Bono the power-broker

Apparently Bono has been elevated to a cabinet-level position – what else can you make of this story?

The argument’s most interesting bit:

“I think if people understood they could give six copies of Dr. Seuss and every child could have one…that translates better than saying give us more money,” O’Neill said.

“If you do something that helps people with real tangible things (it helps more than) talking about some cosmic stuff about billions of dollars.”

Bono, a long-term activist for debt relief and for more generous aid to Africa, responded by saying that more money was needed from rich Western nations.

Song of the Day: Argent, “God Gave Rock ‘n’ Roll to You”


Samhain, bringer of Dome

Ok, now that I’ve gotten the worst subhead ever out of the way, here’s something fun: The Milennium Dome, scourge of the London skyline, is finally being given away free to developers.

For the record, the Dome was not soley a provider of looming shadows and embarassment. There was Peter Gabriel’s OVO album, which you still can’t really buy in the U.S., commissioned especially for the Dome’s feature exhibit. A more or less fantastic Blackadder reunion was filmed for the main screen. And James Bond fell off it.

But … Jesus, I mean … look at the thing! Long after humanity trudges across the radioactive rubble of World War III, he will shake his head at the misconceived ideas that went into making the Dome.


Back again

I swore off weblogging for a few days after Blogger devoured three consecutive posts. But I’m not bitter. This is a short update to get the blog rolling again.

Song of the Day: The Jacksons, “Torture”. I cannot explain why.


Kinsley, you ignorant slut

Sigh … what’s the point of Michael Kinsley’s latest blatherings about Bush and 9/11? The writer, obviously in a state of jittery, post-Sunday shows rage, dashed off one of the stupider pieces of satire I’ve read in some time. In it, he “reproduces” a letter from bin Laden to Bush boasting that al-Qaeda will hijack a plane on September 11, “or maybe September 12.” Hah, hah. The administration is stupid. Give this man a Pulitzer!

The worst bit comes in the middle:

The White House later clarified that President Bush had, in fact, responded to Bin Laden’s letter, but an official insisted that it was the stock response sent to all letters threatening to hijack airplanes and that there was no special policy applying to letters that also threatened to fly the planes into large buildings. “In fact,” the official said, “It’s the stock response we use for all letters from wealthy individuals.” The response said:

Dear Osama:

Thank you for your generous contribution to the Republican National Committee. With the help of Republicans in Congress, I look forward to signing the legislation you request exactly as you have written it.

Best wishes,
George W. Bush

That’s almost funny, but in echoing the Tom Tomorrow-, Boondocks-style “Bush=bin Laden” claptrap, it falls astoundingly flat. Slate has to do better than this.

Song of the Day: Hideaki Anno, “Kom, Susser Tod”


Everyone’s wrong about Star Wars II

I’ve seen every Star Wars movie, but none of them more than twice. Never have I sat and watched one alone. Never have I donned the outfit of a Wookie, bounty hunter, or slave girl on the way to fill a prescription. But I am a fan of the series, and I’ll tell you why: history.

Once Lucas started making sequels to the original Star Wars, he created a stand-alone universe that is much deeper than he ever intended. Fans and spin-off novelists can attest to that. Thus, I accept things from the Star Wars movies that I wouldn’t stand in others. The series, by dint of cultural incubation, has created a false history which takes some study to understand, and which becomes ever more complex with each movie and spin-off. I treat Lucas’s galaxy far away as a real, dusty old galaxy, and that makes it easier to accept, say, bad dialogue or poorly-drawn characters. These characters are more analagous to historical figures, whose dialogue we have to reconstruct from old wine cups and statues.

Now, I’m not giving the series carte blanche. I, Claudius was a historical series based on characters who never left spoken words for us to replicate, and the dialogue in that series rang to heaven. Permit me to fall back on my other Star Wars excuse – it is beautiful to look at.

At some point in the evolution of film criticism, it became a faux pas to appreciate a certain level of technical achievement. You can, say, praise the lagoons in The Night of the Hunter or the fantasia Mississippi of Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?, but if you gawk at the art in Star Wars, you’re one of the ticket-buying sheep. I don’t buy that anymore. Who’s to say that the brilliant design in Attack of the Clones is not artistic? The movie overflows with great visuals which hold court in your head for days after you leave the cinema. Now, to me, that’s something. I appreciate the Lucasfilm designers who slaved for 3 years over the computerized rain and clone armies. I daresay I appreciate them more than whoever wrote the script to Gosford Park. Who’s to say that writing is a higher art than design? And really, will more people be touched by a bon mot in that movie than were touched by the binary sunset in the original Star Wars?

Attack of the Clones bored me sometimes, but I loved it. Now you know why.


Bush, dark Lord of the Sith

The Nation sports an interesting cover this week, portraying Boondocks radical Huey Freeman as a valiant Jedi against the forces of the armor-clad FBI and dark-cloaked emperor, George Bush. Osama bin Laden, naturally, is alongside Bush in his quest to, oh, destroy civil liberties.

What occured to me the moment I saw this was the thesis of Jonathan Last’s article on the Star Wars universe: the Empire is a meritocracy trying to restore order in the face of an unhinged galactic order. But then I realized this was The Nation, not a movie – and I stopped taking it so damn seriously.

Song of the Day: American Flyer, “Call Me, Tell Me”


Long story short

People have trouble believing it, but I swear it’s all true.

The scene: Tuesday night. I clicked the phone back onto the reciever after an interview with former Daily editor Jeremy Mullman when I pivoted and realized my computer was freezing. Quickly I hit “save” on the word doc that contained my midterm, and I rebooted. But when the system blinked its eyes, the file was blank. Just blank. 6 pages of Constitutional Law disappeared from a still-active word doc. But didn’t I have a backup copy? Seconds later, I remembered: I had left the book at the gym with that copy inside.

I ranted and raved for minutes, trying everything on the pc, cursing and spitting, drawing harsh “shut the fuck up”s from my suitemates. Next I dialed my parents, but they couldn’t calm me. Holding the phone, jittering like false teeth, I dialed the number for Northwestern’s mental help line.

And based on that conversation, the police came to my door at 2 a.m. to escort me to the hospital.

More to come.