Friday, July 23, 2004

Numb/distracted/blocked -- after today, no more here until I finish 4 tasks I won't list but which are block-lettered on an index card by my desk -- under a week I hope.

Julie Delpy on the Pacifica station this a.m. -- their morning show is called Uprising, which is clever now that I think about it -- talking a blue streak. Hearing the song she sings in the film doesn't make me want to see it.

Listened to some but not all of the radio coverage of the Sept. 11 Commission report yesterday, but hardly heard it in some sense. (What I mean by numb/distracted.) Mostly, I worried that it's pushing what's happening in Iraq post-'handover' out of the news; I feel I've lost track myself, honestly. Also concerned w/ what a nebbishy campaign the Dems seem to be running thus far, and with what little emphasis on the war; and the admin's apparent success in keeping more and worse torture images out of the media. I know this is not analysis, and I may just be outing myself as someone who thinks the difference might make a difference. "Weak citizen," indeed.

Until then, 3 more equaniminous notes. [2, as it turned out.]

1) I still wait to be bettered in the Recipient of Cruel Fortune Cookies Invitational.

a) "Stray not from the path to which fate has you assigned."
b) "You will be faithful in your execution of the public trust." (Received while dinner parter got "Your lovers will never wish to leave you.")

2) By 'critique,' Jordan probably just meant 'assessment.' (In the middle of the post, quote from the Porter piece looking pretty mousy between spectacular analysis [which you should read if you haven't] and Zizek.) But I'll expand a bit:

If Porter had been writing 'integrated musicals' in the '30s, he would have been alone. That's not so say there are (mostly comic) 'plot songs' -- Jubilee has some good ones -- but they're not what he's remembered for, except among OCR nuts. For much of its span, musical comedy was just that: A vehicle for music, and comedy. [There are exceptions, most obviously Show Boat, which marked a path not taken up for another 20 years or so, and, to a lesser extent, the mild electoral satire of a couple of Gershwin/George S. Kaufman shows. And that is fine. Wonderful, in fact. It's probably true that the songs were better than the shows, but it's more to the point that they're more revivable, for a variety of reasons -- topical humor dates quickly, the books for musicals were often tailored for stars (more so than straight plays), and so on. No one ever argues for Porter as a dramatic innovator, and hardly anyone expects him to be; he was inventive within a popular form that was, as it happened, pretty stable for most of his career.

I'm not going on about this mainly to defend Porter -- there are contemporaries I hold more dear, all told. I just want to give notice that I'm not, in principle, a unity freak. To change gears, I'd take Meaty, Beaty, Big & Bouncy over Tommy any day.

Well, that took too long to write for me to get to the third thing, about 'human nature.' Probably just as well, I don't know that I need to get roasted in the sonnetarium. Boiling down something else I won't get to: Structuralist film might as well have been called phenomenological film.

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