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 Well, I had to wipe my computer and I forgot to get everything. Now things should be getting back to some form of normal. Or not.
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 Congratulations are in order for Herta Muller, a Romanian-born German writer, winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature. 
Also, last night saw the return of two great PBS series: Craft in America and Art 21. Both really good. I always look forward to those two. Pity that each have a biannual season. 
Tags:
Current Mood:
cheerful cheerful
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 Is Lenin's Tomb which can be found at http://leninology.blogspot.com. Lenin has a great post up about the wingnuts of America.
Current Mood:
contemplative contemplative
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I don't like my television. Hell, I'm getting tired of television in general. I don't remember if I've ranted about the state of televised media on here. If I haven't, it is one of my favorite and standard rants. My tastes are complicated. I like science fiction (not so much fantasy), documentaries, art and literary documentaries, science, public affairs, history, etc. Pretty much, I just need PBS, Discovery, National Geographic, and History. But there is a problem. I like all of them, but they have all declined in the past decade. I blame this on the shift of varied tastes to digital cable and the internet while the mainline cable channels compete for the reality tv buck. The arts and literature programming is already gone with the fall a few years ago of Bravo and A&E. Discovery has teetered on the brink of the reality disaster, only coming back in the last few years (even though it did sacrifice TLC). History is currently teetering with Ice Road Truckers and what other reality crap they've got. Of course, it's no longer the "Nazi Channel" or "Enough of World War II Channel". If you want really good stuff, you have to go digital or online (especially for the arts stuff).
PBS is still the best there is at what if does even though it does falter (especially recently). PBS needs to be reinvigorated. And I would argue that it needs to focus a little more on the arts (or humanities and history) which is its weakest point.
Now I'm off to watch Art 21.
Current Mood:
cranky cranky
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I am in the process right now of reading Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States. So far, I have found the book to be very informative. And infuriating. American history is one oppression after another to support the elites of this country. Money is power and Money is the Republic. Democracy is a sham. The only way to change America (and the World) is through united mass action if not revolution. Change only comes with the threat to the business friendly status quo.

 


Current Mood:
bitchy bitchy
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I was hoping that I would not have to do this. That I could ignore what had been going on and focus on something else. But I can't. Lately, I have been angered by what I have seen in this country.

I supported Obama, I voted for him. I wasn't happy with him, but I really had no other choice. I could have voted for Nader or McKinney, and I should have but I did not. I was a fool.

Obama has been a disappointment on a number of issues. But I will give him “grades” on seven subjects: Gay Rights, Health Care, Economy, Foreign Affairs, Reform, Civil Rights, and Labor.

For gay rights, he gets an F. Why? Because he hasn't done anything. There is talk, yes, but no action. There may be some good signs coming up on the travel ban and anti-discrimination, but he has shown himself to be willing to talk about what he will do- later. We don't have later because later can and will be pushed off until later.

Health Care is a D. He has consistently seceded the argument to the right insuring that the reform of our health care system is less than what the people need and deserve. He will have to make a choice and soon as to what type of reform we will get. But I refuse to get private health insurance. I will not give money (or the government's money) to those parasites.

Economy gets a C. Mostly for incompetence.

Foreign Affairs gets a F. He is a sexy rock star but that does not mean he will change a damn thing in America's foreign policy. We may be out of Iraq, but not out of Afghanistan.

Reform gets another F. What reform? He seems to be intent on maintaining the status quo and to ensure the power of the elites.

Civil Rights C. He did speak out about Gates, but then backtracked. We need to have this discussion.

Labor F. Are we going to continue to see the evisceration of labor in this country? Yes.

I was incredibly hopeful that America may change, that it would become more than just the shining city on the hill of myth. The truth is that there is no American Dream and there never was one.


Current Mood:
angry angry
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I am a fan of Star Trek, and I finally watched the reboot film Star Trek this morning. To be honest, I can't say that I was a huge fan of the changes to the Star Trek universe that Abrams and the writers had created. So maybe I am biased going into it and had my prejudices confirmed. I don't know. But I do know that I did not enjoy the movie. The effects and photography are exquisite, but the plot and acting are little better than a pilot for a Star Trek television series. And that's the problem.

Movies are seen as the most important aspect of the culture industry today. Everything needs a movie adaptation- games, books, toys, and television. In my opinion, Star Trek has never worked well on the big screen because it always came out looking like it might as well have been a two- three part episode arc on the tv show. Take the series finale of Battlestar Galactica, it was cinematic with great acting and a near perfect first half. It did not need a movie, and neither does Star Trek or Babylon 5. Their medium is the television and they are good on it.

So what, then, is the problem with Star Trek? Star Wars. The two have always had an inverse relationship much like T.S. Eliot and William Carlos Williams. When one is ascendant, the other one is in decline. When the Star Trek franchise began to falter was in the late nineties at the end of DS9's run. This was when the prequels for Star Wars began. As Star Wars returned to the popular imagination after almost twenty years of only the original trilogy and the Expanded Universe, Star Trek began a near decade decline in popularity. Part of the problem was saturation and bad writing. There were too many series (the ending Voyager and the bad Enterprise) as well as lackluster, stagnant leadership. Star Trek needed some new blood and got it, but I don't know if it was the right blood that it needed.

P.S. I am very, very ticked off at the Texas State Board of Education!!


Current Mood:
cranky cranky
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I've been reading a few Bond novels recently. I started out last Friday with Casino Royale and then hammered out Live and Let Die over the weekend. Tomorrow, I'm taking on Diamonds are Forever, From Russia, with Love, and Goldfinger. It has been years since I seriously read an Ian Fleming Bond novel. During my junior high years and early high school years, I'd read Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, The Spy Who Loved Me, You Only Live Twice, From Russia, with Love, Dr. No, Goldfinger, and Thunderball. A few years ago, while I was researching my honors thesis at St. Edward's, I tried to read Diamonds are Forever and couldn't get passed the third or fourth chapter. Then, last year, I read Casino Royale and tried to read Live and Let Die before giving up.

Besides the books, I used to love the movies. In fact, when I was in sixth grade, I had taped all of the movies (excepting the Brosnan ones) when they came on TBS during their holiday Bond marathons. I would be sitting in Home Ec and sing 'All Time High' while we watched a movie. And recently, TCM was kind enough to have the Connery films last month. I had forgotten how much I liked them.

While I do like the films, I have some problems with them. I like the Connery and Craig Bonds because they are the closest to Fleming's Bond. Connery looks the part and Craig has the wit and almost rogue agent demeanor. Roger Moore was okay, but I don't like Bond as a cartoon, psuedo- science fiction playboy. That's not Bond. Bond is not the gadgets.

Now, I've been reading some of the books, and so far, I have to say that James Bond, in my humble opinion, is the world's worst secret agent. He was okay in Casino Royale but he was an idiot in Live and Let Die. His cover was blown, he was made, then he allowed himself to be captured so that he could meet his target. That is an inexcusably idiotic thing to do. Mr. Big should have blown a hole in his head. And then Bond goes on a rampage and takes out several members of Big's operation- again, he's known, the operation is compromised. Why doesn't Big pull out? There are too many problems here.

Forgetting Solitare (and Vesper Lynd) because I don't read Bond for the girls (duh). I read Bond for the villains. I love how they formulate their schemes, their pathologies, and how Bond clumsily defeats them.

I don't know if I really like the Bond girls that much. Most of them invariably turn into idealized sex objects for the reader-as-Bond. But as someone who'd rather do Bond, I can't really relate to them. I can understand Pussy Galore, but I don't buy the fact that she'd suddenly become straight for Bond. No, no, no.

I understand that Fleming is working from flawed premises (on many fronts). But that doesn't excuse the homophobia and normative heterosexualizing of Pussy Galore. Also there is Rosa Klebb. . . Now, getting back to Live and Let Die, I have to say that I am not a fan of Fleming's attitude to or depiction of African Americans. I don't buy the crap that there are positive images and attitudes to African Americans- Fleming is still stereotyping and being offensive with the “drunk” comment. I don't care if that was what most people thought at the time, they were wrong and it is disgusting.

As an aside to close out, I wonder if the Mythbusters would take a look at the climax of Live and Let Die. Is it possible for a limpet mine to destroy a boat and for Mr. Big to have survived it? And Bond?


Current Mood:
nostalgic nostalgic
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This past Sunday, Jennifer Schuessler had an essay, “Get a Life, Holden Caufield,” in The New York Times Book Review. I see her argument and agree with it. I first read The Catcher in the Rye when I was a senior in high school. At the time, I found myself frustrated with Holden. He is whiny and passive. In fact, he is about as phony as he accuses the adults. Does becoming an adult mean that one is by necessity a phony? And are kids immune from being phony? I doubt that. There are adults who are “real” and there are kids who are phony.

Yes, the image of teenage angst embodied in Holden Caufield has dated badly- really badly. Youth today (or a decade past) are radically different from what Holden is. Today's youth are more managed and manipulating than in past decades. On these points, I agree with Schuessler.

However, I do find something compelling in his voice. He is annoying, yes, and I would love to shut him up with a kiss, but he does represent what it means to be a teenager, lost and confused, during the early twentieth century. In a way, I did develop a crush on him. A crush rooted, like so many of mine, in frustration at a dream denied, at what is impossible. Holden is an archetype, and like all archetypes, unattainable.


Current Mood:
contemplative contemplative
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Today, the Obama administration has completely pissed me off. I will now work my damn best to create a left alternative to the Democrats. Here's to Nader 2012!
And one would think that Obama would understand this. Lenin was right, Obama is a suit.
Current Mood:
pissed off pissed off
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