Monday, December 31, 2012

Fox Forecast: Increased Ignorance with a Steady Rain of Propaganda

I didn’t say what I said, the facts aren’t what they are, rapists can never impregnate you, the climate isn’t wrecked, the Big Bang didn’t happen, Medicare and Social Security and education aren’t needed, Iraq has terrible WMD gonna kill your babies, and the sun rises in the West. Whatever will get me power over you. Any lie will do.
Here are the 10 dumbest things Fox News reported about climate change this year.
Want more Fox News lies (and who doesn't?) Here are more.

2012 was a dismal year for Fox News. The PR arm of the GOP failed to fulfill its prime directive: advancing the interests of Mitt Romney and the Republican Party. It spent much of the year constructing an alternative reality that left millions of its flock in shock when President Obama won an overwhelming reelection. It refused to accept the facts on the ground and denigrated polls (even its own) when the results conflicted with the fictional narrative it was peddling. And perhaps most painful of all, Fox surrendered its ratings lead to MSNBC.  — Mark Howard

Float and the World Floats With You

These are wood block prints by the early 19th century Japanese artist Hiroshige
By Dan Hagen
“We live only for the moment, in which we admire the splendor of the moonlight, the snow, the cherry blossom and the colors of the maple leaves. We enjoy the day, warmed by wine, without allowing the poverty that stares us in the face to restore our sobriety. In this drifting — like a pumpkin carried along by the current of the river — we do not allow ourselves to be discouraged for a moment. This is what is called the floating, fleeting world.”
Somehow seems an appropriate quote for New Year’s Eve 2012. It’s from a 1661 story by Asai Ryoi, and is associated with Japanese ukiyo-e or “floating world” art. That genre reflected the fresh, fleeting pleasures appreciated by a newly emerging Japanese middle class, and immortalized them.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

You're Already a Gucci Footprint, Pal

Here's the point. These dupes don't know whom to bite.
As in Italy and Germany 70 years ago, the American people are victims of an organized and relentless fascist propaganda crusade against fact, art, science and education that demonizes the people who want to help them and deifies the people who intend them harm.

Credible Magic

By Dan Hagen
“Magic Mike” turns out to be a surprisingly good movie, more drama than titillation.
Channing Tatum stars as a stripper in Tampa, a life he actually lived. The film’s themes include the aspirations of lower-class youth, the moral undertow of easy money and the ironic and sad contrasts between normal life and fetishized sexual objectification.
A credible look into an under-the-radar demimonde
Not as dark a film as “Boogie Nights,” the movie is an updated “Saturday Night Fever,” but superior to it. Tatum squirrels away cash toward his low-key dream — a business designing and crafting unique furniture — while befriending an aimless, out-of-luck 19-year-old whom he draws into the stripping game. He tentatively romances the boy’s sister, an unglamorous but solid medical assistant smart enough to see what’s in store for Mike and the brother she loves, and to want no part of it. The love story has an underplayed humor that gives it charm.
The most surprising thing about the film is its verisimilitude. This is the way life is lived, not merely for strippers but for higher-end waiters, porn performers, models — those under-the-radar people who have fast daily cash, youth, looks, drugs, easy access to everything you might want except, perhaps, a way up and out and onto solid ground.
These are demimonde worlds that are attractive to youth for a variety of reasons that ring true at the time, and they are seductive whirlpools that, like youth, must finally be left behind, transcended.
Channing Tatum plays big brother to Alex Pettyfer in "Magic Mike"

Friday, December 28, 2012

Life in the Shining Dim Bulb on a Hill

A series of questions that would be asked in any nation that was not profoundly, paralyzingly stupid

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Really Foxed Up in 2012

Boys who wear hoodies should expect to be shot, and women in the military should expect to be raped. Fox News in 2012.
Also, federal scientists announced that 2012 was the hottest year on record in the contiguous U.S., but that wasn't news on Fox "News." At all.

'Les Miserables:' From the Depths to the Heights

Isabelle Allen as Cosette with Hugh Jackman as Valjean

“…and remember the truth that once was spoken,
  To love another person is to see the face of God..."

By Matt Mattingly
Some truly beautiful words. I watched 'Les Miserables' with my friend Dan on a bone chillingly cold Christmas Night. Those who know me well know that the musical itself is a personal favorite, so of course I had to see it on opening night.
I wouldn't call it a film, but would rather define it as something as an experience. Be prepared, though, if you're not familiar with Victor Hugo's story: the musical itself is best considered an "abridged" version of Hugo's masterwork which, while a chore to read, is a chore worth undertaking, because there are many characters up with whom you'll have to keep. Consequently, a couple of well-known numbers are slightly delayed or moved in their order in order to enhance and advance the story.
Hugh Jackman, who leads as main character Jean Valjean, is certainly deserving of any Best Actor nominations as he (as do many of the other characters), demonstrate effectively a significant range of emotions, from bitterness to benevolence, as well as the pain that comes from living the human life. It is unfortunate that he must face Daniel-Day Lewis's in the Best Actor category this year.
Nevertheless, he as well as Anne Hathaway (whose performance as the ill-fated Fantine is breathtaking and WILL win awards, if not an Oscar) and Eddie Redmayne (as Marius Pontmercy) profit greatly from director Tom Hooper's decision to film all the songs live rather than pre-dubbing their voices in a studio. The emotions are raw and palpable and the effect on the audience was obvious -- I remarked to Dan on more than one occasion that many in the crowd were at times sobbing rather audibly. He answered that he had noticed that, but then I looked and saw he was teary-eyed as well.
Eddie Redmayne as Marius Pontmercy
Redmayne was the pleasant surprise of the film – despite not having an extensive musical theatre background, his voice has youthful nobility and when that is combined with his proficient acting skills the result is a very fine performance.  It is easy to see why both Samantha Barks’s Eponine and Amanda Seyfriend’s Cosette fall in love with him. 
Russell Crowe's casting as the impenetrable Inspector Javert, who relentlessly pursues Valjean, was the one glaring question that mark many fans and critics had when the role was announced -- his vocals aren't as refined as the other members of the cast, but he has acting chops, and he holds his own through the force of his personality.
Samantha Barks played Eponine during the 25th Anniversy run of 'Les Miserables' on the West End, and she completely captures why the character is one so many relate to -- she is the embodiment of love unrequited and anyone who's had a crush on another person but not had those feelings returned will choke up a bit during her rendition of "On My Own."
The film, like its musical ancestor, is emotionally uneven -- you finish seeing a number that is uplifting, bombastic and romantic, and then are brought back down into sadness and despair, and then sent back into hopeful optimism. Repeatedly. In addition, there is one moment which, in light of the recent events in Newtown, Connecticut, might cause parents to squirm for just a moment.  At the end of the day, though, the ride is rewarding and Tom Hooper's effort and accomplishment should be congratulated.
[Worth noting: The Bishop of Digne, who gives Valjean valuable silver on the promise that Valjean become an honest man and reappears in a nice tough toward the end of the film, is portrayed by the wonderful Colm Wilkinson, who originated the role of Jean Valjean on both the West End, back when I was just a few months old, and again on Broadway two years later.]