Various Tails: Or, An Update on My Summer Reading

This year I answered not one but two of those hubristic "What do you plan to read this summer?" poll-articles. Last year I read exactly one of my "planned" (= "selected in order to bolster my public image," really) books, and didn't like it--you guys can hate me, but I did not get A Confederacy of Dunces at all, just thoroughly remained outside of it the whole time. I did read Two Murders in My Double Life eventually, and liked it.But this year I've knocked off the lot (more or less) fairly … [Read more...]

From “Graham Greene on Film: Collected Film Criticism, 1935-1939″

During the conferences [with David Selznick] which followed I remember there were times when there seemed to be a kind of grim reason in Mr Selznick's criticisms--surely here perhaps there was a fault in "continuity," I hadn't properly "established" this or that. I would forget momentarily the lesson which I had learned as a film critic--that to "establish" something is almost invariably wrong and that "continuity" is often the enemy of life. Man, that is great advice, especially the bit about … [Read more...]

“The Violence of Prison Searches”

What really stands out is the contempt and dehumanization. Which is how the violence happens, I guess. Any particular stories about what it was like there that you’d like to share?Maybe the best way that I could explain is through describing a search. Our dorm gets randomly searched at least twice a month, more if they want to set an example or if somebody has been smoking in the bathroom or if there have been rumors that somebody had some sort of contraband.They use this space more or l … [Read more...]

I Review “Venus in Fur” Movie

for AmSpec: Venus in Fur opens like a horror film—more precisely, like a horror-comedy. The camera swoops slowly over rainswept streets toward a shuttered theater, as thunder rolls and a darkly glittering waltz plays. The music sets the mood for something like Beetlejuice or even Gremlins: The carnival’s in town, and it opens at midnight!Roman Polanski’s adaptation of David Ives's play about Leopold Sacher-Masoch’s perverse novel Venus in Furs manages to sustain this edgy, gleeful mood despi … [Read more...]

“The Criminalization of Parenthood”: Radley Balko

again some more: A couple of themes we explore here at The Watch are the increasing criminalization of just about everything and the use of the criminal justice system to address problems that were once (and better) handled by families, friends, communities and other institutions. A few examples from recent headlines show those themes intersecting with parenthood.The first story comes from South Carolina, where a mother was jailed and charged with “unlawful conduct toward a child” for . . . … [Read more...]

“Five Things You Learn Growing Up In (And Escaping) North Korea”: Cracked

makes me choke up, w/the thing about 10,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Of all the Koreas in the world, North Korea has the most murderous dictators per capita. We've had a lot of fun riffing on the craziest facets of the Hermit Kingdom, but beyond all the hilarious propaganda and somewhat less hilarious threats of nuclear war, North Korea is a nation of 25 million people living very weird, awful lives.We wanted to know what life was really like for those people, so we sat down with an escaped … [Read more...]

From “The Adventures of Sumiyakist Q”

"The something we live for when we're living for something can be replaced by lots of things." --Q, in extremis... … [Read more...]


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