Saturday, August 26, 2006

interview with filmmaker Craig Baldwin

"Here's the deal. I'm an archivist. I have these films and I am interested in these issues which have to do with these alternative histories, right? So the thing is, I don't want to make just an escapist film. For that matter, I don't want to make just a formal film, as a lot of people in my world do - I'm talking about avant-garde filmmakers. And I don't disavow them. I won't. But I'm not interested in doing that. I'm interested in making films of ideas, and to make them using the visual language of cinema. That's my strength. Not research or writing, though I can do a little writing and I can do a little research. What I can do is collage, and I have the archive..."

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Friday, August 25, 2006

David Foster Wallace on Roger Federer as Religious Experience

"This thing about the ball cooperatively hanging there, slowing down, as if susceptible to the Swiss's will -- there's real metaphysical truth here. And in the following anecdote. After a July 7 semifinal in which Federer destroyed Jonas Bjorkman -- not just beat him, destroyed him -- and just before a requisite post-match news conference in which Bjorkman, who's friendly with Federer, says he was pleased to "have the best seat in the house" to watch the Swiss "play the nearest to perfection you can play tennis," Federer and Bjorkman are chatting and joking around, and Bjorkman asks him just how unnaturally big the ball was looking to him out there, and Federer confirms that it was "like a bowling ball or basketball." He means it just as a bantery, modest way to make Bjorkman feel better, to confirm that he's surprised by how unusually well he played today; but he's also revealing something about what tennis is like for him. Imagine that you're a person with preternaturally good reflexes and coordination and speed, and that you're playing high-level tennis. Your experience, in play, will not be that you possess phenomenal reflexes and speed; rather, it will seem to you that the tennis ball is quite large and slow-moving, and that you always have plenty of time to hit it. That is, you won't experience anything like the (empirically real) quickness and skill that the live audience, watching tennis balls move so fast they hiss and blur, will attribute to you..."

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

The War Party

"But the fact remains that the U.S. Army is the only significant force standing between Iran and it's closest allies, and thus between Iran and Israel. If, as it now seems, Washington and Jerusalem both perceive Iran as the primary threat (and/or target for aggression) in the region, then there is no real distinction between America's occupation of Iraq and Israel's intended re-occupation of southern Lebanon. They are, in essence, both part of the NEXT war.

It seems increasingly probable that that war will come soon -- perhaps as early as November or December, although more likely next year. Israel's failure to knock out Hizbullah with a rapid first strike has left the neocons even deeper in the hole, enormously ratcheting up the pressure to try to recoup all losses by taking the war to Damascus and Tehran.

In other words, it's almost time for the ultimate "flight forward" -- the one that finally pushes the Middle East into World War III.

What's become clear to me is that the Democratic Party (even it's allegedly anti-war wing) will not try to stop this insanity, and in fact will probably be led as meekly to the slaughter as it was during the runup to the Iraq invasion. Watching the Dems line up to salute the Israeli war machine, hearing the uncomfortable and awkward silence descend on most of Left Blogistan once the bombs started falling in Lebanon, seeing how easily the same Orwellian propaganda tricks worked their magic on the pseudoliberals -- all this doesn't leave too much room for doubt. As long as World War III can be sold as protecting the security and survival of the Jewish state, I suspect the overwhelming majority of Democrats, or at least the overwhelming majority of Democratic politicians, will support it..."

The Age of Briggs & Stratton

A hammering
in the night
even after we'd finished

an arrythmic stroke
neither on the four
nor the one quite,

but pure tinkering,
that is
the ominous rattling

of inner distress
taken for molar
or fingerbone

rather than
design flaw, the mere
wear & tear

to a two-stroke so

innocent of
but not sawdust not hardly!

that will accede
to pleadings, piques &
inappopriate invocations,

thus mow the lawn
ten seconds at a time
and curse the earth

with the hammer
as a wrench
or with a wrench

work boulders free
to lay the grid
of mulching pigs

over everything
erasing without squeal
the leafblower's legacy.

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