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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Hardboiled

There was a time when men knew how to take a punch, handle a gun or a dangerous dame, and wear a good hat the right way.

In the last couple weeks I immersed myself in classic hardboiled fare: reading Dashiell Hammett's The Thin Man, Raymond Chandler's Farewell My Lovely; and watching the original The Narrow Margin and Last Man Standing, the Bruce Willis re-make of Hammett's corpse-littered Red Harvest.

Good stuff, all of it. It was fun to hang out for a while in a world where men don't get facials, women don't get tattoos, and cigarettes don't have filters.

While my noir jag may be fading, adventure in far off lands is coming on strong: I watched Gary Cooper in 'Beau Geste' last night, and 'The Lives of a Bengal Lancer' is on the other side of the disc...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Hitchcock, Dogs, Celebrities, and Politicians

Supposedly Alfred Hitchcock once denied saying actors were like cattle; his true opinion was that actors should be treated like cattle. I don’t know if Hitchcock ever really expressed either opinion but the latter one, being more intelligent, is the one I’d bet on.

Several weeks ago Frank J. Fleming wrote that politicians should be trained like dogs, strictly following the model laid out by famous 'Dog Whisperer' Cesar Millan. Fleming’s polemic struck a chord with me. Since then, the exploding cesspool of celebrity support for child rapist Roman Polanski has further led me to believe Fleming’s epiphany has wider application. It should not be limited to the political class. I have always loved and respected Hitchcock, but it seems to me Fleming is correct in this case: celebrities’ treatment needs are far more canine than bovine. Society would benefit greatly by training not only politicians, but also celebrities, in the same way we train dogs.

Celebrities, just like dogs and politicians, need to be regularly exercised, and consistently disciplined, in order for them to be useful to human beings. Otherwise, since they don’t think like human beings, their behavior will degenerate to the completely unacceptable. Once it gets to that point, they must be brought up short and - because some dogs, politicians, and celebrities can grow fairly powerful – bringing them up short can be an unpleasant affair. For instance, if a mastiff is allowed to grow up unruly, and then one day it attempts to jump at an infant, a human must do whatever is necessary to protect the infant, regardless of any harm that may have to be done to the dog. In such a case the dog may feel ill-treated (if dogs - or politicians or celebrities - can be said to ‘feel’ in the same way humans do) but that’s too damn bad. Just because a dog was never trained properly is no reason to let it hurt a human. Better by far of course to train the beast from puppyhood and thereby avoid the necessity of a Dr. Watson/Hound of the Baskervilles finale.

As to celebrities in particular, if Roman Polanski had been properly trained, he might never have raped that child when he was in his 40’s. Likewise, had Polanski been properly disciplined right on the spot, other celebrities in the pack might not have stupidly concluded that what he did wasn’t wrong. Waiting 30 years to discipline Polanski confused the celebrities, just as it would confuse your cocker spaniel if you slapped it on the snout today for crapping in your living room last week. Dogs, politicians, and celebrities need instant feedback or they cannot learn.

Now we have a big mess on our hands. Celebrities are running around defending child rapists, and their more limited intelligence cannot figure out what’s wrong. This is all due to bad training methodology on our part. It’s almost certain that some members of the current celebrity pack are beyond help and should be turned over to Michael Vick for disposition. It also seems clear to me that future celebrities will need a far more consistent discipline if there is to be any chance – even a slim one – of salvaging the breed at all.

Dennis Miller on Roman Polanski's Defenders

"If you feel you've got something so wise, so precious, so singularly sagacious, that you want to tag it onto Polanski's atrocity to "shed some light on it," light is in fact your biggest problem because you've got your head shoved so far up your tuchus that they're gonna have to cut in switchback trails to get to it."
Just so.
(H/T Big Hollywood)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Decline Is a Choice

Charles Krauthammer: "Nothing is inevitable. Nothing is written. For America today, decline is not a condition. Decline is a choice."
(H/T Powerline)

Barrack Obama Elected Pope!

Just kidding of course. He only won the Nobel Peace Prize.

It seems 2009 - I mean the entire frick'n year - has now officially jumped the shark.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Movie Review: "Easy Virtue"

Watched Easy Virtue last night. Neither my daughter nor wife would admit to putting it in the Blockbuster queue. I gave it half a star.

According to the movie's marketing folks: “A glamorous American woman enters into a spirited battle of wits with her disapproving English mother-in-law in this period romantic comedy.”

Well, that’s one way of putting it.

SPOILERS ALERT:

Here’s another way to look at it: In modern Anglo-American cinema, if it seems at first that the father of a household is the only reasonable member, the audience is being set up. It took less than 15 minutes to realize Dad and Daughter-in-Law would be running away together in the final frame. The only questions were: one, how much would the plot have to strain believability to make this ending seem less depraved to the audience than it should; and, two, how many clich├ęd cheap-shots could be aimed at English aristocracy before the fade-out. The answer to the second question is, quite a lot of cheap shots, including pretty much all of the usual: stupidity, blood-thirstiness, sexual repression, blah, blah, blah, you could write the list yourself.

The first question is a bit tougher: how do you run off with your husband’s father without seeming to be the skank you in fact must be? This question is indeed so much tougher the movie doesn’t bother to try to answer it. It settles for the ‘why-don’t-we-just-agree-we’re-different?’ scene between the young husband and wife, and a truly laughable (not to be confused with 'funny') ‘final-straw’ scene between the older couple.

The term “easy virtue” is a somewhat archaic way of referring to women who were, in the opinion of society, quicker than they should be in allowing themselves to be bent over a piece of furniture. It’s possible the makers of this execrable film intend the title to apply to the sensibilities of the audience as well.

French gay soccer team snubbed by Muslim team

Hard for a sophisticate to know sometimes who he should be reviling more, the homophobic Muslims, or the islamaphobic homos? Modern living is so complicated.
(H/T Mark Steyn at NRO)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Kashmiri Girl Power

"An Indian farmer’s daughter disarmed a terrorist leader who broke into her home, attacked him with an axe and shot him dead with his own gun."
Between the stray dogs and the middle-school girls, Kashmir is getting to be a dangerous place for Paki terrorists. The will of Allah is inscrutable.

UPDATE: Apparently she's 21 years old so she's not in middle-school (and she's too old for Roman Polanski).