Wednesday, September 30, 2009

More Stevie Wonder on the drums, y'all.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mainstream Surrealism

I don't have a tv, so I don't normally have a sense of what commercials are on, but I have to assume that THIS THING is far from ordinary:

Walt Whitman + imagery of passion (animal, sexual, natural) + Jeans = The most surreal thing you are likely to see on television anytime soon.

At least this commercial has some jeans in it. This one hardly has any:

These things have a cinematic quality that make them almost seem like cinepoems. If only they weren't trying to sell me something.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

drink it up!

Since my homeboy Gerry Canavan just finished his exams, here's a tribute to his love of soda, idiosyncrasy, and weird obsessions:

By the way, this place is called Galco’s Soda Pop Stop, and it is located at 5702 York Boulevard in Los Angeles.

Monday, September 21, 2009

One Too Many


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Gasoline [updated]

Newsflash: Rush Limbaugh is a race-baiter. Fresh proof. Reiteration from the election: this is incitement to violence. See also Tim Wise on CNN a few days ago.

Update: Think Progress ups the ante: "Federal authorities are now probing a possible hate crime that happened outside a Georgia Cracker Barrel restaurant. After Army reservist Tasha Hill, who is African-American, politely asked Troy Dale West, who is white, to be careful because he almost hit her daughter when opening the door, he began spewing racial epithets at her and punching and kicking her in front of her daughter. Will Limbaugh also condemn this incident today? (Unlikely, considering that in the past, he has praised slavery, said that James Earl Ray deserved the Medal of Honor, and claimed that “all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson.”)."


Update: And then the dude went off the deep-end by calling for segregation:

LIMBAUGH: I think the guy’s wrong. I think not only it was racism, it was justifiable racism. I mean, that’s the lesson we’re being taught here today. Kid shouldn’t have been on the bus anyway. We need segregated buses — it was invading space and stuff. This is Obama’s America.

Monday, September 14, 2009

What doctors say

Read it: 73% of American Medical Association doctors want a public option; 10% of those want to eliminate for-profit insurance altogether. Bam. (Pace Danny Wientzen)

Update: "A majority of physicians surveyed (58 percent) also supported expanding Medicare eligibility to those between the ages of 55 and 64." Via HuffPo.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Open Up

On a tip from Crooks and Liars, I checked out this Democracy Now! interview with Max Blumenthal in which he discusses his book, Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party. He says an interesting thing in this interview; in a discussion about Frank Schaeffer, an important figure in his genealogy of the religious right, he reports the following:

And his son says, you know, “My father would have been so upset to see what the Christian right and the Republican Party has become today. He despised the homophobia of the movement.”

And what Frank Schaeffer told me, which is most interesting, is that “This movement, we were like oncologists. We needed a crisis to keep occurring in American society in order for us to stay in business.” And that’s what we’re seeing with the healthcare debate, too. I mean, we’re seeing a movement that’s terrified that the government will start to be able to solve people’s crises, because they survive and thrive on manipulating people’s personal crises.
I found this really interesting, and it reminded me of something that my friend Nathan said to me the other night. Blumenthal's argument, in part, is that the religious right's M.O. is to oppose any and all efforts by the government to solve the problems of everyday people for the simple and cynical reason that by doing so, the government infringes on its territory--religion's capacity to serve as the crutch for any and all personal problems, no matter the size. This is an interesting hypothesis that potentially enables us to understand why the health care "debate" has taken the form it has.

But as Nathan, Anne and I were discussing health care, town halls, and the absolute weirdness of the right's characterization of Obama as an Orwellian overlord, Nathan made an interesting comment that I think better explains for me, at least at a topical level, the off-the-wall paranoia of recent conservative descriptions of Obama. In Nathan's view, the right promulgates a view of Obama as a dictator because it serves a psychological function; the Democractic dictator is the fantasy of the Republican party and the far right generally. Republicans would rather have a Hitlerian Democrat in power than a moderate one because such a situation allows the party to frame all political questions in terms of crisis. In other words, in addition to an ideology in which personal responsibility falls within the ken of a religious community, the right also thrives on the politics of enmity. Think of it this way: without a clear and present enemy like bin Laden or Saddam Hussein to rally around, the right has invented a new enemy. It's not a coincidence that the Right has tried each and every label on Obama. If they can't win an election against a "Muslim," maybe they should reach further back into the past and label him a socialist (not to mention a racist). Maybe that will work.

Maybe. The point here is not that this strategy doesn't work--in fact, it has worked well recently--but that by painting Obama as a 21st century Mao indoctrinating school children along party lines, the Right is in its element: he's not a citizen, Americorp is indoctrination, Obama is inflating the census count of minorities to redraw congressional districts, he introduced swine flu to the country, they're building death camps in the southwest, the legislation is going to result in rationing. On and on and on. These are just examples that I pulled off of the top of my head; they by no means represent a complete list of the crimes that the Right fantasizes about Obama committing. By creating this monster, the Right gets to relive the past; it's spring of 2003 again. And the reason for doing this is simple: the only way to win this fight is for the Right to change the subject. Never mind the crisis of health care; this is a constitutional crisis that strikes to the heart of American values.

Or so the logic goes. But buyer beware: that feeling of self-congratulatory righteous indignation that the Right is cultivating--it's is a placebo.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Willem Defoe is getting busy.

Here's a trailer for Lars von Trier's new film, Antichrist.

Lars von Trier's Antichrist - Official Trailer from Zentropa on Vimeo.

Does this look good? Hopefully it will at least be a departure for him.

And here's a trailer for the David Lynch-produced Werner Herzog film, My Son, My Son, What Have You Done?

Again, does this look good? I think I might prefer Herzog as a documentarian -- c.f. Encounters at the End of the World.