Tuesday, November 23, 2004

When yer unemployed...

As I am, you tend to watch a lot of superfluous television. And so it was last night when I sat down to watch Fox’s reality show-beauty-contest-Queen-for-a-day hybrid “The Swan”. The premise is utterly Orwellian in it’s simplicity. Two female” ugly ducklings are selected for their alleged physical and spiritual wretchedness, a crack team of plastic surgeons, cosmetologists, therapists, and trainers are unleashed on these poor bints in an effort to transform them into beautiful women. The one whose “transformation” is the greatest gets to compete in a “swan pageant” for a beauty queen type prize.
Of course this IS a Fox program so a great deal of manipulation and hyperbole goes into the process. Both women in their “pre transformation” phase are deliberately harshly lit and clearly enjoined from using cosmetics of any kind in order to present an image of hopeless schlub-dom. Last night we got a widow and a female police officer both with husbands and children desperately seeking physical salvation and validation.
And what the hell, it worked…to the extend that three months of cosmetic surgery, diet, and a team of make up artists transformed two disparate females into the exact same woman!
They both ended up blonde, thin, with dazzling ersatz teeth and tarted up in the sort of formalwear Donald Trump forces on his fiancee’. Honestly I think “The Swan” is what would’ve been the late Rod Serling’s idea of a “reality TV show”.
I turned it off around the forty five minute mark as I couldn’t figure out which woman could have credibly claimed to have “crossed the most ground” in the journey from wretch to princess. To my unpracticed eye it looked like they were twins…blonde, skinny, ebullient and vacuous. How d’ye judge between them?

Saturday, November 13, 2004

American Movie Classics "celebrates" Veteran's Day

in a curious fashion. They are putting a bunch of movies about soldiers in combat into heavy rotation. These include aging titles like "The Battle of the Bulge" and "The Enemy Below" as well as rightical chic standards such as "Patton" and "Hamburger Hill". Lots of action, lots of warfare, lots of soldiers...but no movies about VETERANS...you know the guys what came home.
There is a difference you know.
Of course warfare is aa apocalyptic natural for the cinema while the trials and triumphs of postwar veterans are mere drama or perhaps comedy.
Think about that...on Veteran's Day we are knee deep in war movies...but precious few films about veterans can be seen anywhere.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

More Unemployment Books...

Here is what I've been reading since the end of September:

The Grand Guignol, Theater of Fear and Terror Mel Gordon
Yellowback Radio Broke Down Ishmael Reed
The American Newsreel (1911-1967) Raymond Fielding
Sabre-Tooth (Modesty Blaise) Peter O"Donnell
The Big Win Jimmy Miller
Paths of Glory Humphrey Cobb
A is for Andromeda Fred Hoyle and John Eliot
The Andromeda Breakthrough Fred Hoyle and John Eliot

Currently reading:
The White Boned Demon Ross Terrill
Napoleon III, A Life Fenton Bresler
Conservatism Revisited Peter Viereck
Imperial Earth Arthur C.Clarke
Totalitarianism (Book Three) Hannah Arendt

Friday, November 05, 2004

The Incredibles....

Anyone notice their strong resemblance to Marvel Comics' "The Fantastic Four"?
Oh the powers are jumbled up and replaced here and there...but the mother's elasticity powers, the daughter's invisibility/force field abilities and dad's cartoonish strength all say FF to this ex-true believer.
of course no member of the family is a mishappened monster a'la boychick Ben Grimm...(although the father "Mr. Incredible" is bloated to the point of hilarity) nonetheless the template is vivid right down to the capeless tights.
I wonder if Stan Lee will sue?
And then maybe we can get him on the stand to explain just how much of the Fantastic Four was really the creation of the late Jack Kirby???