Inside Llewyn Davis
"Inside Llewyn Davis" is the most satisfyingly diabolical cinematic structure that the Coens have ever contrived, and that's just one reason that I suspect it…
Marshall McLuhan wrote much nonsense. Embedded in it I find startling insights that help explain my experiences. Consider the phrase "the medium is the message." These five words at a masterstroke explain the digital age we now occupy. One sign of a valuable insight is when it applies to developments its author could hardly have foreseen.
Like most people, I've long thought I knew what McLuhan meant by his phrase. I won't bore you with what I thought that was. I've come across an explanation that explains what he meant with such blinding clarity that my own notions seem half-formed. I was poking around on the internet, and came across this passage from the Playboy Interview with McLuhan:
"The Undefeated" is a documentary about Sarah Palin made by and for the faithful, who may experience it in the way believers sit through a rather boring church service. At nearly two hours, it's a campaign advertisement in search of a campaign.
But that's not surprising. What astonished me is that the primary targets in the film are conservative Republicans. Yes, there are the usual vague references to liberals and elitists (although I heard the word "Democrat" only twice). But the film's favorite bad guys seem to be in the GOP establishment. This seems odd, considering that the target audience is presumably Republicans.
All I know is just what I read in the papers. -- Will Rogers
Me too. Or hear on TV, or see on the net. That's all most of us knows. I'm sure the President and Senators and government officials know more, but we elect them, they don't elect us. And I'm sure the CEOs of powerful corporations know more, although the Murdoch testimony indicates he didn't know as much as he could have read in the papers.
What I read,and hear is that the Republican Party is abandoning its hopes of speaking for a majority of Americans. It will still win elections. It controls the House. Perhaps it will elect the next President. But steadily and fatally it is moving out of history.
Mike Royko called Rupert Murdoch The Alien. He landed on the Chicago Sun-Times like a bug-eyed monster from outer space and extruded poisonous slime. I was an eyewitness.
Under the leadership of publisher James Hoge, the paper had won six Pulitzers and should have won another one (for the ingenious idea of opening a bar named the Mirage and baiting it to attract the flies of Chicago corruption). Hoge had just overseen a redesign of the paper that made it then (and in my opinion still) the most elegant tabloid I had ever seen.
The Sun-Times was poised on the edge of something great. The Chicago Tribune remained tethered to its hidebound past. Morale was high.
Did it seem to you that The Great Gatsby was especially difficult to read? It's a book that most American students encounter in high school. When I read it the first time, I certainly missed some of the nuances, but I didn't stumble over any of the words.
Even at the time, I noticed the particular beauty of its conclusion. After the whole doomed scenario has played out, Nick looks once again across the waters of the Sound:
Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors' eyes--a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby's house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an æsthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.
As a admirer of Darwin's Theory of Evolution, I have become fascinated by Transformers. These are the grotesque pinheaded robots named Autobots, who pound the hell out of each other in Michael Bay's "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," a film setting box office records.
They're arguably the least interesting aliens in the history of science fiction, but how much can you expect from an intelligent race that began as a line of Hasbro toys? They have come a long way given their meager beginnings.