Monday, February 12, 2007

We Live In A Political World

So it's good to see that at the moment when the administration is pressing their case for Gulf of Tonkin 2007, the whole of our coutnry is absorbed in the custody battle / paternity drama over a dead model's daughter. That pretty much says it all about America right there, doesn't it?

PS to Milo: We should have made that bet.

On the matter of Civil War: how come Razor Fist, who - let's be frank - is essentially a double amputee without his special blade prosthetics, was put in the Negative Zone prison, while Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin of Crime as well as one of the most dangerous hand-to-hand combatants in the Marvel Universe, was still stewing in Rikers? You can't tell me that Razor Fist was nicked for violation the Registration Act, considering his "powers" consist of not having hands. The Kingpin, however, certainly deserves a place in the Negative Zone if anyone does. Is it because he wasn't arrested for a Registration violation?

But most importantly, why the fuck would they put Razor Fist in there? Since I saw that my mind has been well and truly boggled.

For that matter, since possessing "Deadly Hands of Kung FU" is apparently enough to make you a major player in the Marvel Universe, does that mean that every advanced black belt and boxing champ had to register with S.H.I.E.L.D. as well?

Did anyone catch the Cate Blanchett profile in the 02/12/07 issue of The New Yorker? It is was the one with the Dave Heatley cover? (And, incidentally, isn't Heatley about the last person you'd expect to see covering The New Yorker? I mean, yeah, Crumb did some pretty scabrous stuff in his day but he didn't contribute to the magazine until long after he'd become a "cultural institution". Heatley's dream comics are some of the most disturbing comics I've ever read. I have a hard time imagining that the magazine's self-satisfied art czars would have much of a desire to give such a scruffy provocateur their imprimatur, such as it is.)

Anyway, this Blanchett piece was the worst example of celebrity puff I've read in many a year. Written by John Lahr, it is frankly embarrassing, not so much for the magazine but for the author and all of us reading at home. It's pretty obvious that Lahr has a huge woody for Blanchett, and this colors every observation made throughout the piece. For some reason the magazine doesn't have this piece online - they take down the previous week's contents to make room for the current week, oddly enough - but it's worth tracking down anyway. Profiles are a tricky business, in that a profile writer has to walk a pretty fine line between sycophancy and hatchet-job. Obviously Lahr is so deeply infatuated with Ms. Blanchett that he should not have been allowed anywhere near writing this feature.

But it's funny - the piece reproduces enough of Blanchett's own vacuous statements that she effectively hangs herself despite Lahr's obvious intentions to lionize her. There's a passage discussing Blanchett's most recent role in Richard Eyre's Notes on a Scandal, and the challenges of playing an upper-middle-class intellectual bantam-weight with delusions of bohemian splendor. It's a good movie, and Blanchett does a good job making a generally unsympathetic character at least tolerably opaque, but Blanchett's own words reveal that she is every bit the petit bourgeois egoist that her character supposedly lampoons.

And, since you were good enough to wade through all that twaddle, here's 3:32 of pure bliss. And if you don't think the tiger at 2:37 is the great thing ever, well, you're off my Christmas list.

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