Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Ubuweb has posted a copy of The Brakhage Lectures by Stan Brakhage. Lectures on George Méliès, David Wark Griffith, Carl Theodore Dreyer, and Sergei Eisenstein. Link via Free Space Comix.

Slavoj Zizek has a new essay up at In These Times. Typically, it recycles portions of his previous published essays to further extend his critique of the Bush Administration.

What Rumsfeld Doesn’t Know That He Knows About Abu Ghraib

Does anyone still remember the unfortunate Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf? As Saddam’s information minister, he heroically would deny the most evident facts and stick to the Iraqi line. Even as U.S. tanks were hundreds of yards from his office, al-Sahaf continued to claim that the television shots of the tanks on Baghdad streets were Hollywood special effects. Once, however, he did strike a strange truth. When told that the U.S. military already controlled parts of Baghdad, he snapped back: “They are not in control of anything—they don’t even control themselves!” When the scandalous news broke about the weird things going on in Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison, we got a glimpse of this very dimension of themselves that Americans do not control.
Michael Bérubé offers a worthwhile pop quiz to all those persistent Bush supporters:

What is it you like most about the Bush administration and its policies?

___ I like the lying! It turned me on when the President spiked that EPA report on the toxic air quality around Ground Zero, thereby consigning thousands of firefighters, police, Guardsmen, rescue workers, and ordinary citizens to debilitating lifelong respiratory illness! If people are so worried about a few tiny particles floating around, let them buy those little fiber masks, for goodness' sake! Every Ace Hardware sells 'em.

___ I like the incompetence! It's so cool the way the President and his advisors blew off legitimate CIA and DIA intelligence on Iraq, and decided instead to take the word of an Iraqi double agent who's working together with Iranian Islamists. The post-"Mission Accomplished" occupation of Iraq has been every bit as cool!

___ I like the torture! I came for the tax cuts, but I'm staying for the torture and humiliation of random Arabs from Gitmo to Abu Ghraib! It's such a pleasant surprise, and so damn long overdue! That'll show whoever-they-all-are that you don't mess with the U.S.!

___ I like the cuts to veterans' benefits! Why should a bunch of veterans get all those free medical goodies? I support the troops, sure, but only by flying a flag from my car. Don't come around here asking me to pay more taxes just because some soldier comes home with the sniffles.

___ I like the attacks on overtime pay! I'm sick and tired of people freeloading off the rest of us by working ten or twelve hours a day. And I'm sick and tired of the way Democrats pander to their special interests. It's about time we had a President tough enough to draw the line when it comes to outrageous labor demands.

___ I like the $500 billion deficit! Clinton made me sick with all his feelgood liberal talk about "balancing" the so-called "budget." Reagan proved that deficits don't matter!

___ I like the new Medicare plan! Though I wish someone would explain it to me. What's this about donuts being covered after two thousand dollars?

___ I like the cowboy hat! I also like the whole Crawford ranch brush-clearing thing. I think it's shameful that Bill Clinton left him all that brush to clear.

___ Could you repeat the question? I wasn't really paying attention.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Musical performance-troupe (they call it show-core) My Barbarian.
I love their video for "Unicorns L.A."

Monday, May 17, 2004

So I saw a preview for Un Día Sin Mexicanos and it doesn't look very good.

Friday, May 14, 2004

From an article on CNet, Congress mulls revisions to DMCA:

Congress has taken a step toward revising the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which has attracted extensive criticism over the past six years.
A House of Representatives subcommittee convened Wednesday for the first hearing devoted to a proposal to defang the DMCA, a 1998 law that broadly restricts bypassing copy-protection technologies used in DVDs, a few music CDs and some software programs.
Called the Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act, the amendments are backed by librarians, liberal consumer groups and some technology firms. But they're bitterly opposed by the entertainment industry, including Hollywood, major record labels and the Business Software Alliance.

Check out Jack Velenti's odd sexually infantilizing language in this quote (emphases mine):

"It legalizes hacking," Jack Valenti, head of the Motion Picture Association of America, said of the proposed changes. "It allows you to make a copy or many copies. And the 1000th copy of a DVD, Mr. Chairman, is as pure and pristine as the original. You strip away all the protective clothing of that DVD and leave it naked and alone."

Promotional poster from Un Dia Sin Mexicanos.
JG Ballard writes about Hollywood disaster movies and the American unconscious at the Guardian:

Every American fear and paranoid anxiety is out in the open, from the ranting of ultra-right shockjocks to The Day after Tomorrow, Hollywood's latest attempt to traumatise us with fears of climate change. Here, global warming melts the polar ice-caps, flooding our planet and plunging us into a global catastrophe. The computerised special effects are more real than reality itself, bypassing many areas of the brain and posing problems for philosophers and neuro-psychologists alike, hinting at a future where the human race abandons "old" reality in the same way that Americans abandoned old Europe.

The Guardian's Dan Glaister also reports on a new film about the Latino "underclass" in Los Angeles called Un Día Sin Mexicanos (A Day Without Mexicans):

"On May 14," runs the poster's tagline, "there will be no Mexicans in California." The tagline for the Spanish language version of the poster reads: "Los gringos van a llorar" ("The gringos are going to cry").

The film, based on a short of the same name by the same director, sees California wake up one day to find a third of its population has disappeared. "Have they been taken by extraterrestrials?" asks one expert. "Is it the Apocalypse, and they are the chosen ones?" Or perhaps they have simply tired of not being valued.

Monday, May 03, 2004

I'm so glad someone finally pointed out those strange and terrifying wavy-armed thing that are so ubiquitous in Los Angeles. Miranda July on Sky Dancers:

It took a lot of Web searching to discover their official name: Sky Dancers (not to be confused with the flying doll of the same name, recalled for lacerating children's faces). What I'm talking about are those huge, air-filled promotional figures whose arms wave above their heads like they're eternally tormented spirits. Their desperate, needy flailing either infuriates me or moves me to tears depending on how I'm feeling about us, the people of Los Angeles, whose souls I'm sure these are.

See the rest of her ArtForum Top Ten.

Sky Dancers