connected to its subject than Godard's newest work. Certainly,
the two films have different objectives: Varda's film celebrates the
art of surviving on nothing, whether in the countryside or in Paris,
and radiates optimism throughout its running time. In
Praise of Love is cut off from the spectacle it witnesses, rigorously
composed, and broken into brief bits of images, interspersed with long
sections of black leader. When once Godard's camera stared unflinchingly
at its subjects (as in the "Miss Nineteen" interview in Masculin/Feminine,
or the garbage truck coda in Week End),
now Godard offers us mere glimpses of his actors, their settings, and
their actions, suggesting that their motivations are unclear, or impossible
to derive, and their presence is ephemeral" (21-22).
"Godard's dislike of Steven Spielberg is genuine and deeply felt;
indeed, one might well argue that In Praise of
Love is, at one level, a detailed critique of the moral impulse
behind the creation of Spielberg's Schindler's