Friday, July 15, 2005
Films about theatre happen to form one of my favorite subgenres, and so these two new additions inspire the first of the DVD Friday lists of personal favorites. All are available on DVD unless otherwise noted, though I haven't yet seen them all on DVD.
1.'> BEING JULIA (2004) From a novel by Somerset Magham, scripted by playwright and theatre explainer Ronald Harwood, this story about a famous but aging actress in London of 1938 is smart, stylish, funny and moving. Annette Benning was robbed of the Oscar she deserved for this film. The other performances---from Jeremy Irons to the wonderful Juliet Stevenson to relative newcomers, at least to film in America---are uniformly excellent. And in dealing with youthful ambition (somewhat reminiscent of "All About Eve"-see below) the resolution is wonderfully theatrical.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
The bird deaths are between 5 and 10 times greater the highest ever previously recorded. In the past, researchers found one dead Brandt's cormorant for each 34 miles of beach. This May they averaged one every eight-tenths of a mile.
The culprit may be the higher ocean temperatures---from 2 to 5 degrees above normal near the coast.
In some scenarios years ago, the effects of global heating would show up in the ocean last. Today they may be showing up first. Sensitivity to temperature may be the main reason, but the hotter water may also be just the last straw. Toxic chemicals have already killed off fish and other sea life, and there are high levels of toxic substances in many of the survivors.
Environmentalist David Suzuki talks about the canary in the coal mine, kept there because toxi fumes killed them first, warning miners of danger so the miners would flee. Now, he said, the canaries are dying all around us and we ignore them. This is a literal case of that.
It's not just the climate crisis. Suzuki reminds us that asthma was almost unheard of among children in the 1930s. Now in North American cities, one in four children are affected. Robert Kennedy, Jr. talks about the high levels of mercury in the bloodstreams of his own children, while nothing is done, and Americans permit the Bush administration to gut regulations, destroy existing law and do whatever the polluting and climate altering industries want.
Suzuki and Kennedy ask us, if we can't pay attention to what's happening to our own children, what kind of a species are we? If something big is going on out there in the ocean, it's going to mean far more to us and the future than whether Karl Rove gets canned or Paris Hilton gets a blue collar pal.
Print Story: Scientists Raise Alarm About Ocean Health on Yahoo! News
UPDATE: And this story, UNESCO investigating climate crisis effects on world heritage natural sites, which turns out to be a mechanism to pressure governments to take action on global heating.
But before closure can be achieved on such product, robust parameters of total quality and competitive international best practices are key self-management and self-marketing requirements, in order to leverage vibrant pre-empowering emotional communication nodes and re-purpose functional deployment as a strategic initiative committed to an enhanced content provider environment. A personal mission statement sometimes helps.
MORE on DEATH SENTENCES: How Cliches, Weasel Words, and Management-Speak are Strangling Public Language, a book by Don Watson.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Bringing down Rove on this issue is a lot like getting Al Capone for tax evasion. Still, there is a certain blood lust in the glee with which anti-Bushites are going after Rove, and there is the give-no-quarter distortions and lies of the GOPer defenders. The result is a lot of ugly noise, a little light, and it seems to me a short-sighted strategy ending with getting rid of Rove, while indications accumulate that we may be missing the true dimensions of the situation.
And they've even surpassed us in the most characteristic icon of American life: the shopping mall.
[The link below takes you my piece in the Los Angeles Times. The Christian Science Monitor was also going to publish it this week, but it kept getting bumped by London terrorism and Rove terrorism stories.]
The Great Malls of China
But before long, what was then called "women's lib" was having a real impact in television, and suddenly a generation of women were on the air in Boston. Like Pat, they were smart and also young and beautiful. It was a remarkable combination, which caused them all problems and got them plenty of attention as well.
Pat quickly added anchoring a new 5:30 p.m. newscast and talk show hybrid, and she was off and running. She had a talk show in Washington, eventually became a producer with Turner broadcasting, and now she's running PBS.
She's kept a fairly low public profile, even through all the recent storm and strife affecting PBS, but she's picked the perfect moment to raise her voice. She testified at a congressional hearing the other day that ended up with the committee reccomending that PBS get its funding restored. Then she responded to questions from the Television Critics Association saying the so-called study of Bill Moyer's Now and other PBS shows that CPB chief Kenneth Tomlinson commissioned was "very troubling" and should be investigated.
She pointed out that she doesn't report to him, and he doesn't report to her---PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting are independent of one another. Here are a few other lines from the story below:
CPB was established to provide a "heat shield" to protect programming produced for PBS or local public-TV stations from political interference, Mitchell said.
"There are clearly questions, and rightly so, about whether the heat shield is in place," she said.
PBS Chief Backs Programming Investigation
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
But I can't turn off the writer completely, so I do wonder what those announcers are talking about sometimes. If you know anything about the game, you know that some of what seems like dumb redundancy really isn't, like "He's got speed and quickness." They really are two different things.
But then there are other habitual expressions that always bother me...
Larry Johnson, (former) CIA analyst
Monday, July 11, 2005
Trying to tell truth about power, pointing out excesses, destructive policies, insidious patterns and imbalances in the Force, as well as sharing some inspirations and cultural connections, plus some satire and scorched mirth, are all in various ways about hope, or at least more clarity and laughter in the darkening age. But I do hope to begin defining the positive in some future posts.
Unfortunately that takes more time...
Why bother with something so innately silly, even though it was commissioned by the right wing head of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and paid for with tax money?
It was just this sort of "report" that got a lot of people fired from their jobs in TV, movies, radio and schools during the Blacklist and McCarthy 1950s---sloppy with inaccuracies, crazed in its rigidity and idiotic in interpretation. That's also why it is related to the terrorist attack, because then as now, the sense of America endangered by shadowy enemies was misused for political and ideological purposes. It did happen here, and it can happen again.
It is also further evidence of the rabid right's agenda: to make Liberal equal what Communist meant in the 50s, if not totally in content, then in effect: UnAmerican, subversive, fellow-travelers of the Evildoers.
If you recall these movies--the post-apocalyptic dramas, alien invasions and subversions (like "Invasion of the Body Snatchers"), the Bug-Eyed Monster movies, etc.--you may be interested in how they reflect the fears of the time. Which aren't all that far away from the fears of ours. Because you're going to be seeing very similar sorts of sci-fi on all three commercial broadcast networks this fall.
So follow the bouncing link to our illustrated essay on Cold War Cinema.
Sunday, July 10, 2005
Last week the New York Times "reporter" Judith Miller, a well-documented apologist and mouthpiece for Bushcorp, went to jail for refusing to turn over notes to the federal prosecutor trying to find out who in the White House told the press that Valerie Plame was a covert CIA agent, and whether a crime was committed---either the crime of knowingly revealing the identity of a covert agent, or lying to a grand jury about it.
So how do you know, how do you really know? You’re not choosing a toothpaste here, this is your soul. So why not choose certainty? You may never know which is the true church, but you can be completely confident that this is the False Church.