June 2006

Since 4:38AM this morning – when I went to bed – I have had 34
“Sold-Ship now” e-mails from Amazon. That’s about 7 book orders per hour. Between that and squandering my time staring at the inside of my eyelids or tracking down misplaced titles amongst 22,000 books or printing things with my Dymo labeller I haven’t had as much time to think about the subtle nuances of the latest X-Men film as I would have if I were, oh, say, 14 years old.

THEREFORE you will not be receiving a detailed “Ebert-esque”
examination of the 3 X-Men films as a gestalt or even the long review of X-MEN: THE LAST STAND that I had hoped to write. Much of what needed to be said has already been said and the rest I’m just going to take random swings at.

Part of my problem working up the energy to do this at all is that
over the last five years I have written capsule reviews of damned near
every “comic-to-film” that has come down the pike and re-creating some
of my basic premises fills me with boredom. Suffice to say that AS A
RULE comics should not be made into movies.

It’s really NOT needed.

The short form of this theory is that you probably could adapt a Scott
Joplin tune to Hip-hop but really, why effing bother. Neither is
improved by the process and the potential to go wrong in a big way is
always present.

Another way of thinking about these films to consider the umbrage
once taken by Joanna Russ and Ursula K. Le Guin over the term “Female
Author”. It is an artistic process as a “stunt” instead of a sincere
endeavor. It’s a bear riding a bicycle.

Doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad, you are just supposed to be thrilled that a fucking bear is riding a bicycle. I’m pretty sure it’s that sort of contempt [and
greed of course] that fuels these comic-to-film Hollywood projects.

To  my friend Mark’s point about the humor not much being there in the third
film – I have always found humor to be the wrong note for X-Men except
from Wolverine, and then only when used very sparingly. That’s really
Spider-Man’s turf and only thrown in here to please a certain audience
demographic. The “form” of X-MEN is pure opera and we all know what a
laugh riot opera is.

[Insert 75 page doctoral thesis comparing and contrasting all of the
tropes of opera strip-mined by Chris Claremont to make X-Men the
unique comics franchise that it has been for 25 years.]

To anybody complaining about who dies and who comes back and THAT
they come back… shut up. This may or may not be great storytelling
but it is perhaps the thing that Hollywood gets correct in the
adaptive process. It is MOST LIKE what we have been reading all of our
lives if we are talking about Marvel/D.C. style superheroics. Thus has
it EVER been.

I actually thought the set-up for Xavier’s potential return was
nicely done and damned near subtle by Hollywood standards. Of course I
don’t really see them doing the whole Moira McTaggert / Banshee /
Polaris / Muir Isle, etc. stuff but that’s not for me to say. I would
of course, much sooner see them go with the DAYS OF FUTURE PAST story arc “sweet spot” but that’s just me.

We did at least get the head of a Sentinal in the Danger Room
sequence. We may have to console ourselves with that and fill in the

Quick notes.

Beast’s fur was the wrong color blue. It’sa tough thing to get right
but that was way too bright.

In this shot here it’s almost correct but they really used chroma-key or something to punch that blue up in the finished film. Otherwise in the Alcatraz night shots he would have completely disappeared.

Unlike all of the rest of you I have NO PROBLEM with Ms. Barry
striking poses and rolling her eyes up in her head. Walk toward the
camera some more, I say. Now walk away. Now saunter back. Oh yeah,
baby… where was I?

What’s his name playing the Juggernaut was wasted and stupid. It was
exactly as badly done as BANE in that BATMAN filmed version. Pathetic.

CGI’ing old actors young again is a bad idea and a VERY slippery
slope. Also, was that vein on Wolverine’s arm achieved in a gym or
CGI’d in place? Maybe we could have a Young non-alcoholic Harrison
Ford as Indiana Jones? This stuff creeps me out.

The ENTIRE SF bridge sequence made NO SENSE whatsover. Bad physics, no plot reason for doing it with Magneto’s powers – and the instant
night time transition ALL served to take me out of the moment. Nothing
“gosh wow” about this sequence at all.

All in all, another mess made of an otherwise wonderful cultural
artifact that needed no help from Hollywood to do what it was already
doing just fine.

– Barney


It is not bigotry to be certain we are right; but it is bigotry to be
unable to imagine how we might possibly have gone wrong.
– G.K. Chesterton,
essayist and novelist (1874-1936)


Most days I consider turning on the television to be an act of defeatism. If I'm conscious surely there must be sometning better to do with my time then sucking at the great Glass Teats of pop culture consumerism (the left one) and crypto-fascist propaganda (the right one.) In case you were wondering.
 But Saturday Night at around 8PM East Coast time, at least three stars were in allignment in the phosphor-dot heavens and they yielded up in rapid succesion these three choices…

 First on CNN we had;

 CNN Presents: Dead Wrong: Inside an Intelligence Meltdown: "Dead Wrong" looks at what went wrong with U.S. prewar intelligence. What that blunder means for U.S. credibility.

Two not so curious Georges

What's sad and pehaps a little strange about that link up there is if you hit it [don't bother] it takes you to an advertisement for "Dirt Track Warriors" and a sub-leased ad box for buying American flags. HOWEVER, off to one side you can find a link to CNN transcripts of their special news shows and this will yield the entire show in text form. I commend this to your interest. Very disturbing reading – and viewing.

Transcript for DEAD WRONG

This show was critical enough that all by itself it gave me some hope. Of course it was run on the weekend when news viewing is at its lowest ebb, but they did at least show it.

 I am, however, at heart a weak man, and once a remote is in my hands and a commercial is on I am no better than the rest of you. I flip around. I surf. Sue me. So I toggled on up to my favorite fallback channel – and Tony Soprano's – the History Channel, and they were showing THE FOG OF WAR.





I don't want to patronize anybody who has not yet seen this film, but do please get this under your belt at your earliest convenience. It is a fascinating study of a man sliding down the slippery slope of history and U.S. Imperialism.

FOG OF WAR official website

The IMDB Fog of War page

 So now I'm deeply conflicted. I had already seen this documentary but it's a great one and I felt myself getting sucked in. Back on CNN I have a modern day documentary about the failure of U.S. Intelligence and how it has taken us into this folly of Iraq and our fallback strategy of "nation building" – as though "nation building" was EVER a stated reason for going into Iraq to begin with.

 Thankfully [!] a commercial came up and I forgot what I was doing and I switched over to the AMC channel instead of back to CNN where I meant to go – and what to my wondering eyes should appear but the last hour of APOCALYPSE NOW.  A perfect cinematic explication of the consequences of failed intelligence and failed perceptions of cultural interventionism.


Who watches the watchmen? 


Sure, Charley here has a mission. He is the straw man.
He is the guy the people standing in the lobbies of the C.I.A. and the Pentagon send to take out the guy building the bamboo cages. Fair enough.

But who is building the bamboo cages?
Could it be us?


ALL that you can be. 


and don't forget "our man" on the ground,
good old Colonel Kurtz.




So now all you have to do is slap on the DOORS singing THIS IS THE END and lay back on the couch and keep hitting the buttons.

 CNN/Bush/intelligence failure/History Channel/McNamara/intelligence failure/AMC Movie Channel/Pentagon/Kurtz/Intelligence failure…

 over and over and over.

"Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it."

        – George Santayana



Henry Rollins


Henry has his good media days and his bad media days but mostly I can get behind Rollins. Here, is Henry having a VERY good day at the expense of someone who deeply deserves AT LEAST this level of humiliation.




Ann Coulter

“My only regret with Timothy McVeigh
is he did not go to the New York Times Building.”
– Ann Coulter

“Liberal soccer moms are precisely as likely
to receive anthrax in the mail as to
develop a capacity for linear thinking.”
– Ann Coulter

“Being nice to people is, in fact, one of the incidental tenets of Christianity (as opposed to other religions whose tenets are more along the lines of ‘kill everyone who doesn’t smell bad and doesn’t answer to the name Mohammed’).”
– Ann Coulter  March 4th, 2004

“I think the government should be spying on all Arabs, engaging in torture as a televised spectator sport, dropping daisy cutters wantonly throughout the Middle East and sending liberals to Guantanamo.”
Ann Coulter column – December 21, 2005

“We should invade their countries, kill their leaders
and convert them to Christianity.”
– Ann Coulter  (September 13th, 2001)




Outfoxed – Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism

and while I’m here, check this out if you haven’t already…


A Documentary