Friday, December 10, 2004

So 20th Century.

I love the critical stylings of Liz Penn/Dana Stevens as much as the next guy. Or maybe I don't. Clearly there are those who like her a whole lot more and seem rather reliant on her. Just a little setup: the day before the election, Liz posted a review of Huckabees tying it into (I guess you could say) the Kerry-zeitgeist and how the film was a call to arms to get Bush out of office. Or something. She didn't post anything else until this week, when she wrote a brief "I'm alive, I'll be back" message. (Hey, cut her some slack, she's been busy over at Slate.)

OK, this is where it gets insane. Check out this (for lack of a better word) outpouring from one James Soundpost, posted in the comment section of the "I'm Back" message. I would find some of it genuinely offensive if it... well, you'll see.

I've been too busy and/or depressed to keep up with you in the past month, liz, for which I apologize. I actually saw Huckabees The Day After and it served as a necessary tonic to the scene I witnessed the night before, when, passing through Times Square just as NBC called Ohio for Bush, I saw a large group of humans (for want of a better term) with Bush/Cheney signs shouting FOUR MORE YEARS in unison. I have met violent criminals; I once had occasion to look a mass murderer in the eyes, I had as a boss a seemingly nice man who was convicted of raping his niece, I have met Klan members and Neo-Nazis, and I have been uncomfortably near two bloody fistfights on the subway (one just yesterday). None of these encounters left me with the sense of truly pure evil dread I experienced that night.

You make a good point when you say that we shouldn't be over it. We shouldn't; it's not them, it's us. After all, it's we who are conscious who are the truly evil ones, continuing to support the war machine with our constant consumption while paying lip service to our souls.

Speaking of which, I saw another movie tonight. Sideways is a fun, well-made film, but after the great existential ramblings of Kaufman and Russell, Payne's preoccupations seem so twentieth-century. Adultery, mid-life crises, unfulfilled ambitions and aesthetic conundrums are fun problems to have when you can afford them, but when our country is turning into the Soviet Union (every day, it seems, another friend of mine is arrested for riding a bike, holding a picket sign or standing in what is suddenly declared to be the wrong place) and when we realize that the promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is now officially dead, and that by the time we die, if we're allowed to live out our natural lives, free speech and jury trials will be relics of the past, the polar ice caps will have all but disappeared--well, I never got my novel published. People are sleeping with the wrong people. I'm unhappy and single and aesthetically unfulfilled. So fucking what.

I need inspiration, liz. I saw Obama on Charlie Rose the other night, which helped. We can't wait eight years for this guy. And I just met a 22-year-old woman who just hitchhiked cross-country, who told me that the young red-state punk kids are hopping freight trains these days, and living in house boats they're building out of dumpster materials. Back to hunting/gathering; maybe that's the future; I don't know.

What is truth, liz?

I was going to edit the message, but decided to leave it as is. Am I wrong, or is that the raving of a madman? We could talk about all the shitty, overwrought and brain-dead "looking at Bush supporters is like looking into the eyes of a mass murderer" crap, but I'd rather talk about his film crit (as I am wont to do). Isn't it amusing that he elevates the Kaufman and Russell films as being worthy films in these troubled times, but Sideways is just too petty. Hey, I lurve Eternal Sunshine, but when you strip it of all it's fancy footwork, isn't it "just about relationships"? Isn't that just so 20th Century? I should think so. Oy. I have to go hunt and gather, more later (maybe).

(Oh and if you haven't read it, Liz's take on The Brown Bunny is classic. Not to open that can of worms again...)


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