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« Digi-Cinema Developments | Main | Hate and Minorities »

April 29, 2003


Friedrich --

I just finished Roger Scruton's new book The West and the Rest (here). I enjoyed it, and got a lot out of it. Scruton does an amazingly clear and vivid job of spelling out how different the West has made itself from the rest of the world, and reminds us that not only do the Islamic countries have no experience with democracy, they have no experience with any separation at all between church and state. In a startling article here (click on "Continue to message"), Steve Sailer points out one more challenge, which is the frequency of "consanguineous" marriages in the mideast -- marriages, that is, between first and second cousins. Remember "Deliverance"? Well, an Iraqi is twice as likely to marry his cousin as an American hillbilly is. "In Iraq, as in much of the region," Sailer writes, "nearly half of all married couples are first or second cousins to each other." No wonder tribal loyalties are so ferocious in that part of the world. Why hasn't the mainstream press made more of this?

Polly Frost writes about the influential (and underknown) stage monologuist Ruth Draper here. Polly has also kicked off a "let's discuss art, books, theater and food" forum, which is off to a lively start. You can join the party here.

Lynn Sislo takes note of and wrestles with the way she's an elitist so far as the arts that she knows well go, and a populist so far as arts that she knows less well go, here. A posting that'll ring bells with many arts fans.

Aaron Haspel works up a good God of the Machine head of steam over the question of whether hetero marriage should receive any governmental privileges at all, here.

The assaultively sexual play XXX (which does not star Vin Diesel) by the experimental Spanish theater troupe La Fura dels Baus has opened in London for a four-week run. Based on the Marquis de Sade's "Philosophy in the Bedroom," it's said to be the most sexually explict show ever to be produced in England. Quel surprise that there has been no shortage of coverage: you might start here and here. Here's a Guardian account of the play's original Spanish production. Sodomy, incest, rape and genital mutilation figure among the play's attractions. Did audience members really have sex in the aisles during one performance (here)? Via Daze Reader, here.

Alice Bachini has developed an amusing and persuasive something that she calls the Common Person's Theory of Work (here -- you'll have to do some scrolling, but be sure to let yourself be tickled by Alice's prose and thoughts on the way down too).

How many films has your opinion done a U-turn on? One of the films I came around on was Dziga Vertov's legendary Man With a Movie Camera, which I saw back in film class at our Lousy Ivy University and wasn't much struck by. Years later, when I saw a version of the film set to a score by the Alloy Orchestra (buyable here), I did succumb. What a whirlwind of invention and energy it is. Tim Hulsey celebrates the film here.

Sasha and Andrew (here), Peter Briffa (here), Alexandra Ceely (here), Scott Chaffin (here), and Chris Bertram (here) have all been showing off 'way too much in the way of fizz, mischief and writing chops not to get linked to.

Note to self: Read. Study. Develop some personality before it's too late.



posted by Michael at April 29, 2003


Man With A Movie Camera is a film that requires some form of accompaniment. The first two times (once in my first year film studies class, the second in a history course class about documentary film) I saw it was in a mute print. No one liked it, least of all me. Then the third time I saw it (in a Russian film history class) it was still a mute print but the lecturer gave a running commentary as it was going and the experience was vastly improved. What little of Vertov's other work I've seen suggests he's something of an acquired taste, though.

Posted by: James Russell on April 29, 2003 4:20 AM

I always liked "The Man with a Movie Camera." Maybe I'm just a natural "film formalist" but I always thought ole Vertov had hung a whole lot of interesting washing out to dry that the film industry/art form had somehow never managed to bring in the house.

"The Man with a Movie Camera" is one of those movies--like Ed Wood--that I would think demand some experience shooting and editing movies to really appreciate fully. Granted, this "inside baseball" approach is to some extent a weakness--you don't have to paint in fresco to appreciate the Sistine Chapel Ceiling--but it's one I find pointless to resist.

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on April 29, 2003 11:52 AM

I liked Alice Bacchini's comments on her wardrobe better!! Related to her work ethic comments---what job does she have that she can wear tights with diamonds cut out and see-through blouses? Sounds she's found at least one way of adding fun to the work day!

Posted by: annette on April 29, 2003 1:39 PM

Alice Bachini has a lovely theory. I suppose this bright idea is one (like so many of life's little lessons on romance) that each one of us has to learn for ourselves. Me? I got a real good grip on this theory at 14. Took a job flipping burgers.

Didn't like Man with a Movie Camera? Gasp!

Psst, Annette, worked in a bookstore during college and dressed in a style that suggested that somehow, somewhere, a thrift store had crashed into a dude ranch.

Posted by: j.c. on April 29, 2003 4:20 PM

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