Life in these United States

This happened in Missouri last week: In a 2-1 decision Tuesday, the Western District Missouri Court of Appeals ruled against James Pittman, who had sued Cook Paper Recycling Corp. for discriminating against him for being gay. Though the direct harassment and overall hostile environment was well documented in the case, the court could offer PittmanContinue reading “Life in these United States”

‘Room’ can’t explain its deeper mysteries

How you respond to Room depends on your tolerance for the central performance. As five-year-old Jack, a boy who’s been locked in a garage with his mother (Brie Larson) his whole life, Jacob Tremblay gives an emphatic simulation of terror and wonder that got on my nerves after forty minutes. Listening to Tremblay’s singsong – the go-toContinue reading “‘Room’ can’t explain its deeper mysteries”

Singles 10/30

A fivesome from Hokkaido recorded one of the year’s best rock songs using the simplest of means — “their name reflects a wish to act quickly and lightly, like fish in the water,” according to the Wiki. Hurrying the tempos with the faintest of pressure on the pedal, “Shin Takarajima” heads towards a climax noContinue reading “Singles 10/30”

Big party self-pity

CNBC, a literal network — the one with Rick Santelli allowed to rant about market shares and the network employing Jim Cramer and his endorsements of bull(shit)markets. To me the catastrophe of Wednesday night’s GOP debate wasn’t the questions — it was the moderators’ ignorance. Two of them were caught flatfooted, unable to adduce dataContinue reading “Big party self-pity”

Chameleons and elections

Brian Beutler with a smart observation: Obama was rusty and under-prepared, which contributed to his poor showing that night, but a big reason he lost the plot so badly is that the Mitt Romney he had prepared to debate was a composite of public statements, briefing papers, and other documentation from the past. The RomneyContinue reading “Chameleons and elections”

‘The Assassin’ brings medieval China to marvelous life

I can make a case for Hou Hsiao-Hsien as the best director of the nineties. From A City of Sadness to The Flowers of Shanghai, Hou examined tensions between his native Taiwan and Red China as well as the (male) power structures from which it stemmed centuries ago, always with an attention to the nuanceContinue reading “‘The Assassin’ brings medieval China to marvelous life”

Say goodbye on a night like this: 55 golden greats

Here’s the complete list of my fifty favorite albums, with caprice as my muse. Thank you for the comments and love. 1. Electronic – Electronic 2. Sinead O’Connor – I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got 3. Bryan Ferry Roxy Music – Street Life: 20 Great Hits 4. Public Image Ltd – Second EditionContinue reading “Say goodbye on a night like this: 55 golden greats”

‘Jeb Bush Inching Podium Closer To Center Of Stage ‘

The Onion‘s on the case: Speculating that he might be nudging it just a tiny bit with his foot or something, Americans viewing Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate said that candidate Jeb Bush appeared to be inching his podium closer to the center of the stage during the commercial breaks. “I definitely don’t think he wasContinue reading “‘Jeb Bush Inching Podium Closer To Center Of Stage ‘”

Marco Rubio, working man

“If you work at the VA, and you aren’t doing your job, they get to fire you,” Marco Rubio said last week. “I think people are shocked that that doesn’t actually exist in the entire government, since there’s really no other job in the country where if you don’t do your job, you don’t getContinue reading “Marco Rubio, working man”

Public education and its discontents

The most insistent strain of neoliberalism in Barack Obama’s DNA is his commitment to charlatans in the educational testing system — the Michelle Rhees whose commitment to high scores doubles as a way to transform public schools into fiefdoms managed by private companies (Diane Ravitch has played an estimable role explaining how the grifters work).Continue reading “Public education and its discontents”