Vladimir Nabokov by Philippe Halsman
Pineapple Giant Bollocks on Flickr.
The affinity I see between Leigh and Ozu may be fanciful (solely my own association), but there’s something to be said for their stories sharing a similar scope and their presentational visual style ignoring rules; and each is distinctly representing his nationality’s character, such as I can gather, among those whose stories rarely get told.
Get lower than low and smoother than smooth but then jab that fucker with a ice pick, right in the jugular.
Saw my moms for the first time in a year today. She doesn’t like rap music but I do. We played pool and grilled steaks. The box of old photos was rifled through for gems. Her lover was scared looking out my back window when some kids climbed a pitched roof to get a load of the view I take for granted sitting on a couch. We talked about cars a lot.
Directed by Eric Wareheim, starring Ray Wise, a video for Beach House.
Although almost nobody has bothered to notice, the first 90 minutes of that arc are actually about how torture fails. At the film’s outset, Dan presses a tortured detainee for information about a planned terror attack in Saudi Arabia. He doesn’t get what he needs, and 22 people are killed. “It’s okay,” a colleague tells him. “Focus on London.” On July 7, 2005, bombs go off all over London. Fifty-two civilians are killed. They work to plan a sting operation in Pakistan in 2008, and then a truck bomb goes off at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad with enough force to leave a 60-foot crater in the ground. Dozens more die. In 2009, a suicide bomber kills seven CIA operatives inside Camp Chapman in eastern Afghanistan. Maya’s closest work friend, Jessica, is among the dead, and she is also to blame: it was her idea to meet with the double-agent terrorist in the first place.
With each new failure, Maya clutches her job a little closer. The worse the War on Terror looks, the more important it is to win it. After Jessica’s death, a colleague finds Maya slumped over on her office floor, drinking whisky out of a plastic cup. “What are you gonna do?” he asks. “I’m gonna smoke everybody involved in this op,” she says, “and then I’m gonna kill bin Laden.”
Susan Sontag once wrote that every mass art form is practiced and experienced as “a social rite, a defense against anxiety, and a tool of power.” Zero Dark Thirty’s critics, unwilling to understand themselves as the film’s intended audience, instead imagined that “real Americans” were being made tools of power through one of their most important social rites: moviegoing. What these critics did not confront was their own need to fend off anxiety. For Maya, as for many Americans, the anxiety has to do with the inadequacy of Osama bin Laden’s death as consolation for all of the disasters that preceded it. How else to explain the manic focus on proving that torture did not contribute to the search for bin Laden? It suggests a kind of desperation, a desire to hold up just this one episode as separate and different from the rest of the war. This desire is Zero Dark Thirty’s true subject, as well as the object of its critique.”
While I’m still not enthralled with the very means of the picture (its mise-en-scene in particular), this sums up what’s at play in a cogent way that I think should make sense even to the up in arms dudes and dudettes with keyboards and cell phones and awfully politically correct incorrectness. And if it doesn’t? So it goes, another culture war lost in a hall of mirrors erected by every side, positioned away from the object at hand.
Bah humbug. Hail Satan. America, fuck yeah.