A movie log formerly known as Bookishness / By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

On Hating Obama

Matt Taibbi notes Martin Peretz's diagnosis of Obama's "clinical narcissism" and links it to the rest of the flood of anti-Obama propaganda.

It seems to me that the determination of the Obama haters to worry about irrelevancies and nonsense, and not his real policies, is evidence that they find something soothing in this villain-fantasy. Clearly, for one thing, the fantasy does not involve worrying about or even thinking about real problems. It allows people to transfer real anxiety and fear and anger over real problems into this fictional arena where the only thing to worry about is the presidency of this evil black Wizard of Oz-like figure who lies about his birthplace and has secret plans to institute a clearly-will-never-happen program of national servitude. If you’re in that place mentally, you might as well be playing Dungeons and Dragons. There’s no way thoughts like this can ever feel completely real, which maybe is the idea.

Another Reason to Like Al Franken

From Think Progress:

In 2005, Jamie Leigh Jones was gang-raped by her co-workers while she was working for Halliburton/KBR in Baghdad. She was detained in a shipping container for at least 24 hours without food, water, or a bed, and “warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she’d be out of a job.” (Jones was not an isolated case.) Jones was prevented from bringing charges in court against KBR because her employment contract stipulated that sexual assault allegations would only be heard in private arbitration.

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) proposed an amendment to the 2010 Defense Appropriations bill that would withhold defense contracts from companies like KBR “if they restrict their employees from taking workplace sexual assault, battery and discrimination cases to court.”

Thirty Senators -- all Republicans, of course -- voted against it.

Noise of the Day 10/7/09

Matthew Yglesias on the decision of Nike and Apple to resign from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because of its opposition to climate change legislation.
The fundamental problem the Chamber of Commerce is going to have on this is that they’re really really wrong. Not like how they’re morally wrong about, say, labor rights or workplace safety rules. They’re analytically mistaken about the interests of the United States business community. If we take action to avert ecological catastrophe, economic growth will still happen. Capitalism will march on. Big companies will be big, and people will earn lots of money managing them. Yes, the present-day owners of coal companies or manufacturers specifically wedded to unusually energy-intensive processes will be in trouble. But “business” in a broad and general sense will keep on keeping on. People will still want gadgets and furniture, will shop at stores, will buy and sell, and generally keep being customers for business.

Daily Kos, Steve Benen and Ezra Klein on the Republicans who have announced their support for support health care reform.

Jon Stewart on Obama's delay on Don't Ask/Don't Tell.
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