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10.11.2009

Music mega-post

There's a lot of serious topics that I want to delve into sooner or later, but for now--have some jamming tunes.

"Blow Away" by A Fine Frenzy:


"Walking the Dog" by fun.:


"Title and Registration" by Death Cab for Cutie:


"Chicago" by Sufjan Stevens:


"Daylight" by Matt and Kim:


"The Calculation" by Regina Spektor:


"Vanilla Twilight" by Owl City:

please for the love of humanity, if you don't like this particular song at least give him a couple more to impress

"Rebellion (Lies)" by Arcade Fire:


That's all for now, kids. If you didn't find at least a song here that you liked, I can't help you.

10.05.2009

The staggering weight of glory



"We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."





When I look around and see people going on with their lives as if they are well and truly happy with the way things are and not the way things ought to be I wonder if I have it all backwards. The gospel and its progress come slowly to me, when they come at all. It is a gospel of brokenness and not a gospel of progress. Why should I want to be broken? Do I want to be broken? It's so utterly foreign to any person self-motivated. I’m told that's all of us.




10.04.2009

The Rapist

I’ve been out of the loop for quite a while on current news stories.  In general, I try to avoid listening to or reading a lot of news since it tends to make me want antidepressants.  However, I the more I hear about this Roman Polanski story, the angrier I get.

For those unaware, Roman Polanski is a film director acclaimed for such movies as Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown, and The Pianist.  In 1977, he drugged and raped a 13-year-old girl.  After pleading guilty and being convicted in Los Angles he fled the country.  Polanski eluded capture until last week when he was captured in Switzerland while on his way to a film festival.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t comment on a story like this, but it offends me on so many levels that I feel compelled to vent here.  I am offended as a human being.  I am offended as an American.  I am offended as a film student.  I am so utterly sickened by the way so many Hollywood elite have stood up for this rapist simply because they admire his art.

Obviously, I am sickened by Polanski himself.  I have no sympathy for him.  None at all.  Not only did the man rape somebody, but it was a 13-year-old girl who he first took nude photos of and drugged.  That is disgusting, animalistic and totally indefensible.  Then, having acknowledged his crime, he fled the country and remained free and unpunished for over 30 years.

From what I understand, the man has never shown regret for this and certainly hasn’t accepted the consequences of his actions.  Had he acknowledged the foulness of his crime and served his time, I would have a more sympathy for the man.  As it stands, I want him put away for the rest of his miserable life.  I wouldn’t even be against taking him behind the shed and putting him down.  It’s no less than the coward deserves.  His kind preys on the weak.  We should not be weak dispensing punishment.

Secondly, I am angry with law enforcement officials.  The man made 10 films since the rape.  How could he do that?  I’m not aware of all the details, but I’m pretty sure part of it was the U.S. stopped trying so hard and part of it was that France apparently doesn’t have a problem with rape (or harboring criminals of its “allies”) and sort-of gave him sanctuary.  This man should have been caught and arrested when he first popped his head up to make Tress.  Why was he not?

Now France has finally dropped their support for Polanski but a group of filmmakers and actors have signed a petition calling for his release.  The full translated text of the petition is this:

We have learned the astonishing news of Roman Polanski’s arrest by the Swiss police on September 26th, upon arrival in Zurich (Switzerland) while on his way to a film festival where he was due to receive an award for his career in filmmaking. His arrest follows an American arrest warrant dating from 1978 against the filmmaker, in a case of morals.
Filmmakers in France, in Europe, in the United States and around the world are dismayed by this decision. It seems inadmissible to them that an international cultural event, paying homage to one of the greatest contemporary filmmakers, is used by the police to apprehend him.
By their extraterritorial nature, film festivals the world over have always permitted works to be shown and for filmmakers to present them freely and safely, even when certain States opposed this.
The arrest of Roman Polanski in a neutral country, where he assumed he could travel without hindrance, undermines this tradition: it opens the way for actions of which no-one can know the effects.
Roman Polanski is a French citizen, a renowned and international artist now facing extradition. This extradition, if it takes place, will be heavy in consequences and will take away his freedom.
Filmmakers, actors, producers and technicians - everyone involved in international filmmaking - want him to know that he has their support and friendship.
On September 16th, 2009, Mr. Charles Rivkin, the US Ambassador to France, received French artists and intellectuals at the embassy. He presented to them the new Minister Counselor for Public Affairs at the embassy, Ms Judith Baroody. In perfect French she lauded the Franco-American friendship and recommended the development of cultural relations between our two countries.
If only in the name of this friendship between our two countries, we demand the immediate release of Roman Polanski.
Can you believe that?  And guess what?  A lot of notable people have signed this piece of tripe including directors Woody Allen (Annie Hall), Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, Rachel Getting Married), Terry Gilliam (Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 12 Monkeys, Brazi), John Landis (Animal House, The Blues Brothers), David Lynch (Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Lost Highway), Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Departed), Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler), Michael Mann (The Last of the Mohicans, Ali, Public Enemies), Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, will be directing the Hobbit films).

I am probably the angriest with these people.  Yes, Polanski did a terrible, terrible thing, but these people are now trying to use their clout as filmmakers and “artists” to get the general public to dismiss that terrible, terrible act.

Some would argue that it isn’t right to dismiss the art because of the wrongdoings of the artist and I agree with that.  But these people derive their authority from the admiration of their art.  If no one went to their films, they wouldn’t have such powerful voices.  Therefore, as long as these people continue to use their influence which is derived from their films to call evil good and good evil, I cannot support them in any way.

I’m not usually for boycotts.  I find them silly and usually ineffective, but here I think it makes a lot of sense and it certainly isn’t over something silly.  I am supposed to watch Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull in my Cinema Arts.  I’m sure it’s a good movie.  As an aspiring filmmaker I’m sure there are things I could learn from it, but it is my intention to calmly explain my reasoning and walk out of the class on that day.

I am a big fan of Tolkien’s works, of course.  I’ve been looking forward to seeing the Hobbit films for years, but unless director Guillermo del Toro removes his name from the petition, I will boycott those too.  I urge anyone who believes in justice to do the same.  Please, if you’re going to see a film, take the time to see if the director has signed the petition and carefully consider what kind of artist you are patronizing. (Full list of signers here.)

This is much larger than silly partisan political issues.  This is something that people of any party, nation, ethnicity, or trade ought to agree on.  It is a clear-cut issue.  We must call evil: evil and not allow those who would dismiss such acts to have any cultural authority.