Friday, 4 October 2013

closing tabs

1. I have been looking for Hal Hartley's Amateur for years, albeit in a dilatory sort of a way. I loved it when it came out. I've told loads of people how much I loved it. Now I can get it and I'm worried it won't be as good as I remembered. In a double whammy for exactly the same kind of thing, I'm also buying The Kingdom, which I watched on my own in a day-long marathon as part of a film festival and might be the favourite thing I've ever done in a cinema.

2. The Reign of Morons is Here:

We have elected an ungovernable collection of snake-handlers, Bible-bangers, ignorami, bagmen and outright frauds, a collection so ungovernable that it insists the nation be ungovernable, too. We have elected people to govern us who do not believe in government ... We have elected a national legislature in which the true power resides in a cabal of vandals, a nihilistic brigade that believes that its opposition to a bill directing millions of new customers to the nation's insurance companies is the equivalent of standing up to the Nazis in 1938, to the bravery of the passengers on Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, and to Mel Gibson's account of the Scottish Wars of Independence in the 13th Century. We have elected a national legislature that looks into the mirror and sees itself already cast in marble.

Big up Charles P Pierce. It won't help or persuade anyone, so maybe it's pointless, and I agree with his pessimism that the Democrats are unlikely to benefit because the loonies are in safe districts and the Democrats are less likely to risk blowing things up in order to win this fight, but I enjoyed it. Maybe it will make people angrier and more willing to stand firm, but that feels like wishful thinking.

3. All poetry can do, in the end, is make the world bearable. It's engineering that gets you to the moon:

As many times stated, I yield to no one in my love of Brian Phillips. This is about a legendary, and legendarily single-minded, NFL Quarterback called Peyton Manning who, at the age of 37 and with a reconstructed neck, is rewriting the record books.

Again, this is a guy who has been compared to an atom bomb about 176,000 times on the Internet and whom you can absolutely believe would have a special room in his house for folding socks ... Look at it this way: There's a nervous disconnect between the way pop media portrays middle-aged white dads as bumbling dorks and the disproportionate share of American wealth and power that middle-aged white dads continue to enjoy. Manning quietly bridges this gap. He sends the reassuring signal that running the world is punishingly hard and that the world is nevertheless well run. That may be a lie, but on a Sunday afternoon it's often a comforting one. He's stressed out enough that you don't quite want to be him, but benevolent enough that you're glad he's out there. He's the sitcom doofus as culture hero. He is the Prometheus of dad rock.

4. Fisking the Daily Mail is shooting fish in a barrel, but the fish is in our barrel and it's biting us. What is incredible is that I have seen people taking issue with this fisking (for eg: I am sorry but I feel I am going mad, can nobody really see the connections? ... Can no-body see that this whole complaints thing has been dragged up by the labour party themselves to gain publicity for Ed). I almost entered into dialogue with these people, if you can imagine such a thing.

5. Who says who loves their country? Reductive ideas of patriotism are irritating. For a year or so - as I might have mentioned - I've been obsessed with this love song to England, which is not money, and it is not blood.*/**

* I love protest songs and angry songs; I feel a bit of a fraud for loving them so much; 'Do I have the right, when I am not a very angry person?' is my essential question. In this case, I am quite angry, and this isn't a very angry song, so it's definitely ok.

** As also previously stated, I am one of those quite large number of people whose nationality is 'British' rather than English, and who resents that I don't get to vote about the dissolution of that.

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