Like That Scene in “Love and Rockets” Where They’re All Slapping That Woman: I watch “He Who Gets Slapped”

A silent movie in which Lon Chaney, Sr plays a scientist whose work is stolen by an evil Baron who's also seducing his wife. Due to the public humiliation he becomes a clown (yes) who goes by the nom de cirque "He Who Gets Slapped." You can guess what his routine is like. After many years of reenacting his public disgrace for the entertainment of the crowd, he may have a new chance to love and hope--but will his heart be broken yet again?I saw this at AFI, where the music was done by the … [Read more...]

“The Human Face a Furnace Seal’d”: I Review John Darnielle’s New Novel

for AmCon: The new novel from indie music hero John Darnielle is a moving tribute to the power of the imagination. But not in the way you might think.The novel’s setup is fairly simple. Sean, the narrator, suffered severe facial disfigurement from a gunshot wound sometime in his early life—the kind of disfigurement which makes him hard to look at, which makes other people recoil from him. But after decades of learning to accept his situation, he’s patient, quiet, and hopeful. He’s even manag … [Read more...]

The Killing Joke: I read “Infinite Jest”

Finished it and flipped back to the very first page. Hugely tempted to just go in for an immediate re-read. It's an engrossing, brutal book.I found the first 100 pages or so a really mixed bag--my one real criticism is that the book itself sometimes seems... bewildered and amused?... by the existence of people who aren't white. There are definitely exceptions. The Hugs Not Drugs/"shit down your neck" scene is fantastic, and feels real, or rather feels exaggerated in the way both life and the … [Read more...]

“10 Sexy Vintage Halloween Costumes”: I Can’t Believe

I have another opportunity to use my "eye-boobs" tag.see the calamities! (via Libresco) … [Read more...]

“A Russian Guide to Scary Movies”: Russia Beyond the Headlines

Russia’s first horror films appeared before the Revolution in 1917 and, unfortunately, did not survive to present day. These first films had largely to do with the flowering of symbolism and other decadent tendencies in Russian literature that actively promoted interest in mysticism.Later, horror movies were not produced in the Soviet Union, where the only permissible artistic method was socialist realism. The screen version of Nikolai Gogol’s “Viy” remains the only example of a horror movie … [Read more...]

“Sublime Recovery and Banal Recovery”: I’m in AmCon

sketching: This week I’m preparing to go to the 10th National Harm Reduction Conference (which I’ll be reporting on for TAC), and also reading for the first time David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. The conference and the novel offer strikingly different narratives of addiction and recovery–both of which are gaining cultural ground in different ways. more … [Read more...]

“Their Decadence and Ours”: Helen Andrews

right in her wheelhouse--provocative & insightful: Fundamentally, the difference between the two movements was that the English thought decadence was just a game. Only after intense personal suffering did they come to realize what the French had known from the beginning, that it was serious business in which a person could—almost certainly would—get hurt. more … [Read more...]


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