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Agenda Bender
 
Saturday, January 17, 2004  

When World's Collide


"Miss West, are you trying to show contempt for this court?"

"On the contrary, your Honor, I was doing my best to conceal it."

Mae was, of course, smart enough to feel contempt and wise enough to at least try to hide it.

Michael probably doesn't feel it and isn't trying to show it. The girl can't help himself.

I do like watching Michael's wildly spinning private sphere collide with the state. The public sphere might end up Michael's satellite before this is all over.


12:35 AM

Thursday, January 15, 2004
 

Bonjour Terrorists


Wrapping up my Cinema Theory PhD dissertation (after I turn that in--after I figure out who to turn it in to-- I'm going back and finish my GED). It's called The Film of John V. Lindsay. I examine the former NYC mayor turned actor/novelist/human-footnote's performance in Otto Preminger's 1975 low-key terrorism thriller, Rosebud. John V. has maybe 90 seconds of screen time, but even the smallest leak can sink the biggest boat, so that minute and a half is a decisive. The movie also features Peter O'Toole's skinny bare ass and his hard-scrabble-farm chicken torso. Plus five quintessential jeans and tight t-shirted, international 70's chix (one of whom goes all horny/crazy on O'Toole's platonic pecs) as the films collective McGuffin.

These rich girl daughters of a assorted euro/american big shots (enter John V.) are kidnapped from a yacht (the Rosebud) by Black September commandos (the black rose buds). O'Toole is the Lawrence of anti-Arabia who masterminds their liberation, one of those seedy/suave journalist/crypto-ops who really run the world, in between cigarettes. I'm another one of them.

I liked the flick, it looked and felt like its time, which to me is the best excuse for any movie's existence. But I like Otto's work in general. The crazy coot had an eye. And his casual globe-hopping, big-canvas storyboards are period pieces in themselves (period piece--my highest praise).

Check out his black and white and color movie version of Bonjour Tristesse sometime. Riviera sunny days alternate with Parisian sparkling nights. Few movies make me feel so tristesseless.


10:09 PM

 

A Space/Time Paradox


I noted below that Google's year end search stats show that the French have good reason to feel besieged by yanglo pop culture. You have my permission to speculate on the psychological blowback arising from this disequilibrium. But perhaps this insight will make the French feel better, at the same time it makes them feel worse. It is a Frenchwoman's insight, afterall. Back from the days when France was more noted for its manufacture of acute insights:

Foreigners are contemporary posterity.
--Madame de Stael

12:51 AM

Tuesday, January 13, 2004
 

Cousin To The Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus?


Summer has a hard-date start and a soft one for me. The firm date is Kentucky Derby Saturday, the more blurry-edged event is the first appearance of Vidalia onions in the stores and on the street stands. I remember reading how an onion shortage had plunged the Indian subcontinent into despair a couple years ago. I read the stories with shudder of commiseration. Indians understand the onion.

I read this story with a shudder of dread. I learned a few things, too-- though now I have some new questions. The Vidalia is purely a product of the sweet Georgia soil?

But my dread and questions aside, I have my wits about me enough to recognize that Moses Coleman must certainly reign as the Agenda Bender dude of the year for 1931.


5:52 PM

Monday, January 12, 2004
 

That's The Day


The Democrats should have called their weekend debate The Black, Brown and Beige Debate. And they should have just shut up and played the best part of Duke Ellington's Black, Brown and Beige Suite over and over and over. As I have been known to do. Except I don't play the Ellington band version of Come Sunday with Mahalia Jackson singing. There's a superior version, with a better arrangement and a greater vocal. That's the one I can listen to like an idiot 20 times in a row. I found the lyrics to the song at exactly one place online and that was in an archived post to a Yahoo Group dedicated to news of St. Kitts, and even there the lyrics there were a little off, so I've fixed them. There are now two places on the web you can find the words to that stunning song, and they're closer to correct here. Reason enough for this page to exist:

Come Sunday

Lord, dear Lord of Love, God up above,
Please look down and see my people through.
God, dear God of love, God Almighty, God above,
Please look down and see my people through.
I believe the sun and moon will shine up in the sky,
When the day is gray, I know it is just clouds passing by.
You give peace and comfort, to every troubled mind,
Come Sunday, Oh come Sunday that's the day.
Often we feel weary but he knows our every care,
Go to him in secret he will hear your every prayer.
Lilies of the valley, they neither toil or spin
And flowers bloom in spring and birds sing.
Up from dawn till sunset, man works hard all day,
Come Sunday, Oh come Sunday, that's the day.


9:55 PM

Sunday, January 11, 2004
 

Relatively Mysterious


The Friday Night Bank Robber isn't as famous as he should be:

...he was without doubt the most prolific, successful bank robber in U.S. history: scores of heists, all on Fridays, going back three decades, netting him about $2 million.

This recent Philadelphia Inquirer article doesn't provide the push he's going to need if he is ever to gain his rightful place among the criminal elite. It's just not very good, but it's the most comprehensive piece to date. My favorite bit is when the FBI profiler divines this about a perp whose slow motion crime spree had already lasted 30 years:

The robber would be in his 40s, maybe even his 50s, Carr determined. He "would probably be a loner and would be relatively mysterious: He didn't communicate a whole lot about his personal life."

Nostrashamus also intuited this about a man who was famous for his instantaneous bank counter vaulting maneuver:

Given the robber's athletic flair during the heists, Carr believed he had military training and would be a physical-fitness fanatic.

So how was our anti-hero unmasked? Two teenage boys building a fort in the woods (their cover story, anyway) unearthed the robber's buried cache of documents, masks and weapons. The FBI profiler actually did play a big role in the eventual ID'ing of the suspect, but it was as a detective not as a forensic psychic. Though this would probably be news to him.

2:59 PM

 

On The Origins Of Stunted Sexuality or Wacko Jacko the Elder


Culture cons especially take note.

Most conservative smirking is premised on the idea that Michael Jackson is the final product our amoral times and his own very particular depraved milieu of stratospheric celebrity and pop culture riches. A show biz kid par decadence.

Their was something depraved (decadent even) about Michael's milieu, but the problem wasn't amorality. It was a morality. Papa Joe's, to be exact, with a notable twisting assist from Mama Katherine's purblind, welding helmet religiosity. A perfect storm of family values:

We don't believe in gays. I can't stand them.
-- Joe Jackson, Michael Jackson's father, in an interview
with the BBC, Nov. 13.

(via Rex Wockner at Planetout)

2:39 AM