Sunday, October 31, 2004

Aguirre: The Wrath of God

Made these comments a couple of days ago in a different venue. I stand by them:

Fifteen years ago, my history teacher suggested a different approach to learning about the conquistadors and the colonization of South America. He dragged in an old TV in the classroom, closed the curtains, and started up a VHS tape of crummy quality with a movie about the subject. We were baffled. Everybody spoke German, yet they were all supposedly Spanish. And most of the time, they were just stuck on a river, on a raft; occasionally they were attacked by natives, at times they seemed to go insane. They fought, they died. And that was it, for ninety minutes. My teacher then passionately proclaimed to the class that this was his favourite movie ever, but most just looked at him and wondered what this guy was on. I was entranced. The images stayed with me for years, I couldn't shake them. What the hell did we just see?

I never remembered the name of that film, but I had a pretty good guess. And so, of course, when I watched Aguirre again recently, it all came back. What was a startling experience back then, in the worst possible watching conditions, was even more so now. Beautiful, crazy, hypnotic film.

Miserable Failures

Considering no-one's actually reading this thing except for myself when I'm out of town and need to get in touch with how I'm doing, it's no wonder I haven't been updating this blog for a while. If you want to maintain a blog of some stature, you need to update it constantly, at least once a day. For the political pundits, that's a breeze these days leading up to the US prez selection, considering all the shit that's going down all over the place. So because of these well-informed bloggers I'm checking and reading more than I'm actually producing; comfortable and nice, but fuck you how lazy and Lutheran I'm feeling, at the same time. It's a good read, though. These bloggers are all on my daily briefings list:

Tom Tomorrow - not only one of the best political comic strip guys out there (This Modern World), he also maintains snippets and links to all sorts of interesting... snippets and links
The Rude Pundit - totally uncompromising and rude as all hell, this profanity-laden anonymous blogger, with obvious insights in campaigning, lecturing and other things prone to make him a bit more knowledgeable than your average hate-spewing mongrel, is a must read
The Smirking Chimp - the best place to find snippets and summaries of news articles and other media events

Needless to say, they are like, totally nonpartisan. Do some reading.

I now also have three political buttons - two embarrassingly big Kerry buttons which I simply cannot wear in public, and one small, subtle "No More Bushit" straight outta NYC. I'll wear that with pride for the next four years.

(I hope to abandon these pathetic little political-themed posts soon, and concentrate on what I know best - porn. No, wait, make that movies.)


Off to celebrate Malmö FF. Yes, for the first time since 1988, my local football team has fulfilled the promise of getting back the gold to the city. It's crazy here, cars have been honking all night and people are dancing in the streets, despite the cold, horror-like autumn weather we're having.

So now, off I go to the Stortorget square for some official, city-sponsored celebrations. Fun fun fun.

EDIT: It was fun. But we didn't see a goddamn thing, too much fireworks and smoke and scarfs and kids on shoulders. It was freezing. An estimated 30,000 people turned out. Amazing.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

And You Don't Stop

Latest development in the Stewart case (Tuckergate as some cleverheads want to call it): the neocon goons try to spin it, talking about a massive backlash for Stewart, losing audience, acting irresponsible, losing face, etc. If anyone has had their asses handed to them in this case, it's Crossfire. And rightly so.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Bush: Sweden has no army

In an article in today's New York Times Magazine, Ron Suskind goes to great details in describing the presidency of George W Bush. As a Swedish citizen, it's somewhat amusing (and/or disconcerting) to read the following:

There is one story about Bush's particular brand of certainty I am able to piece together and tell for the record.

In the Oval Office in December 2002, the president met with a few ranking senators and members of the House, both Republicans and Democrats. In those days, there were high hopes that the United States-sponsored ''road map'' for the Israelis and Palestinians would be a pathway to peace, and the discussion that wintry day was, in part, about countries providing peacekeeping forces in the region. The problem, everyone agreed, was that a number of European countries, like France and Germany, had armies that were not trusted by either the Israelis or Palestinians. One congressman -- the Hungarian-born Tom Lantos, a Democrat from California and the only Holocaust survivor in Congress -- mentioned that the Scandinavian countries were viewed more positively. Lantos went on to describe for the president how the Swedish Army might be an ideal candidate to anchor a small peacekeeping force on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Sweden has a well-trained force of about 25,000. The president looked at him appraisingly, several people in the room recall.

''I don't know why you're talking about Sweden,'' Bush said. ''They're the neutral one. They don't have an army.''

Lantos paused, a little shocked, and offered a gentlemanly reply: ''Mr. President, you may have thought that I said Switzerland. They're the ones that are historically neutral, without an army.'' Then Lantos mentioned, in a gracious aside, that the Swiss do have a tough national guard to protect the country in the event of invasion.

Bush held to his view. ''No, no, it's Sweden that has no army.''

The room went silent, until someone changed the subject.

A few weeks later, members of Congress and their spouses gathered with administration officials and other dignitaries for the White House Christmas party. The president saw Lantos and grabbed him by the shoulder. ''You were right,'' he said, with bonhomie. ''Sweden does have an army.''

This story was told to me by one of the senators in the Oval Office that December day, Joe Biden. Lantos, a liberal Democrat, would not comment about it. In general, people who meet with Bush will not discuss their encounters. (Lantos, through a spokesman, says it is a longstanding policy of his not to discuss Oval Office meetings.)

This is one key feature of the faith-based presidency: open dialogue, based on facts, is not seen as something of inherent value. It may, in fact, create doubt, which undercuts faith. It could result in a loss of confidence in the decision-maker and, just as important, by the decision-maker. Nothing could be more vital, whether staying on message with the voters or the terrorists or a California congressman in a meeting about one of the world's most nagging problems. As Bush himself has said any number of times on the campaign trail, ''By remaining resolute and firm and strong, this world will be peaceful.''

About eighteen months prior to his 2002 comments, Dubya spent two days in Gothenburg, Sweden at an international summit.

How awesome is this? Should we be surprised? Cause this is what's baffling the world: how Dubya can go on, and on, and on, and on, seemingly forever, with these faux-pas, without ever anyone calling him on it, or without him ever suffering any consequences for it. It's astounding. And, in its absurdity, genial. I almost believe David Cross when he says that the president probably has to eat a Jewish baby on live television before people start saying, "Hey, what an asshole! This is our president?".

Saturday, October 16, 2004

More Stewart

BT links of the whole thing found here, both compressed wmv and the full avi. This is gonna be funny. Stewart takes a week off from The Daily Show, and winds up getting all the attention anyway. Between the last debates, this ordeal, and the devilishly delicious Bill O'Reilly debacle, he picked a lousy week for a vacation. If he would run for office - any office - he'd win in a landslide.

EDIT: Wonkette provides more links to the Crossfire video. Apparently, Tuckergate is the word of the hour.

Random Foo
Media Matters

Aha - re. "catch"

OK, so one immediate nuisance of this place is that there's no default setting for adding links? What the fuck?

My respect for Jon Stewart recently went up from 100% to 200%, if that is indeed possible. The reason: his appearance on CNN's Crossfire. So witty, so smart. He sticks it to 'em. Read the entire transcript here.


It would appear that even though I have no idea what I'm doing here, I have succumbed to the temptations of blogging. Not having any clever ideas never stopped anyone, though, so off I go. I will use this blog to highlight specific goings-on in the world of popular culture, politics, and other areas that I find stimulating, worthy of attention, or stupid. Does this mean spending even more hours in front of the screen, straining my eyes and sabotaging my recently fixed back? Probably. We Are A Winner.

Expected readers of this blog including the author: 1, although often I'm out of town and won't be able to check out every damn post, so give and take 1

I do like the suave design of this Blogger place; what's the catch?