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June 26, 2008

What It Was Once Like

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Tim Appelo's interview with film journalist Peter Biskind is smart and amusing.

It's also quite the reminder of a not-so-long-gone era in film-buffdom -- even two or three such eras. Maybe you had to be there yourself, but the following passage made me laugh out loud. Appelo asks Biskind -- who'd been pre-med as an undergrad -- what happened to his med school aspirations:

Biskind: I liked English, and I got a lot of encouragement, so I went to grad school in English at Yale. I didn't like Yale much, and ended up doing yet more of what I did at Swarthmore: going to a lot of movies instead of going to my classes. I got into Russ Meyer films and drove into New York to see Juliet of the Spirits.

There was a lot of that around.



posted by Michael at June 26, 2008


That was a time of great innovation and experimentation in film. Even if the latest Antonioni or Bergman was not to your taste (as they certainly were not to mine) you could not stay away from them -- nor could you avoid arguing with your after the movie about what the Hell it meant!

Posted by: Lester Hunt on June 26, 2008 12:56 PM

From the interview: Biskind: Ronald Reagan was in office--it was surreal.

It must be great to be a lefty. Say the magic words and all the withit people go, "Right. Can you dig it?"

For all I know he's a first rate critic but reading that crap tears it for me.

Posted by: ricpic on June 26, 2008 1:45 PM

Lester -- That's true, you didn't really have to love any of it to have a good time taking part in the scene. Sort of like blogging and other online mischief today, come to think of it. I wonder what'll be next.

Ricpic -- Biskind was a red-diaper baby, so I imagine it all came a lot more naturally to him than it did to many others.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on June 26, 2008 3:50 PM

"... what happened to his med school aspirations"

What's your attitude on this? Decades later, I wish that I had been more focused on useful work and service in my formative years.

To me, that 60s era looks in retrospect to have been the product of some sort of mental illness.

I've found a lot of happiness and contentment in work, and in service to my family and to other people. Haven't found much in the trendy, fashionable part of town except for transience and cruelty.

I, too, thought that Ronald Reagan was a dope was I was 25 years old. Reagan has appreciated vastly in my estimation. Would that a candidate of Reagan's caliber were running for president this year.

I'm fascinated by the suicidal spin into which we seem to have fallen. President Carter had us headed in that direction, and Reagan came along to reject the politics of sanctimony and to reassert the American love of pragmatism, self-interest, can-do and profit. God bless Dutch, my fellow native Illinoian!

The current griping about gas and energy makes me wonder: Will we destroy ourselves economically in the service of the politics of sanctimony?

The 60s was the beginning of the era of the politics of santimony. The candidacy of Sen. Obama seems to be the triumph. I'm watching in fascination and horror to see which side wins.

Why have we disintegrated into this childish show of halo preening in our public lives?

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on June 26, 2008 4:46 PM

Whenever I hear those on the right mock the left's infatuation with Obama, I think back to the right's doe-eyed hero-worship of Saint Ronnie (exemplified by ST here), and for that matter Saint George in his "Mission Accomplished" days, and have to laugh. No one does hero worship like the right.

I too remember well Reagan's "pragmatism"--arming the terrorists and giving Sadam Hussein the chemical weapons he used against his own people. Surreal indeed.

Posted by: Steve on June 27, 2008 11:45 AM

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