Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem

Contempt comes dressed in the garments of objectivity. To hear it expressed after ninety minutes of weasel words comes a relief. “Know your place, woman!” barks the chief magistrate of a rabbinical court to the title character of Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem seeking a divorce. The shock is what a shock those wordsContinue reading “Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem”

Spock as multicultural hero

Because Spock is one of those pop culture touchstones visible behind every bush but these bushes aren’t in front of my property, I’m looking for good retrospectives. Matt Zoller Seitz, whose obit has a polish that tickles my suspicion (“do you think Seitz had that [partly] in the can?” a poster wondered on ILE). HeContinue reading “Spock as multicultural hero”

Leonard Nimoy – RIP

As I do with sports, I’ve always let friends love “Star Trek” more than I should. For people born before I was, Mr. Spock made benign intelligence look cool. An elementary school teacher admitted as much. After exposure to a handful of “Star Trek” episodes, I can see the attraction, not to mention the specialContinue reading “Leonard Nimoy – RIP”

Oppressed neo-Nazis be oppressed

To belong to a besieged minority is no small thing. A course offered by Arizona State University’s English department called “The Problem of Whiteness” has got neo-Nazis miffed: TPM recently spoke with the leader of a white nationalist group that’s leading the charge against the “problem of whiteness” class, an effort they have dubbed “OperationContinue reading “Oppressed neo-Nazis be oppressed”

‘Mobile wireless is for data sipping, not gulping’

As I said the other night, the shifting of tectonic plates beneath acceptance of net neutrality have startled the telecom world. Tim Wu: It may have been the unexpected effectiveness of Internet-based activist groups, who protested the F.C.C. and helped convince millions of people to write and send comments about the potential rules. It mayContinue reading “‘Mobile wireless is for data sipping, not gulping’”

The bus rides and the nowhere to go: Sinatra

Shuja Haider’s preface before his ranking of Sinatra’s great albums: Sinatra is the most authentic interpreter of these songs because his voice and personality, iconic as they are, exist only in service to them. He sounds so familiar now it’s hard to hear his innovation, but give some of of the less distinguished pop singersContinue reading “The bus rides and the nowhere to go: Sinatra”

‘The glittering, electric, hot-pink power’ of Kim Gordon

Love requires scrutiny. Madonna, Karen Carpenter, Robert Palmer, and Mariah Carey writhed before Kim Gordon’s ruthless gaze. She understands what they wrote and sang about such that when they appear in Sonic Youth material the songs are homages and critiques of methods of presentation. The likes of “Tunic (Song for Karen Carpenter)” and “Mariah CareyContinue reading “‘The glittering, electric, hot-pink power’ of Kim Gordon”

Suck it up, USA

Stan Collender is correct. Democrats have nothing to do with this: The Republican vs. Republican budget war is now wide open for all to see. The House’s intransigence on this particular issue — it insists that the DHS appropriation include language that somehow reverses President Obama’s executive orders on immigration -– is being matched byContinue reading “Suck it up, USA”

A Summer’s Tale

It’s hard to distinguish a good Eric Rohmer film from a decent one. Garrulous but with sentences that hint at wit, his characters treat expectations like trial balloons: they make declarations of principles which demand acceptance but sulk when they’re taken seriously. The good Rohmer films, which include My Night at Maud’s, Chloe in theContinue reading “A Summer’s Tale”

The Democrats’ local election problem

Like the GOP in 2012, the DNC commissioned a study of What Went Wrong following congressional losses in 2014. The conclusion, as Chris Cillizza sees it: Traditionally, Democrats — and, in particular, the party’s major donors — have not been terribly good at either a) seeing the big/long-term political picture or b) getting excited aboutContinue reading “The Democrats’ local election problem”