In the time since I last posted, we've experienced a series of national disasters and high-profile deaths. Obviously, we've been hit with the non-stop media coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings over the last couple weeks, as well as the inevitable epidemic of ridiculous conspiracy theories. For those who are smart enough to avoid such nonsense, the three main threads seem to be this:
President Obama is secretly behind the bombings. Somehow, actual elected officials have touted this theory, including a New Hampshire state legislator. Alternately, some folks claim that a random student of Saudi descent who was injured in the bombings is the real perpetrator. This is Glen Beck's theory. And, of course, numerous asshats in the media have revealed their complete ignorance of the US legal system, in particular, a defendant's 5th Amendment rights. Apparently, these people interpret a federal judge following federal law in a criminal case as "Obama/US Justice Department is secretly in league with terrorists."
As a person whose been around for a few years, I can assure you: the American media was not always as crazy as it is today. I blame the internet.
|"It's my happening...."|
The '50s and '60s begat a golden age of American movie critics. Stanley Kauffmann, Pauline Kael, Manny Farber, and perhaps the greatest of all, Andrew Sarris, all reached large audiences at a time when movie criticism could be taken very seriously. A review from a high-profile writer like Sarris or Kael could make or break a film's reputation and even effect its box-office success (as amazing as that sounds today.) These guys were all "serious," intellectual critics and often delved into the philosophical and aesthetic qualities of movie-making. Ebert, while a very good writer, tended to review movies based on his own personal taste, rather than offering a deep analysis of the films he was writing about. In the 1970s, he and Gene Siskel were accused of dumbing down film criticism by reducing it to a simple "thumbs up, thumbs down" formula. I can see the anti-Ebert crowd's point: can you imagine, say, art critics adapting such a system?
Of course, Ebert (and Siskel) also helped popularize the very notion of a film critic. Probably every younger film critic working today were inspired by "At the Movies/Sneak Previews." Compared to the idiot writing reviews in your local newspaper/alt weekly mag, Ebert was a goddamned modern-day Montaigne. His writing was always fun to read, and part of that fun was just how infuriatingly wrong he could be times. In his later years, he became bizarrely fond of terrible films; you might recall his 3 1/2 star review of Revenge of the Sith, or picking crap like Crash and frickin' Juno as the best films of their respective years.
Regardless of his supposed crimes against film criticism, I would give Ebert a lifetime pass for two things: writing the scripts for Russ Meyer movies such as Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, and his wonderful, classic reply to Rob Schneider in response to Schneider's attack on Patrick Goldstein. (I might also add Ebert's classic burn on Vincent Gallo after Gallo called him fat.)
Truth be told, it's been many years since I've seen the Deftones perform - it was sometime back in the '90s. They had the luck (misfortune?) to hit it big just as many other, much worse "nu-metal" bands were becoming popular. Somehow, they got lumped in with such musical shitfests as Korn and Limp Bizkit, despite pre-dating those bands by several years. As much as I hate the music of Korn, etc, I must admit many of those bands stood by Chi after his accident and raised funds for his family's medical expenses. So, I'll openly admit the dudes from Korn, Hatebreed, Slipknot, Sevendust, etc, etc, must be wonderful human beings, regardless of the music they make.
More low profile was the death of Scott Miller, of Game Theory and Loud Family. Game Theory was one part of the thriving Davis musical scene of the '80's, and were somewhat connected to the whole "Paisley Underground" scene of that era (related acts: Thin White Rope, True West, Dream Syndicate.) Among a certain set of aficionados, Game Theory's 1986 album Lolita Nation is one of the finest underground records of the 1980s. Good luck finding a copy for a reasonable amount of money nowadays. Full disclosure: Dr. Sparkle went to school in Davis, and is somewhat predisposed towards Davis-related stuff.
Finally, here's the part of the post you really care about:
Chronturbo 4 is almost done. It's mostly recorded and edited. I don't have an exact date, but I hope to get some work done this weekend (assuming I am not overwhelmed by yard work.)