My guess is that Ogged will be back from training for his new career real soon. Until then, let me attempt to start a little fight with Bob by stating the following: I will not vote for a candidate this coming November who does not support vastly accelerating the pace of global warming. Or moving me to San Diego at the federal taxpayer's expense. Just so long as I get the feeling back in my extremities sometime soon.
David Hasselhoff's role in history deserves acknowledgement. And oh how the Germans love him:
In Germany children have brought me thousands of flowers.
$5.21 x 1011. It's a big number, and I wonder if its bigness doesn't really come across when newspapers just print it as "$521 billion." They could also print, "$521,000,000,000." Or, I guess, "$521,000,000,000,000,000 x 10-6."
Will you be 35 by January 20? Maybe you could move into a big white mansion on Pennsylvania Avenue.
(Actually, is it rent-free?)
If you didn't know that the Film Forum doesn't go in for that sort of gimmick, you might think that their current offerings were part of a sort of intellectual chick-flick/dick-flick showcase. Film Forum is currently screening The Battle of Algiers and the psychoanalysis semi-documentary Empathy. Manly politico Ogged (who is on hiatus, which is a disaster for Unfogged but important for his professional development) would surely have bee-lined for Algiers, but I headed straight for the leather Mies van der Rohe couch -- and I liked it quite a lot. The movie doesn't talk down to the audience (there was extended discussion of the psychoanalyst as primal-scene-type voyeur, but it never defined the term primal scene), and it rewards close watching in its mostly-successful weaving together of three otherwise random-seeming threads: psychoanalysis, movie-acting, and the modernist design of Richard Neutra and the Eamses. I don't foresee a wide theatrical release for Empathy, and I think it's a shame for filmmakers who make highly personal, nerdily intellectual pictures.
Probably responding to widespread criticism that it's boring, the NYT Book Review may be shifting its focus from literary fiction to commercial fiction and nonfiction because, as NYT executive editor Bill Keller says, "The most compelling ideas tend to be in the non-fiction world" and "because we are a newspaper, we should be more skewed toward non-fiction."
Jessa Crispin writes, "This is what happens when people who don't read control book reviews." I think it's worse than that. It's what happens when people who aren't used to seeking out and experiencing subtlety get to make decisions about which sources of compelling ideas are to be promoted. It's not just that nonfiction is easier to review -- it's easier to read. Nonfiction is easier to read and often less rewarding -- because it is less engaging -- than thoughtfully written fiction. But the value of slow, subsurface reading can easily be lost if you think (as Keller seems to, judging by his interest in promoting potboilers) that the value of fiction is in the plot, just as the value of education is lost when you think that's it's all about the testable knowledge.
ADDED LATER: this articulate dissection of Keller's obtuseness.
Hilarious round-up of the real Golden Globes (especially Nicole's) at Amy's Robot.
The results are in: the majority of respondents to the American Family Association's online survey actually favor the legalization of gay marriage. Many people were concerned that the AFA might have trouble spreading word of the survey beyond their loyal base of rabidly anti-gay activists, but it seems their fears were groundless and a larger America has spoken. The AFA's stated plan was to take the results of the poll straight to Congress, and I just know that somewhere at the AFA's Tupelo, Mississippi, headquarters some well-groomed intern is busy stuffing FedEx envelopes.
Oh, but wait, utterly surprising news flash: the AFA has decided to sweep it all under a rug. Apparently they believe that the survey might have been taken by some gay people and is now polluted with homosexual cooties. Best not to risk passing them on to Rick Santorum and the rest of them.