Sunday, May 11, 2008

Weekend Update

Style over substance. Like the rest of America, I spent two hours in a theatre watching a comic-book-colored movie with dialogue that made no sense, scenes that made you scratch your head and go "Huh?" and knowing, superior direction that was infuriating when it wasn't trying to get you to fall asleep. That's right, folks -- I spent my Saturday watching Speed Racer Godard's Pierrot Le Fou. There are a lot less painful things to do in a theatre than look at Anna Karina's face for 120 minutes, especially since Godard is so in love with it. Is there a plot? Not really. The key is Belmondo's monologue, where he says: “I’ve got an idea for a novel. Not to write about people’s lives anymore but only about life—life itself… what lies between people: space, sound, and color.” That's what you get for two hours: space, sound and color -- along with vintage anti-Americanism which, when you replace "Vietnam" with "Iraq," becomes tragically, ironically, contemporary.

NIXONLAND. Thank you, New York Times, for letting a conservative columnist review this book and totally ignore the book's thesis while nitpicking its factual errors and decrying it as yet another "wallow" in those awful 60's. The point of the book is that we are still living in the politics of polarizing personalities that began with Tricky Dick, and even a syndicated columnist with a closet full of bow ties should be able to see that the Right's loathing of Clinton and the Left's loathing of Bush fit that particular description like a fist in a boxing glove. Personally, I can think of no better way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of 1968 than by wallowing in the glorious loathsomeness of our 37th President. There are little jewels on almost every page. Here's the best one-line description of Nixon's character I've ever read: ""He had to have someone with him so he could be alone." That's from page 18; only another 700 to go.

1 comment:

Didimo Chierico said...

At the risk of turning this into an "all in the family" pig pile on the Slippery Dick, I second my brother's emotion--- an eye-opener particularly for anyone who lived through those times & thinks they know what was going on. Read it & then read Pearlstein's previous book on Goldwater, if you haven't already. The 2 books complement, without depending, on each other.