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January 12, 2005


Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Yahmdallah, who has given his blog a pop-y new look, gets off a lot of funny lines about some movies he has seen. Sample: "If by chance you find yourself having to watch 'The Bourne Supremacy,' and if you actually catch Matt Damon acting, have a drink! I guarantee you'll be sober at the end of the flick."

* The performance-savvy Sluggo enjoyed "Stage Beauty." I also loved reading Sluggo's short posting about the joys of Restoration Comedy.

* The rightie dynamos at City Journal have turned out another chockful issue. It's readable in its entirety -- you go, City Journal! -- here. So far I've only had time to read Brian Anderson's piece about how, while the professoriat may tend to march in intellectual lockstep, student bodies certainly don't. It's first-rate, and should interest visitors who were tickled by some recent blabfests on this blog. Soon up on my reading list: Heather Mac Donald, Kay Hymowitz, Stephen Malanga, and Theodore Dalrymple.

* It's an important question: how to make "the girls" behave the way they're supposed to? Cowtown Pattie delivers the, er, lowdown.

* Anyone who hasn't delved into the great Friedrich Hayek yet -- my tip is to start here -- can sample his mind by reading this Reason interview with biographer Bruce Caldwell.

* Outer Life's evocation of a difficult morning-after had me laughing in sympathy. My alcohol tolerance has diminished a lot in recent years. Seems to be yet another aging-related development, sigh. These days I avoid red wine entirely, and even where white wine is concerned have to limit myself to two glasses.

* I haven't caught up with "Sideways" yet, have you? Come to think of it, I haven't watched a movie in a movie theater in a couple of months, which must be some kind of record in my adult life. But The Wife loved the movie and is urging me not to wait for the DVD. Here's an interview with Rex Pickett, the screenwriter/novelist whose novel the movie is based on. Pickett's delighted with Alexander Payne's movie of his novel, though his other movieworld war stories should open a few eyes to what the moviemaking process is usually like. (Chaos, frustration, bloodshed, and humiliation, basically.) Fun to see that the smart, funny, and spunky Communicatrix agrees with The Wife about "Sideways." Moviefans in the mood for lowkey, offbeat satires should also enjoy Alexander Payne's earlier "Citizen Ruth" (buyable, Netflixable) and "Election" (buyable, Netflixable).

* Ya don't wanna diss a squid.

* Francophiles as well as fans of saucy writing should enjoy La Coquette, the blog of an American woman who has just moved to Paris.

* Some men are lucky enough to have hobbies that they really, really love.

* Every now and then somone who publishes journalism of one kind or another catches fire. A combo of talent, energy, subject matter, opportunity, luck -- and, holy moly, there's really something to behold. Some examples: Norman Mailer, Joan Didion, Manny Farber, Tom Wolfe in his magazine days, Roy Blount Jr., Pauline Kael, the early Ian Buruma, Malcolm Gladwell, Dave Barry ... Hot stuff. (Dave Barry? He's been funny on a weekly basis for years and years. You think that's easy? IMHO, the man deserves a Lifetime Achievement Oscar.) These days I've begun to suspect that Steve Sailer belongs on that list. Webheads are spoiled; we already take Steve for granted. But, good lord, what a dynamo. And what a fresh and bold mind, too. In his movie reviews, Steve's a complete original. Anything but a traditional movie buff, he brings evo-bio-style science as well as experience as a marketing analyst to bear on his reviews. His blog would be high-quality-output enough for three or four journalists. And his articles for Vdare and The American Conservative are boat-rocking wonders. If I were the editor of a mainstream rag, I'd snap Steve up pronto. But nearly all Steve's writing appears in non-mainstream places. Is this because Steve sometimes tackles dicey, verboten topics (immigration, IQ) head-on? Or has the mainstream press tightened up since the days of Didion, Wolfe, and Kael? In any case, I'm dazzled by The Steve Show, and I'm one happy fan. Steve's site, where he blogs and supplies links to nearly all his writing, is a barn-burner.

* Thanks to visitor Brett Lockhart, who passed along a link to this fascinating site devoted to the question: what makes us find one face more attractive than another?



posted by Michael at January 12, 2005


Both my lovely wife and I really enjoyed Sideways, in a sort of wistful, low key way. It also really made me want to go out and guzzle some good wine (oops, I suppose 'guzzle' may not be the most appropriate term here). I was shocked to read an interview with the actor playing the lead character--a depressed would-be author who compensates by acting like the ultimate wine snob--who confessed he knows NOTHING about wine in real life, other than "the cheap stuff gets you hammered faster." Apparently they aren't drinking fine wines at all in the movie, but some non-alcoholic stuff that tastes like slop. Sigh. Another illusion shot to hell. Good movie, though.

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on January 12, 2005 4:50 PM

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