The politics of sex: Blue is the Warmest Color

I haven’t seen a movie in my lifetime that captures the sensuousness of eating spaghetti like Blue is the Warmest Color does. Adèle’s parents specialize in the sauce-heavy pepper-studded kind that we’ve all made in a hurry after getting home from work. When she brings her secret girlfriend Emma (Lea Seydoux) home the steaming bowlContinue reading “The politics of sex: Blue is the Warmest Color”

Singles 11/29 – Thanksgiving edition

I have older friends who admit to shock when they learn I like post-Gabriel Genesis, so when I became aware of Mariah Carey fandom in 2005 or so I figured turnaround was fair play. No sense in hating her, not when she boasted songs as fabulous as “Someday,” “Emotions,” “Fantasy,” “My All,” “We Belong Together,”Continue reading “Singles 11/29 – Thanksgiving edition”

When Black Friday comes I’m gonna dig myself a hole

Well, gee, this is no surprise: Black Friday doesn’t even necessarily offer the best discounts, contrary to what retailers want their customers to believe. Rather than selling most merchandise at full price and marking down what doesn’t sell, stores now engineer their prices, so that the “discounted” prices are actually at the level they hadContinue reading “When Black Friday comes I’m gonna dig myself a hole”

Pope Francis: ‘You can sell your desk. You don’t need it. You need to get out of the Vatican.’

Wow: When he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis was known to sneak out at night and break bread with the homeless, sit with them literally on the street and eat with them, as part of his aim to share the plight of the poor and let them know someone cared. That’s not soContinue reading “Pope Francis: ‘You can sell your desk. You don’t need it. You need to get out of the Vatican.’”

Dance dance dance! – Best singles of 1978

Disco here, disco there, disco everywhere in 1978. These days I’m not fond of the Bee Gees’ golden run, but I couldn’t resist the ballad and “If I Can’t Have You,” which sounds better and better. I’m happy with my top ten: the Stones using the excuse of “listening to disco” to remember the guitarContinue reading “Dance dance dance! – Best singles of 1978”

December boys got it bad: Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me

Like a lot of eighties kids, my first acquaintance with Alex Chilton happened when I fast forwarded around The Bangles’ cover of “September Gurls” on Different Light. A decent cover — sung by (I think) bassist Michael Steele, with the right amount of rue. Most importantly, the album’s multiplatinum sales garnered Chilton maybe the decentContinue reading “December boys got it bad: Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me”

“A hallmark of Explainers is their tendency to confuse and conflate sexual explicitness and misogyny”

If there’s one thing worse than so-called music fans who dislike hip-hop, it’s liberal fans who think a woman should dislike hip-hop because of its misogyny or something. I meet a lot of of those liberal fans at my university. Madeline Holden puts it to them gently: The first is that they’re almost never discerningContinue reading ““A hallmark of Explainers is their tendency to confuse and conflate sexual explicitness and misogyny””

Notes Towards a Supreme Fiction: Stories We Tell

What attracted writer-director-actress Sarah Polley to “The Bear Came Over the Mountain”in 2007 becomes clear fifty minutes into Stories We Tell. In Alice Munro’s short story the sequestering of an aging Alzheimer’s patient leads her without effort into companionship with another patient in plain sight of the husband who watches her deterioration. This documentary chroniclesContinue reading “Notes Towards a Supreme Fiction: Stories We Tell”

Richard Brody: “It’s an insult…to consider an artist’s earliest work the best ones”

Richard Brody: It’s a mark of directorial artistry when filmmakers, remaking their own films, change them drastically, as Alfred Hitchcock did with “The Man Who Knew Too Much” and Howard Hawks did with “Ball of Fire” (which he turned into “A Song Is Born”) and “Rio Bravo” (as “El Dorado”). This makes sense: it’s anContinue reading “Richard Brody: “It’s an insult…to consider an artist’s earliest work the best ones””

Kind to be cruel: Evelyn Waugh’s Decline and Fall

Paul Pennyfather can’t forget his youth. On the night of the Bolliner Club dinner at Scone College, he loses most of his clothes and escapes a pursuing mob of students by jumping into a pond, which so angers dons that they expel him. He finds a job at a second-rate school in Wales called Llanabba,Continue reading “Kind to be cruel: Evelyn Waugh’s Decline and Fall”

Cocaine and the Big Government congressman

The arrest of Trey Radel matters insofar as it reveals the kinds of fictions to which pols of all stripes subscribe. Liberals and conservatives agree government is Too Big and cumbersome: description, not criticism. Big government comes especially handy when you need help: Miron estimates taxpayers shell out about $44 billion yearly for the drugContinue reading “Cocaine and the Big Government congressman”