Monthly Archives: August 2015

The Remains of the Day (1993): Kazuo Ishiguro and the Art of Repression

In the extraordinarily subtle climax of James Ivory’s adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day, Lord Darlington, a British aristocrat and Nazi appeaser, is in the study of his palatial estate in Oxfordshire. “We do the Jews no injustice when we say that the revelation of Christ is something incomprehensible and hateful to […]

Being (Funny) and Nothingness: Phenomenology of the Poop Joke

To be who you are is to avoid the itch: (as in): Who knows dot dot dot. (Y’know.) -Robert Ashley, Perfect Lives: The Church Jokes work in a variety of ways far too numerous to be summed up in a blog post, and their manner continuously changes at a speed where it’s difficult to keep […]

Across 110th Street (1972)

Barry Shears’ brutal crime drama begins with an aerial shot, high over East Harlem. The camera tilts to let us catch a glimpse of Roosevelt Island before it comes to rest on a black Cadillac making its way uptown. An observant viewer will notice that we are now over Riverside Drive, on the other side […]

Mad Max and the Bechdel Test: Gender Equality’s 65th Percentile

One matter regarding Mad Max: Fury Road has irritated me since the “Men’s Rights Advocates” first complained about it, all the way back when the trailer was first released. Stanley alluded to it in his second take on the movie. The shallowness of the Bechdel Test is clearly not lost on Stan, but the political ramifications of what, in […]

The Sound of (No) One (Not) Listening

A common complaint is that not enough people listen to serious programs. Is there a method for studying non-listening? -Paul Lazarsfeld, “Introduction”, Radio Research 1942-1943 The abiding rule of thumb when it comes to the gross people of the world is to just ignore them. It’s not like they’re capable of rational, respectful dialogue. It’s […]

The Symbolic Construction of Mass Shootings

(Check out my previous two pieces relating to this subject here and here.) Much of the internet has evolved into a mutated form of the famous New Yorker cartoon caption contest; except in the internet the cartoon is not a cartoon but the rapid procession of events that constitute the enterprise we monolithically dub “the […]

The Last Frontier (1955)

Starring a very young, very blond, and very wooden Anne Bancroft, Robert Preston, best known for starring in The Music Man, an actor named Guy Madison, who’s such a dead ringer for Ben Affleck it makes you wonder if both men are the same vampire, and the now almost completely forgotten Victor Mature, the main […]

In The Valley of Elah (2007)

White Americans don’t like to lose boxing matches, and they don’t like to lose wars. Sometimes it gets reflected in American cinema. No white fighter in the 1960s or 1970s could even come close to beating the great African Americans Sonny Liston, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, and George Foreman. In the movie Rocky, however, an […]

Small Details: Mass Production As Literature

I worked in the used book business for a long time sorting books to be sold online both independently and as a contractor for a store. The store had more than 40,000 books in overstock, and I’d sit in a storage warehouse or the back of the store itself. Part of my job would be […]

Liberation Theologies of a Consumer Society

…there used to be rather serious firewalls between the artist and the buying public – the gallery, the publisher. And technology demolishes that wall and basically says, self-promote or die. And that is a bad head for any sort of artist to be forced into. –Jonathan Franzen If a number is so large that we […]