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Our Last 50 Referrers

« Best-Of Vids | Main | Andy and Me and Joe and Don »

September 27, 2006


Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Ah, the NSFW fantasy lives of geeks ...

* Francis Morrone is as unenthusiastic about glass boxes -- whether of the old-fashioned straight-sided kind or the new-fangled crumpled-up kind -- as I am. In a recent posting, Francis celebrates a handsome and very solid New Classical concert hall that has recently opened in Nashville. I'm sold. Designed by David M. Schwartz (well-known for his Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth), the Nashville concert hall is likely to look as good and to work as well in 100 years as it does now.

* E.F. ("Small is Beautiful") Schumacher thought that our preoccupation with GNP (as GDP was then called) did damage to many other values.

* David Chute is saving up his nickels in order to buy this beautiful-looking boxed DVD set. Shameful filmbuff confession: I've never seen "Judex."

* Could the Muslim slave trade in Christians have exceeded the Atlantic slave trade in Africans? "The effect on the European coastal populations was dramatic," writes John Derbyshire. "Entire areas were depopulated."

* 2Blowhards' very own "Confessions of a Naked Model" columnist Molly Crabapple is now on YouTube. And ain't she cute!

* Ernst Poulson samples the newest versions of e-paper, and concludes that it'll be a few years yet until e-paper is a plausible product for everyday consumers.

* Steve Sailer takes a look at George Borjas' new study of the impact of our current immigration policies on the fortunes of our working-class and poor population. Edward Rubenstein argues that our nutty current immigration policies don't just hurt the poor, they also contribute to growing inequality.



posted by Michael at September 27, 2006


I haven't seen Nashville, but the Bass Performance Hall is beautiful inside and out.

PS---Given your list of what is omitted from Google Video, it is small wonder that YouTube has the bigger audience. Remember who downloads videos...

Posted by: annette on September 27, 2006 1:52 PM

I just looked at the New York Center for Architecture calendar on Oct (to see how they're going to participate in Open House New York on Oct 7-8), and saw these 2 events that might interest you and the audience.
Generations of modernism (featuring 5 leading modernist architects)
and a discussion panel Architecture as public policy.

Latter is free, participants welcome. Michael, wouldn't you like to voice your opinion publicly?

And the former; interesting that the event is organized by Municipal Aid Society...Francis, are you that interested in the enemy?

Posted by: Tat on September 27, 2006 1:55 PM

Judex is quite good, though it lacks the spooky, subversive quality of Feuillade's most famous serial, the 1915 Les Vampires. In comparison with Vampires Judex feels rural and summery, and it's populated almost entirely with characters that the audience can feel warm towards. (The Musidora-portrayed character is the only completely irredeemable one, though she's a joy to watch.)

In fact, one of the pleasures of the series is how it gradually transforms over its running time into something of a familial drama, with just about all of the characters eventually being drawn into a network of warm relationships. Feuillade loves to play with our character expectations. The Licorcie Kid, for instance, feels at first like comic relief, but his presence begins to touch you in unusual ways as the film progresses. And the supposed hero, Judex, turns out to be kind of dorky and sensitive, while the big villain quickly becomes almost ancillary to the action (he's a sort of macguffin for awhile, until Feuillade gives him yet another twist).

For those unfamiliar with Feuillade, it's worth pointing out that these serials aren't for everyone. They're long, of course, but they also include a lot of non-action--scenes in which the characters just stand around talking (I'm going to stop short of calling them intermittently boring, though that would be a legit response). Their construction is essentially maze-like, meaning the plots have a lot of strange nooks and crannies, almost like a sketched doodle that starts out in one corner of a sheet of paper and then takes over the remainder (I'm pretty sure Feuillade made up a lot of this stuff as he went along). They rely more on narrative surprises, haunting images and odd juxtapositions for their kicks. This along with Feuillade's steady, deep-focused style makes him something of an anti-Griffith.

For movie buffs Feuillade's serials are particularly of note because they comprise a big chunk in the foundation of the modern thriller. Fritz Lang's early work is clearly based on Feuillade, with Lang's Spiders being a blatant rip-off and Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler (recently released by Kino in the States) feeling like a consummation. From there it's a quick jump from M to Expressionism to early Hitchcock to full-blown Noir in the '40s. Some of the key traits of Noir--the sense of the sinister residing in the everyday, the model of the labyrinth, the emphasis on surveillance, the evil/sexy/duplicitous female--can be traced back to Feuillade.


Posted by: Ron on September 27, 2006 2:42 PM

Re: NSFW geek world -- I'm surprised that alien worlds look like the rec room of a YMCA with my grandmother's blanket hanging from the ceiling.

Posted by: Neil on September 27, 2006 2:48 PM

You objectifying me, Michael ; )?

I love how that video reveals that I am in fact a midget.

Posted by: Molly Crabapple on September 27, 2006 3:49 PM

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