Thursday, January 28, 2010

nice tribute to Jean Simmons on
TCM's Classic Movie Blog--

Remembered best for the big blockbusters she graced, such as The Robe (1953-Henry Koster), Spartacus (1960-Stanley Kubrick), and The Big Country (1958-William Wyler), the classic film noir, Angel Face (1951-Otto Preminger), and the prestigious adaptation Elmer Gantry (1960-Richard Brooks), I’d like to shine a small light on some of her less well known films, celebrating the “intelligent gravity” that she brought to them and her capacity for unearthing something untidily human in each of her characters–even amidst the glossiest films of her time...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Rise of Dog Identity Politics

In another way, the animal-rescue movement is an offshoot of the civil-rights struggles of the sixties, a final frontier for universalist ideals. Animal rescue is also one of the opportunities of ordinary Americans for real heroism—and more and more, they’ve taken it. The dog’s innocence amplifies empathy, because there’s no ethical static, no human otherness to contend with. It’s less complicated to love a pet than a person. The risk and conflict and cloak-and-dagger swagger that some of these missions entail can give lives a life-in-wartime meaning they otherwise wouldn’t have. There’s selflessness here, but just as in wartime, there’s also addiction, the oxytocin mixing with adrenaline.

Some of the most vivid images in the aftermath of Katrina were of dogs—on roofs, in the water—awaiting rescue or struggling to survive. After the catastrophe, Barack Obama spoke of an “empathy deficit,” but there was no deficit when it came to the animals. An army of animal rescuers descended on the city, and their work is legend in the animal-rescue community. But among some locals, their intervention was further proof, if more was needed, that not enough value had been placed on human residents...