Monday, December 29, 2008

Letter to The New York Times On Will Elder's Obit

Hadju gets some things right, but really, WTF is he doing at the paper of record slamming Elder in his obit as a closer? Here's my response.

Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2008 14:47:23 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Hadju on Elder

Whatever Hadju's critique of Little Annie Fanny (I agree that it was not Kurtzman & Elder's finest work) I don't think it appropriate to end his NYT year end obit on that negative note.

Elder's best work was genius and for that, and for him, we can be grateful.

The critique would be fine in the body of the article, but as the last word it is petty. Imagine ending Orson Welles' obit by savaging his crummy TV ad appearances instead of summing it up as a great, albeit flawed master director and creator.

Original article here.
A link to some Little Annie Fanny stuff, which is still pretty neat, here.

War in Gaza

Here are decent articles on the war in Gaza.

Halevi in TNR.

Halevi with Michael Oren in WSJ.

Tom Segev in Haaretz.

Charles Chuman on Michael Totten's site.

Considering the civil rights New Yorkers were willing to surrender to get rid of crackheads and muggings, I don't know what I would endorse if I lived in Sderot under constant threat of rocket attack.

If I were Palestinian I doubt that I would want to live under Hamas or the P.A. either.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Thank You Comrade Nixon For My Glorious Childhood

What the two men said 36 years ago can be known with such precision today because they worked in what was, in retrospect, the golden age of White House taping. Both Nixon and Mr. Kissinger had given secret orders to record their calls, each evidently without the other’s knowledge.

Much like Komar and Melamid's series on Stalin, pictures of these dastardly fiends still invoke nostalgia for my childhood over which they presided. Nixon was a virtual muse for so many artists and comedians that he was a Vollard in the sense that "no beautiful woman has had his portrait painted as often". Plus they were nuts.

NYT link, Indexed Trove of Kissinger Phone Transcripts Is Completed.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hitchens, You Cantankerous Asshole, Correct AGAIN!

Hitchens nails the whole wacky Rick Warren horseshit perfectly:

"...if we must have an officiating priest, let it be some dignified old hypocrite with no factional allegiance and not a tree-shaking huckster and publicity seeker who believes that millions of his fellow citizens are hellbound because they do not meet his own low and vulgar standards."

I am way more optimistic railing against Obama's mistakes than those of the right wing. But this move, no matter how politically wise, is still repugnant.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Shalom Auslander on Courage

Another good distraction from writing is reading about writing, and one thing nobody seems to discuss much is courage. Tone, character, structure, voice. But not courage. Maybe that’s why I also don’t read many books that seem all that courageous; on the contrary, most new books I read seem pandering, desperate for respect and admiration, but nothing that seems like a risk, nothing that seems like the author just went out there and said, “Fuck it, this is what I feel. Be it sick, be it wrong, be it contrary to everything I ever wrote before.” Maybe I’m reading the wrong books. Maybe we talk about plot and character because we can’t talk about courage, because there’s nothing we can do about it, because no amount of pages or instruction is going to help you when you sit down at the computer with all your pride and dreams and insecurities and fears, with all the faces of all the people you’ve ever met staring over your shoulder and waiting to see what you do. Because no book or article is going to get you to crawl out from under that bed, thin skin and all, and walk with your head up through this horrible shithole of a world.

The whole thing is here.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Friday, December 05, 2008

Forrest J Ackerman, RIP

Famous Monsters of Filmland cover gallery here.


I'm probably not the first person to notice this. But one big problem with Facebook (now that I am a veteran of several months standing) is that one disintegrates into the hive-mind even more quickly using it.

An individuated adult has more than one mode, and more than one persona. FB is like a hydrogenating agent in that it mixes all of one's disparate connections into an artery clogging, unified mess.

What did Allen Ginsberg say in America?

Are you going to let our emotional life be run by Time Magazine?
I'm obsessed by Time Magazine.
I read it every week.
Its cover stares at me every time I slink past the corner candystore.
I read it in the basement of the Berkeley Public Library.

Yeah, it's like that. For the moment I am staying in the hive, waiting to see what happens. But I am not so sure that being on the grid so much is good for anyone.

Another way to say it:

How Can I Miss You When You Wont Go Away - Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks

Links, The Meaning of Life, Etc.

It's not you, it's me.

Since I joined Facebook, my pointers have started to show up there. I am not sure where I want to "announce" the latest and greatest Lynda Barry interviews, all I know is that when I read anything by her I want to climb to the rooftops and announce its existence.

(Image of me, having given away all my worldly possessions and yelling a URL to the skies, waiting for
Shabbetai Zevi.)

My essential blog reads are pretty much Journalista, Comics Reporter, anything Merlin Mann or Paul Sas write. * That, and the version of the Sunday Times, which instead of arriving on my doorstep once a week, shows up in an RSS feed about 4 times an hour. Holy Gutenberg, Batman, am I fucked.

However, like St. Albert said, we are at least partially rational creatures. I know I am trying to sip from a firehose. I know the sugar water from said firehose is addictive as hell.

I have also likened my lot to that of an alcoholic sommelier. That is, my livelihood at least partially depends on being online but I have trouble with the dazzling ever evolving distraction that is the web. (See Paul Graham's excellent essay here.)

So, number one, I have played it safe on this blog in some ways by linking my brains out. And number two, the linking game is a symptom of a 20th c. mind overwhelmed by the boundless
cornucopia of coprophilia. Welcome to the 21st c. Information wanted to be free, and now it's metastasized, choking off all other modes in its path. (Just speaking for myself, but if the goggles fit...)
*So, those links are now listed. I don't need to post, though sometimes I might.